Well, the Alstrom brothers, who in their magazine - Beer Advocate - recently wrote a scathing article titled "Pay no more than $5" referring to the increasing cost of beer - well their heads are probably exploding over this one.
Behold, the most expensive beer in the world, Jacobsen Vintage No. 1. This beer is 2800 Danish Krone. Which today is the equivalent of ... wait for it.... wait for it....
Five hundred and Eighty Three Dollars - Almost Six HUNDRED dollars!
Only 600 (I'm assuming diamond) bottles of this 10.5% abv barleywine have been brewed and in a very short time the expensive brew has become a topic of heated discussion between beer connoisseurs and journalists alike. Could this beer be that good? Is this just a publicity stunt?
Truth be told, I don't understand what could be so special about this beer. Is the water source the tears of angels or something? The brewers say that its as the only contemporary beer that has ever been matured in J.C. Jacobsen's original crypt-like cellar from 1847. That the beer is matured for six months in new Swedish and new French oak barrels. "The project started as a wild idea and a wish to create a new type of beer that had never been seen before. During the aging process in new barrels, lots of chemical processes take place. Not all reactions are known but they taste wonderful," says Jens Eiken, Head Brewer at Jacobsen.
Again, according to the brewers, because I haven't tasted it, the beer has flavors of vanilla, smoke, caramel, dark fruits and port. "The bitterness is soft and intriguing. During the production and aging of the barleywine, Maillard reactions are continuously caused which adds caramel, nut and yeast aromas to the beer. In Jacobsen Vintage, you can taste different personalities in the beer in the form of Maillard, Schiff, Amador and Strecker." (Uh...what? Yeah, these names are all chemical reactions that can produce various aromatics and flavor compounds.)
Maybe its the artwork. Each bottle of Jacobsen Vintage No. 1 is labeled with an original hand stilled lithographic print made by the Danish artist Frans Kannik. The prints depict fables of Sif. Sif was married to the Nordic god Thor, who was often used by Carls Jacobsen as a symbol of strength.Reading this back, I really don't mean to be snotty about this. To me, though...beer is supposed to be accessible. That's the draw. That's what I love about it. I'm not trying to be cheap. I don't prescribe to the Alstrom bros. $5 dollars a pint thing, hell, I'll even shell out $50 for a big bottle of some of the best beers in the world. But the point that I always make when I compare beer to wine is that even if you are drinking the best beers in the world, you are not paying the same kind of prices that you do for wine.
It has been reported that the reason that this beer is so expensive is that with such limited production, the beer wouldn't be exported from Denmark, where the beer is still a rare commodity. (It's primarily only sold in three high-end restaurants in Copenhagen.) Still, Gayot.com pointed out that Jacobsen Vintage No. 1 "costs 357 times more than Carlsberg’s main lager brand, Carlsberg Beer. Over the next two years, Carlsberg plans to follow up their upmarket foray by releasing two new, similarly priced creations."
I'm sure that this beer is a heavenly experience. I'd love to try it one day. But I hope that this is not the price trend that the beer world starts to follow. I'm afraid if that happened, there'd be another kind of micro-brew revolution to write about!
If you try it, tell me about it. I'll drink vicariously through you!