Paying $1,000 for a bottle of fine wine or scotch isn’t unheard of. But will beer lovers really fork over that much for a single bottle of craft beer?
Vancouver’s Storm Brewing is hoping the answer is yes. The craft brewery, which bills itself as the longest running independent brewery in the city, has just released a 10-bottle limited edition run of a very special beer with a four-digit price tag.
The aptly titled Glacial Mammoth Extinction goes for exactly $1,000 a bottle, making it the most expensive beer ever sold in Canada. But it’s no ordinary brew.
Storm Brewing’s resident mad scientist, brewmaster James Walton, created the beer through a unique process known as freeze distillation. He started with some of the East Vancouver brewery’s signature Imperial Flanders Red Sour Ale. He then froze it into a rock-hard block. The beer that trickles out as the block melts is super-concentrated. All the water has been sucked out by the ice, leaving an intensely flavoured (and intensely alcoholic) nectar.
But that’s just the start. The brew is then aged for two full years in French oak barrels, much like a fine wine. At the end of this long, harrowing journey, the beer has a mind-numbing 25-percent alcohol content and a taste profile unlike anything on the market – more akin to a port than a beer.
It’s the bottling process, however, that adds the bulk of the price to these ritzy suds. Each of the 10 limited-edition bottles is hand-blown by Brad Turner of Terminal City Glass Co-Op. And each bottle is adorned with a pendant crafted by artist Richard Marcus out of a real 35,000-year-old mammoth tusk and paired with a 14K-gold clasp. The result is as much a work of art as an after-dinner aperitif.
Interested in sampling this rare brew but not ready to take out a loan to do so? The good news is that Glacial Mammoth Extinction is also available from the brewery in ordinary growlers, at least while supplies last. Starting Dec. 5, 1-litre growler fills are $80 and half litres are available for $40 – still pricey by beer standards but an absolute bargain compared to the limited-edition bottles. You can also hop by the brewery, located at Commercial Drive and Franklin Street, and try a 1-ounce taster for $5.