The seasonal holiday beer is a longstanding and delicious tradition for craft brewers. Usually brewed with warm holiday spices like coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg and maybe some orange peel or other yummy add-ins, they are more like something you'd drink by a roaring fire than something you'd kick back with at a ballgame.
Because of their limited production and extra ingredients, these beers tend to be more expensive than your typical brew. But they are practically bargains compared to some of super-pricey offerings brewed mostly as publicity stunts or charity auction offerings by craft brewers.
Would you pay $7,686 for a beer? One bottle of beer, no less? The buyer of the first bottle of Tutankhamun Ale did. Of course, this wasn't just any beer; it was made from a recipe devised by archaeobotanist Dr. Delwen Samuels based on grains and brewing equipment found in an ancient worker's village in Egypt. Subsequent bottles sold for $500. And it doesn't actually sound that good.
It does not, however, sound as terrible as Scottish microbrewery Brewdog's End of History Belgian style blond ale. A bottle of which is stuffed inside a taxidermied squirrel and sold for $770. Because nothing says "Happy holidays! Treat yourself!" like taxidermied roadkill.
The most famous is probably Sam Adams' Utopias, which are released every other year. They boast an alcohol content about three times that of regular beer and is produced more like a fine wine than a beer. One 24-ounce ceramic cistern of last year's brew goes for $165, and previous vintages can go for up to $700 online. That's a whopping $82.50 for one glass of beer.
Or you could buy a beer and save the whales; a bottle of Antarctic Nail Ale by Nail Brewing Co. of Fremantle, Australia went for $800 at a charity auction and a third bottle went for $1,850 Australian on eBay. It was made with Antarctic Sea Ice harvested by the Sea Shepherd group. That just doesn't sound good for global warming, does it?
I can't imagine any of these would be so delicious as to be worth the extremely high price tag. It does make the $10 I paid for a six-pack of Bell's Holiday Ale feel positively frugal.
What's your favorite holiday brew?
Images via wikimedia.com, Brewdog Brewery, Boston Beer Co., Nail Brewing Co.