Until recently, I thought that the unique Samuel Adams Utopias beer from Massachusetts was the world’s most expensive brew. It’s packed in a gorgeous, ornate canister and sells for $240 SRP per bottle and weighs in at 28 percent alcohol.
But that’s not even close to the most expensive beer out there. That prize would go to a Belgian blonde ale made from juniper berries and nettles from the Scottish Highlands called BrewDog’s The End of History, which comes in a bottle made from taxidermied animals which were once roadkills (I’m not kidding). The price tag for one of the 12 bottles made is $20,000, which was used to raise funds to open a BrewDog brewery in Ohio.
By comparison, Utah’s most expensive beers are a mere pittance. I recently set out to sample some of the priciest beers I could find in the Beehive State, which was admittedly a very unscientific and random affair. I simply strolled the aisles of a few DABS stores and local breweries/beer stores and snagged a bunch of beers brewed in Utah that were priced in the three bucks and higher range, since the average 12 oz. can of beer seems to sell for closer to $2. The brews I included here are considered “high priced” in terms of the price per ounce. Obviously, a wine bottle size large format beer that sells for $19.99 may be “cheaper” than a 12 oz. can for $9.99.
I would say that Epic Brewing has the largest volume of pricy beers, but none more costly per ounce than Epic Oak and Orchard Ale ($9.99/375ml) and Epic Sextuple Barrel Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout ($19.99/650m). Maybe it’s the wax bottle closure on the Oak and Orchard Ale that drives the price up on the super sour ale which is aged in oak barrels and flavored with scrumptious boysenberry and blueberry ― a very nicely balanced sour beer from Epic.
Proper Brewing’s Gruit ($6.02/473ml) was said by the brewers to be “an homage” to herb-infused ales brewed during the Middle Ages, some of which were thought to have spiritual and healing properties. Brewed with yarrow, sweet gale and Labrador tea, Proper’s Gruit is a taste of the Middle Ages ― right here in Utah!
One of Red Rock Brewery’s most popular brews is their Elephino Double IPA, which is strong and hoppy with seductive citrus and pine notes ― very good with a big, intense flavor ($4.04/500ml).
Speaking of Double IPAs, RoHa Brewing Project’s Big Green Couch ($3.59/473ml) is a double dry-hopped double IPA. According to the folks at RoHa, “Our brewmaster couch-surfed his way from Michigan to find magic on a Big Green Couch in SLC. Aromatic Azacca hops make this Double Dry Hopped Double IPA a brewing ode to life’s serendipitous twists.” This can of beer is a keeper.
Shades Brewing won a Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival for their Kveik 1 Golden Sour Ale ($3.55/355ml), an American-style sour ale which, according to the brewers, “was developed using an ancient strain of Scandinavian yeast called Kveik which we purified in our lab and grew in our yeast propagation tanks. The beer is light in color and body, slightly tart, super fruity and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin.” It’s a superb sour.
Speaking Terpanese Triple IPA ($6.50/473ml) from Templin Family Brewing is big, boozy, fruity and dark ― the latter coming from OG Kush and Dar Star Terpenes, according to the brewers. It’s a brooding, malty, mother of a beer.
For reasons that aren’t clear to me, IPAs tend to be among the priciest beers in general. That’s true of .50 Caliber IPA ($9.34/1000ml) from Vernal Brewing Company ― a dry, somewhat bitter brew with tropical aromas and unexpected sweetness. A very interesting effort from the folks in Vernal.
Bewilder Brewing’s Imperial Mole Porter ($7/355ml) is one of their most popular beers ― an imperial strength English style porter with hints of Mexican mole ― flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, pasilla peppers, and cinnamon. The Mole Porter is aged in mezcal and tequila barrels for eight months ― a very unique brew, to say the least. Ole!
SaltFire Brewing Co. is well-known for its limited release brews such as their Füry Kölsch ($3.55/500ml), a crisp and clean Kölsch-style ale that is cold-lagered with a hop blend that includes Palisade, Loral, Simcoe, Citra, and Mosaic, plus Kölsch yeast and Kölsch malt. It’s a killer Kölsch. In the “is it wine or is it beer?” category, SaltFire Serafina-Syrah ($17) is sold in a wine-type bottle and is made by adding wine grapes (Syrah, presumably) to the wort, which according to the brewers “allows the beer to spontaneously ferment naturally using only the yeasts found on the grapes themselves.”