I realized that I should be writing more more than just reviews, but more blog posts about beer in general. I figured with such a hot topic bouncing around the internet this week, this is the best time to editorialize.
This past week, a brewery in Scotland, with an afinity for extreme beers, announced a new world record beer. On Friday, July 25th, BrewDog launched an 11 bottle batch of the worlds highest ABV beer (http://www.brewdog.com/). Coming in at a whopping 55% alcohol by volume, they broke their own previously held record. The beer, names “The End of History”, is sold in in two taxidermied versions. A squirrel with the bottle protruding from its mouth weighs in at $1,000 each – 4 of those were made – and the seven bottles served out of a stuffed stoat were available for around $800. No, I did not order one, nor will I ever taste or review this beer.
The bottles sold out within minutes and news of the strange brew hit the internet with force. Stories popped up everywhere from Fox News to BBC to Forbes. (list here).
Where I first heard about this story was on my favorite beer review website, BeerAdvocate. It was announced on the forums with a link to a news story that was later removed, thus locking down the posting when it was feared to be a hoax; the forum posting had attracted over 300 repies. Then, a new posting appeared with a link to BrewDog’s website, selling the bottles. A barage of new posts appeared. The majority of these were arguments over whether or not a 55% brew was still a beer. Others argued over the merits of such an endeavor, while others hated on the vermin packaging. There was some support voiced, but mainly, the trolls and haters came out of the woodwork. (post found here) Note: This posting was locked at 387 replies)
Then, in a surprise move, James, a co-owner and brewer at BrewDog, posted a reply, responding to the uproar. (response found here) Note: At the time of this article’s publicatgion, there were 374 replies.
Some forum members were happy with him taking to the web to reply and defend himself, while others found it to be childish and vowed never to buy their beer again. Here is my take on the whole thing.
First of all, let me congratulate James and the other workers at BrewDog for setting a record. Good, bad or indifferent, they did something no one has done before (or, not that we know of). They also deserve a nod for being able to drum up so much attention over such a limited release. Second, let me reiterate that there is zero chance I will ever be able to taste this beer, so only that will speak for the quality of the beer. More so, anyone who hates on a company or product over its price, can do one thing: don’t buy it, and shut up. We are not talking about inflated prices on medicine here; if you think this is rediculous, don’t spend your money on it. Also, this release will not affect any of their other beer offerings, so it has zero effect on your day to day life. If you are a fan of their beer, and they say they are going to drop all their offerings and spend all of their money and effort producing thousand dollar batches, I would see getting upset. But this affects NO ONE. And as for James taking to the forums to respond – and even calling out one member by name – sweet. It means that they care about their consumers. They didn’t tell anyone to piss off, and they were very respectful about it.I wish more companies were more outspoken and not hidden behind corporate bureaucracy
Finally, I have never gotten to try any of BrewDog’s beers. I do believe that there is one place that sells them reasonably close by to here. I will be stopping in there ASAP – possibly this evening – to buy one to review. This is my way of saying thanks to another innovative brewery. Let the beer speak for itself and forget all the other bullshit.
This editorial inspired by: Brooklyn Brewery’s East India Pale Ale