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Posted: 12/18/2005 6:27:30 AM EDT
A $57 bottle of beer with your meal, sir?


ohn Elliott and Steven Swinford
IT LOOKS like champagne and costs just as much. But the latest vintage bubbly coming to Britain’s restaurant tables is a £32 bottle of beer.

Deus, brewed in the Belgian village of Buggenhout, is matured in the Champagne region of France. Its corked bottle is the same shape used for Dom Perignon champagne.

Restaurateurs are capitalising on its elite image with a mark-up of 100%. They charge £21.33 a pint, eight times the price of a beer pulled in a pub.

Deus is the most expensive of a new generation of brews aiming to win over wine connoisseurs and wean drinkers off industrially produced lager.

There are now at least 20 restaurants across Britain offering full beer lists alongside their wine menus. Typically, a beer sommelier might recommend starting the meal with a relatively tasteless lager to clear the palate before moving on to India pale ale for the main course and a fruitier number for the pudding.

Rupert Ponsonby, a spokesman for the Beer Naturally campaign, set up by brewers to encourage restaurants to widen their beer selection, said: “Drinks like Deus show what’s possible and will help change perceptions of beer. It’s crazy that a restaurant can have 250 wines and just three beers.”

Aubergine, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Chelsea, west London, offers a beer list with about 15 choices. It includes 75cl (1Å pint) bottles of Deus for £32.

Vincenzo Tagliavia, the sommelier of Aubergine, said: “We are offering customers the chance to enjoy an exclusive beer. Deus stands out. Its specialness lies in the balance between the bitterness and creaminess.”

Other expensive beers at Aubergine include Chimay Cinq Cents, a pale ale brewed by Belgian Trappist monks and sold by the restaurant at £15 a bottle. Elsewhere 1980s vintages of Thomas Hardy ale can be picked up for £20 and a bottle of Rochefort, a chocolate-flavoured Trappist beer, £15.

Antoine Bosteels, director of the Bosteels brewer that makes Deus, described it as far removed from mass-produced beer. “We treat it like champagne,” he said. “It’s an exclusive product for people who want to experience a new taste.”

Deus has 11.5% alcohol — more than double usual beer. It is fermented over a month, using two yeasts to give it its high alcohol content. It is then taken by tanker to a cellar near Epernay in Champagne and re-fermented like a sparkling wine to give it its bubbles.

After being bottled, it is left in the cellar at 12C for nine months, then tilted and rotated for a week. Yeast that gathers at the neck of the bottle is frozen and removed before the bottles are corked for sale. Bought from the brewer, Deus costs €10 (£6.78). The main importer in Britain sells it for just under £10, while specialist off-licences charge £14.95 and restaurants between £24.95 and £32. The beer is sold in six restaurants in Leeds, Manchester, Huddersfield and elsewhere. About 1,000 bottles a year are sold in Britain.

Anthony Flinn, owner of Anthony’s at Flannels restaurant in Leeds, offers experimental cuisine and a beer list with 13 drinks including Deus at £24.95 a bottle. “It is drunk by open-minded people of all ages and walks of life, from businessmen to pensioners,” he said.

Joanna Simon, the Sunday Times wine critic, said: “It’s a very good beer. But no matter how it’s dressed up — and, boy, it is dressed up — it’s still only beer.

“The palate is creamy-smooth, fruity and malty-sweet, and the finish is clean with characteristic beer bitterness. But it’s short and that’s the problem. Why pay good money for a taste that disappears in a couple of seconds? I’d rather have half a bottle of good champagne.”

Britain’s taste for beer is becoming more quality-conscious and cosmopolitan. Sales of speciality beers such as Hoegaarden, a Belgian wheat beer, and Leffe, a pale ale, rose 30% last year, according to research.

Many of the growing number of British micro-breweries are producing continental-style beers. The Meantime Brewery in Greenwich, London, was started just five years ago but now sells 150,000 cases of beer a year including Bavarian-style wheat beers and chocolate, coffee and raspberry flavours.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 6:28:27 AM EDT
somebody is buying it
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 6:32:13 AM EDT
Belgians make the best beer in the world.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 7:42:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
Belgians make the best beer, guns and chocolate in the world.



fixed it for ya, let's give them the credit they deserve.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 7:46:29 AM EDT
Everyone should have a Buggenhout bag ready
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 7:47:15 AM EDT
NFW.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 7:49:45 AM EDT

Its specialness lies in the balance between the bitterness and creaminess.


Uh huh.

I can make that, too. But it doesn't involve yeast.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 8:00:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Fourays2:

Originally Posted By raven:
Belgians make the best beer, guns and chocolate in the world.



fixed it for ya, let's give them the credit they deserve.



Why didn't I move there a long time ago?
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 12:54:25 PM EDT
my product is more exclusive and probably better tasting

Limited to 1 ten gallon production ever, 10 gallons or 100 bottles worth





Link Posted: 12/18/2005 12:57:01 PM EDT
The average beer costs 7 bucks in britain?
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 1:01:49 PM EDT
Sam Adams Utopia beer goes for over $100.00 per bottle. Then again it's 24% alcohol so at there's some buzz for your buck.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 2:59:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LoginName:

Sam Adams Utopia beer goes for over $100.00 per bottle.




Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:02:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:05:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 82ndAbn:
I just read on (yahoo.news) yesterday about a fella selling $950 cocktails. So far, he's sold three.



Ha! I've seen that happen in strip bars plenty.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:05:33 PM EDT
I never bought a beer at a football game but I heard it's like $15 for the shitty beer
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:08:27 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
A $57 bottle of beer with your meal, sir?



I'll pass, thanks. I have yet to taste a beer that didn't taste like ass.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:12:31 PM EDT
You've tasted ass?
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:18:06 PM EDT
If you are in DC you can go here and get beers for over $100.00 a bottle.....

1200 kinds of beer in stock, constant change...MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
I love the Brickskeller!
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:29:08 PM EDT
FYI, the beer mentioned in the story should be consumed in the following style of glass:


Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:32:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By LoginName:

Sam Adams Utopia beer goes for over $100.00 per bottle.








+1 it better come with a blow job from a hotty.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:53:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Fourays2:

Originally Posted By raven:
Belgians make the best beer, guns and chocolate in the world.



fixed it for ya, let's give them the credit they deserve.



Actually, I prefer swiss chocolate to belgian. And yes, I have had lots of both.

Geoff
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 3:59:26 PM EDT
I'll just have a Coke.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:04:09 PM EDT
mmmmmm beer!
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:30:08 PM EDT
Some people just have more money than sense.
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