NPR just published a fascinating story on Dave, a beer from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon, which is so rare, and so sought after, that it sells for $2,000 a bottle. Dave is a barleywine—a strong, dark beer with 29 percent alcohol content—that has been aged for 19 years, first in oak barrels and then glass bottles.
The beer won a barleywine competition in 1998. “When it was young, [Dave] was very hot and alcoholic, and almost hard to drink,” Hair of the Dog brewer Alan Sprints tells The Salt. “But now that it’s aged it’s become soft and lush.” To get the beer to 29% ABV, Sprints started off with another Hair of the Dog beer, called Adam, and put it through three rounds of freezing to increase the alcohol content.
Hair of the Dog released 12 bottles of Dave in September for $2,000 each, and they sold out within a few hours. “There were seven or eight people in line for I think two hours before we had even opened,” Sprints tells NPR. Half the bottles of Dave went to beer tasting groups around the country, the other half went to buyers’ private collections.
Don’t think that Dave stands alone in the holy f*ck that is really, really expensive beer category. Nail Brewing in Perth, Australia, made abeer using water from an Antarctic iceberg and auctioned it off for $1,850.