There was an interesting social media back and forth between two prominent beer bloggers recently about beer prices. The discussion point centered on the high end of the marketplace and what is too much to charge for a bottle.
Even though I am a discriminating craft beer purchaser, whenever I see a bottlecap covered in wax or a caged and cork bottle, I have to steel myself for the sticker shock. If presented with a choice between a $9 hoppy bomber or an $8 bottle from brewers of the same reputation, I will pick-up the less expensive 22 ounces (until a flavor discrepancy emerges).
Scanning through a recent bottle shop newsletter, I basic math’d the price per ounce of beer and found that most (in this small sample) were under 50 cents per ounce. One outlier was a barrel-aged beer that would set you back $1.17 per ounce. That led me to track backwards on a couple other price sheets to see if that is the average or not and to see if other trends would emerge.
The median price for my decidedly small sample was 37 cents per ounce. The lowest price was for Bell’s Best Brown which had to get to California via Michigan. Another low cost leader? Alaskan Pumpkin ale with yet another long journey to our store shelves. Tahoe Mountain and Mikkeller were on the high side with items that cost over a buck an ounce.
What does this mean to the craft beer buyer? Cans seem to be the way to go. More bang for the buck with nothing over 23 cents in my survey. In more general terms, don’t be scared to buy the more costly options, but realize that we now have a really great supply of beer and that you can drink very well without breaking the bank. Vote with your wallet and your tastebuds.
The Beer of the Week is a beer duo from two of my favorite breweries, Monkish Brewing and Highland Park Brewery. Both breweries used the same saison recipe (for the most part) except for when it came to the yeast and bacteria. Now both beers are out and in limited supply. HPB has Pushin’ Carts which fermented in French Oak barrels and will give off lemon and pineapple notes. The Monkish version is Cart Fetish (my nominee for beer name of the year) which gets the Torrance brewery’s magic touch.
Your Homework this week is to check out one of the upcoming beer dinners at Tom Bergin’s. The pub has hosted two four-course dinners already with the likes of Sierra Nevada and Three Weavers and next week brings in Ballast Point on October 21. Guests get education plus a meet-and-greet with the brewer plus-plus six specialty pours from the brewery. Be sure to check their website to see who the TBD brewery turns out to be for October 28!
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.