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Feb 3, 2008 06:46 AM

“World's Most EXPENSIVE Beers w/Stephen Beaumont”, ugh!

This is a Philly Beer Week event. The full title of the event is: ""Monk’s Café presents... The World's Most Expensive Beers Dinner! (Well, Not Really, But Highlighting Some of the Most Expensive and Controversial Beers in the World) Featuring Your Host, Stephen Beaumont"".

I find the emphasis on price however to be vulgar and an unnecessary basis for any event. And one thing that has been true of beer is that even the very best beer has been accessible to the average person. I don’t desire to have beer go the way of wine in this regard. I mean we have our snobs in the beer community too, but it is based on connoisseurship mostly and not based on price. The event further emphasizes that the event will be "hedonistic" and feature “rare” beers. Now that would have been a cool basis by itself. And if as a function of that things get pricey, so be it. But again price alone is a vulgar basis.


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  1. I do agree that it seems pretty crass, but in terms of the beer world rare is almost always synonymous with expensive. And while it's true that the vast majority of beer is accessible to the average person, there are definitely those bottles that fetch much higher prices. Scaldis Prestige, for example, or the Cantillon St. Lamvinus and Sam Adams Utopias that are being served at the Monk's dinner.

    I know at the local shop here that specializes in hard-to-find beers, at least hard-to-find for Southern California, there are several bottles that fetch upwards of $20.

    One of our local restaurants that serves a lot of good beer has a blog maintained by the owner, and his latest article I think reveals where craft beer is going:

    I, too, have always been surprised to find out just how little money is made by brewers considering the burgeoning appreciation of beer by restauranteurs and chefs. I think the author of that blog is right in that we'll probably see beer prices keep rising, not only because of higher ingredient cost, but also as the perceived value of high quality beer rises among consumers.

    1. I don't find it vulgar. And a person might see it as an opportunity to try a number of pricey beers that they might not want to buy individually. It goes without saying that these are thought by the presenters to be extraordinary, and worthy of a high price, which is not the same as indiscriminately serving whatever expensive beer one might find.

      I see the event is sold out.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        When something is promoted in this fashion, price IS the selling point, which is what I personally find vulgar because price alone tells you nothing about the character of a beer, wine, etc.

        1. re: Chinon00

          I can't conceive of Tom Peters and Stephen Beaumont showing up with bad beer.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            My point exactly. With so many other things to promote about the undoubtedly wonderful beer that they will have, why have ANY focus on price; a feature that gives one no indication of the beer's character and therefore should be kept peripheral. Talk about the beer! Promotion like this is lazy, shallow and vulgar. Price should be the result and not the basis of beer selection. And in doing so we take beer down the "elitist" road. And yes I think that brewers should charge whatever the market will bare. I was spending $7/draft at Monks ten years ago (but that wasn't WHY I was drinking it).

      2. I don't find it vulgar either. In most cases the brewers wouldn't be able to brew these beers if they didn't charge higher prices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tofuburrito

          My point ISN'T that the prices are vulgar. I again implore brewers around the world to charge what ever the market will bare and to earn a fortune (can I be any clearer?) It is the PROMOTION of beer and events by HIGHLIGHTING price that is what I find vulgar and again because price tells you nothing specific about the products character and often can appeal to the superficial who simply want to be associated with something "exclusive".

        2. I understand your objection in principle, but I think the whole point of this tasting is to see whether these beers deserve the high price-tag, and the hype. which i think isn't vulgar at all. i think it's a fair question.

          5 Replies
          1. re: tuqueboy

            If that is the intent that's ok with me. As a side note, I recently bought a case of Weyerbacher and noticed that one of their cases (marked "big beers") actually lists in bold attractive letters the %ABV of each offering in the case (all hovering around 10% abv). I'm not into the promotion, emphasis or celebration of high alcohol content in beer by consumers and by some brewers either (but that's just me).

            1. re: Chinon00

              The name of this dinner was coined with tongue stuck very much in cheek. It's intent is to have a little fun at the expense of the on-going debate over whether or not higher priced beers are worth their cost.

              That said, however, it's going to be one hell of a dinner, featuring numerous spectacular beers and equally exquisite fare. And it sold out in a matter of days, if not hours.

              1. re: Steve Beaumont

                "It's intent is to have a little fun at the expense of the on-going debate over whether or not higher priced beers are worth their cost."

                So will you be comparing the higher priced beers to moderately priced ones? This would seem to be reasonable if one is attempting to see if the pricier ones are worth their cost.

                1. re: Chinon00

                  Jumping in late here but...

                  While some beers out there that are expensive are not necessarily worth the cost, you have to look at what went into the making of the bottle. I'll bite on the St. Lamvinus. If you can get yourself to Brussels at the right time of year, you can have it for about $15. But the scarcity, the dollar/euro conversion makes it REALLY expensive here. Then again, that bottle is about 2 years in the making, so what price is fair?

                  The question is, how many moderately priced beers are truly rare? Depends on where you live. I can pick up Russian River special releases from the brewery for a reasonable price. They aren't overly rare for me. But I get people on the East Coast asking if I will part with one at triple the price. I think that a North Coast Old Stock is WAY better than a Gobbledigootch Barleywine but the production and distribution of Old Stock is pretty huge so no one offers great trades or $$$ for the Old Stock.

                  Maybe the advertisements could have been worded better, but if I could attend (And man I wish I could), I would get to sample a lineup of beers that under normal retail would be prohibitively expensive. This is your opportunity to see if the beers are worth their price without having to drop all that coin. If it had been marketed as, "Sample beers that you probably can't buy," I don't think we'd be discussing this. But does that kind of ad grab your attention?

                  1. re: Kevin B

                    Again, my concern wasn't what brewers are charging for their products. I'm into free market capitalism. What I wasn't comfortable with was beer being promoted on the basis of price. And as you state "you have to look at what went into the making of the bottle". Now THAT would be a more appropriate basis to me than price IMHO.
                    Again for me price should always be spoken of as a "result" and never as a selling point for beer (lest 50 Cent, and other rappers for example, be seen “at the club” drinking bottles of Sam Adams Utopias through a straw).