10 of the World’s Most Expensive Beers
If you like sampling new beers or hate having money, you might want to try one of these.
1. Sapporo’s Space Barley
In 2006, Japanese and Russian scientists tested how well barley could grow in space. They rocketed
barley seeds to the International Space Station and planted them aboard the Zvezda Service Module.
After spending five months in orbit, the fourth-generation of barley was brought back to earth, where
Japanese brewer Sapporo fermented it into the world’s first space beer. A six-pack costs $110—not
bad, considering it was imported from the cosmos.
If you’d like a cheaper space brew, try 4pines Vostok Space Beer. The stout is the first zero-gravity
beer. Not only is it drinkable in space, but it’s cheaper, too: $20 for a six-pack. It’s perfect for anyone
who’s dreamt of imbibing where no man has imbibed before.
2. Crown Ambassador Reserve
If Foster’s is Australian for beer, then Crown Ambassador Reserve must be Australian for expensive
beer. Aged in French oak barrels for 12 months and packaged in a champagne bottle, Crown pitches
Ambassador as an alternative to wine. The Australian brewer has produced four iterations since 2008,
each batch limited to 8,000 bottles.
3. Tutankhamun Ale
In 1990, Cambridge archaeologist Dr. Barry Kemp unearthed Queen Nefertiti’s Royal Brewery. He
found ten brewing chambers buried beneath the Egyptian sand. Each contained traces of ancient beer
residue. With the help of an electron microscope, fellow scientist Dr. Delwen Samuel analyzed the
residues to quantify the 3,250-year-old recipe. The researchers then teamed up with Scottish brewer
Jim Merrington, who made 1000 bottles of the Queen’s brew. The first sold for $7,686, but the price
tag eventually dipped to $75 per bottle. Years later, Merrington’s breweries closed down. Did Tut’s
curse strike again?
4. Brewdog’s Sink the Bismarck
Named after Nazi Germany’s largest battleship, Sink the Bismarck was Brewdog’s attack on
Schorschbräu, a German brewery that held the record for strongest beer. Not only did Bismarck beer
briefly steal the record, but it also redefined brewing. Brewdog calls the beer a “quadruple IPA”: It
was freeze-distilled four times, has four times as many hops as a conventional beer, and is four times
as bitter. It’s also forty times as expensive. Also from Brewdog: the slightly cheaper Tactical Nuclear
5. Samuel Adams’ Utopias
Weighing in at $150, Samuel Adams’ Utopias is America’s most expensive beer. Released every two
years, each batch is aged in sherry, brandy, cognac, bourbon, and scotch casks for up to 18 years.
(Each installment also contains a touch of maple syrup!) Thanks to archaic ABV laws, Utopias is
banned in 13 states. If the price tag makes you wince, just remember you may be able to get a nickel
refund if you recycle the bottle.
6. Schorschbräu’s Schorschbock 57
Released last October, Schorschbock 57 claims to be the strongest beer in the world. According to
Master brewer Georg Tscheuschner, a higher proof beer would violate Germany’s 500-year-old Beer
Purity Law. Schorschbräu only made 36 bottles, and each carries a price tag of €200. Tasters say the
115 proof bock is smoky and nutty, with hints of raisins and, obviously, alcohol. The folks at
ratebeer.com gave it a paltry 20/100.
7. Carlsberg’s Jacobsen Vintage
The Danish company launched “the vintage trilogy” in 2008 to challenge the luxury wine market. This
barley wine is matured in Swedish and French oak barrels for six months and supposedly tastes like
vanilla and cocoa, with hints of peaty “tar and rope.” Sold at upscale restaurants in Copenhagen, 600
bottles were made annually from 2008 to 2010. Each bottle boasts an expiration date of 2059, which
means you have another 47 years before that smoky “tar and rope” taste goes bad.
8. Brewdog’s The End of History
With the beer to end all beers, the gang at Brewdog mistakenly thought End of History would end the
ABV arms race. At 110 proof and a staggering $765, it is the third strongest and second most
expensive beer on the planet. This blond Belgian ale was mixed with nettles and juniper berries from
the Scottish highlands and then freeze distilled multiple times. Only 12 bottles exist, and each is made
out of taxidermied roadkill: seven weasels (stoats), four squirrels, and one hare. I like to think of them
as fuzzy koozies.
9. Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844
In the USA, Pabst Blue Ribbon is one of the cheapest beers you can buy. But in China, it is the
Mercedes Benz of Beers. At $44 per bottle, Chinese PBR costs 44 times more than what’s sold
stateside. That’s because it’s not the same blue-collar swill. PBR 1844 is made from German caramel
malts, is aged in uncharred American whiskey barrels, and even comes in a fancy glass bottle.
Masterbrewer Alan Kornhauser designed the ale to compete with higher end wines and brandies. It is
not sold outside of China.
10. Nail Brewing’s Antarctic Nail Ale
Not made from animals, this pale ale is made for animals. Concocted by Nail Brewing in Perth,
Australia, 100% of profits go to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (That’s right, the Whale Wars
people.) The Sea Shepherds landed a helicopter on an Antarctic iceberg, dug up some ice, melted it in
Tasmania, and flew it to Perth for brewing. Only 30 bottles were made, and the first sold for $800 at