Sink the Bismarck, the highest-alcohol beer in the world, has finally made it to Colorado.
The "quadruple IPA," at 41 percent alcohol by volume, is made by Scotland's controversial and attention-seeking BrewDog brewery, the spot also responsible for Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a 32 percent ABV beer, which held the record until last spring when Germany's Schorschbrau released its Schorschbock, a 40 percent ABV beer.
BrewDog also created something called The End of History, at 55 percent ABV, but only a dozen bottles were produced. Aside from its alcohol content and $777 per bottle price tag, the beer's most unusual feature was that each was packed inside a taxidermied squirrel.
Yes, a dead squirrel (or stoat).
One of those bottles made its way to Boulder in early November for the first-ever Beer Bloggers Conference, which was held there. The beer bloggers enjoyed drinking it, but gave it mixed reviews (see one of them, from blogger Ferment Nation here).
In addition to their high alcohol content, these beers carry a hangover-inducing high price: Sink the Bismarck retails for around $100 per bottle in most stores.
But despite the price, there has been a high demand for the beers, says Scott Curtis, general sales manager for Wine Cru, a spirits distributor in Commerce City.
"For the Tactical Nuclear Penguin, we only got forty six-packs allocated to the entire state," Curtis says. "For Sink the Bismarck, it was only twenty six-packs. So it's extremely allocated. A ton of retailers didn't get any to buy."
Curtis says Wine Cru tried to spread the beer around, but couldn't name the stores or restaurants that got it. "Most of the big ones knew it was coming in," he adds. The stores that do have it are typically selling the paper-bag-clad bottles one at a time.
At Total Beverage in Thornton, the bottles are under lock and key, according to an employee, and selling for $74.98 for a bottle of TNP and $99.98 for the Bismarck.
Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont bought three bottles of each, according to spokesman Chad Melis. So far, the restaurant has sold one bottle of the TNP for $75. Oskar Blues is selling the Bismarck for $100.
Euclid Hall in Denver was allocated twelve bottles of each beer, says spokesman John Imbergamo, but doesn't have them on the menu yet. "We are formulating a game plan on how to sell them, he says. "Both will sell for around $200 per twelve-ounce bottle, but we might be doing one-ounce samplers at a lower price."
Euclid also stocks BrewDog's Tokyo Intergalactic Fantastic Oak Aged Stout, at 18 percent ABV, for $32 for a 12 oz bottle.
BrewDog has been both cheered for its attempts to push the limits of what beer is and chided as an attention-hound making a product that some say is dangerously high in alcohol. The brewery has also been criticized for selling something that tastes so bad for such a high price and for their use of dead animals to sell their beers.
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