Britain’s ‘most expensive beer’ sets drinkers back £80 a pint

By Claire Schofield
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 2:43 pm
The beer costs £80.15 a pint (Photo: Rory Milner / SWNS)
The beer costs £80.15 a pint (Photo: Rory Milner / SWNS)

A London pub is selling what is believed to be the most expensive beer in Britain, which sets drinkers back £80.15p a pint.

The Craft Beer Co chain has imported the Reforged 20th Anniversary Ale on sale at its pub in Brixton, south London, at £105 for a 750ml (1.3 pints) botte.

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The 11% ABV craft ale is made by the AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, California, and is aged in a bourbon barrel for 18 months.

It has a thick, syrupy consistency and contains roasted malts and hops, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and barley wine.

The pricey brew is a fusion of three other beers brewed by the same company - Wee Heavy, Old Numbskull and Speedway Stout, which sold on tap for £22.50 at the same pub chain in 2018.

The pub’s general manager Andrew Barton said: “We have only ever sold one before to a group of six guys who absolutely loved it.

“They really loved the sourness they got from it, combined with the sweetness of the bourbon.”

Andrew said the pub likes to highlight different breweries from around the world to give customers the opportunity to try a variety of brews they would never have tried before.

He added: “People will have heard about a beer on the internet or social media and they come to us to get the chance to try it.

“We campaign for small craft breweries and we try to help them by buying them.

“We understand the cost of living at the moment is very expensive. With the beers we have on tap, we try to make craft beer very accessible and we try to be cheaper than other pubs nearby - we sell one IPA for £6.50 when they sell it for more than £7.

“It is not all about charging people these crazy prices. We charge what we charge because the cost of a keg is very expensive.

“We could raise our prices further, but we want to make this accessible for people.”

Is it worth the £80 price tag?

Beer fans who want to take a bottle home can get a one-third discount, the pub chain said, but the ultra strong ale is proving unpopular so far.

Only one bottle of the £150 per bottle beer has been sold to date, staff said, with most pub goers claiming it was not worth the hefty price tag.

Ben O'Neill, 22, who manages The Needle and Pin pub in Loughborough, said he wasn’t overly impressed with the brew and wouldn't pay so much just for one bottle of beer.

He said: ''Compared to most other Imperial stouts it is a bit on the thin side. I would not pay £70 for a pint of that.

''It has a tiny bit of smoke and oak on the back of the palette. 'I pretty much drink anything, but my favourite is Speedway Stout.

“’Without the price I would rate this as an 8.2 out of 10. With the price factored in it is more like a four out of ten.

“I would definitely expect more from something that is so expensive. The most I would pay is £45 for a pint.’’

The 11% ABV craft ale is made by the AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego (Photo: Rory Milner / SWNS)

Banker Elliott Clark, 26, of Brixton, said he found the taste “overwhelming” and would not want to drink a pint of it.

“It is not what I want from a beer,” he said. “It is very syrupy and the taste is quite overwhelming.

“It is not something I would want to drink a pint of. ’If it was a shot or a cocktail, yes. I like a taste of it.

“It is more like a winter beer, maybe it would be nice in a warm cosy pub in winter.

“I would not pay to buy that. I have spent a couple of hundred pounds on a bottle of wine before but I would not buy that.”

His friend Dan Jones, 25, an assistant radio producer of Clapham, south London, said he would pay no more than £8 for it, while hospitality worker Agata Chudziak, 27, from Bristol agreed.

Jacob Evans, 29, a carpenter also from Bristol, added: “A lot of these beers are like wine, they are aged in stupid expensive barrels and people will pay stupid amounts of money for them.

“People pay a lot of money for these beers but I would never pay that much for it.”