This auction is now over. Thank you so much to everyone who bid. If you bid £175 or more per place, please e-mail me via the ‘contact’ form to sort details.
I’m delighted to announce a never-to-be-repeated beer tasting event inspired by, and in support of, the excellent work being done by Drinkers for Ukraine.
I’ve been writing about beer for twenty years, and every now and then I come into possession of a rare bottle that needs to be saved for something special.
I never know.
I have no interest in selling them – they are to be opened and shared at some point in my life. And for seven of my rarest, most special beers, that point is now. From today, you can bid for one of five places at a tasting event to be held on 7th April in London at 7.30pm.
Happily, I’m doing this event ini association with Stephen Beaumont, who is holding a similar event in Toronto on the same day. If you’re reading this in North America, please check out Stephen’s auction too.
Here’s what I’ll be opening.
Bokke Zommersaison 2017
From the most exciting young geuze blender around at the moment, if you’re lucky enough to be in one of the five or so bars in the world that sells their beers, a bottle like this will set you back about £65. A meeting of geuze and saison, it’s one of the most sublime beers I’ve ever tasted.
Fuller’s Vintage Ale 1997 £350
You can only buy this very first Vintage Ale at auction – bids on Ebay start around £350. Over the years it has been shown to go up and open over time in term of its quality. What does it taste like at 25 years old? You could become one of the few people in the world to find out.
Thomas Hardys Ale 2003
The by-word for vintage beers. This may not be one of the true classic vintages, but it is pretty special and fiendishly hard to find.
Ratcliff Ale 1869
The ultimate in aged beers. It’s impossible to know the full 160 year history of this bottle, so I can make no guarantees that it will be pleasant to drink. If it’s a bad one, it will taste like cold Bovril. If it’s a good one, it will taste like the best Madeira you ever had. Either way, you’ll be sniffing and swirling one of approximately 30-40 bottles left in existence.
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 40
Harviestoun became – I believe – the first British brewer to age beer in whisky casks, through an association with Orkney’s Highland Park. The beer aged in 12 year-old whisky casks is readily available and sublime. They experimented with older and older casks, until one year ageing beer in casks that had held whisky for 40 years. These casks fell apart as they were emptied, so this is one of the few remaining bottles of the best expression of this wonderful beer.
Goose Island Bourbon County 2018
The original brewer of whisky-aged beer created this as a celebration of their 1000th brew, giving it everything they had learned since first brewing it in the early 1990s. With near-perfect scores on beer rating websites, you can still pick it up for about $30 in the States. Here in the UK? Not really.
Samuel Adams Utopias 2005
Of all the beers that have ever claimed to be the strongest in the world, this is, for me, the one that’s the most pleasant to drink. New vintages of Utopias start at around $240. I wasn’t able to find the 2005 for sale anywhere online, but the 2012 was going at auction for around £500.
RULES FOR BIDDING
Bids must be made in the comments below and should include the bidder’s real name. At the close of bidding, the five highest bidders will be notified and be given five days in which to provide proof of donation to the ICRC Humanitarian effort . (If any bidder fails to provide such proof during the given time period, the opportunity will fall to the next highest bidder.) If there is a tie for the fifth highest bid, each of the tied bidders will be given one opportunity to increase their bid, with the highest bid securing the seat at the tasting.
Do feel free to bid for more than one place. If you wish to do this, please state clearly how many places you are bidding for in your bid message, and we’ll divide your total bid by the number of places to see how you rank.
Bidding is open now and closes at midnight on March 31st.
BIDDING STARTS AT £100.
TASTING EVENT DETAILS
The tasting will take place in a private room in a central London pub, beginning at 7.30pm on 7th April. Full details will be disclosed to successful bidders.I