The Luxury Beer Market

Examining the rise of specialty beer prices, national recognition for Lakefront Imperial Pumpkin, a beer dinner at Stubby’s, awards for New Glarus, and more.

Last week, I read a great article last week on Esquire by Aaron Goldfarb about the rise of specialty beer prices. Incidentally, also last week, I put my name in the Goose Island Rare Day lottery. Lucky winners get to spend $40 to attend an event on Friday, Nov. 13 at the Goose Island Barrel House, sample several varieties of Bourbon County Stout, and earn the right to purchase three bottles of Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout at $60 each. After doing the math, that’s a $220 day. The crazy thing is that I’m willing to spend it. (Note: I originally thought that if I won, I’d be happy with just one bottle of Rare, but after further contemplation it just seems silly not to buy all three.)

I agree with Goldfarb’s point that world-class beers shouldn’t always be cheap. And, if a slightly higher price point weeds out a few overbuying whale hunters and chronic collectors, then I’m fine with it.

Now, the question is whether or not I have to put aside a couple hundred bucks for the mid-November Rare Day. I find out on Tuesday.

Barley Pop of the Week

The final release of the 2015 New Glarus R&D series was a good one (which of the four weren’t?). Golden Ale snagged a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Fest, and it earned it. The Trappist ale has dry and moderate fruit flavor that finishes with a slight funky hint of Brett yeast. It’s refreshing and easy to drink. The beer was released at New Glarus this weekend. As with the rest of the R&D series, it’s a good idea to try Golden Ale if you get the chance.

Quick Taps

Lakefront Imperial Pumpkin earned a nice mention on Draft Magazine’s list of 17 Great Pumpkin Beers to Drink Right Now.

If you like barrel-aged brews, then keep Nov. 11 open. That’s when Stubby’s (2060 N. Humboldt Ave.) is hosting a barrel-aged beer dinner. The list of beers is solid and includes New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Lakefront Barrel-Aged Beerline, New Glarus Enigma, Boulder Denver Mint and Central Waters Headless Heron. The cost is $75 or $65 for Stub Club members. Spots are limited. Call 414-763-6324 for reservations and more information.

Events Brewing

Monday, Oct. 12: Pair beer with morsels from Indulgence Chocolatiers at Draft & Vessel (4417 N. Oakland Ave.).

Wednesday, Oct. 14: Abita takes over the taps at Ray’s Growler Gallery (8930 W. North Ave.) at 5 p.m., and the brewery is bringing a Sazerac Rye Bourbon Street Pale Ale, which sounds amazing.

Wednesday, Oct. 14: Beer University at Stubby’s features fall seasonals. Tasting and discussing starts at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 14: The Milwaukee Beer Society samples Double IPAs from 6 to 9 p.m. at Best Place (901 W. Juneau Ave.).

Friday, Oct. 16: Try Whole Hog Pumpkin and Smiley Blue Pils from Point Brewery from 4 to 7 p.m. at Discount Liquor Milwaukee (5031 W. Oklahoma Ave.).

Friday, Oct. 16: Lakefront Pumpkin Lager, Great Lakes Pumpkin Spirit and Dogfish Head varieties are all being sampled at Discount Liquor Waukesha (919 N. Barstow Ave.).

Saturday, Oct. 17: Porters are the beer du jour at Three Cellars (7133 S. 76th St.) and will be sampled from 1 to 4 p.m.

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Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.