There are a handful of craft beers that are only spoken about, secretly. They’re on a need to know basis and most people haven’t even had a chance to lay their eyes on them. They’re traded for other esoteric brews and for the most part, cannot be purchased. Obtaining them is akin to undergoing a covert mission. These are what I am calling the Mythological Craft Beers. Craft beer enthusiasts can be found in hidden online forums negotiating the trade of them or camping out at a brewery to be able to get just a bottle from a release. It does sound somewhat ridiculous, but the truth is, they have reached god-like status amongst the craft beer community. But what beers am I referring to? Below we’ll go into the top 5 most hard-to-get beers, where they’re made, and potential release dates, if available.
Brasserie de Rochefort Trappistes Rochefort 10
Made in the tradition of trappist monks, this brew is a rarity in itself! There are only a handful of trappiest breweries where the monks themselves brew the beer. All Rochefort beers are not difficult to find and more than likely, your local emporium will have some options on tap. But what makes this particular brew so drastically sought after? Well, for several reasons. The first reason is obviously related to the taste. Consumers will be able to experience an other worldly, delicious true Belgian quadruple that has flavor profile notes of baker’s chocolate, dark fruit such as plum, apricot, and a strong malty backbone. At 11.3 percent alcohol, this beer is no joke. It’s meant to be sipped like scotch or a fine wine. Another reason for its mythological status? It’s very rare. Specifically, there are only a small number of bottles that have blue caps, as opposed to, green or red. I know, I know. But for collectors, it’s the real deal. It also has a perfect 100 score on Rate Beer and Beer Advocate.
Russian River Pliny the Younger
One that is near and dear to my heart, Russian River Pliny the Younger is one that I’ve had to privilege of trying personally. What is so special about this brew? Well, it’s the one and only real triple IPA. It’s very difficult to make a triple IPA, as well as, extremely time consuming and expensive. Russian River, located in Santa Rosa, California, puts out some high-quality beers, but the Pliny the Younger brew is only released for two weeks at the beginning of February. After that, it’s completely gone. There have been numerous other breweries who have tried to replicate the taste, aroma, and overall composition to no avail. This beer is in a game of its own. Despite it being a triple IPA, it’s deceivingly balanced with moderate bitterness and a beautiful copper color. Drinkers will experience a hop forward, pine resin taste with hints of grapefruit, malty sweetness, mango, and tropical fruit. This is my personal favorite. If you can get a hold of one, don’t let it pass you by!
The Alchemist Heady Topper
Potentially starting the New England style IPA craze, Heady Topper by The Alchemist is really a revolutionary beer. The New England style uses an unfiltered approach to the brewing process, leaving for a turbid and hazy appearance. Some of the cloudiness is due to the massive amount of late dry hopping that occurs and also because the yeast refuses to settle, creating a homogenous and turbid brew. This double IPA transcends all boundaries with exceptional balance. More times than not, either hoppiness or the complementary flavors have to take a hit. Not the case with Heady Topper. It’s a first-class beer that is ridiculously difficult to get ahold of if not living in close proximity of the brewery in Vermont. If you’re lucky enough to be able to try one, you’ll get a nice and almost perfect blend of orange, spice, and pine. The unfiltered aspect of this brew also provides a creamier taste. It’s almost like having an IPA milkshake. Trust me on this. You’ll absolutely love it.
Brouwerij De Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren Westvleteren 12 (XII)
Don’t even try to pronounce this brew. It’s about as exhausting as actually getting one of these in your hand. While the name seems to indicate that it’s of some sort of royal lineage, it so happens to be a trappiest beer, just like the Rochefort 10. Again, trappiest beers are brewed by monks and are subject to a high amount of regulations, both legal and religiously. For instance, all profits from the sale of the beers have to go towards mission trips, maintenance of the monastery, or charities. Yes, the monks are allowed to consume some, but only in moderation. So why is this beer so sought after? Well, it’s brewed by the monks at Saint Sixtus Abbey. It doesn’t get more microbrew than that. Also, it’s a delicious Belgian quadruple that has strong notes of dark fruits and brown sugar, while also providing other complexities and spice. If that’s not enough, getting a bottle is ridiculously difficult because the monks at this abbey are only allowed to brew beer for themselves and no one else. Good luck trying, though!
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout
Coming in at the number one spot, the Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout is the most difficult beer to obtain in the entire world. The Breakfast Stout variety is already difficult to get ahold of, but the Brunch Brand takes it to a whole other level. This barrel-aged imperial stout that’s brewed with coffee is produced in a super small quantity of usually around 300 to 400 bottles. Enthusiasts camp out in front of the brewery to be able to nab a bottle and they sell out quickly, let me tell ya! If you’re lucky enough to get one, you’ll experience a maple syrup aroma with subtle, but noticeable notes of chocolate and hazelnut. It has consistently been rated as the top beer in the world for years. It is really the undisputed heavyweight champion of the craft beer industry. Even if you’re not a stout fan, it’s at least something that you must try if the opportunity presents itself.