Fancy a beer at US$95

June 2008

he Beer Table is a snazzy bar in Brooklyn (where all the New Yorkers who can no longer afford Manhattan go to live) that serves a rotating list of 100 obscure and handmade beers from all over with matching cheese and charcuterie. There’s one beer on the current list from the northwest of Italy by the name of Baladine Xyauyù which, we’re told, is from a tiny small-batch brewery and takes three years to brew. It’s $95 for a 750ml bottle. Yeah, but what does it taste like? One Melisande Cavanaugh of Paradise Park had a sip and said, “Wow! That really is full of flavour.” One good thing: you’re unlikely to get smashed on it.

There’s another beer often available in Sydney that’ll set you back $48 for 750ml, It’s sort of from Belgium and it’s called, modestly, Deus (God in Latin). "It's brewed in Flanders," said Tim Smith of The Little Bottle Shop of Glebe (375 Glebe Point Road, Ph 9660 1984), "then goes to Moet & Chandon where it gets riddled and disgorged like champagne. It's a champagne made on grain rather than grapes." Again, what does it taste like? "Bloody awful, if you ask me," Tim told us, "but I've only tasted it in the shop. It needs food. Ring and ask if he's got some (of the beer, that is) — if not, there's a terrific collection of other beers from all over.

And while we're on the subject, the James Squire Chef's Match goes national this year with chefs from all over the country competing to provide the best food and wine match using one of the James Squire range of beers and their own food. It's judged by sneaky and anonymous (I put my hand up) judges who visit the participating establishments and have a crack at the chef's best shot of matching an entrée and a main. The winner gets $2500 in cash plus five cartons of James Squire beer. And you get to eat the matches at good prices from August. We'll let you know here when all the entrants are in so you know where to go.

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