New Year’s Day 2015 I ended up at Local Option, the beacon of light in an otherwise craft beer desert.
I went solo but ended up forming temporal kinship with two complete strangers who were in town from what city, I can’t recall. They were staying somewhere in Lincoln Park and Yelp sent them to Local Option that day because, well, where else in Lincoln Park would Yelp send them?
After three or four snifters of high gravity fluid, between each, eyeballing the bottle of 2011 Bourbon County Bramble Rye behind the counter, we each started feeling motivated to ask about it.
It was property for sale by the awkward bearded man tending bar behind the iconic switchblade handles. He wanted $250 for the bottle.
I had long since developed a fetish for the brand, and personally I had never had the Bramble Rye before. 2011 was (I think) the first year that Goose Island produced it and by that point it had aged in that bottle for over three years. That gorgeous maroon label over amber glass in the original twenty-two ounce bomber bottle was beckoning.
The two strangers and I decided we needed it, so we negotiated a $210 sale. This, of course, doesn’t include the $5 atm service fees I incurred, because the standoffish barkeep didn’t accept debit or credit. We divvied it up three ways and did a quick toast to questionable financial decisions.
Aged in Heaven Hill rye whiskey barrels with raspberries and blackberries, that liquid poured like toxic, beautiful used motor oil causing thick film legs on my snifter, and palpitations in my heart. It was gone within minutes.
At $210 for the bottle, $70 a man for just over 7 ounces each, that’s over $9.50 per fluid ounce.
It was on par with the best beers I’ve ever had. I even snuck the empty bottle out of Local Option to display at home. If I got my new friends’ phone numbers I can’t remember. Even if I did, I don’t know what their names were.
So…was the $70 pour worth it?
Of course not! No one should ever pay that much money for beer. Are you crazy? I would never have made that decision while sober.
Why would you even ask me if it was worth it!?