Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Six months ago, I had never heard of Lost Abbey Brewery let alone tried any of their beers. Then, at GBBF, I had the good fortune to be on the panel of judges for US beers and the beer, The Angel's Share, was the stand out winner. Brewed in San Marcos, California, it is a 10% strong ale aged in bourbon barrels for at least 6 months - this is a complex beer and was my Lost Abbey initiation.
The name Lost Abbey is a nod to the fact that many of the best American microbreweries are now brewing beer in a Belgian style but with a typical US in-yer-face, over-the-top character. Such is their success that many are gaining a cult following and are particularly scarce - even outside their state, let alone in the UK.
In October, at the Great American Beer Festival I shared a judging table with Tomme Arthur, the brewmeister at Lost Abbey. Like most brewers he came across as very passionate about his beers. He was adamant that if you are to barrel age beer, it must impart something spectacular on the beer and you must be able to charge enough for the product to justify up to 2 years before the beer can be sold. He achieves both and makes no apologies for the price of some of his greatest beers. At the festival itself I queued up with everyone else to try an inch or two of some of his beers. All excellent.
Their corporate goal is to brew "Inspired beers for Sinners and Saints alike"
They are some of the most sought after beers in the USA and now, for the first time, they are available in the UK. The good people at Beer Merchants have secured a small parcel of Lost Abbey beers for the British beer lover.
These are not necessarily the most famous aged beers and they don't come particularly cheap, £90 for 12 75cl champagne corked and wired bottles, but they do come highly recommended.
A Christmas present to myself arrived from Beer Merchants less than 48 hours from the time of order. The customer service was excellent, I hope the beers match up.