I’ve unfortunately never had the opportunity to go on a cruise, but I can imagine that the strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas are quite plentiful. Suffice it to say that if you’re a beer connoisseur setting sail on any one of the numerous cruises out there, you’ll probably be out of luck when it comes to your beloved brew. While the availability of anything other than your basic beers on a cruise ship is still rare, one particular cruise line will soon introduce a craft beer menu to select cruises.
Travelers on board Crystal Cruises’ 2013 European cruises will have the opportunity to sample aged stouts, ales, blondes, and other artisanal beers, thanks to their newly-introduced Connoisseur Beer Menu.
“We have spent months trying to source some of these bottles,” says Toni Neumeister, Crystal’s vice president of food and beverage. “Knowing our guests’ refined palette, we went beyond basic microbrews to award-winning beers coveted by true connoisseurs.”
If you can’t quite make it to Europe, you can expect Crystal Cruises to launch a microbrew-themed cruise in November of 2014. The cruise will depart from New York City and travel to Miami, Florida.
You can find the names of the beers present on the Connoisseur Beer Menu, as well as the country they’re made in, below.
Samuel Adams Utopias (USA): With only a few thousand bottles produced annually, each crafted to mimic copper brew kettles, this is the ultimate cult beer – and one of the strongest in history. Mixing caramel and Vienna malts with several types of yeast, including a variety found in champagne, the final result is like a sophisticated, sipping port – with a price tag of $300+ per bottle. (Pictured Above)
Thornbridge Bracia (England): Made with seven malts, five hops, and chestnut honey from the Alpine foothills of Northeast Italy, this dark ale pours jet black and tastes of chocolate, coffee, liquorice, and hazelnuts all in one.
Ola Dubh 12 (Scotland): Gaelic for “black oil,” this rather exotic brew is aged in oak casks formerly used to mature Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky. As a stylistic nod to classic Imperial Ports and Stouts of the nineteenth century, the aroma hints of smoky Worcestershire sauce, leather, and grilled steak.
Samichlaus (Austria): One of the rarest and strongest beers in the world (14% alcohol), Samichlaus (Swiss-German for “Santa Claus”) lager is brewed only once a year, right before Christmas. It spends 10 months aging before bottling and can be aged for several years, resulting in a sweet chocolatey, port-like flavor ideal for dessert pairing.
Rochefort Trappistes 10 (Belgium): Considered the gold standard of taste among connoisseurs, Trappist beers are produced by only eight European monasteries. Rochefort’s Abbaye St-Remy has been using water from a monastery well to produce this strong brew since 1595.
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