There are plenty of advertisements on the beer chat boards promoting a $20 pint.
It will come with a chicken parmigiana. Or a burger. Sometimes a pizza. Occasionally with chips.
However, there is growing evidence that more drinkers will soon hand over a crayfish (a lobster for east coast friends) and not get change for 568ml of a particular type of brew. And apart from the fluid all you’ll get extra is the glass to carry it in. Maybe a coaster, too.
Reports from the Perth CBD that punters last month faced a $19 paypass swipe for a keenly sought beer mean the $20 a pint mark for higher quality beverages can’t be far away.
Now, some venues would be obliged to charge that price for high ABV brews in the big glass. A responsible service of alcohol policy means many take a duty of care and only supply the power drops in smaller vessels.
And, of course, pubs and bars still offer jugs at over $20. But this is a case in point of a pint nearing that psychological mark of two tenners on a regular basis.
The beer in question was Garage Project’s Dirty Boots and it was sold at Bob’s Bar. Now this isn’t an exercise in pointing a finger at the premises. We're not like that here because we understand why the high tag. It is simple economics. Others would have had a similar price for this Kiwi brew from the tap and Bob’s is in a prime location within a busy business district along the suit streamed St George’s Terrace. Also, there is still an excise implication for a 6.6% beer that is cold shipped across the ditch and then desert.
Bob’s Bar obviously knows its clientele because there were plenty of punters lining up for the privilege. The Sip is aware of four tasters, including our own beer spy Denise Johnson.
“We’ve become totally immune to the price because we, the consumers, continue to pay,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we’re far off ($20 mark).
“Dirty Boots was one I always wanted to try and I justified it by saying it tastes so much better out of the tap.
“And it was bloody good."
Following his $19 recent purchase Jeff Meager wrote on the Perth Beer Snobs Facebook page, “$19 a pint @ Bob's Bar. It hurt paying, tastes good but.
“I bought one pint. It was delicious, however I just can’t justify it as a session beer. Dirty Boots was a beautiful drop I have to say.”
Dirty Boots is an American Pale Ale packed with Simcoe, Mosaic and Equinox hops. It has a 4 out of 5 rating on Untappd. So this brew is much loved. And it sells for around $15 in 440ml cans so the pint ratio for a draught pour is reasonable.
Vic Park’s Dutch Trading Company currently has Founder’s magical KBS in 518ml servings at $28. Now let’s remember this is a 11.9% beer that attracts a higher excise because it is shipped in 30 litre, not 50 litre, kegs (which is whole different story about unfair and stifling taxation) and comes from Michigan in the US. These kegs don’t often come to these shores. They can cost $600.
However, how long before the $20 a pint price listing for brews made closer to home features in more bars? The minimum wage is $17.70 per hour so will we soon be paying well in excess of that figure for a pint of premium craft beer?
The team at The Sip won’t be because after recent study into beer service we’ve deduced that the old Imperial measurement is not conducive to good tasting. Indeed, that size of the glass is only a recent trend in Australia pubs. Our fathers and grandfathers drank pots and middies throughout the 20th century – often from jug – but pints were far from the norm. The 568ml glass came into vogue during the explosion of Irish and UK themed pubs in the early 1990s.
But there are plenty who have become accustomed to the imperial mark and it won’t be disappearing from pubs and bars any time soon. Good luck to them.
WA drinkers have become used to paying $13-$14 a pint for a quality craft beer (for those minding the pennies The Civic Hotel has Feral Hop Hog pints for $11.10). The prices have on average been the highest in the country, inflated by the high wages that came with the mining boom.
There have been plenty of pints of To Ol (Norway), Les Trois Mousquetairs (Canada) and a raft of Belgian beers sold above the $20 mark in the trendy bars in inner Melbourne. But it was a New Zealand brew nudging the mark in Perth last month.
Even as the State’s economy over corrects there are still beer aficionados willing to part with the redback (more WA slang for the note) for a high class, expensive-to-produce brew only to get shrapnel in return.
It will only be a matter of time before it becomes a more regular occurrence for no coins to be refunded.
Could 2017 be the year?