What can meaningfully be said about a beer that costs 1800 euros? From the outset, sure it’s not worth it. But this price isn’t something Cantillon whipped up, nor did Akkurat, nor did the Dickensian cloudberry farmers so steeped in acidic juices, mired in the bafeful acidic sadness of harvest. Beer nerds did. It’s me, I am bitches.
This is a cloudberry lambic whose value lies in inaccessibility. It is a dogwhistle to how deeply maladjusted and passionate someone can become, while singularly demonstrating a depth in a niche hobby. This is an Ahabesque pursuit in the strictest sense. In pursuing something so massive, the white whale itself destroys the organic love of whatever craft existed.
The #2 beer on the White Whale list is the extinct 1999 Akkurat bottle. Onsite only, decades old, lambic festishists oozed wild cultures through their collective coolnips. So what is it about a salmonberry, a Malka, a bakeberry that elevates simple lambic to ungodly levels: it’s a consumable NFT.
No one opens these so the bottle creates the experience. The 2013 is certainly delicious, intense musk, light acidity, muddled eucalyptus, canvas, jazz apple with honeydew. It feels older and, admittedly, I have never had a cloudberry so who can say how far it strays from its source material.
The 2015 is something else altogether. It is as radiant and intense as Zomer, but with a blast of tangerine flesh, pith attached. Sunlight along the bitter zones with a tingle on the bicuspids, It is extremely good and delivers on what I wanted Baie d’Argousier to be. But in opening it, the bottle need not perform, with Soleil the taste itself is performative.
It’s extremely good. But it becomes solipsistic and guilt addling when a trip to Sweden itself costs less. The true value is something more primitive than cloudberries, its dominion. For some walking into a garage and seeing a cherry red 3000GT is more fulfilling than the drive.
I suspect the price tag reflects wishful fillment. A promise granted of lambic striving deep in the Senne loins. We are all seeking some solace and validation on this tiny blue cloudberry.