American beers beer reviews pubs

How much!?

The Rake at Borough Market can be hard work. We’ve found it’s more-or-less bearable between 2 and 4 in the afternoon, though, which is when we happened to go for a pint on a recent afternoon off.

We’ve written about the Rake lots of times before, but one thing we’ve always shrugged off is the price of the bottled beer. Our view has always been that imports should cost more and that it was worth paying the inflated prices to be able to drink hard-to-come-by beers somewhere other than our front room.

This time, though, even we were astounded to find ourselves paying £9.50 for just over one UK pint of Stone Cali-Belgique IPA.

Yes, this is something to do with the exchange rate; and, yes, the very nice bar manager did warn us before opening the bottle; and, yes, it was a very interesting beer. In short, we’re not really criticising the Rake for charging what they need to — they’re running (an apparently very successful) business, after all.

What it did make us question is our own priorities. Should we take such a prohibitive price as a sign that we ought to focus our energies on drinking local beers, at least until the dreaded Crispy CrunchTM is over? After all, it’s not as if we can’t get insane IPAs or stouts full of citrus hops in the UK these days.

The Stone Cali-Belgique IPA is their standard IPA made with Belgian yeast. It’s almost an educational tool, demonstrating what difference a brewer’s choice of yeast can make. It tastes spicy, floral and sugary, with reminders of Duvel and Hoegaarden. Probably not worth £9.50, though… Thom of the Black Cat brewery reviewed it here and didn’t like it much.

19 replies on “How much!?”

I saw the beer as an interesting experiment too, but I only paid £6.50 for it through I suppose shipping to Ireland increased the cost somewhat. I wouldn’t have bought it if it cost a tenner, though.

It’s a lot of money, especially when it’s probably less than £6 at Utobeer. I had Stone’s Double Bastard off tap in there this week and it was £3.90 for a half pint. It’s a lot of money and that was like boozy syrup.

Some beers are worth the money – I’d (probably) pay £9.50 for Ruination IPA in there – but when I know I can get 3 pints in the Market Porter for the same amount then that’s often more appealing.

Ultimately I think it depends on what we want at the time and how much we are willing to pay to get it. Although, seeing a £9 beer is like seeing a £100 wine – you want to try it to see if it’s worth the money! (at least with the beer it’s an affordable option)

Good post – interesting topic!

I paid nearly £16 for a bottle of Mikkeller Jackie Brown in Canada last year. Didn’t make that mistake again.

Knut, the problem is that is this is probably fairly poor value even compared to those heavily marked-up vintage wines.

The high price is probably a result of seeking to achieve a “standard” gross profit from a very high wholesale price. So if this beer cost the Rake, say, £3.80, then arguably £9.50 is fair sale price.

That ignores too things. First, for very expensive products such as champagne you generally accept a lower percentage margin on the basis that your cash margin will be huge anyway and you don’t want to make the item prohibitively expensive. Secondly, the Rake isn’t really a pub but rather an offie with a bar attached (it doesn’t even have it’s own loos, let alone a kitchen).

TWO things, not TOO things. It’s early. But I have has coffee and breakfast so I can’t really excuse myself. Sorry.

Don’t assume you’re safe buying UK there either. Jimbo was charged £8.25 for a 330ml bottle of Paradox Smokehead in there last Saturday, which we’d picked up for £2 a bottle at beerexposed. He wasn’t pre-warned before the bottle was opened and shrugged it off at the time but I was absolutely gobsmacked. I wonder if the BrewDog boys are aware that they’re charging this much?

“£8.25 for a 330ml bottle of Paradox Smokehead”
Beer for punks? Beer for pimps!!!

I can’t make my mind up about the Rake, sometimes I go in there and there is a cracking beer on tap and I happily pay for it, whatever it costs. Other times the selection is bland. I don’t like the fact that the staff sometimes tell me how to suck eggs, I probably know more about quality beer than they do. I have issues with Utobeer too, they just take the mickey with some of their prices and shouldn’t be charging what they do in the current climate.

I’ve found myself paying closer and closer to £4 a pint in London over the past few years and it’s usually some god awful pilsner – I was actually reading about the Cali-Belgique on the Stone website today and thought I’d love to try some – whilst that is super super expensive it’s awesome that we can get it in the UK.

I think in ‘this economic climate’ we do all have to think about how we spend money but at the same time are you really going to drink any more than 1 bottle? – would be awesome to drink it all night if it tastes good but surely a lot of us just drink 1 of each so we can taste the range.

I just hope this encourages more local people to start brewing insane IPAs or stouts.

I like to think we provide a service by talking things down so that others will be pleasantly surprised…

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