What's totally buzzing right now in the world of beer?
This week's Six Pack offers up everything from monk beer to the Beer Drinker of the Year contest. Is your application in yet? Read on:
Mad About Monk Beer: Monks have been brewing beer for centuries, but the month of December has put the spotlight on some brews designed to help monks raise money. First there was Westvlereten XII, which took the beer community by storm earlier this month.
Westvleteren XII is cited among many beer aficionados as the "best beer in the world" and is brewed by monks in a Trappist monastery in Westvleteren, Belgium. After the roof of the St. Sixtus Abbey suffered damage this year, the monks needed to raise money to repair it. So for the first time they sent 15,000 six-packs to the United States for distribution.
Despite a price tag of $85 per six-pack, the beer sold out in a day, often only hours after its release.
Meanwhile Cistercian monks in Northern California are working to reconstruct the Chapter House of Ovila, a 16th century Spanish Trappist monastery, the stones of which were imported to the U.S. by William Randolph Hearst but never rebuilt. Needing to raise millions to reconstruct the monastery, the monks partnered with craft brewer Sierra Nevada for a line of ales inspired by Belgian Trappist monks. Fittingly, the brews are named Ovila Abbey. Over the last 12 years Sierra Nevada and the monks have raised $7 million dollars, with another $2 million needed to finish the project.
Beer Drinker of the Year: Think you know beer? Here is your shot to prove it. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver's oldest brewpub, is collecting "resumes" for its 2013 Beer Drinker of the Year contest. The prize? Free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewing Company and $250 of beer at their local brewpub or beer bar. Resumes should detail the entrant's beer philosophy, passion for beer and 2012 beer experiences. But hurry — the deadline is almost here.
Beer Festival at Sea: Earlier this year Royal Caribbean announced it would be expanding the beer selection on its cruise ships. Now Celebrity Cruise Line is taking things one step further by offering a "California Beer Festival at Sea." Organized by Cruise Specialists and offered in association with the California Beer Festival, the nine-night cruise will take place on the Celebrity Solstice and depart from Ensenada, Mexico, on May 6 with stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Calif., San Francisco, Astoria, Vancouver and Seattle. According to USA Today, passengers on the cruise "will be able take a home-brewing lesson, attend craft beer tasting parties and a four-course craft beer pairing luncheon, and go on optional brewery tours."
Game Over for Samuel Adams Patriot Homebrew Competition: It was a perfect sports and beer pairing: Boston's Samuel Adams Brewery began teaming up with the New England Patriots in 2007 to give a local home brewer the chance to have his or her beer on tap during Patriots games at Gillette Stadium. But after five years the clock appears to have run out on the competition. The Boston Beer Company told beer industry website BeerPulse that the company is ending the competition "for a variety of reasons."
Wine Lovers Know It's Only Rock 'n' Roll But They Like It: Amazon.com has released its annual list of the year's best sellers. Since the Amazon wine service launched in November, two rock 'n' roll themed wines have topped the charts. According to Amazon, its top selling wines of 2012 are 2010 Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Rolling Stones Forty Licks Merlot and 2011 Parducci Small Lot Blend Pinot Noir.
Cracking the Wine Crime: Italian police say they may have cracked one of the most expensive wine crimes in history — the destruction of 16,400 gallons, which is the equivalent of 80,000 bottles, of Brunello di Montalcino wine. Italian police say they have arrested a disgruntled employee of the Case Basse vineyard and estate in Tuscany who held a grudge against his boss, legendary winemaker Gianfranco Soldera. According to Reuters, Police say Andrea di Gisi broke into the Soldera family estate and is "accused of opening the taps of 10 huge barrels containing the produce of the last six years and literally letting the wine pour down the drain." At a cost starting at $140 per bottle, it's estimated at least $7.93 million in wine was lost.
—By CNBC's Tom Rotunno; Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno
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