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Rare, artisanal brews form Crystal's new Connoisseur Beer Menu
Extremely limited, uniquely produced, and perfectly aged stouts, ales, blondes, and other artisanal beers are debuting aboard Crystal Cruises’ 2013 European cruises, with a new Connoisseur beer menu. Launching with up to a dozen of the finest craft brews from renowned beer production countries like Belgium, Austria, Germany, Holland, and the U.K., the menu will change as Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity traverse to other regions of the globe, with the ultimate collector’s brew, Samuel Adams Utopias, expected by the end of the year. Each beer will be presented in a special glass that enhances the beverage’s unique flavors, as is done with wines and spirits.

Initial and planned beeroisseur offerings include :

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Travelers who enjoy tastings and learning about the craft can look to beer pairing menus at intimate Vintage Room Dinners and a new microbrew-themed cruise sailing from New York to Miami for 14 days, starting November 5, 2014.

    “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.”

    Crystal has offered an incredible selection of complimentary fine wines, champagnes, beers, and premium spirits in all lounges and restaurants since segueing to an all-inclusive food and beverage program in 2012. When that switch was made, the ultra-luxe line introduced Connoisseur menus, for true aficionados looking for extra-special tastes. Connoisseur Beer menu prices start from $8 per bottle.

    Extraordinary culinary experiences are a hallmark of every Crystal vacation. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity’s extensive, innovative choices for gourmandizing include the ultra-luxury line’s coveted cheese and wine cellars, overseen by on-board, certified cheese and wine sommeliers (Court of Master Sommeliers-certified); all-inclusive chef-like cocktails served by certified mixologists; and gourmet dining options at every meal, whether in the Crystal Dining Room, at afternoon tea, or in Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio’s specialty restaurants.
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