Booze and taxidermy have a long, intertwined history, the un-ironic moose, deer or elk head--always complete with an impressive rack of antlers--a staple of small-town dive bar décor. Referenced with varying degrees of tongue-in-cheekiness by local establishments such as Seven Grand, The Bigfoot Lodge and the now-defunct Stinkers, the tradition is more visible as cliché in Los Angeles, but still: we're at least familiar. But what of the relationship between taxidermy, high-ABV craft beer, woodland creatures and Francis Fukuyama? Wholly unfamiliar.
Yet they've all managed to find some odd common ground, thanks to Scottish brewery BrewDog.
The brewery's latest release is called The End of History, a blond Belgian beer infused with highland nettles and juniper berries that clocks in at a whopping 55% ABV, putting it into in the same range of alcohol content as cask-strength whiskey. But liquor it is not. Rather than achieving high alcohol content through distillation, the remarkable 55% was reached by freezing the beer repeatedly to separate out water and concentrate the alcohol.
Did we mention The End of History costs £500 a bottle? And the term "bottle" is used loosely here, as the beer comes in the stuffed body of a stoat or grey squirrel (all artfully restored road kill, PETA), just a sliver of glass sticking out of either woodland creature's mouth belying its new life as a beer container. There are only eleven 330ml bottles of The End of History available: seven stoats and four squirrels.
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Like Fukuyama's testament that the end of the Cold War marked the end of history, the end of developing political philosophies and ideologies, BrewDog attests that their beer is the be all, end all in the world of high-ABV brews, 55% being the highest alcohol content ever achieved.
Sipped in small amounts, as you would a whiskey, The End of History will last much longer than your typical pint of 5.5% brew. And the tartan-draped stoat will last forever.