140-year-old Arctic Ale auctions for more than $6,300

A bottle of beer brewed for an Arctic expedition led by Sir George Nares in 1875 has been sold for $6,300. Research suggests Allsopp's Arctic Ale, if opened, would be "sweet tasting with a hint of tobacco."

Research suggests brew would be 'sweet tasting with a hint of tobacco'

A bottle of beer thought to have travelled to the Arctic Circle in the late 19th century sold at auction this week for $6,300. (Trevanion & Dean, Auctioneers & Valuers, London England)

A 140-year-old bottle of beer brewed for an Arctic expedition sold for over $6,300 this week.

The beer — Allsopp's Arctic Ale — was brewed in the U.K. for an expedition led by Sir George Nares in 1875. It was discovered in a box in a garage in Gobowen, Shropshire, a village about 50 kilometres south of Liverpool. 

It had been expected to fetch about $1,100, or £600, at the auction at Trevanion & Dean in Whitchurch. 

The winning offer came from an anonymous, telephone bidder from Scotland. 

Research by the auctioneer suggests, if opened, the beer would be 'sweet tasting with a hint of tobacco.' (Trevanion & Dean, Auctioneers & Valuers, London England)
"The internet went bonkers when the item came up," Aaron Dean, a partner at the auction house, told CBC News. 

Dean said there were three bidders in the room and other telephone bidders. 

The bottle is believed to have gone on Nares' failed expedition to the North Pole, and came back unopened. 

"It was a great historical object," Dean said.

"We've all seen empty bottles from the 19th century, but this bottle went all the way to the Arctic Circle and came all the way back."  

Nares was a Welsh naval officer. Though his expedition failed — the explorers suffered from scurvy and poor equipment and were forced to retreat — he travelled a waterway between Greenland and Ellesmere Island now named the Nares Strait. 

The auction house said part of the beer's appeal was that it had been unopened for so long.

Dean said it would be possible to drink the beer. His research suggested it would be "sweet tasting with a hint of tobacco." 

"How many more of those will we see?" asked Dean. "Not many. There are many collectors when it comes to exploration and this fitted into that. It was historically fun."


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