Argentinian Breweries Mourn Loss of Unique Pressure-Aged Beer 

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The beer barrels were originally chained to the wreck of the Russian Fishing vessel, Kronomether (Photo: Kronomether Project)

Sticky-fingered scuba divers are thought to be responsible for the disappearance of 700 litres of craft beer from a sunken ship, where it had been left to age by three artisanal breweries based in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

The beer was attached to the wreck of the Kronomether, an abandoned Soviet fishing vessel sunk as an artificial reef off the coast of Buenos Aries in 2014, which now lies approximately 20 metres below the surface.

'I started crying,' said Carlos Brelles, owner of the Thalassa Diving School in Mar del Plata, which had teamed up with the breweries to assist with the beer-ageing experiment. 'Three or four people without morals destroyed the work of so many people who put in so much effort.'

The concept behind the experiment was that the ageing process, which helps to create the unique flavours common to artisanal beers, would be improved by being subjected to the increased pressure at depth. Three local breweries took up the idea and decided to create a strong dark ale with an alcohol content of between 11 and 12 per cent by volume, which would be mixed with another beer after being surfaced to create approximately 2,000 bottles of 'Kronomether' beer. The profits from the experimental blend would be donated to a local museum.

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The Kronomether on its way to be sunk in 2014 (Photo: Amba Buceo/Facebook)

It took more than a year to obtain the permits necessary to sink the beer and attach it to the shipwreck, and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the barrels of beer were not sunk until 22 November 2020. The barrels had been checked on 19 January, and were due to be raised on 24 February, until Mr Brelles dived the site on the day beforehand and found that the barrels had disappeared. 

At the time of writing, no evidence has been brought forward as to the fate of the sunken beer.  Brelles told local reporters that he thought it might have been a simple act of vandalism. 'I think they broke everything so the barrels would drift away,' he said. 'It was malice for malice’s sake.'

However, if scuba diving thieves had thought they might have found a sunken treasure for their next party, however, Juan Pablo Vincent of Baum brewery, one of the project's participants, said that they would be sorely disappointed. 'If they stole it for their own consumption,' he said, 'they’re going to have to throw it away. It was a lukewarm, gasless liquor that would be very difficult to drink.'

Mr Brelles said he and the breweries would not let the vandals win, and will look to perform the experiment again. 

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