What goes into an $899 bottle of beer except for hype and coconuts

Want a taste of Los Angeles’ latest craft beer sensation? Grab a sleeping bag — or be prepared to empty your wallet.

If you’re not familiar with Three Chiefs Brewing Co., that’s understandable. Its online presence is virtually nonexistent with scant social media updates and a website that offers little more than the brewery’s name. Finding its actual facility is equally frustrating. It’s in a remote section of El Segundo, operating out of the R6 Distillery in a space about the size of a Manhattan studio apartment.

Despite the brewery’s limited output (or perhaps because of it), Three Chiefs has become a destination for craft beer die-hards who insist the effort to obtain bottles of its decadent, hyper-limited stouts — which involves camping out at the brewery the night before it goes on sale or paying a ransom on the secondary market — is worth it.

Three Chiefs pulls off the miraculous feat of turning confections into beer, producing taste-alike riffs on baked goods from banana bread to crème brûlée. Unlike the aggressive roasty bitterness of a classic Russian imperial stout, these desserts in a glass, known as “pastry stouts,” are sweet and viscous, bordering on Fox’s U-bet territory.

They’re all the rage right now, particularly with the new wave of craft beer drinkers, and few are brewing them better than Three Chiefs. “They probably have done the best coconut stout I’ve ever had,” gushes Matt Garcia, co-owner of Homage Brewing in Pomona. He’s referring to Fähä, a tropical barrel-aged stout that has a near-perfect score on the beer rating app Untappd and was ranked among the top three beers of 2018 by popular industry influencer Beer Zombies.

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