Update #2, 11/26: Denver's Westword reports that the beers are being distributed in the Boulder, CO area by Wine Cru. Among the restaurants carrying them are Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont, one of the tap houses for Oskar Blues' famous canned beers. The article link above will show you the picture of the brown paper bags the beers are being sold in--at $75 for Penguin and $100 for Bismarck!
I'm republishing this article to include an update: The Houston Chronicle has an article on Thanksgiving Day noting that the beers are being sold there, at the Spec's Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods stores. They list a price of $84.20 for Tactical Nuclear Penguin, and $101.67 for Sink the Bismarck. And they will do mail order to Illinois.
BeerNews.org's author "beersage" broke the story Nov. 3 that Scotland's "punk" brewers BrewDog will be shipping some of their mega-alcohol beers to the United States in limited quantities:
BrewDog Managing Director, James Watt, tells me that approximately 500 bottles each of Sink the Bismarck! and Tactical Nuclear Penguin are currently at sea en route to the States. Where those beers will eventually land is anyone's guess at the moment. They are currently retailing on the BrewDog website for 70 pounds (about U$114) plus shipping for the pair.
Each of these briefly held the title of "World's Strongest Beer," with Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32% abv and Sink the Bismarck! at 41%. The beers sort of embroiled BrewDog in comeptition with German brewer Schorsbräu, which had produced editions of its Schorsbock at 31%, 40%, then 43%. BrewDog currently holds the title with The End of History, which ran a boggling 55% and was issued in a limited run of 11 bottles, controversially packaged inside of stuffed squirrels and stoats, priced at $800 to $1,100.
The high alcohol content was achieved by freezing the beer and removing the ice, leaving alcohol behind. Though cinsidered "distilling" by some legal bodies, it is an accepted brewing practice in the production of Eisbocks. This is distinguished from other beers like Sam Adams Utopias (27%) and Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout (18-23%), which reach their numbers through continous additions of yeast and fermentables.
The article has no information yet on where the BrewDog beers will land in the U.S. Previously, bottles have been brought in by individual establishments, notably Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido, CA. Which would be logical, since Stone and BrewDog did a collaboration beer, called Bashah.
But there is a Chicago angle here, after all. In another article, BeerNews reports that Three Floyds founder Nick Floyd and his staff went to BrewDog's facility near Aberdeen to collaborate on a beer, tentatively called... how shall I put this... B***h Please. The beer uses seven different malts, including peated whiskey malts and Scottish oats, an all-New Zealand hop lineup, with additional touches like caramel candies and Scottish shortbread cookies. The article assures us that some of this brew will come to the States in limited quantities, but the date has not been determined. My suspicion is as with Stone, when this collaboration appears at the Floyds' Munster tap house, some "Penguins" and "Bismarck!" may be there, too.