Samuel Adams beer maker Boston Beer Co. is ready to release its potent Utopias beer, which weighs in at 28% alcohol by volume – a strength that makes it illegal in 15 states.
Those lucky enough to get a bottle of the extremely limited – and pricey at $240 – beerwill get an additional taste treat from the 2,000 pounds of cherries it was finished on. Boston Beer releases Sam Adams Utopias every other year. Beginning Oct. 11, it will be available at select specialty beer, wine and liquor stores, where laws allow.
Often compared to a complex port or cognac – and sipped from a snifter at room temperature – Sam Adams Utopias is described as an "extreme" beer by the brewery. Some of the liquid has been aged nearly three decades in wooden bourbon casks, the brewery says.
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After multiple batches are blended, they are aged in a total of 86 different barrels that previously held Madeira, port and sherry. For the first time, this year's Utopias had some of the blend aged in Sauternes French oak wine casks, which the brewery says adds "subtle notes of honeyed apricot and caramel."
Among the cherries used were Michigan Balaton cherries, which helped "create a rich flavor of black cherry and dark fruits," in the beer.
“Since the introduction of Utopias in 2002, brewers have explored uncharted territory with each brew, experimenting with different kinds of aging barrels, new flavors, and different blending techniques," said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams, in a statement announcing the beer. "The result is always special, spirited, and worth waiting for.”
Utopias is illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
Bid on a special SpaceX bottle
Brewery founder Koch is auctioning off 2021 Sam Adams Utopias bottle No. 1 – autographed by him and the Inspiration4 crew – to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. You can bid on the St. Jude site through Sept. 23. Along with the bottle, the winning bidder gets roundtrip airfare for two to the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, and a hotel stay for 2 nights and 3 days.
Dogfish Head taps Utopias barrels
And before Utopias arrive, you can get a bit of its taste from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's Utopias Barrel-Aged World Wide Stout. The beer, which ranges from 16% to 18% ABV, is aged in barrels previously holding Sam Adams Utopias. Available in Dogfish Head’s coastal Delaware properties on Tuesday, four-packs of bottles will hit markets beyond Delaware next month.
Boston Beer Co. and Dogfish Head merged two years ago in a $300 million deal.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.