This past December at the 100.7 The Bay Christmas Party, the staff got together and gave me a gift of a beer that I thought I’d never have simply because of the insane price for this insane beer!
The beer? Utopias, from The Boston Beer Company. The Boston Beer Company, or what is most often referred to as Sam Adams, was one of the breweries in the 1980’s that was a major part in creating the craft beer universe we now enjoy. Sam Adams continues to make world class beer, from the beer that started it all, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, to a large collection of IPAs to some really extreme beers. And that’s just what Sam Adams Utopias is: an extreme beer.
The Utopias the staff gave me is the 2019 version, a blend of earlier batches of Utopias, some of it aging for 26 years in bourbon casks. In keeping with Sam Adams mantra of pushing the limits of barrel aging, Sam Adams also let this year’s Utopias age in Aquavit barrels—a Scandinavian distilled spirit—as well as Portuguese wine and Portuguese port barrels. It’s then finished in Madeira wine and Cognac barrels before the final step: blending in a Sour Ale, aged for two years in massive Hungarian Oak foeders—these are essentially huge barrels of beer. The result: a powerful, fascinating, complex and one-of-a-kind beer. It absolutely reminds me of a liquor, and for good reason. It’s a 28% ABV beer. And, it really is a beer—it’s brewed with three different malts, three different hops, yeast and water. Utopias comes in a beautiful ceramic decanter, designed with great detail and craftsmanship to look like a copper brew kettle.
As I mentioned, this is a 28% ABV beer, so I have been sipping… and sharing… this slowly. When poured, there is no head whatsoever. The color is a reddish-brown and the aroma reminds me very much of cognac. The flavor is very, very complex and is hard for me to pin down. I think some of that has to do with what I’ve had to eat or drink before sipping Utopias. Sometimes I taste cognac, sometimes barleywine, sometimes port, and sometimes a Scottish ale.
If you have the chance to try Utopias, go for it! The craft beer adventure is about experimentation, curiosity, variety and celebration! Plain and simple: our world is better because of craft beer.
The Craft Beer Guy