Virtually each craft beer lover has a whale listing: beers they might like to get their palms on and style, however that are difficult (if not just about inconceivable) to search out for one in all a number of causes. And close to the highest of virtually each a type of lists is Samuel Adams Utopias.
Launched each different 12 months, it’s an occasion beer that places others to disgrace. Bottle costs begin at $210 (and plenty of retailers mark it up significantly). The alcohol by quantity stage is a staggering 28%. And traditionally, the brewer has distributed simply 13,000-15,000 bottles of Utopias.
That makes it laborious to search out. But it surely’s even tougher if you happen to reside in one of many 15 states the place it’s unlawful for shops to promote Utopias, usually due to its sky excessive ABV. Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia all forbid the sale of the beer.
That’s a disgrace as a result of Utopias is not like just about every other beer available on the market. It’s not carbonated because the alcohol ranges devour any CO2. Its style is akin to a superb liquor, with a sweetness like a port or cognac and a clean, virtually buttery, malt-filled end. And the advisable serving measurement is one ounce.
This 12 months’s Utopia’s launch is a bit totally different than earlier ones, although. The beer is all the time comprised of a wide range of barrel aged, cask-conditioned beers. Some have been getting older for 23-24 years. Some for 15 years whereas others only for a 12 months or so.
However for the 2019 varietal, brewers added Cognac and Madeira ending barrels into the combination, reportedly giving it vanilla notes and refined nutty and chic darkish fruit aromas. Then, so as to add a little bit tartness to the end, they included a contact of Kosmic Mom Funk (KMF), a novel wild ale that’s fermented for 2 years in Hungarian Oak barrels.
“It should be different, cause we’re blending out of the same river of casks,” Jim Koch, founding father of Boston Beer, tells Fortune. “This is like the old Greek proverb. I think it was Heraclitus who said ‘You never step in the same river twice.’ Utopias is that river. When you taste it, you know it’s Utopias, but it never tastes the same. No matter how skilled we are, we can never duplicate what we made the last time because all the casks have aged longer.”
The batch additionally comes months after Boston Beer Co. merged with Dogfish Head. The fruits of that collaboration will actually change into extra readily obvious in March, when Dogfish Head releases a Utopias barrel-aged model of its Worldwide Stout, the corporate introduced at this 12 months’s Nice American Beer Pageant.
And, for the primary time, Utopias will probably be out there on faucet on the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Faucet Room as a part of a particular anniversary occasion on November 15.
Utopias was truly born from one other Samuel Adams creation: 1992’s Triple Bock, the beer business’s first barrel aged beer, which bought for the then-unheard of value of $100 per case. In 1999, the beer advanced into “Millenium,” and in 2002, it adopted the identify Utopias.
Utopias may be an occasion beer for Samuel Adams, however (regardless of the excessive price ticket), it’s not one thing that causes a noticeable spike within the firm’s earnings.
“The margin is not that great,” says Koch. “I’ve never run the numbers on it. My gut has always told me we don’t make any money on it, even at $200 per bottle. It’s a labor of love. [But] it’s an amazing beer. Why would we not want to make it? It’s not like we’re going to go broke by making Utopias. It’s more than fun to make. It’s an exploration of what’s possible within beer.”