By Scott Packard
on 11.19.12
Photo by Samuel Adams

We’ve given you the Paul Harvey on the dethroning of the American King of Beers — now we bring you the heir apparent. This year’s Samuel Adams’s Utopias ($190), a special 10th Anniversary edition of their bi-annual offering, pushes the limits of beer brewing on three fronts: price, potency and flavor. A 29% ABV libation that will set you back $190 per 24 ounce bottle, this isn’t your Sunday “watchin-the-ballgame” chugging beverage. Using a combination of robust yeast strains, including one used in champagne, along with added sugar, Sam Adams cranks the proof into near-whisky range.

Aged in rum, bourbon and port barrels, this edition (which is actually a blend of batches including Sam Adams’ original ’93 Triple Bock) is more cognac or brandy than traditional beer. How does it taste? We have no idea, since only 20,000 bottles were produced, and they’re very hard to find. We fall back on the official Samuel Adams tasting notes: “Elegant, dark fruit aromas… fig, chocolate, raisin, vanilla, and a slight spice”. Sounds enticing. Because it’s uncarbonated, Utopias requires no refrigeration and can be enjoyed at room temperature with little worry of skunkiness. Savor and respect this beverage; shotgunning it could put you in the hospital.

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