Bourbon Industry

Sam Adams is releasing a beer illegal in 15 states. Here’s how you can get a taste.

Samuel Adams is releasing its most expensive and strongest beer yet. How strong is it? So strong it is actually illegal in 15 states.

Luckily, Ohio isn’t one of them, so fans will be able to taste Samuel Adams Utopias in its 28 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) glory.

This is the 11th release of Samuel Adams’ barrel-aged extreme beer and for the first time this one will be on tap at the Samuel Adams’ Cincinnati Taproom. The tasting event will be on Nov. 15, the taproom’s one-year anniversary. Tickets are $20 and include a one-ounce pour of the limited release beer. You get to keep the commemorative glass, too.

Bottles, in a custom, 25.4-ounce ceramic decanter modeled after the brewery’s iconic copper brew kettles, will be at select specialty beer and liquor stores for a suggested retail price of $210 per bottle.

The beer itself is designed to be savored, not chugged. According to the tasting notes, it is ruby black and uncarbonated, “reminiscent of a rich vintage port or fine sherry, challenging drinkers’ expectations of beer while getting better with age: drinkers can enjoy a portion of Utopias now and save the rest for other occasions.”

Only 77 wooden casks were produced this year. They were in barrel rooms in Boston, Cincinnati and Lehigh Valley, Pa., before being blended with earlier batches of Samuel Adams’ extreme beers, a catalog dating back over 25 years, aged in barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort.

According to the release, brewers took portions of this beer and transferred them to aquavit, carcavelos and ruby port barrels as well as cognac and Madeira finishing barrels which enhanced 2019 Utopias with distinct vanilla notes and subtle nutty and elegant dark fruit aromas. As a final step, and to add a slightly tart note, brewers blended a touch of Kosmic Mother Funk, a unique wild ale that is fermented for two years in Hungarian Oak foeders at the Boston Brewery.

The Utopias barrels will now be used to age the 2020 Dogfish Head extreme beer, World Wide Stout.

“Since it was first brewed, Sam Adams Utopias has been nothing short of a labor of love. As brewers we take pride in everything we make, but there’s something special about putting such a unique, extreme beer in the hands of not only the craft beer community but our coworkers. Involving new members of our team from Dogfish Head in the bottling process this year signified collaboration, progress and inspired future innovations that we can’t wait to share,” said Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch in the news release.

Where can’t you get Utopias? Because of its high alcohol level, Utopias is not shipped to or sold in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont or West Virginia.

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