Just how far would you drive to try one of the rarest beers in America? Would 350 miles be in your wheelhouse? That is the Google map estimation of miles from St. Louis to the Samuel Adams Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio.
This week, Samual Adams announced the upcoming release of the eleventh batch of their highly sought after, barrel-aged extreme beer, Samuel Adams Utopias. The limited release will be available in select locations starting October 15 and for the first time on tap in the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom on November 15. The bottles will not be available in Missouri, as we are one of 15 states where Utopia is illegal due to the 28% ABV, but Illinois should get some. But, so far, no listings on where.
What is Utopia?
While I’ve never had a sip, the description is that it’s reminiscent of a rich vintage Port or fine Sherry thanks to its unique barrel-aging process and proprietary brewing techniques, with brewers enhancing this year’s brew by experimenting with Cognac and Madeira finishing barrels.
Blended, aged and carefully finished in dedicated barrel rooms at Samuel Adams’ three breweries in Boston, Lehigh Valley, PA and Cincinnati, OH this specialty beer has been in the hearts and hands of many Samuel Adams coworkers.
Only 77 wooden casks of Utopias were brewed this year, creating the highest naturally fermented beer at 28% ABV. The ruby black, uncarbonated 2019 Utopias challenges drinkers’ expectations of beer and even gets better with age: drinkers can enjoy a portion of Utopias now and save the rest for other occasions.
Founder & Brewer Jim Koch on 2019 Utopias
“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.”
Utopias’ Unique Conditioning Process
This sought-after beer requires a time-intensive, multiyear brewing, aging and blending process, using only the world’s finest ingredients. Like its predecessors, 2019 Utopias is a blend of earlier batches of Samuel Adams’ extreme beers, a catalog dating back over 25 years, which have been aging in wooden bourbon casks from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Brewers took portions of this beer and transferred them to Aquavit, Carcavelos and ruby port barrels to impart complex flavors to the beer. This year, brewers also experimented with 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 in a touch of Kosmic Mother Funk (KMF), a unique wild ale that is fermented for two years in Hungarian Oak foeders at the Boston Brewery.
How to Enjoy Utopias
In celebration of the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom’s one-year anniversary, drinkers can exclusively enjoy 2019 Utopias on tap this fall close to the source. This ticketed tasting event will take place on November 15, 2019 in the taproom located just across the street from where 2019 Utopias was barrel-aged at the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Brewery. Tickets and event information will be available soon. As soon as we get it, we’ll publish the information.