Why Samuel Adams Utopias Is One Of The Rarest Beers

Samuel Adams Utopias
Samuel Adams Utopias - Samuel Adams

Banned books may make for attention-grabbing headlines, but what about banned beers? Illegal in 15 states, Samuel Adams Utopias is one of the strangest beer ventures currently running and easily one of the rarest and most sought-after experiences that beer lovers have their eyes on. Utopias come in at an eye-popping 28% alcohol, which stretches the definition of what beer can be to its extremes. First released in 2001, Utopias comes out every other year in small batches. The latest release was in 2023, so we can expect the next edition to come in 2025. The beer is uncarbonated, barrel-aged, and easily mistaken for a port at first glance but it is, in fact, a beer since it isn't distilled.

There are several different ways we could account for Utopias' rarity. Saying that its limited release every other year keeps the supply limited is technically true but it doesn't convey how economically unfeasible this project should be; it's a brewer's mad dream, to put it mildly. The beer is first brewed at Samuel Adams' Cincinnati brewery, aged in Buffalo Trace barrels at the Pennsylvania brewery, and blended at the Boston brewery before finally being bottled at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware. The idea is to have Utopias fully embrace the team spirit at Samuel Adams, with every part of the team contributing to the passion project. The time and energy put into the making of Utopias makes the stunning $240 asking price slightly more palatable.

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An Impossible Beer

Samuel Adams Utopias
Samuel Adams Utopias - Samuel Adams

With so many moving parts, it can be difficult to keep track of just how a particular batch was made. Each release is slightly different, but they're all blends of previous years with new innovations thrown into the mix. All Utopias are aged using Buffalo Trace barrels, but 2023's release finished aging in Pineau des Charentes casks as well as Scotch and peated whisky casks. Pineau des Charentes is a fortified French wine that goes great in cocktails and, when combined with the smoky notes of peat, gave the 2023 release a complex but balanced finish.

While it may seem like we are just describing the beer, what we're trying to convey is just how mad the lads and lasses are over at Samuel Adams who came up with this stuff. It's so rare because it shouldn't exist at all. It uses multiple aging casks, travels across most of the Northeastern United States, and blends several different iterations of the Utopias project together — some of which have been aging for over 30 years.

Utopias was the pioneering effort that gave barrel-aged beer its start. The fact that the project has lasted for the past 20 years is a testament to just how in-demand these beer oddities are. As of this writing, last year's batch is still available, so if you're looking for something unique and have a little extra cash on hand, a bottle of Utopias is within your grasp despite its rarity.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.