Note: This is the release post from 2021… for the latest Utopias release information, head over here!

There was once a time in the world of craft beer where the arms race of ‘Extreme Beer’ was all the rage. There was an effort from the biggest and most innovative breweries to keep creating beers that were hoppier, bigger, and more powerful than anything else that had come before them. There was a race for the highest ABV beer that bounced from record breaker to record breaker, and it sure was exciting for a beer drinker. We hadn’t seen anything like that before. As the world kept maturing and beer kept evolving, the extreme beer craze might have fizzled out, and the beer geeks quite possibly might have also moved on. However… the best things from that era still live on (and in my opinion) Sam Adams’ Utopias definitely was one of the best things to come out of it.

And this October, the legend returns.

Sam Adam’s Utopias

Sam Adams releases their massive beer to eager fans every two years or so. This thing is unlike any other beer around it. Utopias drinks like a thick, heavy sherry or cognac more than it does “beer” as you might be familiar with. If you’ve never tried it, I promise you it will change your thoughts on what beer can be or what beer is.

The brewers at Sam Adams create this blend out of multiple batches of their extreme beers. The beer uses little bits of beer in barrels that date all the way back nearly three decades at this point, every year crafting the perfect blend to bear the legendary Utopias name. When you read the history of this stuff, you start to gain a little respect for why it’s so special.

We’re talking about beers from Caravelos, Madeira, Ruby Port, and Sherry Oloroso barrels in addition to the standard Bourbon barrels you might be familiar with.

Is your mouth watering yet?

They package the beer in individually numbered collectible ceramic bottles that look like a copper brew kettle. It’s a piece of art that belongs on the bar of any craft beer fan.

Why You Should Be Excited About This

You’re going to read a lot of articles about Utopias around the release. Well… I should say that you will see a lot of them, you don’t have to read them all. You’ll see headlines that tout the fact that because of the high ABV of Utopias, it’s banned in several states, and it’s extreme, and it’s big, and bold, yada, yada, yada… that’s not the real thing you need to know about it.

The real story that people should be telling about Utopias is that this beer is incredible, and there is nothing like it on the planet.

Not only was this beer a pioneer in barrel-aging and blending techniques for beer, the actual product itself is freaking stunning. Layers upon layers of bold but nuanced flavors await the drinker. You can enjoy a bottle of this an ounce at a time for years. Like spirits, this un-carbonated beer can be opened and enjoyed without worry of spoilage.

This is one of those beverages that you break out when you have friends over. It’s for special occasions, for times when you want what you’re drinking to become memorable.

This Year’s Unique Twist

For a fresh twist to the beer this year, for the first time, they aged a bit of the blend in Sauternes French oak wine casks, which they say brings in a “subtle note of honeyed apricot and caramel to the rich layers of flavor”, and to further kick this years release up a notch, the brewers decided to age a portion of the beer on Michigan Balaton cherries. This brings subtle sweet and tart notes to the game – creating a rich flavor of black cherry and dark fruits, with hints of maple and vanilla.

That’s part of what makes this release so exciting… it’s never done evolving. A beer that has been around since 2002 is still being subtly tweaked and changed to give it new life each time.

If you want to read more of my thoughts on Utopias, you can read my tasting notes from the 2019 edition – or even better, you can create your own opinion by drinking some for yourself!

Get You Some!

The beer will be available starting on October 11th, and you’ll surely see it around town. It retails for… brace yourself… more than $200 dollars a bottle. I know that’s a little shocking to the system, but I promise you that it’s something you’ll treasure for years.

If you want to feel like you’re doing good when you snag your bottle, you can try to get the first bottle of this year’s release (every bottle is numbered). Jim Koch is offering his personal bottle #000001 for a charity auction. You can bid on it here, with the proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This bottle is not only signed by Jim himself but by the entire crew of the Inspiration4 – which is the first all-civilian spaceflight mission. The auction winner not only wins this incredible collectible, but they also score a trip out to Boston to check out the Sam Adams Brewery.

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