By: Sam Adams Editorial Team
| Published: October 26th, 2012
In chemistry there’s something called the “collision theory” that is often summarized by the idiom: “You can’t react, unless you collide.”
Fate has a way of ensuring the right collisions happen to occasionally create something remarkable. The story of New Albion is proof that random events can collide in such a sequence to spark something incredible.
In 1976, Jack McAuliffe created New Albion brewing, the first craft brewery to be started from scratch in decades. Jack, a true do-it-yourself guy, did everything from building the brewery, to brewing the beer, to delivering it to the bars himself. Unfortunately, he was a man before his time and in 1983, New Albion closed its doors for good. ► Read More
By: Sam Adams Editorial Team
| Published: October 23rd, 2012
For those who have not heard, this year marks the 10th anniversary of one of our greatest brewing accomplishments: Samuel Adams Utopias®. As with every release of this special brew, Jim and the other brewers get excited about sharing this beer because of the passion and innovation that went into brewing. The extreme ingredients and techniques used to make this beer are unlike any other style we brew. Look for this years release to hit stores in November.
It all began with Triple Bock …
Cheers to 10 years!
Over 20 years ago, Jim started thinking about the far reaches of the beer universe. As big brewers were making their beers lighter and lighter, Jim was curious about the other end of the beer spectrum and wanted to continue exploring the uncharted territory of extreme brewing. After several years of trial and error, we released Samuel Adams® Triple Bock in 1994 and set the record for the strongest beer ever (17.5% ABV) but Triple Bock wasn’t just about breaking the historical ABV ceiling. Jim found that aging the beer in whiskey barrels helped mellow the harsh ethanol attack on the palette, while adding some wonderful complexity to the beer. This was also the first time that any brewer in the U.S. had aged a beer in barrels previously used for spirits, a practice that is now fairly common among American craft brewers.
Triple Bock, the backbone of all of our Extreme Beers, served as the archetype for Samuel Adams Millennium®, a rare (only 3,000 bottles produced) style we brewed to commemorate the year 2000. In 2002, we introduced Samuel Adams Utopias which shocked the beer world with an incredible 24% ABV. With each new batch of Utopias, we pushed for more complexity and strength, producing brews with alcohol levels reaching 27% ABV over the last 10 years of Utopias’ existence. With that said, this year’s batch is coming in around 29% ABV though some of our barrels have reached over 33% ABV. With taste as our primary goal, we refined the liquid back to optimize the flavor best.
Popular questions around Utopias…
Where can I get a bottle of Utopias?!
The most important thing to remember is that Utopias is a very (and we mean very) limited brew, with fewer than 15,000 bottles released each season due to the long aging process. While our Find a Sam page will outline where Utopias bottles are sold (Utopias will be added to the list once the beer starts shipping), it is likely that many locations will sell their few bottles quickly. If you are traveling a far distance to acquire a bottle, we strongly recommend calling the retailer ahead of time to ensure they still have one to be purchased.
NOTE: Thirteen states prohibit its sale because its alcohol content exceeds the legal limit for beer: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.
How much does a bottle cost?
Retailers are free to set their own price, but we have placed a suggested retail price of $190.00 per bottle.
What does Utopias taste like?
The 2012 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias has its entire lineage in it, some of the beer has been aged in a variety of wood barrels for 19 years. This long aging process and variety of spirit barrels enhances the beer’s distinct vanilla and maple notes, and its high alcohol content creates a heated aroma of ginger and cinnamon. As a result, this big brew invokes the flavors of a rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate. The brew has sweet flavors of honey, toffee, caramel, cocoa and vanilla, balanced by distinct notes of molasses, raisins, plums and berries.
I’ve got a bottle of Utopias, now what?
Congratulations! Our brewers recommend serving this strong, rich, un-carbonated dark beer as an ideal after-dinner drink or toasting a special occasion at room temperature (about 70°F) in 2oz pours. Because this beer is un-carbonated and high in ABV, it can be opened and closed to be enjoyed when you want to enjoy it. No need to keep this beer in the fridge… a cool/dark place (basement, closet, etc.) will do the trick. Don’t be afraid to hold onto the bottle… the liquid will only get better with age!
By: Sam Adams Editorial Team
| Published: October 12th, 2012
Earlier today we gathered at Marlowe’s in Denver for brunch to do some final sampling and vote tallying to determine the three beers that would be crowned the 2012 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest winners. While all of the finalists were hoping to be victorious, there was a common “it’s just great to be here” shared by all the competitors. As one of the finalist said on Thursday night at the Great American Beer Festival, “…to be surrounded by this many talented brewers and have my beer among theirs, well, I didn’t think that’d be happening when I started my first mash a few years ago.”
Jim toasts with our three LongShot Winners
While last year’s winners featured three extremely malt-forward offerings, this year’s winners will bring a very different flavors to drinkers. Starting with Samuel Adams employee winner, Dave Anderson won with a Strawberry Lager. Prior to announcing Dave as the employee winner Jim jokingly said, “the Cincinnati brewery is hoping that Dave doesn’t win because they’re not sure how they’re going to get 1,800 pounds of strawberry’s into the brew house.” This bright and refreshing wheat beer doesn’t skimp on the strawberry taste as Dave used three pounds of strawberry in every batch. We loved the lingering, almost creamy, sweetness that this brew leaves on the palate. Sam drinkers who reach for our Cherry Wheat or Blackberry Witbier will enjoy this style.
Our next winner, James Schirmer of California, brewed an American wheat beer that we could envision drinking on a remote West Coast beach. Named Beerflower Wheat, we found this brew to be an awesome balance of smooth, sweet malt flavors with an interesting twist of citrus and herbal notes. While Jim introduced this beer he complimented James on his use of hibiscus which really gave the beer a delicate flavor while offering a slight floral and almost sweet aroma. A slightly darker beer then Dave’s Strawberry Lager, this brew will give you a nice medium body that finishes crisp on the palate.
A true coast to coast competition, our final winner Zach Adams (must be something in the last name) hails from Connecticut where he brewed an Imperial American IPA dubbed Magnificent Seven. For our Sam drinkers who enjoy a nice hoppy offering, this will be your favorite. Poured with a beautiful bronze coloring, we enjoyed the hop bitterness with hints of grapefruit, pine and earthy notes that are traditional in American hops. Depending on who you ask, this medium-bodied brew will also offer a wide variety of aroma ranging from caramel to citrus/lemon to piney. We caught Zach’s buddy Pat who traveled with him to Denver who was sharing the good news with family back home in Conneticut. A humorous ’I wish I had payed more attention while Zach was brewing in the garage’ was shared by Pat.We’re excited to get started on production of these three brews (well, except maybe for Dave’s) with an eye on releasing in February of 2013. We look forward to sharing more of these three talented homebrewers stories in the coming months leading up.
Congratulations to our three winners and to the over 1,000 entries we received! Cheers to the growth of craft beer… one homebrew at a time.