Utopias Cigars: A Q&A with Ted Jackson, Founder of Ted’s Cigars

Utopias CigarsThere are few things more rewarding for us at the Boston Brewery than seeing the excitement of our drinkers when their favorite brew is released. This is especially true with Utopias because of all of the passion and history that goes into this brew. And this year, we were happy to partner with Ted’s Cigars on the first-ever craft beer-seasoned cigar. It’s widely accepted that certain spirits pair with cigars. With this year’s release of Utopias, we thought it would be fun for cigar connoisseurs to try pairing with beer instead of the more traditional pairings.

I had the opportunity to talk with Ted’s Cigars founder Ted Jackson about this one-of-a-kind creation and here’s what he had to say:

Q: Ted, I had the opportunity to taste one of the Samuel Adams Utopias cigars and it immediately put a smile on my face. Brewing Utopias is an intense, tedious process, but it’s so rewarding to see this batch come to life not only in bottles, but in this cigar.

A: This was one of our most exciting projects to work on. Utopias has always been a favorite of mine, and I know it’s coveted by beer lovers worldwide. I’ve had a chance to try a few different batches of Utopias over the years, and no single batch tastes the same as the one that came before or after it. Each year’s batch’s flavors are so complex, but the common denominator is that Utopias is unlike any beer I’ve ever tasted.

Q: Utopias seems like a natural choice for a cigar pairing. Why does it work so well?

A: People naturally think of spirits to pair with cigars. Utopias works because of the complex flavors and the qualities that make it almost like a port or cognac. So many of the flavors in the Utopias – from its fruitiness and nuttiness – go together so well with the cigar’s spicy, complex character. It’s a match made in heaven.

Q: Exactly. This is proof that a craft beer be an equally enjoyable cigar ingredient and pairing. What can you tell us about your process for aromatically-seasoning the cigars? It sounds like something out of a mad scientist movie.

A: Our aromatic-seasoning process is proprietary, so I can’t tell you much aside from the fact that there aren’t any white coats or lab assistants locked in the basement. It’s an extremely tedious, time consuming process, but as you can see it’s the best way to meld the true Utopias character into the cigar.

Q: How much does the quality of the cigar itself matter for aromatic seasoning? You certainly won’t find this kind of cigar at the corner drug store.

A: Utopias on its own is otherworldly, but there isn’t a single liquid on the planet that can rescue a bad cigar. We take a lot of pride in the fact that this cigar blend received a rating of ‘88’ (Excellent) by Cigar Aficionado. That’s nothing to scoff at.

Q: Where can you buy the Samuel Adams Utopias Cigar?  I know I’ll be picking up a few for the holidays.

A: This cigar will be sold exclusively on our website, at TedsCigars.com/SamuelAdams. They’re only available through the end of December, though, so get ‘em while you can.

Everything You Need to Know About the 2013 Release of Utopias

If you haven’t heard of or had Utopias before, it is a brew that challenges the notion of what a beer can be.

It is an extraordinary brew that is the result of complex and carefully timed brewing – it is a blend of batches, some having been aged more than 20 years in a variety of woods in our Barrel Room. (If you’d like to learn more about the history of Utopias, check out this post).

This year’s Utopias was aged in casks from Buffalo Trace Distillery and eight-year-old Port barrels from Portugal. We then blended it with a touch of our Kosmic Mother Funk ® (KMF), a Belgian-style ale barrel-aged for at least nine months (and up to two years) in Hungarian oak tuns.

This is the first time we’ve blended KMF into Utopias. Here’s what Jim had to say about the new addition: “The KMF brings a whole new spectrum of flavors and complexity to the beer, including brighter fruit notes like cherries and plums and just a hint of earthiness.”

Utopias Comp2 (2)Utopias is a strong, rich, uncarbonated dark beer with fruit notes and a rich malty sweetness, reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while being surprisingly light on the palate.

Our Find a Sam page will tell you where you can find Utopias, but keep in mind that it is likely that many locations will sell their few bottles quickly. If you are planning to travel a far distance to acquire a bottle, we strongly recommend calling the retailer ahead of time to ensure they have it on hand.

We brewed fewer than 15,000 bottles this year, so it is a truly rare drinking experience.

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.

So, how much will it cost you? Retailers are free to set their own pricing, but we have placed a suggested retail price of $199.00 per bottle.

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. Don’t store this beer in the fridge… a cool/dark place is ideal. And don’t be afraid to hold onto the bottle… the liquid will only get better with age!

Our brewers recommend serving Utopias as an ideal after-dinner drink or toasting a special occasion at room temperature (about 70°F) in 2oz pours.

This year we worked with Ted’s Cigars to create a limited-edition, Utopias-seasoned cigar, to be enjoyed on its own or as a pairing with the brew. The Utopias-seasoned cigars are made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, long leaf Dominican Republic binder, and tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Nicaragua, and of course, seasoned with Samuel Adams Utopias through Ted’s proprietary process of aromatic seasoning, which marries the complex flavors of both the cigar and the Utopias.

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When enjoying Utopias and the seasoned cigar together, the beer brings out a creamy, spicy sweetness from the cigar and enhances the subtle leather and smoky character in the cigar’s finish. You can purchase Ted’s Utopias-seasoned cigars at Ted’s Cigars during November and December.

If you get your hands on a bottle and/or cigar be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter or Facebook!