If utopia is getting fairly toasted off one very pricey and sophisticated beer, then Boston Beer Co. has your ticket to paradise.
The craft brewing powerhouse this week unveiled the latest vintage of its "Samuel Adams Utopias" series with a $150 per-bottle beer that tips the scales at 27% alcohol by volume -- your average American brew clocks in at around 5% ABV. The brewer first started pumping out these small-batch, extreme beers in 2002, with its first release at 24% ABV, which gained it the Guinness Book of World Records distinction for the world's "strongest beer commercially available." This year's brew matches the 2009 batch at 27%.
"The brewers and I spent years perfecting it, experimenting with different barrels and aging techniques until we felt it lived up to the long-standing heritage of Samuel Adams Utopias -- a quest to push the boundaries of beer," said Boston Beer founder Jim Koch.
Only 53 barrels were made of the brew, which comes from liquids blended for up to 18 years in wood casks, including Sherry casks from Spain and Portugal that the brewer says adds a "nutty oak, toffee and honey notes" to the beer's "distinct vanilla, maple and cocoa notes."
In other words, so much for sessionability. And, as Ad Age 's Charles Moran pointed out, "with no temperature-sensitive graphic on the bottle, it's hard to tell if it's cold."