Tag Archives: Sam Adams

Utopias a rare find worth the search

utopiasJim Koch is an iconic figure in the American craft beer scene and this fall his Boston Beer Company, better known as Samuel Adams, is releasing the 10th iteration of its iconic brew Utopias. Created only once every other year, this extremely limited edition beer is one of the world’s most sought-after brews.

Koch, a sixth-generation brewer, almost did not follow in his predecessor’s footsteps. He went to college at Harvard where he earned three degrees before beginning a career in management consulting. But, the siren song of beer kept pulling at him. And, with his great-great grandfather Louis Koch’s recipe for a spicy Vienna-style lager in hand, he brewed the first of what would become Boston Beer’s flagship brand – Samuel Adams Boston Lager — in his kitchen.

Not long after that, Koch invested $100,000 of his own money and additional funds raised from investors that included friends, family and former classmates to found the Boston Beer Company in 1984. With the specter of his family’s 13 brewery failures looming over him, Koch was determined to make Samuel Adams a success.

Over the next 13 years, Koch grew his business by leveraging other brewery’s excess capacity in a process known as contract brewing. Then, in 1997, he purchased the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery in his home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. This helped the flourishing company free itself from contract brewing and accelerated its growth.

Utopias got its start in 1994 with the first release of a new beer style brewed by Samuel Adams called Triple Bock. The opaque, black brew was the strongest beer ever brewed at the time a whopping 17.5% ABV. Described as similar in taste to a port wine, Triple Bock was brewed with maple syrup, aged in spirits barrels and presented in distinctive cobalt-blue bottles. Only three vintages of the brew were created in 1994, 1995 and 1997.

Not content with creating the world’s first triple bock, Koch began thinking about what he could fashion to commemorate the coming new millennia. The result with an American Strong Ale he appropriately named Millennium. Koch again pushed the envelope on alcohol content with this brew settling in at 20% ABV. Millennium was only brewed once.

With two big beers under his belt, Koch wanted to create a beer that would be produced every other year. The beer, which he decided to call Utopias, would be bigger than its predecessors and would be blended with the base beer that has matured in scotch, cognac and port barrels. The first release, in 2002, weighed at 24% ABV with subsequent releases reaching 29% ABV.

Brewed to be a complex beer, Utopias consists of three different varieties each of hops and malt. Spalt Spalter, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, and Tettnang Tettnanger hops provide a slight amount of bitterness to the brew while Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Caramel 60, and Munich malts provide sweetness along with maple syrup.

So, what should you expect Utopias to taste like if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle of this illusive beer? Many compare it to a fine cognac or sherry. It contains no carbonation and pours inky black. A new bottle will be hot with alcohol, but also flavors of leather, cherry, molasses and toffee. Upon aging a few years, the alcohol hotness should drop off and the other flavors will intensify.

With only 13,000 bottles available this year, expect Utopias to be a hard bottle to find. But, if you find it and the $199 price tag doesn’t scare you away, you will be rewarded with a truly remarkable beer worthy of savoring only on the most special of occasions.




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Posted by on December 18, 2017 in Beer, Beer Releases


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Sam Adams invites you to Pour One Forward this Memorial Day


Source: American Dream U

This Memorial Day weekend take a break from the beach, barbecues and gatherings to reflect on the sacrifices made by our nation’s military and first responders. To make it easier to show your appreciation for these amazing people, Sam Adams and American Dream U are sponsoring a campaign called Pour One Forward to help educate military members and their families as well as help military members find jobs and grow small businesses.

Pout One Forward is a program that allows you to purchase a Sam Adams Boston Lager for a military member this weekend. The concept is simple, the next time you are at a participating bar or restaurant that serves Boston Lager (use this handy map to find one) tell your server that you want to buy a Boston Lager for a military member. You will be given a voucher to fill out in the shape of a pint glass. Then, just leave the voucher with the server and they will give it to an active or veteran military member so they can enjoy a free beer on you.

In addition to providing free pints to service members, Pour One Forward provides a $.50 donation to American Dream U for each 12-pack of Boston Lager sold by participating retail stores. You can also text POURONE to 24587 and make a donation. Sam Adams will match all donations up to $10,000

The Pour One Forward campaign runs through July 5, 2017.

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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Beer, Beer News


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Samuel Adams Brewing to offer “bride ale,” marriages at Boston brewery

brewleywedJune is traditionally the month for marriage. The folks over at Samuel Adams Brewing Company in Boston, Mass. recognize this and have brewed up a very special, one-of-a-kind beer to commemorate this traditional month of matrimony. And, if the mood strikes you, they will even let loving couples exchange their vows in the brewery.

But, in order to get your hands on the brew, dubbed Brewleywed Ale, you will have to appear in person at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston on Wednesday, June 26. So, if you are not currently in Boston, you may have a hard time getting your hands on the limited release brew.

According to the brewery’s blog, “Just 300 cases of this Belgian stylebride ale” have been brewed for the big day, so whether you’re engaged, married or celebrating an anniversary – or looking for a unique gift – line up for your opportunity to purchase a bottle or case. Brewlywed Ale will be available in 750mL, cork-finished bottles.”

Last year Sam Adams started this new tradition of celebrating the union of two people by brewing its first batch of the Belgian-style “bride ale.” Beer has been a traditional part of weddings for millennia. In fact the word honeymoon describes the ancient practice of supplying a newly-wed couple with mead – or honey beer – for the first moon, or month of their marriage in hopes of a swift conception. In addition, the medieval word “ale” comes from the word “bridal.” No wonder beer is such an integral part of weddings!

If you are lucky enough to be in the immediate vicinity of the brewery for the release of Brewleywed Ale, and happen to have a valid Massachusetts marriage license, the folks at the brewery would be pleased to help you tie the knot. a Justice of the Peace available to perform ceremonies on the spot while string quartet Maestro Musicians serenades couples in the background. Need a Best Man (or Maid of Honor)? Jim Koch, founder and owner of Samuel Adams, will be on hand to witness your special day.

If you are just there for the beer, you can pick up the 750 mL bottles for $14.99 at the brewery, June 26 only.

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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Belgian


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Samuel Adams Utopias, a potent and rare acquisition

utopiasIn the world of beer enthusiasts, there are a few beers that are so desirable, yet so difficult to obtain, that it is considered a major coup to actually acquire one. Last week, that rare beer was Westvleteren 12, the legendary beer brewed by Trappist monks at the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Belgium. The monks, notorious among beer-lovers for their maddeningly low production and frustratingly difficult procedures for obtaining the beer, released a quantity to the United States for the first and probably last time in order to finance badly needed repairs to the monastery. The allotment was snapped up in record time. I was among those dedicated fans who braved the rain in Jacksonville to snag the brew.

This week I again obtained a rare and highly sought after brew, one that is just as valued by beer aficionados as Westies, but this time is domestic. I refer to the bi-annually released Samuel Adams Utopias. Thought the brew has only existed for ten years, it has garnered the same type of reverence and demand as even the elusive Westie.

Samuel Adams founder and chairman, Jim Koch says of the Utopias brews that his original idea was not to copy the European styles of beers like all the other brewers, but to create a style of beer that had never been brewed before. His first foray into brewing a unique style resulted in the creation of the coveted Samuel Adams Triple Bock, a brew that weighed in at an astounding for the time 18% ABV, the strongest beer in the world then. Another first for the brew, Triple Bock was aged in spirits barrels and bottled in distinctive cobalt-blue bottles. The year was 1994 and the brew sold out within just a few months.

Next Koch wanted to make a brew to commemorate the upcoming millennium, so in 1999 he set his sights at creating a brew that would honor the once-in-a-lifetime event and named it Millennium. According to the company’s website, this 40 proof brew was fashioned with, “with overtones of vanilla, butterscotch, pear, and a hint of cinnamon. Noble hops give Samuel Adams Millennium a touch of herbal and orange rind-like bitterness that delivers a balanced finish.” A recent auction on eBay had a single bottle of this brew selling for nearly $1,000.

With another success under his belt, Koch began to formulate his next big beer. This time the plan was to release the brew every other year. The brews were named Utopias, and the first batch was released in 2002. That first batch hit the market at 24% ABV and was marketed as the strongest commercially available beer in the world. Subsequently, Sam Adams has released Utopias with increasing ABVs up to this year’s 10th anniversary release that comes in at 29%.

This year’s release is brewed with, “Samuel Adams two-row pale malt, smoked malt Munich, and Caramel 60 to impart the rich, ruby-red color.” The brew also incorporates three varieties of Noble Hops: Hallertau Mittlefrueh, Spalt Spalter, and Tettnang Tettnanger. But, perhaps one of the most interesting ingredients in the beer is a blend of the other Utopias including the nearly twenty-year-old Triple Bock. To obtain the higher alcohol content, Sam Adams used a strain of champagne yeast that is known to survive in the higher alcohol environment. Finally, the brew was aged in a succession of barrels to enhance its notes of vanilla and maple. Those barrels included bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery, finishing casks of Tawny Port and Vintage Ruby Port from Portugal, and rum barrels from Nicaragua.

The end result of this time-consuming and labor-intensive process is a beer that is reminiscent of the best cordials. The company says that the brew, “invokes the flavor of a vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate.” The brew is said to include flavors of fig, chocolate, raisins, vanilla, and spices.

For the brew’s 10th anniversary, only 15,000 bottles were produced. The individually-numbered bottles themselves are a work of art shaped to look like a brew kettle but colored black with roots painted on it to represent the roots beer’s that are nearly 20-year deep history.

Because of the limited number of bottles, Utopias are extremely difficult to come by and, if you are fortunate to find it, rather expensive at $190 per bottle. But, if you do manage to acquire this remarkable brew, be sure to savor it. Unlike many beers, this brew can be opend and resealed without fear of spoilage. Many take a small amount upon receipt and then pour themselves a small amount yearly on their birthday or New Year’s Eve. However you decide to drink the brew, if you are in possession of a bottle, you can feel privileged to know you are one of the very few to have that opportunity. I do.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW

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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Beer, Beer News


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New Albion Ale lives again thanks to Sam Adams

Heroes come in many forms; some are of the super variety and fly around in brightly colored tights, while others quietly sit back and humbly accept their place in history. Jack McAuliffe is one of those quiet heroes.

In 1976 McAuliffe founded what is widely acknowledged as the first microbrewery in the modern era of brewing in the United States. His New Albion Brewing Company is now defunct, but his legacy, influence, and beer lives on. That he is remembered is thanks to another great pioneer in the American brewing industry Jim Koch.

On Friday, October 12, in Denver Colo., during the Great American Beer Festival, Koch and his Boston Beer Company immortalized McAuliffe at a brunch and ceremony in his honor. In his opening statements, Koch talked about the pioneering spirit displayed by McAuliffe; how McAuliffe overcame towering odds to take his brewery from the garage to Sonoma where it was christened New Albion after the name Sir Francis Drake first called the San Francisco Bay area.

Even though the New Albion Brewery eventually fell victim to a lack of expansion space and funding and eventually died an untimely death, McAuliffe left a lasting imprint on the microbrewing movement that picked up steam in the early 1980s and continues today. His brewery proved that a microbrewing facility could be built and operated and that the beer made there was of higher quality than the macro-lagers that were flooding the market.

In his typical fashion, the aging McAuliffe remained soft-spoken and humble to the praise lavished on him by Koch. During his talk at the brunch he thanked Koch and his company for the recognition and urged everyone to continue in his footsteps to continually innovate and keep the craft beer movement’s forward momentum going.

The brunch ended with the announcement that Boston Beer Company had reproduced New Albion’s brew from yeast strains kept and cultivated by the University of California at Davis of the McAuliffe’s strain. Attendees were encouraged to raise a glass of the resurrected brew to toast McAuliffe’s achievements and get a taste of the beer that started it all.

McAuliffe’s brew, New Albion Ale, will be available from Samuel Adams beginning in January 2013.

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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Beer, Beer News, Craft Beer Brewery


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