New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Strongest Beer In The World

One of the editors at Esquire very kindly gave me a bottle of Sam Adams Utopias beer recently. Yesterday was Friday, so when Jenn and I got home from work we decided to live it up a little and drink some of the official "Strongest Beer in the World."

Samuel Adams Utopias is a complex, uncarbonated beer with a 25 percent alcohol content. Most beer is between five percent and nine percent alcohol. Utopias is more comparable to a port wine or a whiskey than a beer in terms of texture and strength.

It's brewed like a beer, using Spalt Spalter, Hallertau Mittlefruh, and Tettnang Tettnanger hops (they are known as "Noble hops"), and Crystal Malt and Two-Row Moravian and Bamberg Smoked Malts. Then it's aged in oak barrels that had originally been used to make bourbon.

Yes, I am getting this from the press release that came with the bottle but I found it interesting and I like knowing the actual names of the hops and malt.

The beer is brewed in limited quantities, and it comes in a really cool-looking 24-ounce bottle that's shaped like a copper brew kettle. You can see a picture of it here.

I chilled the bottle a little bit (it's supposed to be served at room temperature) and poured out small servings in the snifter that came with the bottle and a wine glass and we had a toast to the strongest beer in the world and to us drinking it.

I guess it's a pretty obvious statement, but that beer is really strong. It had a thick consistency and a bittersweet taste with hints of fruit. The press release quotes Spirit Journal in saying that Utopias has "a semisweet aroma of fruit and honey with tastes of toffee, molasses and dark coffee." I would agree with that, and I would add that I also tasted bananas.

I took one sip that was a little too big, a regular beer sip, and it made me shudder. Whoof, that's a strong beast of a beer.

It's also a very delicious and interesting beer, but it's hard to drink too much of it. It's supposed to be served in two-ounce servings. Jenn and I enjoyed it but after a couple of small glasses we were both loopy and I closed the bottle (it's resealable) and put it in the fridge for later. It's definitely a sipping beer, I would call it unchuggable but maybe there's somebody out there who could do it, but not me.

It's kind of confusing because it exists in an alcohol netherworld, somewhere between beer, wine, and liquor. It has properties of all three, but in the end it's a beer. It's hard to wrap your mind around, until you've had a glass of it. Then it's easier.

I'll admit I am slightly hung over from it. It's a very mild hangover, but it's there.

Anyway, I hereby give my seal of approval to Sam Adams Utopias beer. Just know what you're getting into. Also please know that each 24-ounce bottle costs $100. I don't know if that makes it the most expensive beer in the world, but it's up there.

It's now 1:07 p.m. on Saturday and I'm at home. Jenn is out at a brunch with some friends, and she has a birthday dinner to attend tonight. I'll be on my own, probably hanging around at home trying to do productive things (see yesterday's post). This afternoon I'll go to kumite class at 4:00 p.m. and might possibly also get a haircut.


Blogger Jenn said...

Though the price seems steep, you do get a lot for the money: alcohol, taste, texture. That, and a helluva hangover.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes yes, I would like to sample this copper-encased beast of a beer...should occassion come where I could do so. Sounds great though, aside from the hangover.


11:57 AM  
Anonymous Matthias said...

I just learned about Sam Adams, while working in Chicago two weeks ago. A really nice beer! I like it a lot. Not only because the malt comes from my hometown Bamberg...

7:53 AM  
Blogger x said...

Yowza. That's a hairy brew. I was in Prague for my 21st birthday, when I discovered realy Czech beer, which was 14%. I had seven 500ml bottles, and began speaking fluent Czech. In my mind.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you buy it in New York City-I can't find it anywhere!

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto the quewry above, where did you buy it; and how much did you pay? the cheapest I've found is $216.

5:05 PM  

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