Sometimes fate gives you a gift, and you realize its such a bounty that the best thing to do is pay it forward.
Case in point the Idaho Statesman recently got two bottles of Samuel Adams Utopias the 2012 10th Anniversary version in the mail.
Normally, getting unsolicited bottles of craft beer in the mail from breweries is awesome. I donate it to others, ask people what they think later. Its like being Beer Claus. Great gig.
The Utopias, however, is just about the coolest beer you could get in the mail but also poses a bit of a problem. This ultra-rare, ultra-coveted yearly release retails for $160 a 24-ounce bottle. This years version is 29 percent alcohol by volume (abv). Twenty-nine percent! Thats not beer its beer brandy!
Its such a radical brew, its not even allowed to be sold as beer in Idaho (and 12 other states) because of the high alcohol content. Sam Adams isnt shipping a single bottle to the spud state for sale. The only way an Idahoan could get a bottle of Utopias is to drive to another less uptight state, alcohol-wise, like Oregon. And since only a handful are even making their way out to the Pac Northwest, youd be out of luck.
That leaves eBay as the only buying option, and prices just go up and up from $160. Even the empty bottles, which look like a brew kettle, sell for $30 or more.
The only thing to do in this situation is to share this gift with you, loyal readers of this column, who deserve it most. (Wow. That sounds like something Stan Lee would write in the letters page of a late 60s issue of The Silver Surfer).
Anyway, this is what we are going to do. Send me an email with a few graphs (think about 150 words or so) to email@example.com about why you should get to taste the ultra-rare 10th Anniversary Utopias. Be funny, be indignant, be something. Include current contact information.
Ill pick six names at random. Unless the stories are horrible, youll be the winners! Ill share some of those stories on my Beer Nut blog. Well all meet at Bittercreek Alehouse with some members of Boises craft beer cognoscenti and imbibe. Time and place and all that stuff will be determined later.
So what is Utopias, anyway? Ill let Sam Adams explain.
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 beers 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.
There you have it.
The idea for Utopias came from Sam Adams Triple Bock, which registered an unheard of 17 percent abv when released in 1994. The first Utopias was released in 2002, with a 24 percent abv, and the brew has become stronger and more complex as the years have gone on.
Ive had Utopias before, at the Great American Beer Festival. It is an incredibly strong beer, full of alcohol heat and deep rich flavor. It is a treat to be savored, if you like that kind of thing. Sip by sip. I cant wait to release this in the Boise beer universe.
The fine folks at Sockeye Brewpub & Grill have their new canning line up and running. That means, for the first time, you can buy a sixer of the iconic Dagger Falls IPA to take and drink at home or anywhere else, for that matter. The sixers are being sold at the brewpub at 3019 N. Cole Road for $7.50. A good price to have what many consider to be Boises best beer. I tend to agree.
Payette Brewing Co. may have gotten into the local-craft-beer-in-a-can market first with the Payette Pale Ale and Mutton Buster Brown Ale earlier this year, but they are not yet able to put their Outlaw IPA in a can because they need to be able to meet all their keg orders for their most popular beer.
Sockeye finally got all their approvals in place and began brewing at their new 20-barrel-brewing facility on Fairview Avenue earlier this fall. For now, they are just selling sixers of Dagger at the brewpub. As they get comfortable with their new brewing system and production, expect those cans to start showing up for sale at Boises best beer stores such as Bier:Thirty, Brewforia, Brewers Haven and the Boise Co-op.
Boise has needed a hometown brew in a six-pack for such a long time. Now we have two of our best breweries in the mix and that doesnt include Crooked Fence Brewing in Garden City, which is making a real commitment to put 22-ounce bottles in area stores. It will be fascinating to watch this market develop.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Beer
Patrick Orrs beer column runs the first Friday of the month.