Samuel Adams releases a new version of its famed Utopias beer every two years, and the twelfth edition of the rare alcoholic beverage is set to hit shelves starting October 11th.
But like its predecessors, Samuel Adams 2021 Utopias beer is still illegal in 15 U.S. states namely, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. Utopias are prohibited to be sold in those states because they contain 28% alcohol by volume, which is more than five times the potency of typical U.S. brews.
Samuel Adams only brews around 13,000 bottles of Utopias every two years, so fans may still find it difficult to score a bottle or two even in places where the beer is allowed to be sold. Utopias are also extremely costly. In fact, Utopias have increased in price since it was introduced in 2002. For this year’s edition, the suggested retail price for a 25.4-ounce bottle of Utopias beer is $240. The 2017 version cost $199, while the 2019 edition cost $210.
A spirited blend of multiple batches of Samuel Adams’ extreme beers, Utopias are held in reserve for just their coveted biennial release. Some of the beer dates back nearly three decades, aging in wooden bourbon casks. Brewers then finish the blend in a combination of Carcavelos, Madeira, Ruby Port, and Sherry Oloroso barrels.
But this year, for the first time ever, brewers also aged a portion of the blend in Sauternes French oak wine casks, adding subtle notes of honeyed apricot and caramel to the alcohol’s rich layers of flavor. Samuel Adams 2021 Utopias were also finished on 2,000 pounds of cherries, including Michigan Balaton cherries, delivering a slight sweetness and touch of tart flavor.
“We pioneered the barrel-aging and blending process of Utopias almost 30 years ago and continue that time-honored tradition today,” said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams, in a statement. “Since the introduction of Utopias in 2002, brewers have explored uncharted territory with each brew, experimenting with different kinds of aging barrels, new flavors, and different blending techniques. The result is always special, spirited, and worth waiting for.”
Samuel Adams was the official beer of Inspiration4, the first all-civilian tourism mission to space that returned from orbit last Saturday. And as part of the celebration of Inspiration4’s successful mission, Sam Adams donated $100,000 to support Jared Isaacman’s challenge to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
To extend support of the cause, Koch also offered his personal bottle of 2021 Utopias, signed by himself and the Inspiration4 crew, and a trip to the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery for the St. Jude Charitybuzz auction. All proceeds raised from the auction went to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“Utopias is a high gravity beer and I’m honored to take it to new heights with our friends on the Inspiration4 mission,” said Koch. “A beer at its most spirited, it’s always great to see Utopias support the community and that includes donating my number one bottle to a noble cause like St. Jude.”