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Wednesday, August 10, 2005 

Über Beer

You call this a beer?

John Balzar in the Los Angeles Times looks at the growing popularity and interest in craft brewing. It has been reported that wine has recently passed beer as the most popular alcoholic beverage. What isn't reported that that craft beer is the single fastest growing alcoholic beverage period.
In 2004, the quickest-growing segment of the alcoholic beverage industry in the U.S. was craft beer, not wine. Earlier this year it was reported that craft beer sales grew 7%. That turns out to be more than twice the 2.7% increase in wine or the 3.1% growth in spirits, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Assn.
One of the top craft beer brewers is the Boston Brewing Co, brewer of Samuel Adams Beer.
For more than a decade, Jim Koch of the Boston Brewing Co. has been in the vanguard of redefining our very concept of what beer can be. Beginning in 1993 with Samuel Adams Triple Bock, he has been ratcheting up the alcohol and flavor concentrations in small batches of limited-edition brews that have come to be known in the industry as "extreme beers."
A look over at the Samuel Adams webpage has more information on these "extreme" beers, specifically their Samuel Adams Utopias:
Truly the epitome of brewing's two thousand year evolution, Samuel Adams Utopias™ offers a flavor not just unlike any other beer but unlike any other beverage in the world. Its warm, sweet flavor is richly highlighted with hints of vanilla, oak and caramel. Our 2003 batch topped out at a record breaking 25% ABV, beating the records that Samuel Adams® Triple Bock® and Samuel Adams® Millennium had set before it. And like those groundbreaking brews, Samuel Adams Utopias™ is not carbonated and should be served at room temperature. In one of many examples where Samuel Adams Utopias™ pushed the boundaries of beer, it received the highest recommendation (96-100 points) from the prestigious Wine Enthusiast Magazine (November, 2003 edition).
Back to the Times article, we find that the availability and pricing of the Utopias is unique indeed:
Utopias is a beer created to make a point. It claims the record as the most potent beer brought to market, at 25% alcohol, or 50 proof. Only 8,000 individually numbered 750-milliliter, kettle-shaped bottles were produced, and while they are available, they cost $100 to $119 retail.