Sometimes it feels like beer culture is an arms race. "How much hops can we cram into the smallest quantity of beer we can get away with selling to customers? How much alcohol can we pack into a beer without having to sell it as hard liquor?" The Samuel Adams brewery appears to have answered these questions conclusively.
They recently debuted a new beer named "Utopias," that is so alcoholic that it is illegal to sell in eleven states. It is technically a "barleywine," and is going to enjoy a very limited release. There will only be 13,000 bottles of the firewater put on the market, and 68 casks.
A bottle of Utopias will set you back $200. If you can even get your hands on one. They are first going to be distributed to Sam Adams employees and beer collectors are already lining up to claim the remaining bottles.
The Utopias was aged in "hand-selected, single-use bourbon casks from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery." Sam Adams claims this gives the beer flavors of "Bourbon, White Carcavelos, and Ruby Port." And alcohol. So much alcohol.
Utopias has an ABV of 28%. This will render it illegal for sale in: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington. It will also make ownership of Utopias twice as cool/mavericky in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.
The barleywine is brewed from three different constituent types of German Noble hops. They're also using a secret formula of two-row pale malt, Munich malt and Caramel 60 malt. More importantly, they're using a whole bunch of alcohol.
So, if you're to spend $200 for a bottle of barleywine this year, you might want to make it the one that gives you an air of being a dangerous criminal. You could also buy ten six-packs of craft beer or twenty six-packs of good beer for the same price and get just as / more drunk.
Believe it or not, 28% ABV is not actually anywhere close to the highest ABV you can get in a beer. The world's strongest beer is called "Snake Venom." It's a Scottish beer that boasts an absolutely insane 67.5% ABV. Compare to vodka, which has a typical ABV somewhere around 40%.
There's an idea. You could drink vodka. Especially considering the fact that a bottle of Snake Venom costs about $78 USD. Vodka is also legal.