2023 Sam Adams Utopias celebrates a collective brewing effort

2023 Sam Adams Utopias
2023 Sam Adams Utopias / Cristine Struble

The long awaited 2023 Sam Adams Utopias received much fanfare when it appeared after its hiatus. The biennial release celebrates not only brewing creativity but also a spirit of togetherness that Sam Adams brewers represent. For those fortunate enough to pour a glass of this celebrated beverage, it is a sip to cherish.  

Much has been said about the special Utopias offerings. While people can discuss the “illegality” of the offering in some states, the reality is that those designations do not reveal the complexity that the specialty libation truly offers.  

Even though various Sam Adams beers are steeped in tradition and sometimes bring a taste of innovation, the Utopias release is unlike anything else on the shelf. Beyond the high ABV, it is the layered flavor and complexity that invites people to slowly sip a neat pour. 

For the 2023 Utopias, the brewers wanted to make the specialty offering pass through the various states where Boston Brewing company has its operations. Although it might seem superfluous, having each location influence an aspect of the final offering celebrates the creative brewing effort behind the biennial release.  

In some ways, the journey from locale to locale captures the layers of flavors in the 2023 Utopias. This particular offering spent time in American bourbon barrels, Scotch and peated whiskey barrels, Ruby Port and Carcavelos casks and Cognac barrels, and lastly, a new addition of Pineau des Charentes barrels. Although this offering is not meant to be an engastration story, each moment spent in another barrel adds subsequent chapter to the flavor story.  

Although various aged beers are brewed with exquisite malts and have brewers’ expertise steeped into every offering, these specialty releases are more than highly coveted bottles to impress friends. Enjoying one of these offerings is meant to be a time to appreciate the craftsmanship, creativity, and celebration of beer ingenuity.  

With the 2023 Utopias, the connection between American innovation and European heritage is clear. Although there are various aged beers on the market, Utopias has and will always be unlike others. Even though the darkened liquid seems to cast a shadow on the table, the potent potable enraptures the drinker under its spell.  

As a 28% ABV pour, this libation is meant to be savored. While some people may have the special Utopias glass, a small whisky tasting glass works well. That tulip like shape allows the aroma to come to life. In actuality, it is best to pour a little and allow it to breathe a touch.  

At first, the slightly peaty or even earthy qualities are apparent. Then, it gives way to a slightly more fragrant enjoyment with even a hint of sweetness.  

Since the 2023 offering used the Pineau des Charentes barrels, the fruitiness from that aperitif adds a hint of brightness in the robust pour. Mixed in with the malty qualities, richness from the port barrels, and even the smoky notes from the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrells, the reality is that the Utopias does not need to be parsed into component after component. It should be sipped and embraced for the craftsmanship that is exemplifies.  

Unlike other beers, this Boston Beer offering does not have to drunk in its entirety in a few sittings. It will be interesting to see how the 2023 offering ages over time. Compared to previous releases, the sweetness and roundness might become more appealing with time. For anyone fortunate enough to have a 2021 bottle, comparing the two gives some insight into the brewer’s evolution. Only time will tell what 2025 has in store for Utopias fans.  

The very limited release of the 2023 Sam Adams Utopias is available now. Prices vary, but at release, the bottle sold for $240.  

Boston Beer Company has the motto “together we are heavy” and that sentiment should not be taken lightly. Banding together to create a celebratory release that weaves each part of its business, heritage, and people, it is an offering that few breweries can achieve. For those fortunate enough to have a bottle, give it a place of honor on the shelf and share a class with someone you cherish in your life.