Best Of 2020

Best First Birthday Present: Utopias

The Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom celebrated its first birthday by giving us a present: it released its barrel-aged Utopias on draft for the first time ever in November. One could say, “Big deal. Who cares?” But this wasn’t just any regular beer release — Utopias is one of the most expensive, exclusive and extreme beers on the market. With an ABV of 28 percent, the top-shelf beer is illegal in 15 states across the nation. Illegal. And in 2019, Sam Adams only brewed 77 wooden casks of Utopias, then bottled it in 25.4-ounce ceramic decanters that looked like shiny brew kettles and sold them for $210 per bottle. According to a press release from the brewery, the rich, barrel-aged beer has a flavor profile reminiscent of a fine sherry or vintage port. (People on CityBeat’s staff sampled it and would agree on this description; very much like a sherry.) Utopias requires a time-intensive, multiyear brewing, aging and blending process, using only the world’s finest ingredients. Last year’s edition was aged in cognac and Madeira finishing barrels and was a blend of earlier batches of Samuel Adams’ extreme beers — some dating back 25 years. Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom, 1727 Logan St., Over-the-Rhine,