Who would have ever thought that bottles of Samuel Adams Utopias would land on Irish shores? Yep, bottles of 27% ABV Boston-brewed barley wine in bottles which retail around the two hundred quid mark and look as good as this:
So fair play to Ireland’s importers – good job.
As I said, given the massive cost of the (admittedly amazing looking) 700ml bottle and the fact that my Euromillions win is still pending, I headed up to have a slightly less expensive taste in one the Cottage Group bars in Dublin who had a bottle cracked open to sell in short measures.
Utopias is one hell of an experience. It pours a viscous, oily, dark ruby colour with no head whatsoever – this is certainly approaching spirit territory in looks as well as booze content. The nose is massive and incredibly boozy: loads of sherry, brown sugar, Cointreau, and a good dash of pure nostril-hair-burning alcohol. The taste is just as big, but with some added subtlety in the mix too. Like a cage fighter with a PHD. There’s thick caramel notes, orange peel, orange blossom, sweet Cointreau, red fruits, prunes, a bit of almost-sour blackberry, and (of course) a big old ladle of booze. The flavours are intense but incredibly nuanced – the aftertaste lingers longer than that of any other beer I can remember having. Half an hour after I finished my glass I was still going through the experience. It’s luxurious (as it bloody well should be for the price).
If you like the sound of that and you’ve got deep pockets then go out to one of Dublin’s beer-specialist off licences, hand over two hundred Euro and they’ll give you a bottle. Send me a tenner too, you’ve obviously got enough cash.