When you talk to any beer “snob” who has been around the scene for a while, the mere mention of the word Utopias causes eyes to light up. The much fabled, rarely seen “beer” is on the beer bucket list of almost everyone who looks for new and exciting beers as a hobby.
This year, I had the privilege to share in a bottle with Mark at our favourite establishment, Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium. The date was planned months in advance. You see, Mark just closed a huge deal at work as was receiving a large cheque (amount, not novelty lottery size) and wanted to spend it on the last bottle of Utopias Milos had. On February 19, the bottle was ordered, friends were called and the anticipation was palpable (whatever that means, I hear it all the time, thought it worked well here)
The night started out at 5pm with the first game of 1’s hockey tournament, followed immediately by rushing over to the Bud Gardens where the kids had a box to watch the Knights play. Conveniently for me, Milos’ and the Gardens are a block away from each other! After dropping off 1, I walked to the bar, met Mark and started the night with Nickel Brook Autumnus then Sawdust City Or Thoughts On Good & Evil (both not bad). I enjoyed a big ass burger and then it was time.
The waitress came over with the bottle in the centre of the tray surrounded by 8 glasses designed specifically for Utopias. She opened it up and poured out 4 glasses (the rest of the table hadn’t arrived yet). It was dark brown, almost a colour I’ve never seen beer before. It smelled, well, like booze. For those not in the know, Utopias is a blended beer made up of barrel aged beers, some aged up to 19 years, in cognac, port, bourbon and casks used for other spirits.
Shut up Ken, how did it taste? Other than saying Angel Tears…it was interesting. Up front there was smooth scotch, which then turned to sweet port and ended with a slight bourbon booty.
There was so much going on in my mouth that I just decided, the hell with it, just drink it and enjoy it. No need to analyse anymore.
After a few sips (which took 30 mins, it is 27% after all) Milos came over and sat with us and explained where he got it from. Back in 2013, the LCBO was set up to sell the 2012 non-anniversary edition by special order (and sold out in hours). To mark the event, the had Jim Koch himself up to Head Office and had a tasting party for an older variant. At the event, you had the opportunity to buy the much-more-than-$100 10th Anniversary edition. Milos bought two, both hand signed by Jim Koch. Milos has sold the first bottle about a year ago and was holding onto this one..until Mark bought it. The bottle was inscribed “Adil, Cheers! Jim Koch”. But who was Adil, and why were we drinking his beer? Turns out Adil is Milos close friend and the brewmaster at Beer Lab, a local craft brewery who sells out of Milos’.
From there he went on for another 20 minutes about a $750 beer he had a sip from, his trip to Italy and Spain and all the unique beer he had there…..you know, boring stuff.
It will never happen again, but I’m glad I was there for at least one glass. Cheers Mark!
Country of Origin: United States
Alcohol Content: 27%
Finished: Oh hells yes
Vessel: Utopias glass