Samuel Adams Merry Mischief

Samuel Adams Merry Mischief
— First off, fuck Christmas creep. This not only speaks to my issue with seasonal beers coming out WAY before their season, but since Christmas creep is ALL around us in so many different avenues, it’s that much worse than all other seasons. Seeing the Christmas sections already displayed in retail is bad enough, but I’ve also heard Christmas songs on the radio and even worse, this past weekend I witnessed people with their Christmas lights ON. Not just hanging but actually on. This is unacceptable. The first day that Christmas anything is allowed is Black Friday. That’s it.

Drinking this Merry Mischief definitely goes against everything I just said above, but I’ll be honest with as much traveling as I do, I don’t do as much beer shopping in the Capital District as I do out and about. As Merry Mischief just hit shelves today, I figured I’d support one of my local bottle shops and I thought it might go well with the Shepard’s Pie I made tonight for the first time.

The dish was forgettable, but this beer was better than I expected. I’m not a huge fan of any spiced beers, be it Belgian, Fall, or Christmas spices, so I really imagined I’d hate it. Thankfully, the beer balances its stout characteristics with the Christmas spices and I thought Sam Adams did quite well here. (The 9% ABV doesn’t hurt, either.) Would I go out of my way to buy this beer again? Probably not. But if you see it on yours shelves I would grab a bottle just to try it.


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Samuel Adams – Brewlywed Ale

– Jon (and Danielle) snagged this for me when they went to the release. I haven’t even seen this ticked on BA yet which is pretty badass. I haven’t opened this yet and plan on sitting on it for a while. Ya know, for that “special occassion”.

From the Samuel Adams Blog:

 A distinct and complex brew, Samuel Adams Brewlywed Ale offers layers of flavor including fruit and honeysuckle notes from the Belgian yeast, sweetness from malt and citrus character from hops. 

Samuel Adams Utopias Tasting Notes

This is a biggie. Not a whale per se since there are still plenty on the shelves and at online retailers, but definitely not your everyday beer. Only about ten thousand bottles were made, it’s illegal in almost a third of the country due to it’s 27% ABV, and its $160 (minimum) barrier to entry means this isn’t the easiest beer to get your hands on. This golden bottle had been dangled in front of my face at plenty of beer events in the past but never have I been able to try it before. After drinking that swill that was Voodoo Doughnut, (thanks to my buddy Jon) I was able to pop my Utopias cherry last week.

After he poured my taste into a Utopias glass the first thing I did was pick it up and give it a hefty sniff. The first thing that hits your nose is the huge ABV, followed by some maple syrup and then some of the port and cognac barrel-aging notes. Definitely the “hottest” beer I’ve ever had, with a nose closer to that of a spirit.

The beer has huge legs on it. It sticks to the sides of the glass like oil and slowly  creeps down to the bottom where it rests with the remainder of the beer. (You can see this in most of the pictures above). There’s obviously no head, no carbonation, no bubbles, no retention. Color is that of dark burnt caramel. 

The taste tells a completely different story than the nose. The alcohol gives way to this incredibly smooth, sweet port flavor with a slew of other tastes like whiskey, dark fruits, cognac, and vanilla. The complexity is evident from the barrel-aging process in scotch, bourbon, port and cognac casks. There is a LOT going on in the taste here, but they’re all flavors that belong together (although usually only one or two of the flavors at a time). Sweet finish and aftertaste. 

The beer has a mouthfeel somewhere a slight bit thinner than high-quality, Vermont maple syrup. It’s thick with (again) no carbonation and quite a bit of warmth from the alcohol.

Overall, I think Utopias is hard to compare to other beers. It’s much less of a beer and much more like a blended spirit. That said, I think Utopias is a great celebratory “special occasion” drink. It has the same “wow” factor as many of the great whales around here. It has a flavor that can’t be matched and it’s rarity lends to this theory. This is a world-class beer that is best served with a group of beer and drink nerds.

Did I love Utopias? Yes. Would I go out of my way to buy a bottle? Probably not. Would I buy myself a glass of this if I saw it at a bar for $15-20 bucks? Probably. Now the real question: Will I mooch it off my friends in the future? Hell yes.