September 21, 2009

End of NY Craft Beer Week with Utopias - Record breaking beer

New York Craft Beer Week came to an end yesterday at new beer garden Studio Square in Long Island City, Queens.

Festivities included plenty of beer tastings, cooking with beer, and the opportunity to try Samuel Adams Utopias - the Guinness Book of World Records holder for strongest beer in the world (27% ABV!).

We start off slow with (left to right):  Brooklyn Brewery Manhattan Project, Avery Czar Imperial Stout, and Sly Fox Instigator Doppelbock.  The Sly Fox Instigator Doppelbock (7.5% ABV) did not have much on the nose.  It was sweet, almost sugary, because of the caramel malt.

The next beer was the brand new Brooklyn Brewery Manhattan Project (8.5% ABV).  This was sweet (not overly sugary like the Sly Fox) and smooth (coming from the malt).  This beer was inspired by the Manhattan cocktail - aged in rye barrels and a wash infused with a variety of herbs commonly found in vermouth.  All that was missing was the cherry! 
The Avery Czar Imperial Stout (11.03% ABV) was almost jet black in color with substantial lacing due to its high alcohol content.  The stout had hints of milk chocolate with a faint coffee bitterness. We would have preferred more bitterness to balance the sweetness but overall it was a good imperial stout.

The main event (i.e. the reason why we trekked out to Queens) was the $3 tastings of the 2007 Samuel Adams Utopias - a rare treat.

The Sam Adams reps poured the tastes of this $100+ (wholesale price!) bottle to celebrate the end of NY Craft Beer Week. We could smell the rich beer from several feet away as it was being poured.

Now the moment to taste the beer!  The nose on the Utopias was like a vintage Port - sweet richness (caramel, oak, and chocolate) balanced by the high alcohol. More liqueur than beer, the Utopias was filled with so much complexity and personality.

Isn't it beautiful?  The color is burnt amber, almost opaque.  The port beer was very rich and viscous - it's an unbelievable experience.

Overall, the Utopias was fantastic!  We really enjoyed the balance of the beer, the full body sweetness and very long finish.  All we were missing was a smoking jacket, cigar, and roaring fireplace!

Two more beers for the road (left to right):  One of our favorite beers, Allagash Black (7.5% ABV) and Keegan Ales Joe Mama Milk Stout (8% ABV).

Here were all of the ingredients for the Brew and Bean Chili - all that was missing was the beer!  (The chef eventually used Samuel Adams Octoberfest but she said that any lager would work.)

The Studio Square beer garden space was large and modern.

We loved the outdoor fire-pit!

Another fun week of beer tastings comes to an end...We're looking forward to next year's event!


  1. I think I'd be under the table after one Utopia. 27% alcohol - oh my!

  2. =) Yes, it was definitely strong! We only had 1 oz shot each but slowly sipped it!

  3. what fun! how on earth did i miss this fun? when we live just 20 minutes subway ride away... It reminds me of the octoberfest at bear mountain we went to last year.

  4. Short and Bald - There are 2 more foodie events happening in Queens this weekend. Details on Friday's post, but look for Le Fooding and the Vendy Awards.


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