Arrow Wine holds raffle for the right to purchase rare, expensive beer

Samuel Adams Utopia with Riedel tasting glass. SUBMITTED
Samuel Adams Utopia with Riedel tasting glass. SUBMITTED

Arrow Wine & Spirits is selling $5 raffle tickets — with all of the proceeds benefitting the Foodbank — for the opportunity to purchase one bottle of the rare, limited Samuel Adams Utopias for the full bottle price of $189.

So, just to be clear, the winner of the raffle doesn’t “win” the bottle (and special Riedel tasting glass). He or she wins the right to BUY the bottle for its full $189 price.

Both Arrow stores, the Far Hills/Kettering location and the Lyons Road/Washington Twp. shop, are selling their limited supply of bottles this way, while also raising money for the Dayton-based hunger-fighting non-profit. Raffle tickets are available at each Arrow store, and drawings will be held Dec. 17. Winners have until Dec. 19 to complete the purchase.

Despite the beer’s high price tag — the $189 buys a 24-ounce bottle, or just under $8 an ounce, plus the tasting glass — there has been strong interest from customers wanting to snag a bottle, Arrow officials said. Jungle Jim’s announced it would hold a lottery to determine which of its customers could purchase its allotment.

Boston Beer Company Founder and Brewer Jim Koch describes Sam Adams Utopias as “the lunatic fringe of extreme beer.” The beer is an ultra-rich, port-like beer meant to be sipped like a fine Cognac or Armagnac, in part because it is 28 percent alcohol by volume, or 56 proof.

The special brew is vintage-dated, and it’s not made every year — the current release, the 2015 Utopias, is the ninth batch made since 2002. The beers are blended with previous vintages going as far back as 1992, then finished in the Barrel Room at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery.

Here's how the Samuel Adams web site describes the 2015 vintage of the specialty elixir:

“If you’re a fan of vintage ports, fine Cognac or aged Sherry, this beer is right up your alley. This year’s brew is flavorful and slightly fruity, with a subtle sweetness and a deep rich malty smoothness, yet still light on the palate.

“Carefully timed brewing and blending was key to this year’s Utopias. Some of the batches we blended had been aged up to 22 years in a variety of barrels in our Boston Brewery. This process adds flavors like nutty oak, toffee, honey notes, fig, chocolate, raisin, vanilla, & spice to the beer.

“The 2015 blend was aged in single-use bourbon casks from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery. A portion was also aged in hand-selected finishing barrels which bring out notes of wood, molasses, tobacco, and spice. We also used Madeira, Carcavelos, Cognac, and Armagnac barrels, which gave this brew dark fruit aromas.”

At least one southwest Ohio retailer, Jungle Jim’s, invited customers to enter a lottery for a chance to buy a bottle.

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