Samuel Adams Utopias

The Friday Mash (One Whale Of An Edition)

On this day in 1820, in the South Pacific, an 80-ton whale attacked the Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick–admit it, you read the Cliff’s Notes for that title-is in part inspired by this story.

And now….The Mash! 

We begin in Leeds, where two men refused to let a rainstorm, or the flooding from that storm, stop them from enjoying a pint in a pub’s beer garden. Their Sunday roast, however, was rained out.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Sam Calagione has been named executive editor of Pallet, a quarterly magazine aimed at people who “like to think and drink.” Pallet’s subtitle is “Only interested in everything.”

Historians have concluded that the Pilgrims didn’t have beer at the original Thanksgiving feast. That, however, shouldn’t stop you from serving beer with your Turkey Day dinner.

Louisville plans to revive a tradition from more than a century ago: a party to celebrate the release of bock beer. The NuLu Bock Beer Festival will take place next spring.

A beer garden made from shipping containers? It’s coming to the port city of Long Beach, California. Called SteelCraft, it will feature beer from Smog City and other local micros, along with gourmet food.

Samuel Adams Utopias, an ultra-high-gravity (28 percent ABV), and ultra-expensive (suggested retail price: $199) beer is back. The current batch, the ninth brewed since 2002, contains previous vintages going back to 1992.

Finally, Sadie Snyder, a Massachusetts woman who celebrated her 106th birthday, credits beer for her longevity. She had her first beer at age six thanks to her father, who worked in the beer industry.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Countries represented on this year’s Beer Festival Calendar: 26.
  • U.S. states represented on this year’s Beer Festival Calendar: 49 (we’re looking at you, South Dakota).
  • U.S. hard cider production in 2012: 690,000 barrels.
  • Increase over 2011: 70 percent.
  • Hard cider’s share of the U.S. beer market: less than 1 percent.
  • Canadians’ annual spending on alcoholic beverages: C$21 billion ($20.1 billion U.S.).
  • Beer’s share of that spending: 44 percent.
  • Canadian jobs attributable to the beer industry: 163,200.
  • Beer industry’s share of all Canadian jobs: 1 percent.
  • Change in Belgium’s beer exports from 2002 to 2012: Up 266 percent.
  • Change in Belgium’s domestic beer consumption during that period: Down 17 percent.
  • Alcoholic content of this year’s edition of Samuel Adams Utopias: 28 percent.
  • Suggested retail price of a bottle of Utopias: $199.
  • Current annual production of Leinenkugel Summer Shandy: 1 million barrels.
  • Summer Shandy production in 1988, when Miller Brewing Company acquired Leinenkugel: 60,000 barrels.

$115 For Sam Adams Utopias?

Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont was taken aback when a Toronto Globe and Mail wine critic called the price of Samuel Adams Utopias ($115) “exorbitant,” “stratospheric,” and comparable to “Rolex watches and Prada purses.”

Beaumont pointed out that the same critic described a bottle of Balvenie 17 Year Old Double Wood ($168) as merely “expensive,” and made no comment about the price ($189) of 15 year old Nikka Miyagikyo. He also did some number-crunching. A bottle of Utopias contains 12 servings–two ounces, given that it has twice the alcoholic content as the average wine. Thus a serving of Utopias costs about $10, “about what one might pay for a glass of ho-hum wine in a restaurant.” Beaumont contends that critics still have a double standard when they compare beer to other beverages.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Pubs’ share of Ireland’s beer consumption: 67 percent.
  • Ireland’s annual beer consumption: 4.02 million barrels.
  • Beer’s share of Ireland’s alcohol consumption: 47 percent (wine is second, with 27 percent).
  • Economic impact of the Great American Beer Festival on Denver’s economy: $7 million.
  • GABF revenue from ticket sales: $2 million.
  • Alcoholic content of Armageddon, the world’s strongest beer: 65 percent.
  • Price of a single bottle of Armageddon: $52.
  • Price of a single bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias: $190.
  • Beer tax increase proposed by the French government: 160 percent.
  • Expected increase in the price of a beer after the tax hike: 20 percent.
  • Imports’ share of France’s beer market: 30 percent.
  • Calories in a pint of British session ale: 170.
  • Calories in a pint of orange juice: 256.
  • Homebrew shops in existence in the U.S. in 1929, when Prohibition was in force: 25,000.
  • Estimated U.S. homebrew production in 1929: 22.6 million barrels.
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Average cost of a small beer at National Football League stadiums: $7.28.
  • Increase over last year’s average cost: 2.1 percent.
  • Cheapest beer in the NFL: $5 (Cincinnati and Cleveland).
  • Cost of a beer at TCF Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota Gophers: $7.25.
  • Fans ejected from Minnesota’s home opener: 2.
  • Production of the nation’s largest brewery in 1879: 180,152 barrels (George Ehret’s Hell Gate Brewery in New York City).
  • That brewery’s market share: 1.5 percent.
  • Breweries that produced more than 100,000 barrels in 1879: 7 (compared to more than 30 in 2011).
  • Hard cider sales this past year: $71.5 million.
  • Increase over the year before: 50 percent.
  • Carlsberg’s share of the Russian beer market: 37.8 percent.
  • Carlsberg-owned breweries in Russia: 10.
  • Projected alcoholic content of 2012 Samuel Adams Utopias: 28-29 percent.
  • Suggested retail price of a bottle of 2012 Utopias: $160.
  • Suggested retail price in 2007: $120.
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Price of a bottle Samuel Adams 2011 Utopias: $150.
  • Utopias’ alcoholic content: 27 percent.
  • Bud Select 55’s alcoholic content: 2.4 percent.
  • What Heineken paid for two state-owned breweries in Ethiopia: $163 million.
  • Annual growth of beer consumption in Ethiopia: 20 percent.
  • Percent of Americans who drink alcohol on a daily basis: 7.
  • Percent of Americans who favor a return to Prohibition: 6.
  • Beer’s share of Russia’s alcohol consumption: 33 percent (spirits account for 63 percent).
  • Its share of France’s alcohol consumption: 17 percent (wine accounts for 62 percent).
  • Canned beer’s share of the American beer market: 52 percent.
  • Its share of the American craft beer market: 3 percent.
  • Germany’s share of world hops production: 35 percent.
  • Washington State’s share of America’s hop production: 77 percent.
  • Years since Molson entered Canada’s beer market: 225.
  • Number of MolsonCoors breweries in Canada: 6.
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