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Yesterday I sat down in the Food & Wine tasting room with Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch to try some of his latest releases. After two years of tinkering, Koch has perfected the recipe for his new Coastal Wheat. The idea was to bottle the bright taste of a classic Hefewizen-style (meaning unfiltered wheat) beer poured on draft and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon. He finally achieved perfection with the zest from Eureka and Lisbon lemons that come from just three growing regions in California. Koch also opened the 2009 Utopias, which should be out by the end of the month. This monster of a beer (about 55 proof) is released every odd year and is a blend of cask beers dating back to 1994. The ’09 tastes a little brighter than previous releases, with a bit more fruit and some vanilla and maple flavors. We ended the tasting with a rare bottle, the 1994 Sam Adams Triple Bock. One of the first “extreme” beers, it has 17.5 percent alcohol. “This was the beer equivalent of a lunar landing on the moon. It broke the sound barrier,” Koch says. Aged in oak barrels, it’s full of dark fruit and drinks more like a fine port than a beer. You won't find this beer in stores, but Koch says a few bottles are still floating around for people willing to search.
© Samuel Adams
Sam Adam's new Coastal Wheat