I’d just like to thank everyone who sent me an email — and story to go with — for our Sam Adams Utopias 2012 giveaway earlier this month.
Now comes the fun part for our six Utopias winners — getting to drink a complex and rich brew that is so radical it’s not even sold in Idaho. (Apparently, our state can’t grasp how a beer can be 29 percent alcohol by volume.)
We had 24 readers enter the contest. I drafted Idaho Statesman Outdoors reporter Roger Phillips to pick six winners at random out of my battered Cleveland Indians hat, since Scene captain Michael Deeds was not around.
The winners are: Richard Hill. Bob Hubler. Shelley Davis. Lesa Becker. Brady Johnson. JJ Winters.
I realize we probably could have got more people to participate if I just asked for names but I felt it was important to ask for short stories to go with, to drill it down to folks who really wanted to try the legendary Utopias. For me, it was also a chance to interact with readers in a unique way.
It was fun. I got some entries in poem form. I got heartfelt stories and bitter diatribes. It makes me think we need to do stuff like this more often.
Anyway, here are notes I got from the winners (with some gentle edits if needed).
Richard Hill sent in a poem.
“Misanthropy is my embraced mate. I wear angst and ennui like clothing. Only the kiss of Utopias can ameliorate my self loathing.”
For Bob Hubler, tasting Utopias was a “bucket list” item.
“I love Craft Beer. I am a Homebrewer. My Dad is a homebrewer. I make about 100 gallons of beer per year and drink 80% of what I make. I hang out at Bier Thirty, Brewforia, Crooked Fence, Payette Brewing, The Ram and Table Rock. I was the first customer of Table Rock when Mike and Peggy opened it many years ago....Love my local Beer. Used to Drink Snake River Brewery Beer from Tim Batt's original Micro brewery West of Caldwell, Idaho. I am old. I am cranky. To drink a shot of Utopias is on my Bucket List. And I don't have a lot of time left. So pick my name and I will forever grateful.”
Shelley Davis entered for her husband. If I were her, I’d keep the spot for myself.
“My husband, Bryan, is such a connoisseur of fine beer that his Oktoberfest revelries at the Front Door prevented him from attending an engagement party for the son of one of my law partners. He ended up sleeping it off on the floor with the dogs, and when I woke him to let him know I was on my way to party he said “without me”? Yes dear, without you this time. I’d send the photo, but I fear reprisals.
He has a highly developed palate for exquisite beer, and deserves to be one of the few to experience the 10th Anniversary Utopias.
Bryan’s loving wife -Shelley.”
Lesa Becker loves the artisan aspect of craft brewing. Cool. I can’t guarantee, however, that I won’t take my iPad to the tasting.
“Life was simpler in ’95 when Utopias was crafted. We didn’t all suffer from eADD (electronically induced attention deficit disorder). Cell phones were just phones. People didn’t carry an arsenal of electronic devices everywhere they went. If you were writing a paper in school, you went to the Library to pull books and magazines from the stacks. If you needed a newspaper article, you did your research on microfiche.
Now, you want good beer? There’s an app for that. Pull up iBeer and simulate drinking a pint of beer. Imagine you are sitting around a table with good friends having a great conversation.
We’ve lost sight of the finer moments in life – knockout microbrews and stimulating conversation uninterrupted by technology!
Pick me! And PLEASE don’t bring your iPad.”
Brady Johnson is looking forward to being a “sore winner.” How much fun is that?
“Tasting the Utopias has been my among my life goals ever since I learned of it's existence. I made a promise to myself to try every beer and Utopias (being a beer) fits the bill. Please don't make a liar out of me.
Please randomly draw me to taste this beer with you. If you do, I promise to hold this event above all others in the beer tasting world and tirelessly remind everyone I know 'how they missed out on this epicly epic event.’”
JJ Winters wants to go the altruistic route and gift his wining ticket to one of his buddies. Hey JJ, it’s way more fun to be a sore winner. Just sayin.’
“When I think beer, I think of my buddy Carson. Besides yourself, I'm sure there isn't another person ON THIS PLANET that enjoys, savors and appreciates beer more than he. Next weekend, for his 40th birthday, we are chartering a plane with 16 of his closest friends to Portland for - wait for it - a 3 day beer tour. He is a stakeholder in Payette Brewing and has beer on tap in his house (his kegs are changed more frequently than the Bistro on Beer Pong night.) I really can't imagine a more deserving beer lover than Carson.”
We will all meet sometime next month at Bittercreek for a tasting event. I’ll ask our winners to share their thoughts about Utopias and post that later.