Update 1/3/11: Don’s review of Infinium – he loved it! Click here to read Don’s Infinium review.
Update 12/9/10: Our pal Daniel got his hands on some and put together an entertaining (and profane) review of Infinium. Click here to read it.
Update 12/3/10: I just called my local go-to beer stores, and they don’t have it yet and aren’t sure when it’s coming in. Make sure you get on a list!
What seems like a simple announcement by the folks over Sam Adams has sent my mind racing. Later this month they will be releasing Infinium, a champagne-like beer intended to replace your bubbly this New Years Eve.
It might be the head cold I’m fighting right now, but I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around the implications of Sam Adams’ latest move.
First off, a bit about the brew. Infinium is the first of three beers Sam Adams will brew in collaboration with the Weihenstephan Brewery in Germany. All of the brews will conform to the Reinheitsgebot (guzentight!), the German Beer Purity Law.
Infinium is what you’d expect from a beer dressed up in a French tux – it comes in a corked 750ml bottle, it’s light gold in color, has a flavor described as “crisp and dry” (it’s brewed with champagne yeast) and will ring in with an ABV of around 10%. Infinium will retail for $19.99 a bottle, placing it in the upper levels of premium craft beer.
But enough information, time for some speculation – what are the implications of the way this brew is being marketed?
Infinium is certainly not a new concept in beer, as many professional and home brewers have used champagne yeast to give their beers a unique flavor, and many have even added grapes to the mash. But the fact that Sam Adams is taking direct aim at unseating Champagne as the toast of New Years Eve is telling.
Either they think that America’s perception of craft beer has evolved to the point where run-of-the-mill beer drinkers and wine lovers are ready to replace their New Year’s Champagne with beer, or Sam Adams just wants to push the issue in hopes of making folks see beer in a new light.
Or perhaps they know that as beer nerds, many of us haven’t bothered with Champagne on New Year’s Eve for years. Instead we hoist an Allagash Victor, a Chimay Grand Reserve or any other number of fancy beers. Maybe they want Infinium to be that beer this year, as they see the top of the premium beer market being cornered by folks like Dogfish Head and The Bruery.
Or maybe Jim Koch and the gang just thought it’d be fun for beer lovers to have a well-crafted novelty brew to enjoy with their friends as the ball drops. Or perhaps it’s all of the above. Like I said, I’m having trouble figuring it out while this damn cold is making the room spin a bit.
I’ve put together a quick poll to see what the collective genius of B&WB thinks. Give a click and vote and let us know your thoughts below in the comments.