utopian visions in my head

Buster the cat did not anticipate the evening’s culinary disappointments. His owner consoles him.

An ideal utopian January evening might comprise the following: 1) Gossip Girl, a show for teen girls I have no right to enjoy so much; 2) superplush butter-and-brown-sugar-drenched date cake from Williamsburg hotspot Moto; and 3) Beer. Microbrews, specifically—the heavier the better. Porter? Stout? Is “Imperial” or “Espresso” scrawled on the label? Bring it.

Under my bed—where like a bulimic, matrimony-crazed junkie I stash the food and wedding magazines containing my articles—lurked one last sample from a recent staff job. It lived in a glittering gold box. It was packed in velvet. And it was called… Utopia. The bronze bottle looked as though it could conceal a genie. Velvet, people! This was the Elton John of beers.

The noncarbonated elixir from Sam Adams sells for about $300 online, which is bizarre for a Sammy, but at respected site Beer Advocate reviewers raved about its caramel notes, bourbonlike qualities, and compatibility with oatmeal-raisin cookies and dates. Since I had recently lunged facefirst into Moto’s date cake, and Gossip Girl night was quickly approaching at my buddy Alita’s house, it was on: We would drink, eat, and watch Utopia. It would rule.

Our cake (add an extra egg to this recipe if the batter won’t come together) was a glorious thing. But that night’s episode of GG was a bit off. And the beer? Horrifying. I would have rather had—apologies to Philly—a Yuengling. The Utopia was cloyingly sweet (and I like sweet) and tasted like a poor man’s port. Were these dudes so rapturous over the beer because of its genie-like bottle? Did they not watch enough Disney movies as children? I should ask my beer-obsessed fellow food dork if storing noncarbonated beer under one’s bed for a year will mess with it. I have a feeling I know the answer. Regardless, I should have known better than to let Sammy define Utopia for me.

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