Infinium is a collaboration between Boston Beer Co., makers of the Samuel Adams line, and Weihenstephan Brewery in Germany, the Bavarian state brewery and the oldest brewery in the world.

It’s a beer I have been looking forward to trying since I talked with Jim Koch, Samuel Adams founder and brewmaster, about it in early October. I was doing a column about a Boston Beer Co. loan program, and the interview took place about half an hour before he boarded a plane to head to Bavaria to finalize plans for the beer.

The beer was brewed and bottled at the Boston Beer Co. plant in Boston, following the Reinheitsgebot, the 1516 Bavarian law that limits a beer to four classic ingredients — malt, hops, water and yeast.

“We are going to invent a new style of beer that has never been seen before,” Koch said when I spoke to him in October. “It is going to be something like a cross between champagne, a dessert wine and Samuel Adams Noble Pils.”

When Downeast Beverage Co. on Commercial Street called to say that the Infinium I had reserved was available, I was excited. Originally I had planned to save it to drink over the holidays, but then decided do a column so loyal readers could buy some for their own celebrations.

I picked up my 750-milliliter bottle, which cost $17.99, and left it in the car for three hours on a day when temperatures were in the teens, hoping that would get it down to the 40 to 42 degrees recommended on the tag that comes draped over the bottle. But when I got home the beer seemed quite cold.

I twisted the cork out of the bottle, and when it came out it didn’t have quite the force behind it that most sparkling wines do. But when I poured into two wine glasses, the head was more like a sparkling wine head than a beer head, fading into the glass fairly quickly. The beer was absolutely crystal clear, with a golden color — a little darker than most sparkling wines and a bit more intense than most beers.

It had more and finer bubbles than most beer, but they were not as small as the bubbles in the best of champagnes. The beer is slightly sweet, smooth, silky, with a light but spicy flavor of hops. It definitely tasted more like beer than wine, but it came closer to wine than any beer without fruit adjuncts I have ever tasted. And at 10.3 percent alcohol, it is close to the 12 percent alcohol of many sparkling wines.

I liked Infinium a lot.

Nancy said she wished it were a bit colder, but she liked the sweetness, texture and flavor. And while not everyone will like this beer, I think Koch reached his goals.

“I want to get out of the categories of saying beer is this and wine is that,” Koch told the Associated Press, adding that he sees the American beer industry as being about where the U.S. wine industry was 25 years ago. “Beer is emerging.”

I’ve got to make two disclaimers on this column. First, the standard, Nancy and I have owned 33 shares of Boston Beer stock since their IPO, and I might be biased.

Second, the Infinium bottle was designed by Adam Larson of Adam&Co. in Boston, and our son, Zachary, knew him at Syracuse University and still stays in contact with him, but mostly on Facebook. Another reason for bias.


When I stopped by Downeast Beverage to pick up the Infinium, I noticed some Narragansett Porter, which was available at $8.29 for a six-pack of 16-ounce cans.

I drank some of it Sunday in celebration of finishing up the cutting, splitting and stacking of fire wood before the snow flew. I needed a good beer, and this was superb for the moment. It poured almost black into a wine glass and had a thick, tan head. At 7 percent alcohol, it had a sweet aroma, a rich and malty flavor, just a touch of hops for flavor and a pleasant viscosity.

This is a good craft-beer porter at a bargain price. So far in the revived Narragansett line, I have liked the Lager, found the Fest functional but not fantastic and been pleasantly pleased by the Porter. I have yet to find the Bock, which I am looking forward to. I’ll think up the alliteration when I do.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at

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