Exactly who came up with the "Champagne of beers" slogan for Miller, I don't know, but it's likely they weren't referring to the flavor as much as they were to the shape of the bottle. "Alka-Seltzer of beer" would probably be more fitting.
But I digress!
Sam Adams, a brewery that's pretty consistently good, apparently wants to take the "Champagne of beers" throne with their Infinium, a brut beer or bière brut to be painfully technical. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like, a true champagne beer. Talk about flipping off Miller!
Sadly, what Infinium has in common with the high life is that it's not particularly good. Don't get me wrong, this is obviously a more complex, more well brewed beer than a Miller. Yet it doesn't work.
It pours like a darker golden champagne, and could fool both your eye and nose. It's sweet and grape-y smelling, and the carbonation runs like crazy. It looks like a champagne; it smells like a champagne; it almost tastes like a champagne. A champagne somebody dunked a bottle of pilsner in.
It's not a good combination. A sweet champagne with a fairly malty pilsner flavor, as well as a surprisingly boozy finish. Granted, this weighs in at 10.3% ABV, but that shouldn't be enough for it to be so pronounced. Champagne, pilsner, booze... It feels like an odd combination.
I don't have a whole lot of experience with bière brut, but surely there must be better options out there. Infinium might be worth trying for those curious about the concept -- the bottle looks nice too -- just don't expect it to be particularly good.
Vote for Samuel Adams Infinium: It’s your civic duty!