States often have different laws for beer and spirits, including different licensing requirements, different requirements for sales, and so forth. Because of that, some states have limits on the percentage of alcohol that is allowed in beer. In North Carolina, where I live, all spirits sales are state-controlled, and retail sales are only allowed in state-owned Alcohol Beverage Commission stores. Beer, however, can be sold by traditional private retailers such as grocery stores and convenience stores. Because of this, North Carolina also limits how much alcohol beer can contain; the maximum here is 15% ABV. (alcohol by volume.) So, Samuel Adams Utopias is indeed illegal here, as are a number of Dogfish Head beers, and a few others.