What you need to know: Allagash makes Belgian-style and Belgian-inspired beers that compete with that country’s best. They were very busy last year, building a coolship, making beer in it, and then tearing it down. They aged a beer on cherries in a decommissioned hot liquor tank just for good measure. Andrew Nations wrote this about Allagash last year in his SAVOR preview: “There isn’t a whole lot to say about this east coast Belgian-focused brewery that hasn’t been said before. Their Belgian inspired beers have been a staple at better beer bars in our area for a long time now, and that is certainly for good reason. Allagash consistently brews traditional Belgian ales while creating creative one-offs that challenge those same traditional styles. For many, Allagash White [see below] served as a gateway beer that opened the door to the world of craft beer. Allagash is one of the breweries that the West Coast crowd talks about and is certainly jealous of. Even though their deep portfolio is available in our market year-round, having them at SAVOR is still a treat.”
Beer #1: Allagash White (Belgian-style white ale, or witbier / 5% ABV)
Notes: You have probably had this beer before. It is one of the reasons you got into craft beer in the first place. It is an excellent Belgian-style witbier with notes of orange, lemon, and coriander (two of those three are ingredients in the beer) that has become a classic, having taken gold at the World Beer Cup in the witbier category in 1998 and 2010. You probably have a friend who drinks Shock Top or Blue Moon. Give them this instead, and give birth, not literally, to a craft beer drinker.
Notes:Interlude starts out with a farmhouse yeast fermentation but then goes through a secondary fermentation with a house strain of Brettanomyces. A portion of the beer is then aged in French Merlot and Syrah wine barrels and blended back in. It is dry and vinous, with hints of stone fruits and bread. You are interested in this beer. You had no idea beer could be this complex. But please be careful because of its high ABV.
The DC market sees a lot of Allagash, and chances are good that you can find both these beers at a store or bar near you. Still, the DCBeer staff would like you go to the Allagash table and demand that Rob Todd make more of the 2009 Fluxus and re-institute the coolship series. While you’re there, have these beers, if only to be polite, and please thank Rob for continuing to favor DC with Allagash’s excellent beers. On a personal note, the first brewery I ever visited was Allagash, having gone to school in Maine, and Allagash White was instrumental in my craft beer awakening. It remains delicious.
Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.