May 23, 2012

Gleaming, sparkling, pushing boundaries, dust and Spiders

This is a long time coming. I just dug up these photos from our visit to Allagash from August 2011! There’s a good chance that unlike most of the brewers we feature you’ve actually heard about these guys before they show up for the launch. Doesn’t hurt that they’re considered one of the best beers in the nation (100 out of 100 at Beer Advocate for the White). I’ve been really excited about bringing them in. Not just because I think you’ll all love it, I’m really excited to pull myself a glass at the end of the day.

8pm at HSQ (7 Holyoke St.)
Meet the Brewer from Allagash
Snacks, live music, beer

When I think of this visit I think gleaming, sparkling, pushing boundaries, dust and spiders. The facility they have in Maine was at the extreme end of clean. It was like a museum. Really nuts. I’m including a picture here to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I mean cleaner than clean. Yeah, it sparkled.

Pushing boundaries? We learned that Allagash had some financial hard times early on, no joke. It was because they were stubbornly pushing this Belgian-style wheat ale that people just didn’t know what to do with. But they didn’t give up, and now look where they are. Around 2001 or so they started playing with aging beers. We’re talking some beers that have been aging is casks for years and years and years. This is really unique stuff. And it takes a crazy amount of dedication. It’s not really the kind of thing that’s going to make business sense. But they see something coming out of it, and it’s really cool to visit the aging room.

Dust and spiders? We visited the “cool ship” or “Koelschip” as it said on the side of the tank (see top image). This is another crazy project Allagash took on. From my understanding it’s the first coolship in the USA. It’s an environment that mimics beer set-ups in belgium. Open windows, great ventilation are critical. And spiders. It’s all the stuff that drifts in outside that makes this thing work. They were telling us it needs to sort of develop, rafters, spiders, air flow, before it’s ready to make a great beer. Really fun to have the opportunity to see this.

So we’re bringing to Cambridge the Allagash White. We’re going to be featuring it at Harvard Square for the next month or so. $3, as always. Enjoy.

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