There are some breweries that you can simply count on. They aren’t trendy. They don’t do fruited IPAs or cloudy IPAs or, heck, even much IPA at all. That doesn’t mean they are not innovating and coming out with beers that are behind the curve.
You know by the photo that I am talking about popular Maine brewery, Allagash Brewing Company. They have made their bones on their classic Belgian wit bier with the colorful name of White, but have a range of great beers that share a house yeast and stress quality.
Let’s start with their new beer, Little Brett. It is 100% hopped and dry-hopped with Mosaic and uses their Two Row Malt and house strain of Brettanomyces yeast. With that simple list you get a 4.8% ABV beer that is complex and dense, but still perfect for a California summer. It starts with a wonderful hop aroma that passes the baton to tropical fruit notes before the brett takes over and runs the rest of the way. The beer hits the finish line with a leather and barnyard taste that will keep hold of your tastebuds.
White is one of those beers that may have been lost in the shuffle but it is a really excellent example of how Belgian yeast works with coriander and Curacao orange peel to create a subtle beer. Sixteen Counties is their Belgian Pale that celebrates the micro maltsters of Maine who provide enough local malt for this ode to local producers. Curieux is their tripel aged in Jim Beam barrels and is perfect for a stately celebration. The amber color belies the whiskey aging and the beer doesn’t taste like 11% at all.
Back to Brett. Allagash has put out excellent brett beers with Midnight Brett and Golden Brett leaping to mind, but if you want to explain the mystery of the yeast to newcomers, Little Brett might be the place to start.
The Beer of the Week is my favorite cherry beer and quite possibly my favorite Allagash beer. Nancy is named after one of the owners of the farm that the cherries for the beer are harvested from. The beer is aged on a mix of Balaton and Montmorency cherries for about a year. It is a sour ale but that acidity is restrained so as nut to overpower the intense cherry pie taste that this beer exudes. I cannot recommend this limited release highly enough.
Your Homework for the week is to check out where the Indie Brewing taproom will be and help the intrepid new DTLA brewery kick-off their Kickstarter campaign to help them bring that taproom from sketches to reality. The event starts at noon this Saturday and you will be able to taste the following beers: Eastside XPA (which is in cans in finer craft beer stores), 7th St Saison, Superfood Saison, Pacific Kolsch Highway and Port(er) of Los Angeles alongside their latest offering IPA Del Rey. Indie has a great space that could become a hidden gem and you can say that you saw it when it wasn’t more than a dream.
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