Rob Tod was catching waves instead of dealing with snow and cold. He was also promoting Allagash Brewing‘s foray into 16-ounce cans. I spoke with Tod at Player One, a new bar / arcade in North Hollywood.
The initial two beers gaining wide release are not IPAs. One is Allagash White, still a growing brand bucking the IPA trend and the second is River Trip, a very Belgian and very sessionable ale. Special releases will make their way westward from Maine and a blonde ale, Nowaday, will probably land later this year in this format as well.
Allagash held off on going into canning and even when they did, went at it in a step-by-step fashion. They started with mobile canning for beers that were employee-only, then moved on to a smaller canning line where they could take accurate dissolved oxygen (D/O) readings to ensure that the beers would taste the same in cans as in bottles. They then moved bigger, but it wasn’t just about how many cans were going down the line. Allagash spent more on QC gear than in the canning line. They laid down a major chunk of money on a machine that pierces the can and takes an oxygen reading.
Along with a canning line, CrossPath is another new addition to the Allagash family, an organic Belgian-Style Golden Ale. This beer was brewed “with all-organic, Maine-grown oats, buckwheat, base malt, hops, and GrandyOats Granola.” The Brewery is even donating a portion of the beer sales to “help farmers transition to organic crops.”
To close out our interview, I asked Tod what surprised him about 2019 and he came back with two items on his list. One that the surge of brewery openings does not seem to show signs of stopping and that more companies had not eschewed easy growth. Allagash stayed focused. Working more on efficiency, distribution and the fundamentals.
That is probably why that bar with no tap handles and limited beer selections of course had Allagash White in cans. It is why you see that beer and others on tap practically everywhere in Los Angeles.
My Non-IPA Beer of the Week is part of a trend that gained steam last year: Lo-Cal IPA. There are many on the market now and one of the more recent comes from Firestone Walker. Bearing the lineage of Union Jack, Double Jack, as well as landing in the Hazy IPA category. Flyjack is a mere 96 calories and only 5 carbs but with the hop mastery of Firestone Walker the only elevated line item.
Los Angeles Ale Works is turning three this year and they are going with that number as the theme with (3) different special glasses and three very special barrel-aged beers to put into those fancy glasses. The party starts on February 15 at the Hawthorne brewery. That is not the only good news; the brewery will be opening a satellite taproom in Culver City this year, doubling the opportunity to find their beers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.