Saturday, November 14, 2015

Allagash Tripel Ale (review)

Beer Review #59

And now for something completely different. To break up my recent streak of dark concoctions I've decided to check out a Belgian style Tripel Ale from Portland Maine based Allagash Brewing Company - the lazily, but clear and concisely named Allagash Tripel Ale

I'm still only around a year into my craft beer journey, so with about 600 different brews to choose from at my local craft beer seller alone, nearly every bottle I open offers a new surprise and opportunity to learn a little more about the craft and history of beer. This American take on a Belgian Tripel is no exception as it is my first beer from this classification. In such cases I like to drink first and then research later so as to avoid having my perceptions influenced by what has already been written. Think of it as a blind taste test of sorts, but with eyes wide open.

This Tripel is a beautiful, effervescent, golden ale. In this case the brew is a bottle conditioned beer. I cracked this first bottle a bit on the warm side and ended up with a puddle on my writing desk as foam came shooting out. Was this the result of a priming miscalculation on the part of the brewer, the temperature of the beer, or was I simply a bit too rough with it walking up the stairs? I have a second bottle chilling as we speak to find the answer to that question.

This beer weighs in at 9.0%ABV, but you'd never guess it. Its dangerously drinkable, and as much as I loath to say it, with enough marketing power, this style could be a huge commercial success here in the United States where the growing craft market remains at war with the handful of remaining macros who, while controlling the far greater market share, struggle with the demands of capitalism (growth at all costs to earn money for stockholders). The point is - this is one of those rare beers that you could sell to both beer geeks and light lager lovers, without either needing to feel insulted.

Aroma - semi-sweet with hints of lemon and banana. Taste - Only slightly more bitter than a mass market beer, but packed with flavor complexity those beers can't touch: banana from those legendary Belgian yeast strains, along with lemon grass, pepper. Alcohol deviously well hidden.

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