Last Call Monthly is a column where I compile reviews of breweries and beers that stood out to me. Hopefully, I’ll encourage some of you to break out of your beer comfort zone and try something other than your go to. And if not, at the very least I can start referring to my beer consumption as “conducting research”.
Brewery of the Month: Allagash Brewing Company
My time at the Allagash Brewery was the most informative, as well as delicious, brewery experience I have ever had. From the moment you enter their doors their tap room (which doubles as a retail space) is filled with as many smiles as beers offered on tap. As my only previous experience with Allagash brews was their superb White Ale, a flight of their on tap offerings was definitely on my agenda, but not before I took a tour of their Portland, Maine facility.
Typically, brewery tours consist of a tour guide telling the same three jokes they tell on every tour and then repeating “hops & yeast” ad nausea for 20 minutes. This was not my experience at Allagash. Our guide was not only informative as to how Allagash’s brewing process separates their beer from their competitors, but also the breweries rich history. I walked away from my tour feeling as though I had a better idea of the actual process of brewing beer.
After our informative tour, I was treated to delicious samples of their beer: Hoppy Table Beer, Ganesh Sour, and St. Klippenstein ale (Ganesh Sour being the favorite of the day). All of which were poured by a staff who were great at giving further information regarding the beer, their brewing process, as well as additional beer recommendations to consider purchasing for to-go.
Upon returning to the tap room I was treated to further samples of their Allagash Black and another Ganesh Sour which I couldn’t get enough of. Their tap room provides a comfortable, down to earth environment perfect for having a beer or two with friends. All in all, I had an excellent brewery experience that’s at the top of my list of breweries to recommend to anyone even remotely interested in beer.
Beers of the Month:
Route 1A was my first time pouring an Ipswich Ale and It couldn’t have made a stronger first impression. Route 1A is a citrus fruit bomb DIPA that doesn’t pull any punches with its flavor profile. Sweet malt helps to mask the strong ABV, yet the heavy citrus fruit notes of orange zest, grapefruit, and light spice that leaves a pleasant lingering mouthfeel.
I’m continuing to expand my DIPA palette and Flying Dog’s Double Dog IPA is the perfect pour for just that. Strong notes of hops, piney citrus, sweet caramel malt, and strong alcohol flavor up front. This is one of the more bitter DIPA’s I have had, but the complexity of these notes pair well with the alcohol taste nicely.
Allagash is a brewer that I associate with quality. Time and time again they have proven with every release that they are committed to providing unique, yet clean and refreshing flavors. Now, I’m not typically fond of sweeter beers, and yet Tripel ales sweetness is balanced out by its notes of tropical passion fruits and herbal spices such as coriander, pepper, and fresh cut grass. Tripel ale pours a cloudy golden body with a decent amount of head, that briefly lingers. The ales aroma is almost as enjoyable as it’s flavor, but it’s a solid introduction to many of the flavors it incorporates. Boasting a stronger 9% alcohol by volume, a large part of the sweetness of the ale is imparted from its malty body and dry honey aftertaste which provides a lingering mouth feel that coats the palette with a sweet, malty herbal spiciness. I would recommend picking up this ale during the colder winter months, as its fruity spiced creamy dry finish is a refreshing alternative from your typical winter ale.
Uitna has quickly become one of my new go to breweries, due to a consistently high quality despite their low price point. Detour has a burnt hazelnut flavor and aroma that has brief, subtle hints of grapefruit and pineapple. Detour is somewhat of a conundrum, as it tastes almost like a cross between a DIPA and a stout, both in terms of flavors and body. Despite its high alcohol content, Detour’s medium carbonation and the combination of malty flavors make this one of the smoother and more easily drinkable DIPAs I have had. Uitna continues to impress me with their large catalog and variety of beer, yet consistently delivering on quality.
Full disclosure, I am a TREMENDOUS fan of Victory Brewing Companies other Monkey ale Golden Monkey ale. Fast forward a few months and after becoming a fan of sour beers and Sour Monkey is essentially a dream come true. Retaining all of the spice and now adding a lovely tart sourness to the Golden Monkey recipe has resulted in a new favorite of mine. This is one of the more crisp and refreshing sours I have had, with notes of grain, grapes, apples, and apricot. This results in Sour Monkey resembling a wine almost more so than a beer. That’s not a knock against it, rather it takes the best of both worlds as it features the fruity sourness of a beer blended with the smooth, yet funky drinkability of a wine. I highly recommend Sour Monkey to fans of sours or the OG Golden Monkey.
- This month was very double IPA heavy, and moving forward I will focus on reviewing a larger variety of styles of beer.
- I am planning on visiting Exhibit “A” Brewery in March.
- A friend reached out and said he’d sell me a 4pk of Heady Topper (a beer that has alluded me for quite some time) which I will absolutely be reviewing next month.
In the meantime, if you want to keep up with what I’m pouring or see more frequent mini reviews you can follow me on Untappd (KriegsMachine) and Instagram (KriegsMachine92).
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back next month.