When talking about spontaneously fermented beer, it’s better to think of the barrel not as a container, but as an environment. Oxygen ingress—minute amounts of oxygen allowed into the barrel by the natural pores in the wood—has a profound effect on the beer.
Normally, when brewing pretty much any style of beer, there are a couple things you want: clear, pure wort, fresh hops, and a well-behaved strain of yeast. Brewing spontaneously fermented beer turns those three requirements on their heads.
They came back with one better: a trifle that uses our Interlude in the sabayon—a light custard made from sugar, egg yolks and, traditionally, wine—and Allagash Black in their ginger cake. The short version: it blew our minds.
The recipe for this incredible dish is below.
This past week, we held a brewery-wide tasting of cheese and Curieux. Eight cheeses, thirty-nine tasters, and much lactose later, we found consensus. We also learned a little lesson in the versatility of our favorite bourbon barrel-aged tripel when it came to cheese pairing. Now, on to the specifics.
The eight cheese contenders were:
Aged Cheddar – Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Asiago – Trader Joe’s Asiago
Aged Goat – Cypress Grove Midnight Moon
Bloomy Rind – The Grey Barn Eidolon
Blue – Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue
Camembert – Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Nancy’s Camembert
Semi-Firm Tomme – Jasper Hill Farm Landaff
Washed Rind – Époisses de Bourgogne
Getting beer from barrels into bottles isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine. One clear reality in barrel aging is that no two barrels are the same.
In addition to variations in the barrels themselves, where they’re stored in the Jim Beam rickhouse—on the twelfth floor or on the first—will have a huge impact as well. This variability between barrels leads to quite a bit of variety in the flavor of the end product. Which means that we can’t just empty all the barrels into one big tank and call it a day.
“Selecting a barrel is as much a part of the brewing process as hop selection, malt selection, or yeast,” says our Brewmaster, Jason Perkins. “It’s another opportunity to add unique flavors.”
Interlude’s importance to Allagash goes beyond its myriad flavors including pear, apricot, graham cracker, and bread crust. The beer’s story is deeply intertwined with a rogue strain of native Brettanomyces. Instead of going on about it in type, we’ll just let Jason, our brewmaster, explain.
Cherries so ripe you can smell them through your screen. Seriously.
It’s obligatory to show the finished product first.
The first step to making a pie is creating the dough. This is much easier than you may initially think, and while you can certainly use store-bought dough, it just tastes, and feels, better knowing you made it yourself.
Early one morning, a few years back, our brewers were sipping coffee as they bottled up the first batch of Curieux—a barrel-aged ale. Standing in the midst of so much fragrant fluid, they couldn’t help but notice how nicely the aroma of cold press coffee went with the scent of barrel-aged beer. This gave them an idea, and thus James Bean was born.
The FV13 foudre.
Not only was FV13 aged in a foudre, but it was the first beer that Allagash brewers ever aged in one. Sure, our brewers had experience with barrel aging before FV13, but we still had a lot to learn about the mighty foudre.
When we learned we would have an opportunity to visit Chef Pierre Gignac of Ocean at the Cape Arundel Inn and Resort for a personal cooking class, and an opportunity to try a recipe he crafted with our Saison, we jumped at the chance and were inspired to repeat the recipe at home!
These are the New England beers you need to get into your mouth before you shuffle off this mortal coil. The kind that may require extensive planning, waiting in long lines, shadily cajoling with people, and, in some cases, accepting defeat — temporarily, of course. Exclusivity and scarcity do not in themselves make a beer good, but they can make scoring a hard-to-get beer that much more fulfilling. Set your sights on these. Read More.
To solve the mystery of which cookie pairs perfectly with a glass of Allagash Black, we held an employee cookie contesteux. A bunch of us baked our favorite recipes at home, brought them to the brewery, and let the tasting commence! The winner of best pairing and best in show was Lee’s Chocolate Cookies with Bourbon and Smoked Salt. Yum! Check out the recipe below.
Chocolate Cookies with Bourbon & Smoked Salt
“…an amazing thing happens when you taste beers blind; you take the brewery and the beer’s reputation out of the formula altogether, so that all there is left to judge is the beer itself. The results from some tastings were downright shocking, with newcomers besting fields of heavy weights, while other results reaffirmed our love for certain style benchmark brews. One thing’s for certain—it was a fun process.” Read More
“While cities across the U.S. have been opening quality- minded cocktail bars for the past decade, Portland—a lovely port of bricks and seagulls and the scent of the sea— seemed content to remain a city of beer bars and highballs. Restaurants intermittently rolled out a clever cocktail or two, but the city had more or less ignored the modern cocktail revolution that was infiltrating nearby Boston and beyond.” Read More
It’s been an exciting month for Coolship Resurgam!
We were so honored to take home a silver medal at this year’s Brussels Beer Challenge for Specialty Beer: Lambic and Geuze, and a silver at the European Beer Star Awards for Sour Beer!
75 judges gathered from all over the world to judge over 1100 entries for the Brussels Beer Challenge, and 105 tasters gathered from 25 countries to taste and evaluate beer at the European Beer Star Awards. Congratulations to all the medal winners and everyone who entered!