The Ultimate Whoopie Pie

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Allagash Whoopie pies
What we have here is a whoopie pie recipe that’s been passed down for generations. Only after obtaining the consent of her Great Aunt was Charli—our event coordinator extraordinaire—able to divulge this delicious recipe for “Black Moon” whoopie pies to the world. And we can say from personal (tasty, tasty) experience that these are serious pies: flavorful, moist, and powerfully chocolate-y in just the right ways.

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Coolship Part Three: Barrels and Beyond

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filling barrels with coolship
In 2007, Allagash had already been brewing according to key parts of Belgian tradition: using unconventional ingredients, bottle conditioning, and barrel aging. Brewing with a coolship was, oddly enough, the next logical step.

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.

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Coolship Part Two: The Brew

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brewing coolship
You’re looking at the swirling vortex of a turbid mash.

 

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.

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Coolship Part One: What is a Coolship?

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Allagash Coolship
In the fall of 2007 Rob Tod had an idea. Rob, the founder of Allagash, wanted to build a small, unheated shed with a vessel resembling a massive brownie pan inside of it. Then, he wanted to pump steaming, cloudy unfermented wort into that pan, let it sit out in the open overnight, and subsequently barrel age it for up to three years. In short: he wanted to brew with a coolship.

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Allagash Trifle with Interlude Sabayon and Black Ginger Cake

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Recently, we had an amazing beer dinner with our friends at Simon Pearce—turns out they’re just as masterful cooks as they are glassblowers. In fact, we had such a memorable time that we couldn’t help but ask them to create a recipe with our beer. The beer was Interlude, a tart, vinous beer that’s fermented with a blend of yeasts then aged in red wine barrels.

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.

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The Great Curieux and Cheese Tasting

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Curieux and Cheese
As it turns out, Curieux and cheese are quite the pair.

 

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

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Barrel Aging: The Truth is in the Blend

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Curieux Barrels
This is the final post in our three-part series on barrel aging.

 

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.

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The Story of Interlude

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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.

Our Local Fruit Farmers

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Cherries so ripe you can smell them through your screen. Seriously.

The quality of our beer is beholden to the ingredients we make it from. Which is why we buy our ingredients locally whenever we can. And one ingredient that we love to buy local is fruit. It’s the best way to ensure sure that the strawberries, blueberries, peaches (or whatever else we decide to dump in our tanks) fill our beers with unmistakably fresh flavor.

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Curieux Doughnuts

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Mmmmm... Donuts...

It’s obligatory to show the finished product first.

This summer, two of the fine chefs—Chef Justin and Chef Powder—from Earth at Hidden Pond developed a crazy-tasty recipe for Curieux Doughnuts. Since we’re big fans of enjoying Curieux in its liquid form, we were understandably excited to try it in doughnut form.  

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Allagash Virtual Tour

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Recently, our talented friends at Knack Factory put together this interactive, virtual tour of our brewery. In the video, the excellent Emily and Tim, who both work in our tasting room, take you into the brewhouse, through the bottling line, and even into the barrel room where our wild beers age (sounds like a good book title).

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Sean’s Mixed Fruit Pie

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We found that fruit pies pair particularly well with Curieux, our bourbon barrel-aged ale. So we solicited Sean Ellsworth, a native Mainer, graduate of Johnson & Wales culinary school, lover of rhubarb, and brewer here at Allagash to give a lesson in pie making. We hope you enjoy his recipe as much as we did!

 

DOUGH:

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.

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Coffee and Beer Meet in James Bean

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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.

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FV13 Emerges From its Foudre

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The FV13 foudre.

The foudre: magnificent staple of the wine world turned wonderful tool for craft brewers. A foudre (pronounced either foe-der, foo-druh, or foo-der depending on who you ask) is basically a huge, wooden tank, historically used for the storing and maturation of wine. FV13 was aged in such a tank.

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.

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Street Fair 2016 Beer List

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Every attendee will get their own stainless steel mug.

This year’s Street Fair is only three days away (July 9th woo woo!), and the beer is arriving as we type. Since we know that everyone is excited to see what’s on tap, here’s the list of all the fresh beer slated to be poured at the event*.

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Cookin’ with Allagash

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For fourteen years now, Allagash has held “Cookin’ with Allagash,” a cooking contest for students of ICE, the Institute of Culinary Education. Each year, ICE students are invited to submit a recipe inspired by a given Allagash beer: this year’s was Sixteen Counties. Of the recipes submitted, only three are chosen by a panel of ICE chefs. The students are then given a chance to cook their selected recipe in person, in the hopes of winning up to $2,000 in scholarship money.

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Vermont is for (Cheese) Lovers

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Last year, we were lucky enough to get to visit Jasper Hill Farms in beautiful Greensboro Bend, Vermont. Big fans of Jasper Hill Cheese already, we were so impressed by their attention to quality and detail, and to see the place where the delicious cheese making magic happens.  Read More

Drink it Now

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For the past few years, we’ve been talking about how we would love to continue the vision that former Wall Street Journal Wine Columnists, Dorothy J. Gater and John Brecher, started with their “Open that bottle night.”

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The 15 New England Beers to Try before you Die

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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.

Allagash Cookie Contesteux – Cookies and Allagash Black

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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

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The 12 Best Beers We Tasted in 2015

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“…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

Portland Maine Drinks Scene Comes of Age

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“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

Celebrating Friends(giving)

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We got to talking as a group about how much we love this harvest time of year – November in general feels like a good time to gather friends together to share delicious food, share some of our favorite beers, and sit around a table together sharing stories.  Read More

Coolship Resurgam Wins Silver

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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!

Hop Selection in Yakima

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We made it to Yakima for hop harvest and selection. About 75% of the countries hops are grown in the Yakima valley. It’s always nice to connect with the growers, processors, and other brewers, all for the love of hops.  Read More

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