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.
To get local fruit, you need local farmers. Like our friends Earl and Nancy from Doles Orchard up in Limington, Maine. Their cherries are used in Coolship Cerise, our spontaneously fermented beer that’s aged on a blend of Montmorency and Balaton cherries. In addition to cherries, we also received around 2,800 lbs of Honeoye strawberries from Doles just this year. On top of that they also fabricate the crates that we use to carry our House Beer around the brewery. High five Doles!
We hope your didn’t actually smell your screen. But if you did, that’s cool too.
Next up is Tavern Hill Farm. Brett and Meg have 30 pigs, honey bees, rhubarb, corn, hens, and (importantly for us) wild lowbush Maine blueberries. These beauties help add flavor to beers like Little Sal and Pick Your Own. Fun fact: blueberries—along with grapes and cranberries—are some of the few popular fruit indigenous to North America, which explains why Brett and Meg literally found blueberries growing naturally on their farm. Once picked, the blueberries meet the winnower, where—in combination with some tweezers wielded by Meg—tasty blueberries are separated from sticks, unripe berries and leaves. The past two years, we’ve scooped up 100% of the blueberry crop from Tavern Hill Farm.
When you’re up in the Maine wilderness, watch your step.
While we’ve benefited from multiple, delicious harvests of peaches from Applecrest Farms over the years, staying local can also have its difficulties. This year, Applecrest Farms lost its entire harvest of peaches, thanks to an inescapable early warm-up back in February. The peach trees, thinking the early warm weather was springtime, began to fruit early. The young fruit then got pummeled by the ensuing cold weeks. (This same warm snap affected quite a few farms across the northeast.) So what does that mean for Allagash? The same thing it means for Farmer Todd: no peaches this year. While it’s sad news for us and next year’s batch of Farm to Face, we think it’s more important that we stay local than put out beer with anything less than the best fruit in it. We’re guessing that Farm to Face 2018 will be even more delicious thanks to the wait.
Ahhh, the memories of picking last year’s peaches.
Goss Berry Farm of Mechanic Falls, Maine (in particular, their raspberries) rounds out our list. Sharon and Walter started growing and selling all sorts of fruit 1987, and their product shows that experience. Since we love us some tart, piquant raspberry—in beers like Mattina Rossa and Coolship Red—we received 4,200 lbs this year. If you didn’t know, raspberries come in multiple varieties: deep-red Boyne, shapely Prelude, and winter-hardy Killarny to name a few. This year, we went with Nova, a bright-red, vigorous grower.
Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about our hardworking (and talented) local partners. It’s their expertise that keeps our fruited beers tasting as fresh and delicious as they possibly can.