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Allagash: Belgian excellence in America

Posted by Steve Greenlee  January 3, 2012 10:49 AM

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allagash group 007.jpgHere's a beer-related new year's resolution for you: Get to know Belgian ales. And here's an easy way to do it: Get to know Allagash Brewing Co.

Allagash's best-known product also happens to be one of the most popular Belgian ales: Allagash White. But Allagash White, as good as it is, is frankly one of the least interesting beers Allagash makes. It's a great witbier; don't get me wrong. But too many people mistakenly think that all Belgians are witbiers. (This was clear to me over the holidays, when I offered a guest a few different Belgian beers. He replied that he doesn't like light, hazy, white ales that taste like lemons.)

Allagash, which is just two hours up the road, in Portland, Maine, makes some of America's best Belgian-style ales, and all manner of them. It brews a strong stable of what one might call "regular" Belgian beers -- a dubbel, a tripel, and of course its witbier -- and packages them in 750-milliliter bottles as well as affordable four-packs of 12-ounce bottles (around $10 each). But Allagash's premier beers -- the more interesting ones -- can run far more, from $18 to $23 per 750-milliliter.

Pricey? For beer, yes. But when you consider that a bottle of decent wine costs about the same, one could argue that these beers are worth it (once in a while, as an extravagance). Over the next several days, I'll post reviews of half a dozen of the best beers Allagash makes, and then collect them in all in a column running Jan. 14 in the Globe and on Boston.com.
Gary Dzen

About 99 Bottles

Gary Dzen writes about craft beer here and in the Globe when he's not covering the Celtics for Boston.com. He can be reached at gdzen@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.
 

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