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This Belgian wheat beer is brewed with a combination of three grains: two-row pale malt, malted wheat, and oats. Three hops varieties are used during the boil including Perle, Tettnanger, and Saaz and this unique unfiltered ale is spiced with coriander seed and dried Curacao orange peel. We can't praise the brewery enough for producing such an excellent example of a style that is very difficult to brew. Immediately note the coriander and orange citrus in this clean, prominent nose. Color is pale-straw and slightly cloudy (bottle conditioned) which is appropriate to style. Look for a complex, delicate flavor profile in this beer, one that's spicy, citrusy, and fruity. Also note a dry finish in this medium-bodied ale. Overall, a superb effort at a Belgian White Ale and although it's not Belgian, we'd enthusiastically sample it again just to make sure we got it right for Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club!
Founded in the state known for Moose, Lobster Rolls, and colorful characters coining phrases like, "Where'd ya git yer license, Sears & Roebuck?" and "You can't git there from he-ya...", the Allagash Brewery produces a wicked good line up of brews including a Trappist-style Belgian ale, a spiced winter ale and the Belgian White Beer you'll sample this month. Located in Portland, Maine, Allagash's 15-barrel brewing system was designed in house, to emphasize a hands-on approach to brewing. This system, along with the use of first-rate ingredients including soft Lake Sebago water and a Belgian strain of yeast, results in beers with a distinctive character.Owner and brewmaster, Rob Todd, a 30-year-old geology major from Middlebury College in Vermont, studied brewing at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. "I was alone when I started the brewery," Todd said. "I wanted to make just one beer, and concentrate on it till I got it right, to make sure the quality was there." He chose to start with a white beer, he said, for a few reasons. He loved the surprise of its unique taste, "flavorful yet very refreshing," and realized that few brewers were making them.Whereas most beers are made with barley, white beers, also known as wheat beers, are made with a substantial portion of wheat, which gives them their refreshing flavor. Most brewers find it difficult to work with wheat. Because it does not have a husk, it easily clogs the mashing vessel. "It's a hard beer to brew," said Todd, "delicate and balanced, and no one in this part of the country was doing it and I saw a niche I could fill. It's a unique beer, and for most people it's an educational process. White beer looks different and tastes different, it has a different aroma, and for some people it's a big surprise.""We recommend pouring about three quarters of the bottle into a glass," Todd says, "then stopping. You should then swirl the bottle to arouse the sediments, and pour what's left into the glass. The sediments add a distinctive flavor. That's why we include pouring instructions on the side of the bottle. If you filter a beer you remove proteins and yeast."Allagash White took the gold medal in 1998 at the World Beer Cup and our panel thought it to be a real winner as well. We know you'll enjoy it. Allagash beers are currently distributed only in Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (207) 878-5385 or check out their web site at www.allagash.com.
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