Good Beer in the East Village hosted an "Allagash Rarities" event on Tuesday June 11, 2013, which was a busy night -- also that evening there was an Allagash/Ommegang event at Mile House, a Canadian beer tasting at Top Hops, and the one-night-only screening of The Beer Hunter, followed by an after-party at Jimmy's No. 43. I only managed the Good Beer and Jimmy's events, though B.R. made it to those and the Anthology Film Archives for the screening.
The four "rarities" of the six on tap that we tried were all sour, high in alcohol, barrel aged and a few were heavy on the Brett. We tried the Interlude first, which was the lightest in color and in flavor profile. It's saying something that a very sour, 9.5% ABV, Brettanomyces fermented beer is the lightest one in your flight! It gets a primary fermentation, before the Brett is added, from a Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. A portion of the batch is aged in French Merlot and Sirah oak barrels and, I'm assuming, blended back into rest.
|Bob, B.R., and Dave of Allagash.|
Our favorites were the Avancé (B.R.'s fave) and Midnight Brett (Bob's). Avancé is a sour pale colored ale aged with strawberries for three years in bourbon barrels! This 10.8% ABV ale was probably the most complex we tried, with a really nice sweet fruit finish. The Midnight Brett at, I'm guessing, the 10-11% ABV range employs the same Allagash Tripel ale as used in the Curieux, except that the beer is aged in dark wine barrels, which impart a smooth, enticing cherry/plum aged dark fruit characteristic. The beer is stout-black in color, from the wine barrels, and has a refreshing sourness.
Though we were disappointed that they didn't have the Allagash BAT tequila barrel aged beer, we really can't complain about the fantastic, extremely rare beers that were offered!
UPDATE: A few days after the event, I dropped by Good Beer and saw that the BAM, the Allagash/Beer Advocate collaboration, was still on tap -- it was one of the six that we didn't have -- so I gave it a try. And, boy, was I glad that I did! I think that it was my favorite! The BAM is a 9% ABV amber ale brewed with honey and rye malt and aged for three months in two different mead barrels, one from Artesano of VT and one from Maine Mead Works, and then blended. It was very well rounded, with its delicate, subtle complexities of honey notes, fruitiness and oak playing in concert with its mild sourness (mild compared to the others on tap, at least). This is one that you don't want to miss!
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