A Nice Day for a White

When you think about what is meant by the phrase “flagship beer,” you probably call to mind beers like Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, New Belgium’s Fat Tire, Anchor Brewing’s Steam Beer (think: how many times have you heard people actually refer to the brewery as “Anchor Steam”?), and—especially for those of us in the beer scene in Portland, Maine—Allagash Brewing Company’s White. 

Some might say that the former beers have arguably lost some of their luster, some of their glory of late. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale may come across as a staunch, reserved interpretation of the style in the context of today’s trendy New England-style pale ales. New Belgium’s Fat Tire may seem diluted, if you will, in light of the recent spin-off of the beer.  And Anchor’s Steam Beer was probably never considered a sexy style, and even likely less so in today’s beer climate.  These are all amazing, world-class, practically prefect beers, even if they might have lost a step. Yet, and I would argue, Allagash White hasn’t lost it’s stride, but instead has sustained itself as probably the paradigmatic and best American example of the style. It’s exceedingly delicious, complex yet oh-so-simple. And one of my all-time favorite beers…

Comprising something like 70-80% of the brewery’s production, Allagash White is a true flagship by all means—it’s the beer that pays the bills, keeps the lights on in the Coolship room and lets Allagash flex it’s muscles with spontaneous and other barrel-aged beer projects.

Brewed with Coriander, Curaçao Orange Peel, and “secret spice(s),” and fermented with Allagash’s House yeast, this is the O.G. hazy, cloudy, beer from New England. But the flavor profile is entirely its own. Wheaty, citrusy, spicy, effervescent, clean, crisp, dry. Sip, sip, sip. 

Whenever I visit Allagash to have a beer in the Tasting Room, I’m excited to discover something new, something special, something inventive, innovative, creative—and even though I’ve had the beer countless times, I always find that in my first taste of Allagash White.