Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eli's - Allagash Tasting

We hit Eli's last night for a late snack and some beer. The purpose of the trip was to try the phenomenal Allagash Black. I was so focused on the Black that I don't remember much of the rest of the rotation. I do remember:

Allagash Black
Allagash Tripel
Allagash Dubbel
Allagash Grand Cru
Stoudt's Double IPA
Rogue Imperial Red (!)
Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock (!)
Great Divide Fresh Hop Ale
Sierra Nevada Celebration
Smuttynose Scotch

The Black was so tasty and silky smooth I had three (Mandy was driving) Eli's first for me as I usually mix it up. It's a unique beer because it's made with roasted malts similar to a stout, but it also has belgian dark candi and is fermented using a belgian yeast. Allagash calls it a "Belgian style stout." I was concentrating on drinking it, not analyzing it, so no detailed notes. I remember it being silky smooth and much more stout-ish than Belgian-ish...the Belgian-y qualities were very subtle and came out in the finish adding a layer of complexity not found in normal stouts. The alcohol (7.5% ABV) is so well-hidden that I would have guessed it was in the 5% range, which is dangerous. I would rather drink Black than the vast majority of stouts (imperial or otherwise) I've had recently, which seems to be my developing yardstick "how much do I want to drink more of this?". It was still on at Eli's at 10:30 last night, so get there quick before it's gone!

As a (hopefully) quick sidenote, this beer presents an interesting stylistic quandry. Beeradvocate calls it a "Belgian Strong Dark Ale" and Ratebeer calls it a "Foreign Stout." It struck me as much more a stout than a Belgian Dark Ale so I'd probably lean more towards the "Foreign Stout" side or maybe "Export Stout." I'd say a new style is emerging "Belgian Stout," but when half of the examples are American, it seems weird to call it Belgian. Anyway, this doesn't really concern me much, as long as it tastes good, and Allagash Black does. I just think it's rather interesting watching a new style bloom in front of us.

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