12 April 2008

Allagash White (ME)

Before I became interested in craft beer, I'd occasionally go to my local beer emporium and pick out mostly cheaper or reduced price bottles. I recall Allagash White as one of the few I splurged on. After taking it home, I assiduously followed the label directions and graphics to pour, swirl, and pour yeast. This wasn't the first witbier I'd had -- I know I'd drunk Hoegaarden before -- but this really blew me away as something different and wonderful. Sometimes I wish I could recover my thoughts on all the beers I tried before this became a hobby. Then again, sometimes I wish I could recover that feeling of just drinking and not thinking about beer. Writes Nick Hornby:

A critical faculty is a terrible thing. When I was eleven there were no bad films, just films that I didn’t want to see, there was no bad food, just Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and there were no bad books — everything I read was great. Then suddenly, I woke up in the morning and all that had changed. How could my sister not hear that David Cassidy was not in the same class as Black Sabbath? Why on earth would my English teacher think that The History of Mr Polly was better than Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie? And from that moment on, enjoyment has been a much more elusive quality.

Anyway, Allagash White pours an opaque yellow-orange with foamy white top. If you ever doubt whether a beer can smell like cloves, then whiff this one after pouring. Then again, after a bit, the cloves seem to fade, replaced instead by coriander and lemon. The taste follows suit. This isn't a heavily spiced wit, and comes across as light and refreshing (though still flavorful). The texture is killer: smooth with subdued carbonation. Overall, this is one of my favorites in the style, although I still prefer a topnotch hefeweizen.

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