Style: Red Ale
Allagash Brewing Company was founded in 1995 in Portland, Maine and specializes in Belgian style beers. This red ale was inspired by a cocktail known as the “Boulevardier.” It is brewed with Lambrusco grape must, angelica root, and orange peel before being aged in bourbon barrels for two months. All the beers that Allagash produce are bottle conditioned. Red ale is a style of pale ale that is brewed using a moderate amount of kilned malts and roasted barley, giving the beer its red colour. This was paired with a Pinot Noir from Domaine de la Maison Carrée, who are based in Valais, Switzerland to match flavour intensity to the beer.
This was a golden copper colour that completely lacked head which decanted, which was rather strange, as I expected a bit more carbonation than what was on display. It was almost reminiscent of a strawberry cider in appearance, and it worried me slightly because it looked so flat. A light vanilla oak note came through in the aroma first, with some light grape juice character backing it up. The aroma wasn’t robust but still pleasant. The flavour was much better though, with an intriguing complexity that challenge the palate. The beautiful bourbon and orange notes were noticed first, along with the oak, spices and a good hit of alcohol to round off a tremendous flavour. There was some carbonation, but it was fairly low. This might be due to the fact that the bottles have been stored for around 9 months, but I don’t think the low carbonation affected the beer severely. The angelica root gave a gin like juniper hit to the taste as well. The throat was warmed when swallowing and the aftertaste showcased the big vanilla oak notes again to finish.
Simply put, this was amazing! I loved the combination of flavours, with each one on display but never steam rolling over the rest. Big, bold and flavourful, I could definitely drink a few more of these if they ever release them again. Epic.