Allagash Tripel – Tripel – 9.0% ABV – 40 IBU (my best guess)
Allagash Brewing Company located in Portland, Maine USA is a brewer that I have enjoyed for almost a decade, but I have never reviewed one of their brews before. I tend to just pounce on them and consume them as soon as I lay my eyes on them like a rabid, pissed off velociraptor would the contents under the glass of a display counter at an East European butcher shop, leaving little to no room to thoroughly analyze all the attributes by which I review and rate a beer. And so I finally decided to sit down with one of these beauties and have a come-to-Jesus meeting. And yes, I found Jesus (again) with the help of Allagash Tripel.
The appearance of this brew, as with most traditional tripels, reminds me of a seaside beach. Allagash is a pale, lemon yellow, bright gold. It is fairly cloudy, and a steady, melodic plume of CO2 bubbles can be seen in the center of the glass (I drank mine out of a tulip glass). The head is white and voluminous with an aggressive pour, and resembles the frothy foam discharge of gentle waves lapping the sand of the beach at low tide when the sun is setting. Naturally that reminds me also of leaving a white discharge of my own across the bare mammary melons of a cooperative female near the dunes after the sun sets. Not a bad start to a drinking session if I do say so myself. The head here dissipates rather quickly, though, which is not surprising for this style.
The aroma resembles your 3rd date when your female companion invites you up into her apartment “just for a few minutes”. It carries a sweet medicinal phenol with tropical fruit, cloves and pepper. Taking in the aroma is the type of foreplay that offers the assurance of a home-run as long as you don’t get overzealous and fuck it up; and a tripel is a style of beer that can lead to a letdown if you don’t pace yourself. It is a sipping beer. So sip it, and enjoy the flavor of phenols, clove, honey, grapefruit, and lemon candy before it finishes with a boozy sting, a noticeably strong bitterness with pepper, and finally settling with the aftertaste of bananas and bread pudding. Allagash beers tend to exhibit a noticeable alcohol flavor, and while it definitely makes its presence known here, it isn’t quite as slutty as some of their other selections.
It has a watery texture with a fair amount of carbonation giving it a touch of softness. The lacing is mild and exhibits just a few small gobs of foam; and for the most part is clear and slides down the glass giving it the appearance that it’s melting. Whoa. Pass the LSD.
I reviewed a tripel before: Mother Earth’s “Tripel Overhead”. It was fantastic; barring the carbonation failure that I think may have been my fault. It is fascinating to compare these two beers (to me, anyway) because their flavor profiles from the brewing process are damn near exactly the same. But the Tripel Overhead has an added layer of complexity due to it being aged in bourbon barrels. For the pure tripel drinker, Allagash Tripel is the better selection. However, be advised it is not a Trappist ale, as it is American made. So it is still “not quite pure” for this style… and there are plenty of beer drinkers out there that may not hold it in as high a regard as its Belgian counterparts. I have a diagnosis for those particular beer drinkers: they are nose-thumbing, snobby, hipster douchebags with rusty flagpoles shoved up their pretentious colons. If I catch you paying attention to their bloviating I will unscrew your head and use your skull as a goblet. Pay attention to me. I am correct. Allagash Tripel is a fine, high quality product and anyone who respects beer should feel blessed to drink it.