A Belgian style pale ale brewed with Maine ingredients to showcase and support sustainable family farming in Maine’s sixteen counties, this latest style from Allagash reminds me of a saison. The head is massive and long lasting. The nose is grainy and grassy. The middle has zesty lemon, honeysuckle and other floral notes and there’s a quite a bit of grapefruit in the finish. The body is medium and the alcohol is a robust 7.3% ABV. An exceptionally delicious beer.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
Peak Farm is an Imperial Pale Ale from Sycamore Brewing in Charlotte, NC. The nose is predominantly floral with some light fruity notes of apricot and mango. The middle has some citrus in the form of orange and lemon. The finish is citrusy and bitter, tempering as it warms. The body is heavy and the alcohol is a moderate 7.2% ABV. A nice double pale ale with nothing against it, but not particularly special.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Brewed with a 25% malted rye based, Columbus hops for citrusy notes, and Belgian yeast, Riverbank Rye-It from the Deep River Brewing Company promised to be interesting. The nose is very muted, with a tiny hint of fruit that I’d attribute to the yeast, and some light citrus. In the middle, the rye comes forward but the strongest flavor is grapefruit, and a bit of caramel. Not much changes for the finish, as the same notes hang around until the end. It’s nice, but uninspiring. The body is medium and the alcohol is a moderate 5.2% ABV.
I give it a 3.3 out of 5.
From right here in Charlotte, NC, Birdsong Brewing Co. has produced a beer styled just for me…One that’s spicy. The do remove the seeds from the fresh jalepeños they add to the brew, so it’s not burn-your-mouth-down spicy, but it’s a nice hint of heat. The beer otherwise is their Free Will Pale Ale, which is a nice malt-forward pale ale. I do remember Free Will (which I haven’t reviewed yet) having a bit of a bitter finish, but that seems to be gone here, perhaps due to the flavor of the jalepeños. A nice beer, medium bodied, and a summery 5.5% ABV.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Victoria is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale brewed with 500 lbs of crushed Chardonnay grapes, which are definitely the dominant influence. The nose has grapes, yeast, and a bit of butter. The middle is heavy with sweet grape, contrasted sharply by bitter herbal grassy notes, and some spicy heat in the background, all of which remain and fade in the finish. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a robust 9.0% ABV.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.
Raftman is a Belgian Pale Ale from Unibroue, made with smoked whiskey malts. The nose is floral, yeasty and bready, with a bit of lemon. The middle is fruity and light. Banana, apple, and pear are here. I have to say, I’m not picking up any smokiness from the malt at all. The finish is more of the same. The body is medium, and the alcohol is a pleasant 5.5% ABV. A nice refreshing beer that would be great for summer.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
Confluence is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, dry hopped and fermented with Brettanomyces. The fact that it is dry-hopped does not mean this is a “hoppy” beer, and in fact, in traditional Belgian style it is the malt and yeast on display here. Even though this is a “strong” pale ale, it’s certainly on the lighter side for a Belgian, and for Allagash. The head is foamy and quite pronounced. The nose is quite faint, and has some grape and pear notes. I didn’t catch much else. In the middle are strong pear flavors and a bit of lemon. This continues into the finish with the pear fading and the lemon rising, and some pepper entering the mix to spice things up. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is a reasonable 7.1% ABV. A nice, clean, very well done beer.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.