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The Beer Circle » Allagash Brewing Co., Breweries » Allagash Brewing – Portland, Maine

Allagash Brewing – Portland, Maine

Tom and I had a wedding in New York State a few weeks ago, and we decided to turn it into a longer vacation by visiting his college roommate (and his wife, dog and cat) in Durham, NH.  Durham is the home of the University of New Hampshire, and about 20 minutes from Portsmouth. I’ll talk about Portsmouth Brewing in another post, but one day when Erick and Dana both had to work, we decided to go to Maine for the day.  We weren’t planning on going all the way up to Portland, but after having a somewhat disappointing lunch at a brewpub that will remain nameless, Tom could tell I was kind of bummed out and suggested we drive up there.  I called Allagash and reserved spots for the tour that started in 45 minutes.

First, we stopped at Maine Beer Company.  I had gotten almost all of their brews when we were down in New York, but was missing Lunch. Since it’s about a quarter of a mile, he suggested stopping there on the way, as it would be closed afterwards. I can safely say that Maine Beer is one of the smallest breweries I have ever been in – In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s smaller than the conference room I’m sitting in right now.  They had a little store front though, and the refrigerator in it was well stocked and had Lunch.  Success.

After paying, we hopped back into the car and drove down to Allagash.  It’s a fairly big sized brewery, but seemed particularly so in stark contrast to Maine Beer Company’s facilities.

Allagash Brewing: 50 Industrial Way, Portland, Maine 04103


Once we checked in, we perused the gift shop for a bit before settling in for the pre-tour tasting. Allagash only does tastings as a part of the tour, but the tours are free.  We sampled the White, Confluence, Curieux, and Black. I was particularly excited for the Confluence and Black, as I’d never had them before; Tom had never had a beer from Allagash, so was pretty psyched about the whole thing.

The woman leading our tour was great; for the tasting, she gave us a lot of information not only on the background of the beers we were drinking, but also a lot of the other beers Allagash makes, its history, and business model.  It was neat hearing that LA has actually taken over as their biggest market (from Boston), and while White is 75% of their overall marketshare, it’s Curieux that is leading the LA takeover. I did find it peculiar that she kept saying that brewery tours made the brewers nervous, as they give so many and they didn’t appear to be phased at all by them.

One unique thing about Allagash’s brewery tour is that the tour guides use a portable PA system — you can always hear them, no matter how loud it is.  They also made us all wear safety goggles; that is only the second time I’ve encountered that, the first being at Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, CO.

Myself and Barrel Aged Black

At this point to me, most brewery tours are pretty similar – they explain to you the brewing process while showing you the equipment used, the canning or bottling line, and the barrel room if they have one.  While one of my favorite barrel rooms is at Port/Lost Abbey in San Diego, they showed us something else: the Coolship room.

This is where the magic happens.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the actual coolship, but this was still pretty neat.  It’s not attached to the main brewery, so we had to walk a little bit; Allagash actually owns quite a bit more space in the industrial park than they use right now in order to help with expansion.  It was pretty neat to hear about the different coolship beers and how they’re made.  Sadly, we didn’t get to try any of them.

This is what we call “temptation”

We had a really nice time at Allagash.  On the way out, we picked up a bottle of Fluxus, a Coolship series glass, and a tin tacker for Tibor’s. They released something called “House Beer” that day, but unfortunately it was only available at $60 a case (though $40 case refill), so that didn’t make the cut.  If you’re in Maine, I highly recommend checking out Allagash.  Tours are offered 6 days a week and 3 times a day, so there’s really no excuse for missing out!

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Written by Paige Deckert

Paige is a fifth year graduate student at Penn State; she received her craft beer education while bartending during undergrad at the University of Illinois. Over several months, Rogue’s Dead Guy served as her gateway beer, because it was $2/pint on Thursdays, and thus offered the highest ABV/$. This eventually turned into enjoyment, and everything is history from there. Her first legal beer was Robert the Bruce on cask at the Blind Pig in Champaign, followed by the Duchess de Bourgogne. Paige has visited over 15 breweries, including Great Divide, Bells, Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds and Dogfish Head, with plans to add more in 2012 via trips to San Diego, Phoenix, and Austin. Paige became friends with Russ (and subsequently Garrett) when they became friends on untappd. She clearly remembers seeing a check-in of his and thinking, “Who is this clown checking into Miller Light at the Shandygaff?” Soon thereafter he introduced himself at a Zeno’s beerfest, and they bonded over their beer geekery (sans adjuct lagers). Find Paige Deckert on Google Plus

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