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I was very fortunate recently to try out a beer I’ve heard a great deal about, from a brewery that I’ve also been very fond of ever since I tried one of their Belgian-style triples aged on oak.

Allagash Brewing out of Portland, Maine is a fantastic little brewery that’s been around since 1995, focusing most of its efforts on brewing traditional Belgian-style ales, with somewhat of an American twist. They don’t distribute to the Twin Cities, so for most of us they’re tough to find (I’ve seen their stuff across the border in Wisconsin, though).

Interlude is classified as a wild ale, the first release in their “Serie d’Origine” experimental series, with vintages that go back at least a few years. According to the brewery, “farmhouse” yeast is used for primary fermentation, creating what I’d say is a base beer that falls somewhere between a saison and Belgian strong pale ale. For secondary, they add Brettanomyces to give the beer its distinctive wild funk, and then they age a portion of the beer in French Merlot and Sirah barrels. The result is a hugely complex beer that continually surprises with new flavors and nuance with each sip.

Having been cellared for a couple years, the 2007 vintage we enjoyed had time to come into its own, with the Brett leading the way in the aroma. The vinous, wine characteristics also are certainly apparent, with nice spice notes balancing the mustyness up front. The mild tartness of the beer hits your taste buds first with some fruity characteristics, maybe green grape or pear. After the first rush, some cherry notes also come into play, which was very nice and unexpected. Finishes relatively dry and crisp, with some slight heat from the 9.5% ABV (wasn’t distracting, however).

Really impressed with this one, and Allagash in general. 

Rating: A-

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