Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick Sips: Allagash Confluence 2011

Well hell, I was supposed to like this. I was supposed to like this a lot. Instead it left me disappointed.

But don't blame Allagash, who are one of the finest brewers of high end beers on the East Coast, blame the cruel mistress that is "expectations." You see, my intel on Confluence was bad. I thought this was meant to be a sour beer. Thought for sure it was meant to be a sour. But it's not.

So when I gleefully slipped this from the beer stash, grabbed my favorite tulip glass, and hit the back deck for some funky sour goodness, I was dealt a harsh blow to discover it's "just" a wild Belgian style ale. Argh!

(Why would I want a sour beer? Trust me, they're delicious.)

I write "just" a wild ale with some sarcasm because it's a great style, and this is the perfect brewery to be doing them. Along with Ommegang and New Glarus, Allagash are one of the great American brewers of Belgian styles. When you get an Allagash, you're getting quality.

And this was indeed a quality wild ale. The beer was musty and murky, tasting like lightly yeasty biscuits and delicious bread. It had a grassy aroma like wide open fields during the summer. Though there was some spicing happening here, it was more mild than you'd expect. Very approachable, very drinkable. If you could drink a picnic, it would taste like this. You could share this beer with anyone and they'd probably like it.

But I wasn't looking for this, dammit, I was looking for a sour beer that would pucker my mouth and carpet bomb my taste buds. This ain't that.

So really, if there was disappointment, it was because I expected the completely wrong thing. Shame on me, I suppose. Try it if you enjoy wild ales, Belgian pales, and beers with a little bit of mild murky grassy funk. But sour? Despite reviews that mention sour notes, there were none to be had here.

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