Growlers – the best way to drink beer at home

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Rating System

Details on how I rate the beer I drink. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet More »

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Tree House Brewing

A recap of my visit to Tree House Brewing in Monson, Mass. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet More »

Hill Bar

Hill Farmstead Brewery

Everything you wanted to know about one of the World’s best breweries. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet More »


Wish List

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849 – 878 Various Allagash Beers

For 4+ weeks in April/May I drank all Allagash beer including many beers that were 3+ years old. Rather than writing a complete review of each I am just going to do a brief overview of each. If you have never been to the brewery Allagash has one of the best brewery tours out there and if you ever get the opportunity to attend one of their events go. Their bottle releases, annual Street Fair and other events are always a great time.

849. Allagash Astrid

Many of these bottles are brewery only releases and several are described simply as “ale aged in oak barrels”. This one is specific in the type of barrels saying “ale aged in Aquavit barrels”. Aquavit is a Scandanavian spirit that I have never tried so not sure what it adds to the flavor but I did enjoy Astrid. A bit of funk in the nose, along with some apricot, lemon and oak from the barrels. Interesting combination of fruit, barrel and funk but I enjoyed it.
Allagash Astrid
850. Allagash Avance

This was one of my favorites from the 30 days of Allagash. Avance is a barrel aged beer brewed with molasses and aged on strawberries. The combination of oak, bourbon, strawberries and just a bit of funk make this an exceptionally complex beer. Very light sour and little carbonation but it all works together for a very enjoyable beer.
Allagash Avance
851. Allagash Belfius

Belfius is a combination of Allagash’s Saison and coolship beers. I got some green apple and a bit of funk in the nose which follows through to the flavor. As it warmed the saison came through nicely. Enjoyable and more refreshing than some of the other beers in this list but overall just not quite as good as many as the others.
Allagash Belfius
852. Allagash Century Ale

Century Ale is one of the few 375s that made it out to distribution and can still be found in some bottle shops. This is a straight up brett saison that is dry hopped before being packaged. Very good mix of fruity hops and dry bready funk from the brett. For whatever reason I was not expecting much from this beer and really enjoyed it.
Allagash Century Ale
853. Allagash Coolship Cerise

The Coolship series includes a number of beers that are spontaneously fermented in Allagash’s coolship. Cerise is aged on Maine grown cherries which gives it a lot of funky sourness. Cherries really come through but not in a cough medicine sweet way. Truly exceptional beer here and glad that I have a few more bottles kicking around the cellar.
Allagash Coolship Cerise
854. Allagash Coolship Red

Similar to Coolship Cerise but this one is aged on raspberries. The raspberries come through strong in the aroma, color and flavor. This combines very well with just a hint of funk and earthy aroma/flavor. Carbonation was active helping to give the beer a nice tart finish. These Coolship beers are right up there with the best from Belgium.
Allagash Coolship Red
855. Allagash Curieux

Not sure how I made it through 850+ beers without reviewing Allagash Curieux as this is truly one of the best bourbon barrel aged beers being produced. So many breweries take their biggest, baddest stout, throw it in some bourbon barrels to add some bourbon and oak and think it is the best thing ever. Allagash instead took their Triple and aged it in Jim Beam barrels. What you get is a very complex beer with plenty of vanilla from the oak, fruity flavors from the yeast and a bit of booze from the combination of a high ABV triple and the additional of bourbon barrels. So much happening in this beer than anyone could find something to enjoy in it.
Allagash Curieux
856. Allagash Cuvee d’Industrial

A blend of barrels from Allagash resulted in Cuvee d’Industrial. Such an interesting mix of aroma and flavor here with some oak, earthy funk, green apple, lemon zest. Not quite as funky and sour as the Coolship beers but you can tell this is an Allagash beer with the bright and complex flavors.
Allagash Cuvee d'Industrial
857. Allagash Emotional Honey

This is the first beer  of the 30 days that I could describe as malty which is interesting since this started as a sour red ale and then was aged in mead barrels. You would think this would impart a super sweet character into the beer, instead it gives it a super dry finish. Not a lot of sour with this one just a well crafted enjoyable beer.
Allagash Emotional Honey
858. Allagash Evora

Evora is a brett beer aged on brandy barrels. Big Belgian yeast character with a fair amount of booze and barrel. Not as complex as many of the other beers from Allagash but still enjoyable. Overall a little more booze than I enjoy and I am guessing if you like brandy than you would probably enjoy this beer but overall I was a little disappointed.
Allagash Evora
859. Allagash Fluxus 2013

This one I did not give a rating as it probably should not have sat for nearly three years before being enjoyed. This was truly the only beer of the 30+ days that I did not enjoy and it was most likely a combination of it being a dark beer and the age which I am sure did not help this beer any.

Allagash Fluxus 2013
860. Allagash Ghoulschip

This was likely the oldest bottle that I opened as this was from the 2011 release of Ghouschip. Not sure if it was the age but there was virtually no pumpkin flavor left which is entirely OK with me. Certainly some funk and a little caramel sweetness. Lots of complexity in this beer even with 4.5 years of age on it. I have a couple bottles of the 2014 version and it will be interesting to see how these compare with the 2011 variety.
Allagash Ghoulschip
861. Allagash Golden Brett

This is a great introduction to brett beers for those that have not tried them before. The beer itself has a nice touch of fruit with some apricot, green apple and a bit of grape almost wine like flavor. Taste is crisp, lightly tart, refreshing and won’t make you pucker up too much. Super easy and clean finish, just a great beer overall and something that beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers could enjoy.
Allagash Golden Brett
862. Allagash Helena

I love this style of beer as Allagash calls Helena a Flemish Red and when this style is done well it is great. Fortunately Allagash does almost everything well and Helena does not disappoint. Big green apple tartness along with a bit of oak and a dry clean finish make this a great beer. Another beer that I have at least one more in the cellar and I am already looking forward to opening it.
Allagash Helena
863. Allagash House Beer (Haunted)

Allagash released a “haunted” version of their House Beer making it into a dark beer with an ABV of 6.66%. One of the many reasons I love Allagash is they don’t take things too seriously and are willing to do fun things like a “haunted” version of one of their beers. This was available in 4-packs at the brewery. Overall this is a nice beer but the coffee flavors were prevalent and I genuinely do not like coffee. Fun, easy drinking beer but not my style.
Allagash House Beer Haunted
864. Allagash Invisible Orange

The second beer of the 30+ days that I didn’t really enjoy and both were dark beers that included blood oranges. This one the description alone was enough to turn me off but I tried it and finished the 375 bottle. Belgian Style porter aged in French oak barrels using chocolate malts and blood orange pulp zest, who thought up of that combination. Maybe its your thing but it wasn’t mine.
Allagash Invisible Orange
865. Allagash Little Sal

Little Sal uses a pound of Maine blueberries per gallon of beer and was aged in red wine barrels. I love beer aged in wine barrels, much more so than bourbon or other spirit barrels and the addition of blueberries just put this one over the top. Only slightly tart with a bit of funk but overall the fruit, oak and wine character makes this beer a truly enjoyable experience.
Allagash Little Sals
866. Allagash Mattina Rossa

Another fruited beer from Allagash, this one with local raspberries. Aroma is big raspberries and funk. More tart than most of the others I have reviewed but in an enjoyable way. This one will make you pucker and your mouth water well after you have finished the last sip. Just a really great beer and one that I have enjoyed several times at beer fests and glad they finally released bottles to the public last year so I could enjoy at home.
Allagash Mattina Rossa
867. Allagash Merveilleux

Merveilleux is a blend of bourbon barrel and wine barrel aged beers that creates a very interesting and complex flavor profile. My initial thought was a straight up sour brown but as it warmed the complexity came out with some fig, cherry, oak, vanilla. Such an interesting beer with just enough of a bite to let you know its a sour beer but allows the subtle flavors of the barrels come through.
Allagash Merveiluex
868. Allagash Midnight Brett

Similar to some of the other beers already reviewed but with an added roasted chocolate, coffee flavor from the dark malts. Generally any beer that has coffee flavors will not score well with me since I do not enjoy coffee and this is no different. Starts off similar to most Allagash beers with a tart slightly funky flavor but the finish is all roasted malts with some coffee.
Allagash Midnight Brett
869. Allagash Nancy

This was probably my second favorite beer of the 30 days with the only thing holding it back was a lack of aroma. Appearance was great and the flavor started with some brett funk and plenty of cherry flavor. As it warmed the cherry became the dominant flavor but in a sour tart kind of way not jammy sweet. Just a super beer that I could enjoy over and over again.
Allagash Nancy
870. Allagash Neddles

Cool story behind Neddles as Allagash’s first employee Ned left Allagash to start New England Distilling just around the corner from Allagash. Allagash brewed a sour brown and aged it in rum barrels from New England Distilling and named it Neddles. The story alone adds to the character of this beer since Ned is a great guy doing great things but the beer also does not disappoint. Some dark fruit, a bit of funk and plenty of oak. Rum is muted but does work its way towards the front as the beer warms.
Allagash Neddles
871. Allagash Odyssey

Another dark beer aged in oak barrels however this one has lots of dates, raisin, molasses sweetness but none of the cocoa/coffee flavor that I generally dislike in my beer. It is a big beer at 10.4% ABV so there is a certain amount of booze but it is not off putting. Overall not my preferred style but the beer works and was enjoyable even with the high ABV.
Allagash Odyssey
872. Allagash Pick Your Own

My favorite beer of the 30+ days and likely my favorite Allagash beer. A sour red with raspberries, cherries and strawberries brought the best of everything to this beer. Very tart to the point of almost making your eyes water. Lots of berry flavor but not in a candy kind of way just a pleasant funky sour berry. Really enjoyable beer here.
Allagash Pick Your Own
873. Allagash Sixteen Counties

This is the original version of Sixteen Counties released in 4-packs of 12 ounce bottles. Allagash has since released a 750 ml cork and cage version which I believe is going to be a year round release for them. Sixteen Counties uses ingredients from all the counties in the State of Maine. This is a slightly hoppy Belgian pale ale with some nice spicy flavors from the Belgian yeast and a bit of grassy/earthy flavors from the hops. Such a crisp and clean beer.
Allagash Sixteen Counties
874. Allagash Tiarna

Another blend of two beers from Allagash. One is fermented with brett and the other with standard Belgian strains. Tiarna ends up being a slightly tart beer with a nice mix of bready malt and some lemon. Carbonation was heavy and very active but it didn’t take away from the beer. Enjoyable beer but not quite as good as many of the others.
Allagash Tiarna
875. Allagash Victor

I had high hopes for Victor and Victoria (see below), red grapes used in the brew process and fermented with wine yeast seemed like something I would enjoy. The beer poured a deep orange with solid white head. Aroma is full of spicy yeast. The only word that comes to mind to describe the taste is musty which is probably not the best term but all I can think of when drinking it. Overall a well crafted beer but it did not compare well with many of the other excellent beers in this list.
Allagash Victor
 876. Allagash Victoria

This beer is similar to Victor but uses Chardonnay grapes instead of red grapes. Again it seemed like a beer I would enjoy but the yeast was the dominant flavor with almost no funk or tartness. The 9% ABV is completly hidden both in the nose and the taste. Overall a nice beer that was slightly better than Victor but still not my thing.
Allagash Victoria
877. Allagash Vrienden

This is another really old bottle as the beer was brewed in 2010 and released in 2011. It was brewed at both Allagash’s facility in Portland and a different version was brewed at New Belgium Brewing of Colorado. Vrienden, the Allagash version, was brewed with dandelion greens and elderberries. Not a lot of carbonation left in this one which muted the aromas a bit. Taste had turned a bit acidic but still had a nice herbal and mildly funky berry finish. Very interesting beer that has held up surprisingly well over the 5 years since it was bottled.
Allagash Vrienden
878. Allagash Zohzo

Described as a hoppy blonde ale it is entirely different than most of the beers coming out of Allagash. Relatively simple especially when compared to the sour, barrel aged funk that many of the previous beers had but this one is very refreshing with a nice piney hop presence and simple malt backbone. Hoping this one comes around again as I enjoyed it.
Allagash Zohzo

Overall my 30 days of drinking nothing but Allagash beer was a fun way to dig through my cellar and enjoy some great beers that I had been hoarding for too long. I really shouldn’t need an excuse to drink lots of great beer from an exceptional brewery but I might have to do this with a few other breweries to get through my deep cellar.






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848. Trillium Brewing Scaled Up

Trillium Scaled UpThis is the first beer for me from Trillium’s new Canton location. It is now much easier to get Trillium beer if you don’t mind driving to Canton where there is plenty of parking, tons of employees so the lines are minimal and always a plethora of beer available to purchase.

Scaled Up is a very deep orange with an almost murky thickness. I have had thicker beers but this is pushing up against the line of how thick I like my beers. Aroma has loads of tropical fruits which follow through to the taste. Mildly sweet, a light bitter finish and almost no alcohol make for a very enjoyable beer.

The 32 ounce growler was probably more than I needed for an 8% DIPA but I enjoyed every ounce of it.
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewery Website: Trillium Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: The first Double IPA produced at our Canton brewery. Featuring four powerful aromatic hop varieties, Galaxy, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, and Columbus, Scaled Up emits dank, spicy, aromas that lead into fruity, citrusy flavors of peach and orange on the palate. Lighter in body than most of our other Double IPAs, Scaled Up finishes dry and smooth with a pleasant bitterness.

MALT: Pilsner, White Wheat, Flaked Wheat, Dextrine, Dextrose, C-15

HOPS: Galaxy, Mosaic, Nelson Sauvin, Columbus

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847. Tree House Brewing Sap

Tree House SapContinuing my run of Tree House beers with Sap. This one is a bit different from the others I have tried from Tree House. With a name like Sap I was expecting a big resinous piney flavor but I can think of several beers that had much more pine than Sap.

The pour is typical Tree House with a deep orange, thick off white head and a nice haze that is far from see through but not to the point of being murky. Aroma had quite of bit of grapefruit and pineapple but that did not flow through to the taste. Flavor was slightly dank and earthy with a bit of pine in the finish but not nearly as juicy as most Tree House beers. Perfect mouth feel, almost no bitterness and just a hint of alcohol make this a very drinkable beer.

Sap is an excellent beer that I would love to drink regularly even though it wasn’t quite what I was expecting given the name. 

Alcohol Content: 7.3% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewery Website: Tree House Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: Our IPA brewed with Northwest American hops prominently featuring Chinook! A pungent aroma gives way to a delicate beer loaded with hop flavor. Soft notes of grapefruit, pine, pineapple, and young mango give way to a dry finish making this one hard to put down. We find Sap to be one of our most complex and intricate IPAs – We love it dearly!

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846. Tree House Brewing Haze

Tree House HazeAs you can tell I went on a bit of a Tree House kick a while back as I had a couple people that went and traded me a bunch of Tree House cans. I should make the trip to Monson more often than I do but it is a long boring drive from Western Maine and I don’t have many customers in that area, yet. Hopefully that will change soon and I can visit the guys and gals at Tree House more often. In the meantime if you make the trip and end up with extras let me know as I am sure we can work out a trade.

Haze looks very similar to the other Tree House beers with the murky orange and substantial off white head. Aroma is less citrusy than most with more tropical and peach than the others from Tree House but still very pungent and enjoyable. Flavor follows but adds a significant resiny pine character that is not in the nose. Finish has more bitterness than Juice Machine or some of the others but still relatively low compared to many IPA/DIPAs. Carbonation is typical Tree House low on the scale but enough to help keep the head and aroma coming.

Another superb beer from Tree House, if you enjoy hops you must try their beer as they are certainly in the top 5 breweries when it comes to hop forward beers. 

Alcohol Content: 8.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewery Website: Tree House Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: We constructed this beer around hops we currently have plenty of access to, allowing us to re-brew it on a (relatively) consistent basis. We smell a ton of orange on the nose, with complimentary notes of peach and passionfruit. The flavor is similar with a blast of citrus fruit & orange quickly followed by spicy grapefruit, and earthy dankness. A lingering but pleasant hop oil finish awaits.

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845. Tree House Brewing Juice Machine

Tree House Juice MachineMy brother in law happened to be coming back through Mass from a trip to Pennsylvania just as this beer was being released. His timing was perfect and he was in and out in minutes with his six can maximum. I ended up with two cans before he had a chance to drink them all and glad I did. I had one for this review and brought the second to a share in January.

Juice Machine looks much like the previous beers I reviewed from Tree House, cloudy deep orange with a bright white head. Aroma is huge with loads of pineapple, orange, mango – doesn’t smell like beer. Taste follows as it has tons of citrus, grapefruit, pineapple with absolutely no bitterness. Carbonation was light but intentionally so.

This beer was superb and one that I could enjoy again and again. It is not your typical double IPA though so don’t expect it to taste like all the other DIPAs you have tried. 
Alcohol Content: 8.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewery Website: Tree House Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: 

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844. Tree House Brewing Green

Tree House GreenA few more Tree House beers to review including Green which is one of their more common IPAs. This one comes in at 7.6% ABV which is right on the border between a single and double IPA but they classify it as a single. Love the story of how this one got its name, see brewery description below.

As with most Tree House beers this one is an unfiltered deep orange with a thick white head. Aroma is full of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple and just a hint of sweet malts. The first sip is full of fruit flavors but finishes with a nice sweet finish. Very little bitterness which seems to be a trademark of Tree House IPAs. No alcohol present, just a superb all around beer.

Between this beer and Julius you could drink them with your breakfast and feel like you got daily allotment of vitamin C from your orange juice all while enjoying a beer. I am not advocating beer for breakfast but there are worse ways to start the day. 

Alcohol Content: 7.6% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewery Website: Tree House Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: Our cross-continental IPA. Made with Australian and American hops, this citrus heavy IPA opens up in the glass with notes of pineapple, tangerine, and orange rind. It’s sharply bitter and nearly 8% ABV. . . The name comes from the initial batch in which, post boil, the wort looked green from so much hop particulate floating around. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

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843. Tree House Brewing King Julius

Tree House King JuliusI have been fortunate to trade for a number of Tree House beers over the past few months including this one which was right around Christmas time. Julius is one of their more frequently canned offerings but King Julius doesn’t come around very often.

King Julius pours a very cloudy deep orange with a solid white head. Aroma had loads of citrus, pineapple, grapefruit and was truly excellent. Flavor was just as juicy with those same citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Almost no bitterness and a relatively dry finish make this dangerously easy to drink considering its 8.3% ABV.

It will likely be several months before this beer is available again and unless you make the trip to the brewery than you will likely have to know someone to get your hands on a can but if you can I’m confident you will enjoy it. My only disappointment with this beer was that I had only a single can.
Alcohol Content: 8.3% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewery Website: Tree House Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description:Big brother of our favorite IPA, “Julius” and he’s crafted to be like “Julius” only more… stately. At 8.3% ABV and loaded with, frankly, a stupid amount of hops, it’s bursting with tropical flavors and just enough dryness to leave you longing for more.

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Falling Behind

If you follow my blog you may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here. Been far too busy at work and home to keep up with all the beer reviews but hoping to get things back on track. Some of the reviews that I am finishing up now were actually beers I drank months ago. My process usually works like this; I get home from work, open a beer, take a picture and make some notes. Then I come back at some point edit the photo, add the links, expand on the notes, etc.

Probably not the most efficient process but I work long hours and while I enjoy drinking a beer almost every night actually writing a review at that time would be difficult. So I fall behind and then spend a Sunday afternoon getting caught up on all those reviews. This time it will take a few Sunday afternoons to get caught up but I have had some great beer over the past couple months so you will want to stay tuned. You can follow my Facebook Page or Twitter account to see what’s happening on a more regular basis but reviews will be coming soon.

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842. Long Trail Brewing Space Juice

Long Traill Space JuiceI had really high hopes for this one since I enjoyed Limbo so much and Vermont has a pretty good reputation for DIPAs in 16 oz cans. Love the can design on this one.

The beer pours a super clear copper color with a thick white head. Aroma was a mix of tropical fruits and a bit of pine. Overall the aroma was not as big as I expected from an 8.7% DIPA.  Taste was just OK with those tropical fruits and pine but also a solid malt backbone and big lingering bitterness. Much more of a traditional IPA just bigger and different than so many of the murky, juice bombs that are out there today. Alcohol was well hidden and overall a beer worth trying but not one that I will seek out again.
Alcohol Content: 8.7% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 82
Brewery Website: Long Trail Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: A Double-IPA of the cosmic kind, this super-limited offering is brewed with two-row and caramel malts that lay the foundation for hops, hops and more hops.

The truth is out there, so send your taste buds to orbit with the out-of-this-world citrus and pine notes of Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, Columbus and Ella hops

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841. Foundation Brewing Afterglow

Foundation AfterglowI love Foundation Brewing and buy as much Epiphany as I can so when they released Afterglow as a single IPA in cans I had to get some.

Afterglow pours a bright relatively clear orange with a thick white head. Aroma is more herbal and floral than Epiphany but  still hop forward. Taste switches it up with a lot more citrus and tropical than I expected from the nose. A nice sweet base and relatively bitter finish make this an easy to drink single IPA.

Everything I have tried from Foundation has been top notch, Epiphany takes the top billing from Foundation but all of their beers are worth trying. 

Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 61
Brewery Website: Foundation Brewing
Brewery Social Media: FB20 twitter20 insta
Brewer’s Description: Afterglow is an American IPA, rich in West Coast and South Pacific hop flavors and aroma.  The juicy malt base enhances the notes of tangerine, pine, and berries from the hops.  It finishes with a pleasingly dank and firm bitterness.

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