Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Pre-St. Patrick's Day Celebration

We found ourselves with some "free time" Sunday afternoon, and decided to head over to Capital Ale House for a quick beer and late lunch. After taking seats at the bar we were handed a menu that listed some intriguing beers from The Bruery one side, and from Allagash Brewing on the other. First world problems for sure, but we were facing tough decisions.

Fortunately, the bartenders at Capital Ale House are eager to assist. We obtained small samples of a few of the Allagash beers; Confluence, a Belgian Ale with Brettanomyces yeast, Saison Rye, and Hugh Malone, a Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Simcoe and Warrior hops. After passing the glasses back and forth, our decisions were make only somewhat easier. Colleen selected the Confluence, and I ordered a glass of the Hugh Malone.

Allagash Confluence and an empty sampler

Allagash Hugh Malone is labeled as a "Belgian IPA," a newish style that we've been seeing more of lately. These beers make the flavor range from "Belgian" to "IPA." I prefer the ones that favor the IPA side of the scale, with a hint of Belgian yeast for added interest. Hugh Malone fit my preferences quite well. The citrus and piney notes were predominant with just a hint of Belgian yeast "funk" adding a fun twist. Colleen's Confluence, with its tart but not overpowering Brett and grassy citrus flavors was equally enjoyable. We accompanied both beers with an appetizer of Spinach, Crab and Artichoke dip served with Pretzel bread bits.

We still weren't done with interesting beer offerings, this time turning our attention to The Bruery side of the menu. Colleen ordered a pint of Autumn Maple. This seasonal from The Bruery is a Belgian Ale brewed with yams. This was an interesting take on a traditional "pumpkin beer," with similar spice, but using yams instead of pumpkin in the brewing process.

For my decision, the friendly bartender again aided by offering small tastes of Humulus Lager and Tart of Darkness. The Tart of Darkness is a Sour or Wild Ale that was very interesting, with a flavorful, juicy tartness. If I weren't having food, I would have definitely ordered a full pint. However, I had placed an order for some spicy wings, so I opted for the Humulus Lager.

The Bruery Humulus Lager is another one of those crossover-style beers; an Imperial Pilsner on one hand, a citrusy IPA on the other. The crisp citrus and fruity hop flavors are accompanied by a crispness one expects in a lager. Just the thing with Capital Ale House's spicy habanero wings.

It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially as Monday's weather forecast calls for yet another Winter storm headed our way.

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