Our little vacation ended with a trip to the Allagash Brewery in Portland, ME (after spending lots of time at LL Bean in Freeport). The tour started with a tasting of their main brands – White, Dubbel, Tripel, and Four. They weren’t full pours, but they weren’t small pours either, considering the strength of some of the beers. Not having had them in a long time, it was nice to be reacquainted with them, remembering how good they are.
The woman in the visitor center had a pretty strong knowledge of their beer and the styles. She knew quite a bit about the brewery and even seemed to have some good general beer knowledge. They weren’t brewing at the time we were there. In fact, they were just moving stuff around. The tour portion was short, but brewery tours need not be long unless there are a lot of questions. Given that the group was small, there weren’t many questions. They allowed us to check out some of their barrels, but not drink any of the beer in them, unfortunately.
What I found most disappointing was the pricing of the beer at the brewery. Oftentimes, breweries will sell beer for slightly cheaper than most retail outlets. In this case, that didn’t hold true. We didn’t buy anything extravagant, picking up a bottle of Four for ourselves and a bottle of Black for my cousin whom we were visiting for dinner that evening on our drive back to RI. I had wanted a t-shirt, but they didn’t have anything in my size in stock. I picked up a glass because that’s what I do at breweries, and we were on our way. It was one of the more informative brewery tours I’ve seen, and certainly the only real Belgian tour. I had expected their tasting room to be a bit different because of the popularity of the brewery. I was also hoping to be able to taste something a bit more special than the four beer we tried, knowing I wouldn’t get to taste the Gargamel or Vagabond.
It’s worth a visit, especially if you like Belgian beers. Someday I’ll get back up to Portland and tour the rest of the breweries in that fine New England beer town.