One of the best trends started by the explosion of craft brewing in the US was the advent of collaboration beers, where multiple breweries contribute to a single recipe. Each brewery has its strengths and areas of expertise, and when two or more brewers combine their ideas the results can be amazing. Some collaboration beers bring together breweries from across state lines, or even from across the globe, such as the Our Turn, Your Turn collaboration between Pretty Things (of MA) and Yeastie Boys (from New Zealand, see my review at:http://wp.me/p3TEvn-1A). I find the local collaborations to be extremely encouraging. It is nice to see the brewers working as colleagues instead of acting like competitors. 2013 Ale is a new beer from Maine Beer Co. (Freeport, ME), collaborating with Allagash Brewing (Portland, ME) and In’finiti Fermentation (Portland, ME). Maine Beer Co. writes on the bottle that the people at Allagash helped them learn the business when they started, and they were hoping to pay it forward to In’finiti. 2013 Ale is a Belgian Pale ale brewed with aromatic American hops. The style makes sense for this collaboration, one of Maine Beer Co. signatures are a burst of fresh hop aroma when the bottle is opened. Allagash is known for their Belgian style ales, and they have proprietary strains of yeast to contribute.
Maine Beer Co. 2013 Ale pours a cloudy gold with a mild white head. The smell is very hop-forward, citrus and tropical fruit, what you expect from the American hop varieties that have made Maine Beer Co. beers so popular. The Belgian yeast adds a mild spiciness to the nose, but the hops dominate. The hops are also the predominant flavor on the first sip providing notes of lemon, guava, grapefruit and passionfruit. The yeast adds some fruity esters with a touch of apple, resulting in a pleasant interplay with the hops. There is very little malt character in the flavor, the hops and yeast dominate, but the pale malts in the backbone help balance the beer out and keep it from being overly bitter. You do get a solid bite in the aftertaste, not as bitter as an IPA, but enough to taste the alpha acid. The beer is light bodied and easy to drink overall, it logs in at a solid 5.5% ABV, light enough to grab a couple (if you can find them). I will be heading to Maine for Thanksgiving. I think I’ll stop and grab a few bottles to wash down my turkey and fixings, I suggest you do the same. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.