Tomorrow my wife and I are taking the baby to Maine for a long weekend at my parents’ house. I love trips to Maine, especially in the summer. Since we are traveling with an infant we are going to need more frequent stops, so I have formulated a bit of a plan. Why stop at a rest stop when you could stop at a brewery? I have a tentative plan to hit 3-5 breweries on the way north, we’ll see how it goes. In honor of the upcoming journey my last pre-trip post will be a review of a Maine beer, Allagash Curieux. This beer is an interesting case. Curieux is a version of Allagash’s popular Tripel that is aged in Jim Beam Bourbon barrels and then blended with fresh Tripel. When Curieux was first released there were very few beers aged in whiskey barrels, now they are readily available. Curieux has received high praise from some of my most trusted fellow beer enthusiasts. When I bought this bottle one of the resident beer geeks at CBC Newton commented that it might be the best beer in the store. One of the most entertaining and informative national beer writers calls Curieux his favorite beer of all time. Despite this praise Curieux doesn’t get the hype that accompanies some barrel aged stouts like Founders KBS and Goose Island BCBS. Maybe it’s the lack of an acronym-ready name. More likely it is availability, these other beers are released in limited quantities that helps drives the hype, but Curieux is available year-round. You can find Curieux on draft and in 750 mL bottles.
Allagash Curieux pours a clear light brown with a moderate white head. The scent is a mixture of boozy bourbon mixed with Allagash’s distinctly expressive fruity and spicy Belgian style ale yeast. The bourbon leads the flavor, solid but not overpowering, boozy and sweet with notes of oak and vanilla. The yeast comes through too with touches of clove, apple and banana. There is some malt in the back of the beer, crackery grain and candi sugar, but not much in the way of hops. Curieux is incredibly easy to drink and goes down impossibly smooth for a beer at 11% ABV. The finish is clean with just a hint of yeasty esters and warming alcohol. This beer is extremely good, it is no wonder that it helped inspire a craze for bourbon barrel aged beers. I am surprised more brewers haven’t used tripels as their base for barrel aging, maybe they switched to stouts because they assumed Allagash had already mastered tripels with Curieux! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.
Previous Allagash Reviews: