Allagash to launch year-round IPA (Hop Reach) in 2023

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Aug 18, 2022.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,699) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    ALLAGASH ANNOUNCES NEW IPA JOINING YEAR-ROUND PORTFOLIO

    Hop Reach Set to Debut Throughout Full Distribution Footprint in 2023

    Allagash Brewing Company today announced the launch of Hop Reach–a new IPA joining the cadre of award-winning beers in the brewery’s core portfolio. Developed methodically and meticulously on Allagash’s pilot innovation system, Hop Reach is a well-balanced, full-bodied and refreshing IPA, and the first to be released by the brewery on a year-round basis.

    “One of the pillars of our brewing process is innovation - in brewing, in ingredients, and in approach. Within the IPA style in particular, there’s a lot of room to create interesting new flavors and experiences,” said Rob Tod, founder, Allagash. “We were excited to put our innovation process to work, creating an IPA with our own spin that appeals to established Allagash fans and curious beer drinkers alike. Hop Reach is our own, uniquely Allagash IPA and we can’t wait for people to enjoy it as much as we do.”

    The process that led to this beer’s creation involved the entire company. Over the course of seven months, Allagash’s pilot team brewed trial after trial, all of which were put on tap for any employee to taste and review. They also held social events to taste and talk about the beers, garnering over 400 employee reviews, which they factored into each round of new brews. Through this iterative process, Allagash managed to marshal the creative energies of its entire brewery into Hop Reach–a balanced, citrusy, and tropical IPA, with a snap of bitterness.

    “Like Allagash White, Hop Reach is made with balance in mind,” added Jason Perkins, brewmaster, Allagash. “That being said, it has big citrusy and tropical hop aromatics that we think will appeal to IPA fans of all stripes.”

    A 6.8% ABV beer, Hop Reach will be available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans; 6-packs of 12 oz. cans; and 12-packs of 12 oz. cans, and will begin distributing everywhere Allagash is sold in January 2023. To learn more or to locate Allagash beer, visit allagash.com.

    ABOUT ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY

    Allagash Brewing Company is a Certified B Corp founded in Portland, Maine, by James Beard Award-winner Rob Tod. Since 1995, the brewery has been dedicated to crafting the best Belgian-inspired beers in the world, all while giving back to the community that has supported them along the way. Earning coveted Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, and European Beer Star Awards, Allagash has been deemed one of the best American Breweries of the decade by Paste Magazine and one of the best breweries in America by Gear Patrol. In 2021, Allagash was named “Brewery of the Year” in its category size by the Brewers Association, and included on Inc. Magazine’s “Best in Business” list. Allagash is available in CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, Chicagoland, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT, and WI. Learn more on allagash.com and connect with us on our Webby-honored social channels: Instagram, Facebook, andTwitter. From Maine, with love.

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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    “…the first to be released by the brewery on a year-round basis.”

    I suppose the business people at Stone, Sierra Nevada, etc. would comment: what took you so long? :confused:

    Cheers!
     
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  3. DrStiffington

    DrStiffington Poo-Bah (1,862) Oct 27, 2010 New Jersey
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    I’m glad they did (took so long). Allagash is a brewery I like and respect, partly because they haven’t turned into an IPA factory like the others you mentioned. I make a point of at least trying everything they distribute and enjoy visiting when in Portland. I would think they’d make an excellent farmhouse IPA. The ones that Magnify used to make (Woah series) were my favorites from that brewery (before they turned into a NE IPA factory.
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Well, not yet and I sincerely hope they never will.

    If you were to ask me a few years ago whether Sierra Nevada would turn into an IPA factory I would have responded "Hell no!" since they choose to provide a wide variety of beer styles. Needless to say but my response would have been dead wrong. :flushed:

    Cheers!
     
  5. MadMadMike

    MadMadMike Zealot (577) Dec 11, 2020 Florida
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  6. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Devotee (452) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Of course they are. Everyone else is doing it.
     
  7. mikeg67

    mikeg67 Poo-Bah (2,588) Nov 12, 2010 New Jersey
    Society

    Great. Finally I will be able to find IPA in stores.
     
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    LOL! :grin:

    Cheers!

    P.S. But make sure to check dates! :wink:
     
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  9. pixiesfanyo

    pixiesfanyo Initiate (111) Oct 25, 2010 California

    Can't wait for the I'm done with Allagash crowd to show up.
     
  10. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (3,624) Aug 12, 2007 California
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    People act like Covid didn't impact breweries in the near or long-term. Not to mention the current inflation issues. Allagash has to keep the lights on (pay rent) like anybody else. From a business (read again) standpoint, a year-round IPA makes perfect business sense. Peace...
     
  11. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (3,253) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire
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    As a regular consumer of Allagash I'll just say this doesn't surprise me, and honestly I support it (though I probably won't bother trying it). Whatever helps their business.

    You see breweries like Schilling and Notch, whose primary focus is on lagers and Belgian style beers, have "side projects" where they brew all the hazies and stuff like that. That way everyone who comes to visit can find something to try and enjoy. It's just smart business.
     
  12. LeRose

    LeRose Poo-Bah (1,790) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
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    This isn't much of a surprise, really. They did Swiftly which is more of a WC IPA that I liked a lot. I would hope this lives up to the well-deserved Allagash reputation. I will say on our last couple of visits we have seen changes on site that we don't think are for the better. The cozy indoor bar is gone, the retail area has shrunk more or less rearranged around a long row of bathrooms. All outdoor seating. Certainly not as busy as weve seen before. The on draft options arent as good or interesting as they were, in our opinion. People are still great. And let's face it - there are breweries across the street that focus heavy on IPAs in various configurations that are outstanding - this stuff has got to be top shelf to compete even within the neighborhood.

    In my opinion, Allagash have put out some less than stellar beers of late. I haven't had any love for the From Maine With Love series, for instance, and wouldn't shed a tear if those stopped appearing. They also have a few very similar beers, but maybe that just broadens their portfolio somehow. Hopefully this IPA venture does the same rather than signaling the apocalypse.

    I'm an Allagash fan - Curieux is one of the few beers always at hand. Odyssey was a tremendous beer and we've unearthed some bottles and paid dearly for them. Golden Brett - love that one. As long as they don't completely go off the rails, I hope this works for them. I will try it if I see it.
     
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  13. Giantspace

    Giantspace Meyvn (1,032) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I just grabbed a 4 pack of Swiftly for $5.99. It has a bit of age but will see how it is. If it’s still good there was a bunch more.

    I enjoy most Allagash beers I’ve had. We were up there around 10 years ago and there was only to go beer and a small free sampling of 4 beers. The tour was fun and we asked about the cool ship after the tour and we’re given a private tour of that area.

    Really enjoyed Haunted House last fall and look forward to this IPA. My hope is they hit it out of the park and also keep making the beers they are known for. 16 counties was a beer I really enjoyed in the large format version and have seen cans are available now.

    I keep hoping to see Old HLT released again.


    Enjoy
     
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  14. Davl22

    Davl22 Disciple (375) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire
    Trader

    I’m sure it’ll be well done. I’d love to see some of the 375ml wilds come back from the past decade (beers like FV13, Merveilleux, Tiarna, Belfius). Those were a few of the most well executed American wilds I’ve had in my lifetime. Also…more Interlude please.
     
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  15. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (359) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts
    Trader

    And so it begins.

    In all seriousness, I don't but a lot of Allagash although it's a brewery I really want to visit. I'm not a fan of witbiers and their saison is maybe too approachable. I like their sours but they price me out quick to. Hope this keeps the lights on for them and keeps them independently flourishing. I respect the brewery even if I don't buy it much.
     
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  16. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (274) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    I barely saw anyone talking about their summer seasonal (Seconds to Summer) I guess cuz crushable lagers are never gonna be the talk of the town in this world.
     
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  17. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,798) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    I have a lot of fondness and respect for Allagash, but their can era releases have felt so haphazard that it’s pushed me away as a customer. I don’t fault them for trying to hang on in today’s market, but I just don’t feel like getting dragged along for the ride. Their beers used to be an auto-purchase for me.

    @LeRose
     
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Chris, are you just not a fan of the 'new' brands (i.e., beer styles) they have come out with? Or is it a situation that these 'new' brands just are not tasty beers? Or...?

    Cheers!
     
  19. beardown2489

    beardown2489 Zealot (506) Oct 5, 2012 Illinois

    Allagash has tried everything they could do to not get to this point. If you’ve paid attention over the last 5 years you know what I’m talking about. They’ve tried the lagers, they tried on the session ales. They’ve done a spooky black ale or whatever they called it. Nothing is going to sell like an ipa. And it’s the only product that will sell this well at the price point that Allagash tends to work with. Because I love Allagash lagers and blonde ales, but I don’t go back for more at their price point.
     
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  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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  21. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,798) Feb 15, 2010 New York
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    Neither of those. The issue for me is that Belgian blond went from being their house beer (literally) to their pseudo-IPA. By that I mean that it became their space for experimentation, redundancy, and transiency. Since I don’t follow their media, it got to the point where I didn’t know what I was looking at in the store anymore. How many varieties of easy-drinking pale beers do they need? (I guess a lot.) I don’t have a problem with them taking that approach but it eventually wore me down.
     
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  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I always viewed the White (Witbier) as being the Allagash 'house' beer.

    Which beer is the "Belgian blond" that you are referencing? Were they constantly 'tweaking' the recipe of this particular brand?

    Cheers!
     
  23. dele

    dele Initiate (114) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    I wonder if sales are declining after their significant recent price increases. A four pack of White went from $11 to $14 practically overnight in my area. I imagine White may not be the sales workhorse it used to be at that price point. Perhaps introducing an IPA is their attempt to capture some of that lost share.
     
  24. DarkDragon999

    DarkDragon999 Aspirant (274) Feb 13, 2013 Rhode Island

    A 6 pack of 12 oz bottles of White is like 13.99 around here I think. It might even be 14.99, I cant really remember. The 12 packs are like 19.99. I dont see the point of buying the 4 pack of 16 oz cans when the 12 oz 6 pack bottles are sold everywhere. Unless you really prefer cans.
     
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  25. zid

    zid Poo-Bah (1,798) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I was referring to this brewery-only beer: https://www.allagash.com/beer/house/
    It's not that "House" changed. What I'm trying to say is that the categories of low-to-mid strength Belgian blonds and easy-drinking beers (beyond White) went from being occupied by their relatively simple, brewery only house beer to their space to play in the market. I can't keep track which blond was the one made with tea... or lemon... or coriander. One pale lager is made with champagne yeast and lager yeast... while another is blended with "a hint of wild beer." Am I supposed to remember which one of those two is called Two Lights? Are River Trip and Fine Acre redundant products in their portfolio? I felt like I was able to keep up with their product identities when such beers started going to market in bottles, but by the time such products became canned beers and their releases overlapped, they all just started to blur together with similar branding (like IPAs at a different brewer).

    I apologize for clumsily posting about their portfolio in the IPA thread... but it's a bit relevant since I felt like these beers fit into their portfolio the same way IPA fit into other brewer's (hence me calling them pseudo-IPA).

    When they released Swiftly IPA, I liked how it felt like they were bowing to market pressure superficially, but actually releasing a relatively non-commercial IPA. I suspect that this Hop Reach IPA might be a much safer (more commercial) approach. To compare the marketing, "lush, citrusy, and resinous glory alongside a generous grain bill" (Swiftly) doesn't sound like "balanced, citrusy, and tropical" (Hop Reach), but I'm mildly interested in learning more.
     
  26. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,812) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
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    I know IPA's are the largest selling "craft" beer category, but I'd love to know the sales #'s for most them. Especially the ones hitting shelves from places known for other styles. Are people really swapping away from say, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, or whatever their local faves are for beers like this? Is this grasping at straws or is this really going to make a sales impact?
     
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  27. Davl22

    Davl22 Disciple (375) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire
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    I agree 100%. Allagash has always made a conscious effort to make each release in the past feel “Allagash-y”. The past couple of years the can releases have seemed redundant and not necessarily on brand. If this is what it takes for them to keep the lights on, I’m all for it, but I hope they still keep up with passion projects.
     
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  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,979) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    I was thinking the same thing.

    Also, White is their workhorse. Pays the bills. And their only competition is Blue Moon, granted that’s a heavy weight competitor. But I feel like a large enough volume of craft beer drinkers and your Average Joe know that beer well enough, that it still sells really well. Plus it’s an approachable style.

    This move may indicate that those sales have slipped…and when sales slip in 2022, the go-to move is…IPA.
     
  29. LeRose

    LeRose Poo-Bah (1,790) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
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    @zid - if I combine your posts, you are saying what I am thinking far better than I can!

    I'm not a huge fan of White, but I understand it's their bread and butter. I also find all the can releases repetitive and redundant, as well as hard to keep straight. For me, the From Maine series is a failure - I've tried several that have not Bern good beers. Maybe a tourist gimmick? Some of the coolship beers latrly have been bordering on being boring. Curiuex in the 12 ounce bottles, while still very good, is not as good as it was when it was in the larger bottles and in limited production.

    They have dabbled on the edges of IPA territory before. Hugh Malone was actually close to an IPA and I thought it was very good. The Cascadian schwarzbier they recently did for the Pink Boots thing was everything Haunted House needs to be (@JackHorzempa ).

    We used to stop in for the tastings every time we were even close to Portland. I feel we can almost skip them now. I can understand them not being free tastings anymore, but we just don't think they are putting out anything interesting. The people are still great, but the overall vibe has definitely changed. They are surrounded by IPA breweries now, and Definitive has a damned good sour program. Foundation seems to be hitting their stride nicely with a good range of styles - their Bocce pils is a gotta have for me. I think there's a ton of competition right in their own playground now. Plus how many other breweries are a few minutes awsy. Austin Street holds the quirky side down. Battery Steele - we skipped - but we used to skip Definitive too. Not any more. And what I bought at Allagash - two coolship beers I want to try, but two four packs each of Swiftly (IPA) and two of Upward Motion (the Cascadian which is essentially an IPA). Moselle was a very good lager, but they only made it once. James Bean used to be a treat and hard to get - not now. Odyssey holds a special place for the missus and me, but that's gone except for old stock (and we bought it all).

    Change is painful - I really hope this one isn't excruciatingly so.
     
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  30. Resistance88

    Resistance88 Zealot (595) Apr 9, 2015 California
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    i would buy a single every now and again of that Bean and Barrel shit even though it wasnt the best.
    Allagash White i have 0 interest in . Wife enjoyed getting singles of someshit they make to when our old spot was open.
    I saw Cureiux for 22 dollars a 4 pack today at Whole Foods. ..fuck that
     
  31. purephase

    purephase Initiate (174) Feb 23, 2008 Connecticut
    Trader

    Your mileage may vary for that style/price but personally I regard Curieux in 4-packs for that price as a very positive development compared to the expensive bomber days.

    Would you say as a consumer their can portfolio seems like it's in a state of.... fluxus?

    :confused: Sorry I'll see myself out.
     
  32. Rug

    Rug Poo-Bah (2,124) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
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  33. pixiesfanyo

    pixiesfanyo Initiate (111) Oct 25, 2010 California

    Does it not compete with White Rascal?
     
  34. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,979) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    I still swing by not just for the beer, but for the Bite Into Maine food truck.

    Also, aren't Definitives' sours much different than what Allagash does that's "sour"? (Lambic, Gueuze)

    Hmm, I suppose? I looked at numbers, but the most recent for comparison were around 2017/2018 and Allagash produces more beer than they do. Current numbers are harder to come by due to Avery being acquired a few years ago.

    But yeah, that would be competition too. I guess I don't really think about them because I see way more Allagash White, but then again I'm in the Northeast.
     
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  35. LeRose

    LeRose Poo-Bah (1,790) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
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    We'll never skip them when we're up there, and it is a subjective thing but the Allagash vibe (to me and the missus) is just not the same as it was. Maybe we're a bit jaded - we've had more beers from Allagash than any other brewery by far, so maybe there's some burn out involved. We're also not people who will sit there and spend an afternoon drinking - we'd rather taste some cool stuff, maybe have a snack with samples, buy what we like, done. I seem to remember their tap menu being more diverse. I guess where it is more like a biergarten now, they have to put what sells on the taps? I'll assume that is good for on-premise sales for the folks who do stay there to drink, and I reckon it helps the Bite Into Maine Airstream quite a bit (not that they need help!). Granted - at the "to go" counter, they did open up a couple of beers for us that were not on the menu - one person told us no, but a second person changed his mind for him. We did buy both beers they opened for us, so...

    I don't know - it is just a different feel for us. We've been visiting at least once a year forquite some time. And I'm not sure what bothers me - moving the taps exclusively outside? The weird row of bathrooms and sinks? The even more cramped retail space? The aesthetic when you walk in the door - just not sure it went in the right direction. I understood when they made Covid-induced changes, but I kinda don't get where they are now.

    Yes - the sours are different with Definitive being of the kettle and fruited ilk. I like and appreciate both and know the difference. But I think the "average" beer drinker will go for the less complicated, usually less intense, fruited kettle over what Allagash creates. It's kinda like the IPA argument - casual drinkers aren't going to reach for a Stone Ruination (original version) - they are going to go for the modern day incarnation.

    If Allagash feels they have to put out a year round IPA, I hope they know what they are doing and it becomes a part of their portfolio, not the start of an overall direction. Seems to me they can occupy their niche with what got them where they are today and offer an IPA or two at the same time. Now the Adventure Pack thing they had this summer - that seems like a great idea offering a summer mix pack that you can market to tourists and natives alike. It's a mix pack begging for a campfire and outdoor cooking. Conversely, I just don't get the whole "From Maine With Love" thing - we've gotten suckered in by several of them and didn't like them at all.

    So I hope this Rob Todd quote from 2016 remains true: "Since day one, we’ve always been motivated to offer drinkers, and ourselves as brewers, unique experiences with beer – with aroma, with flavor, with food pairing. We are absolutely not driven by “trends”. We’re fulfilled by brewing beers we love and sharing them with people who love beer."
     
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  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Larry, you are more experienced than I am here since I have only visited the Allagash taproom once. Back in 2019 my wife and I attended HomebrewCon 2019 (Providence, RI) and then afterwards we vacationed in Canada (Cape Breton -> Halifax -> Saint John) and on the return leg we stayed in the Portland area for a couple/few days and visited several Portland breweries. We visited Allagash for a beer (or two?) and it was nice but frankly nothing there 'said' you gotta come back to me. It was nice for what it was but...

    The beer highlight for me on that trip was 'discovering' Goodfire Brewing. We were in that area to visit Lone Pine and we learned that very close was Goodfire. I did not think too highly of the facility (taproom) but I had two beers that I thought were excellent in quality. Not too far away was an Oxbow location and I had four sample there and those beer were hit or miss. There was a Duckfat Frites Shack there but we did not order any (it seems lots of BAs like these fries).
    I am with you 100% here. I do not begrudge Allagash adding an IPA to their year-round portfolio. I hope this brings in needed/necessary revenue so they can mostly operate like they have been doing over the past few years.

    On a somewhat related note I had the pleasure of meeting (and chatting with for quite some time) Rob Tod a number of years ago when he was in the Philly area (for Philly Beer Week?) at a local craft beer bar. He seems like a very down to earth and nice guy. I wish him and the Allagash team all the best. Sometimes in business you need to 'evolve' a bit and my hope is that for Allagash Brewing this IPA 'change' will remain just a bit.

    Cheers!
     
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  37. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,979) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts
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    And now Belleflower is across the street and also another brewery opened up this past June over there as well called Hi-Fidelity.

    Portland is just stacked with breweries these days.
     
  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Both Portlands (Oregon and Maine) are enjoyable beer towns with plenty of options. Another thing both of those cities have in common: bring lots and lots of money. :grimacing:

    Cheers!
     
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  39. LeRose

    LeRose Poo-Bah (1,790) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
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    You have to wonder when they all will start eating each other, but they haven't yet. The industrial park "corner" - we visited three times since we were recently staying 15 minutes away and it was only a minute from the grocery store (yay) - wasn't as jam packed as we've ever seen it even on a Saturday mid-day. Still a lot of people, five breweries within spitting distance and Geary's up the road a bit, but more slow and steady than the frenzied crowds we've experienced in the past (at a Bissell Bros release day, for example). I'd guess that Bissel Bros relocating probably dragged quite a few zealots away from that spot so the overflow from Bissel to the others is essentially eliminated. I also reckon each brewery has a devoted following, then you get the hunter/seekers, and the foot traffic between breweries was still pretty decent. We did observe a lot more people parking themselves in one location - not sure we've really seen that before and it could have been timing on our part.

    You know, when you think about it none of these breweries have a mind-blowing amazing taproom experience going on - it's a different vibe in Maine to begin with and nothing's being fancied up just to be fancy. It's functional, casual, comfortable. Maybe the feeling I have for Allagash is a little curmudgeonly. The old Allagash taproom was a place where we always felt comfortable for some reason - a lot due to the staff who are still great, a lot due to meeting Mr. Tod a couple of times. The people at the other breweries are great too, and in nice weather there's nothing wrong with tasting a few beers outdoors and having a plethora of choices. These aren't brewpubs or eateries with great tap lists - they are breweries who sell direct on premise. In our recent experience, the others on the block have upped their game.

    It used to be Allagash was at the peak of the Industrial Way mountain overall with very little question even when Bissel was in the neighborhood, but in my opinion the others still there have significantly closed that gap - I doubt they alone can dethrone the king, but they might make him squirm a little. The health of Allagash's business overall is another question entirely.
     
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  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,754) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    FWIW, my wife and I spent more time at Foundation/Battery Steele/Definitive than we did at Allagash. Perhaps an artifact that my wife prefers to drink hoppy beers (e.g., IPAs) like the majority of craft beer drinkers?

    Cheers!