All You Need to Know
Quick Take: This is a wine drinker’s beer. A gap filler to build the bridge between grape and hop, possibly bringing the non-tart beer drinkers into the fold as well. A contender and probable victor of my favorite Allagash beer ever. There really isn’t much else to say other than buy it on sight.
Brew Facts: The barrels used to make this beer are a mix of American and French oak with the beer “components” varying in age from 1 to 5 years. Each was hand selected to impart a specific element. As of this posting, this is also the highest-rated Allagash beer on Beer Advocate based on user average.
Appearance: Appropriately, it pours a pale apple juice yellow with a half finger cap of frothy sea foam that lasts mere seconds. The body underneath could easily be mistaken for a glass of champagne or sparkling cider. A swirl and the liquid slides across the glass leaving clear oil blobs of oil framing thin bubble sheets.
Aroma: The head fizzed it’s way into the ether before I can get a good sniff, but it didn’t really matter. The nose mingles white grape, buttery apple, honey/vanilla, and lemon citrus. I dove in again and again, loving every new layer I smelled. This is a fragrance that suggests some wonderful things for my tongue. Living with it for awhile brought associations with heavily oaked wine that has just the right, delectable level of grape skin and tannins. A fermentationist’s delight.
Taste/Mouth Feel: When I finally removed my nose from the glass and downed a sip, it was a combination of lively carbonation and a pleasantly slick mouth feel that suggested a higher alcoholic viscosity than it is. Surprisingly, this weight doesn’t get in the way of the down right crisp, bright bubbly apple. It’s an apple flavor that avoids the muddled tang of cider, staying clean and distinct. What follows is a woody oak, ripe grape, and a dry but sweet tartness, like a demi-sec wine. While dry, it’s not in a way that turns your tongue into a muscled desert.
Mild champagne is accompanied by a delicate vanilla undercurrent that follows through the finish. As it warms, the oak comes through even more, making for vanilla that becomes subtly assertive, if that makes sense (it doesn’t!). The bottle mentions anise, but my palate didn’t notice it among some underlying brighter tropical notes of pear and guava. The flavors are mild and well-blended with acidity a low-key background player. There is no doubt this beer lacks bite, but in the best way possible.
Final Thoughts: This is a wine drinker’s beer. A gap filler to build the bridge between grape and hop, possibly bringing the non-tart beer drinkers into the fold as well (baby steps). For me, Cuvee d’Industrial is the culmination of Allagash’s wild beer and barrel-aging program. I feel like their Coolship, Resurgam and experimental beers like FV 13 have all lead to this pinnacle of oak-aged magnificence (do you get the idea I may like this beer?) A contender and probable victor of my favorite Allagash beer ever. There really isn’t much else to say other than buy it on sight.
Note: Looking at the cost difference, this is a clear situation of price gouging that is standard in most bars. I’m of two minds on this topic. While it is unfortunate that some beers become far more expensive simply for the privilege of drinking it in one dimly lit place or another, it is for this very reason that coveted beer nerd beers are even still available to buy. Were this a more reasonable price, the stock would most likely be gone. This is a discussion for another time as it doesn’t reflect directly on Allagash, but I thought I should at least acknowledge this disparity and my internal struggle.
Recommendation: A must buy and worth the $25 I paid.