Everything you need to know about the most iconic beers in history from grocery staples to cult favorites. This time: Allagash White, the wheat beer you graduate to after Blue Moon.
As beer drinkers have leaned further and further toward IPAs, other beer styles have fallen by the wayside. One such beer style is the veritable wheat beer. Blue Moon, one of the most popular wheat beers, became the center of a lawsuit after people claimed its manufacturer, Miller Coors (now Molson Coors), was marketing it as a craft beer to dupe consumers. (The lawsuit was later dismissed.) For a widely available wheat beer that's actually brewed by a craft brewery, turn to Allagash White. But what exactly is Allagash White, and how did it become so popular? Here's the lowdown on one of the best wheat beers on the market.
What is Allagash White?
Allagash White is a take on a traditional Belgian-style wheat beer, brewed with oats and red and white wheat, then spiced with coriander, Curaçao orange peel and an undisclosed secret ingredient. The 5.2-percent ABV beer is conditioned, which means the beer gets an addition of house yeasts and sugar in the can, which adds to its shelf stability and gives it an extra hit of carbonation. Allagash White gets its name from its beer style, witbier, which translates to "white beer" from Flemish. Its name is also derived from its hazy, white appearance because of the addition of all the wheats and oats.
If you've ever had a wheat beer, you can guess what Allagash White tastes like. It's crisp and refreshing, with big citrus notes and spiciness. It has a full-bodied mouthfeel, and little to no bitterness.
Who makes Allagash White?
Allagash Brewing Company makes Allagash White, and it's been doing so since founder Rob Tod opened the brewery in 1995 in Portland, Maine. Tod was inspired to found Allagash, which specializes in Belgian-style beers, after tasting Celis White, which arguably revived the witbier style of beer. Allagash White had a slow start, with beer drinkers unsure of what to make of it. From its hazy appearance to its spicy notes, Allagash White wasn't exactly winning anyone over, especially after they'd been conditioned to like German- or English-style beers. Thanks to the support of craft beer bars, Allagash White's reach widened. Then there was the whole surge in popularity of Blue Moon, which helped to push Allagash' craft beer roots to the forefront.
Besides White, Allagash brews seven other year-round beers, including North Sky, a stout; River Trip, a session ale; and Tripel, a golden ale.
Where can you buy Allagash White?
Allagash has grown since its inception, but it's still a tiny brewery with about 150 employees today. The brewery has distribution in 15 states — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and California — as well as Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Chicago. Check Allagash's beer finder to find its beers near you.
Why is Allagash White so popular?
Witbiers have never really been the most popular style of beer. Blue Moon gave witbiers some recognition, but it's Allagash White that gave it craft beer credibility, while making for an exceptional year-round beer. The beer has a 93 average rating on Beer Advocate, and White has been the recipient of numerous beer awards, including multiple medals from the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival. White is unlike other beers out there, not just in terms of the style of beer, but compared to comparable wheat beers. In simplest terms, White is an interesting beer. It's fruity but also spicy; it's full bodied but also thirst quenching. White is just another reason why beer drinks should think beyond the ubiquitous IPA.