A Can-did Conversation with Jason Perkins
The Allagash team is in NYC! Head Brewer Jason Perkins talks to us about their new releases, the canning process and how they are spending their time in New York.
The Allagash team is currently here in NYC and kicked off the week with the annual Allagash and Institute of Culinary Education Cookoff. Why is this an important event for Allagash to be a part of every year?
We've been doing this event for 17 years now. At the brewery, we're big proponents of pairing beer with food. Whether that's Tripel with oysters or Allagash White with cheese. Beer is such a versatile beverage when it comes to pairing, and the ICE competition is a celebration of that. Plus, it's important that there's a philanthropic aspect to the competition. All three finalists receive scholarship money.
Allagash will also be at Union Pool on May 15th to launch the new cans. What can consumers expect from this event?
It's a celebration of cans coming to New York City, so there will be plenty of cans of Allagash White and River Trip. Rob and I will be there hanging out, as well. It should just be a great time to come hang out, enjoy a taco, and toast with a can or two of Allagash beer.
Click for details: Allagash Can Launch at Union Pool
Allagash has just released White and River Trip cans in NYC, but they have been in the works for quite some time. What kinds of preparations and planning had to be made before you could release these to the public?
We did quite a few test batches of both these beers to make sure we knew exactly how they'd react to being in a can. We also knew that we wanted to condition them inside the can, so that was an added layer of complexity that we made sure to dial in.
Is can conditioning different than bottle conditioning? If so, how?
The process is basically the same. In fact, we pull the same exact beer into our bottling and canning line. With our current canning line, the can-filling process is slightly different than what we do for bottles, but the mechanics of secondary fermentation in a bottle versus a can are pretty similar.
How difficult is canning Belgian-style beers in comparison to hoppy beers or lagers?
Canning a can-conditioned beer definitely adds difficulty because you're dealing with sugar and live yeast. Luckily, the quality control mechanisms we have in place—from the brewhouse to our lab—after twenty-four years of bottle-conditioning beers helped us make the transition to cans.
River Trip is a new Allagash release, also available in cans. What is this beer about?
Cans are just more mobile than bottles, so we wanted a beer that we could get out and enjoy. It's brewed in the table beer style, which has a low ABV. We dry-hopped it and added coriander, which is not typical for the style, but they added some nice melon and citrus notes that we think makes the beer that much more refreshing.
We also just received Darling Ruby cans in NYC. Can you tell us a little bit about Darling Ruby and the local fruits used to brew it?
Darling Ruby is another lesser-known style called a Grisette, which is like a cousin to the Saison. We brew Darling Ruby with fresh grapefruit juice and zest. Because we add all of the juice and zest before fermentation, the beer ends up not with a super grapefruit-y flavor, but with a balance of citrus and tropical notes.