During our time on the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America — from California to Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania and, finally, North Carolina — we tasted beers, talked to locals, and tried to get a sense of the state of craft beer across the country. We learned a lot on our trip: That hot air balloon rides can cure hangovers, Pliny for breakfast will rob you of your ambitions, and that you can, indeed, brew beer on the back of a moving bus.
RELATED: Checking in From Every Stop of Beer Camp
More importantly, we found that there were dozens of great beers that you can only get by being a local — whether in Asheville, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Portland, Maine, or San Diego. From walking the grounds of the regional festivals and tasting some 30 beers at each of the seven Beer Camp festivals (this wasn't entirely fun; not all the beers were good), we found 70 beers that, if you live more than a few hundred miles away from the brewery, you probably haven't had the chance to try. We suggest you follow our example and make a road trip out of it. A beer tour across the country doesn't sound like too bad an idea now, does it?
Allagash Brewing Company: Coolship
The Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company, a brewery in Portland, Maine, focuses on beers in the Belgian tradition. While they're best known for their approachable Belgian White they're also making some of the most challenging and complex spontaneously fermented beers in the world. Even the Belgians recognize the talent as Allagash is the only American producer of wild ales invited to Belgium's Night of Great Thirst Festival.
The Beer: Resurgam
Tasting Notes: The latest beer in Allagash's Coolship series of spontaneously fermented beers is also a culmination of sorts. Resurgam is a blend of one, two and three year old beers spontaneously fermented and barrel aged. In Belgium they'd call this a gueuze. Look for lots of fresh hay and horse blanket aromas with a level of lactic sourness that puckers the lips, but doesn't overpower you.