This is what all the cool farmers are drinking this spring.
Barley grown in Aroostook, malt from Lisbon Falls, grains milled in Skowhegan. The ingredients in Allagash Brewing Company’s newest beer, Sixteen Counties is like downing the DNA of Maine, minus the pine trees.
This weekend the Portland brewhouse launches its first perennial release in two years. Made entirely with Maine-grown grain, Sixteen Counties is a field to glass revelation.
Impressed with the quality of local malts, Allagash founder Rob Tod named the beer “to honor the rich tradition of farming in the state of Maine.”
It doesn’t get more farm forward than this: Base malts from Maine Malt House in Mapleton and Lisbon Fall’s Blue Ox Malthouse; oats from Aurora Mills in Linneus, raw wheat from a grist mill in Skowhegan. “Maine is the soul of this beer,” said Tod of the new Belgian copper ale.
Amber Lambke owner Maine Grains at the Somerset Grist Mill is proud that her wheat berries make their debut in the new brew. “It’s all very exciting what’s happening in the grain economy,” said Lambke, who joins a handful of growers and malsters for a Sixteen Counties preview party in Portland Friday. “Interest in Maine-grown grain is taking off.”
But how does it taste?
“Aromas of lemon rind, flowers, and candied grapefruit,” said Allagash brewmaster Jason Perkins. “The first sip opens with herbal hop notes, wheat-cracker, and citrus and ends with a balanced, dry finish.”
And drink this in: A portion of the proceeds from Sixteen Counties will be funneled to organizations focused on sustainable agriculture and family farming in Maine. This years recipients include MOFGA, Maine Grain Alliance and Maine Farmland Trust.
You can try Sixteen Counties starting Saturday in Allagash’s Industrail Way tasting room. It will also be available in corked bottles and kegs.