Next up, Allagash Curieux Bourbon Barrel Aged Tripel.
If my high school French class serves me, “curieux” is French for curious. Which in a house with a 4-year-old is nice, because usually the only thing “curious” around here is a monkey on TV named George. Come to think of it, George’s owner – the conspicuously-single, middle-aged, tight yellow outfit and hat-wearing Man in the Yellow Hat – is a little curious, too. And I would love for someone to explain why the citizens of George’s fictional asphalt jungle react so nonchalantly when they encounter a monkey (which are normally known for throwing feces and ripping off faces) driving a bus or holding down the front desk at the library.
Curieux was Allagash’s first foray into barrel-aging. It’s their Tripel Ale aged In Jim Beam bourbon barrels for eight weeks, then blended back with a portion of fresh Tripel.
It pours hazy gold, with a surprisingly substantial head (something not often seen with bourbon barrel-aged beers). And even better, the lightly-beaten-egg-white head hangs around for the festivities…a pleasant guest who doesn’t judge you for getting lit at your own party. It smells like banana bread, Belgian yeast, and some polite bourbon (with its friends, vanilla and oak, tagging along). The taste brings a hint of caramel, and then some welcome fruitiness moves in (like a newly-hip neighborhood’s first gay couple). And for a bourbon barrel-aged beer, it is pretty well-carbonated and is somewhat dry (perhaps a touch drier than I usually like my tripels)
This beer is full of surprises. One might even call it curious. But ultimately, I like it. It’s a little pricey, as is typical for Allagash specialty beers. It is worth a try, though. And I may even get it again sometime. Oh, and I had it on tap, too, where it seemed slightly sweeter.
The Haybag: Curiously, I liked this quite a bit, despite my past posturing on the miscegenation of beer and bourbon. Maybe cause it wasn’t so damn heavy.
Update (8/11/13): This beer has become a favorite of mine. Also, after having a 2013 bottle, it seemed slightly sweeter (similar to how I remembered the draft), which I like. Also, I would note that the price tag is in-line with similarly situated barrel-aged ballers.