Allagash Brewing Co. will be introducing a new year-round beer available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles beginning sometime next month.

Allagash Saison has been available on draught as it was changed and improved by the brewers over the past couple of years, but the version I had at the Little Tap House in Portland about a month ago is the same beer that will be sold in bottles, Allagash Brewmaster Jason Perkins told me in a telephone interview last week.

“The story with that beer is we have been working on it for about two years, starting on our pilot system, where most of our new beers are started,” Perkins said. “We must have made about five different 10-gallon batches until we got it to where we wanted it.”

The beer started as a saison rye based on a recipe by Patrick Chavanelle, one of the Allagash brewers.

“We brought down the alcohol, brought the rye malt down and changed the hops a bit,” Perkins said.

This is the first new year-round beer from Allagash since Allagash Black, which came out in 12-ounce bottles about two years ago and in 750-milliliter bottles a couple of years before that.

Perkins said Allagash, which has brewed only Belgian-style beers since its founding, has made a number of saisons in the past, including Interlude, which is a saison with some Brettanomyces yeast, and a version of Fluxus a couple of years ago.

He said the Saison fits in well with the lineup of Allagash beers, which includes the flagship Allagash White, as well as the Dubbel and Black.

When poured into a glass, the Saison looks quite a bit like Allagash White, although it is a deeper yellow and cloudier. That is about where the similarities end.

The Saison has a heavily hoppy aroma and has a great, long-lasting head. Perkins said it was made with Cascade, one of the most common hops, and a newer hops called Bravo, which gives the beer a nice amount of hops aroma and bitterness.

The rye, now about 10 percent of the total grain, gives body to the beer. It finishes very dry. Although the hops give the beer a spicy flavor, there are no spices added to the beer. It’s at 6.1 percent alcohol by volume.

I enjoyed the beer a lot when I drank it before I knew it was going to be the company’s next year-round beer, and I will be bringing some home when I see it in four-packs. 

I DROPPED BY Maine Beer Co. last week to taste the company’s new year-round beer called, in all lower case, tiny beautiful something. This beer is a complete departure for the company.

Maine Beer is known for hoppy beers such as its Lunch IPA, and when it wants to go malty it goes big malty, as in King Titus porter and Mean Ol’ Tom stout. At 5.5 percent ABV, it is in practical, if not technical, terms a session beer, mild and delicate, with just a hint of hops in a sophisticated mix of malts. I could drink a lot of this, and if I had just mowed the lawn, I could drink it quickly.

While at the brewery, I tasted Pilot 5, which is the company’s first lager. It is hoppy for a lager, quite good and will probably disappear within a few weeks.

Colleen Croteau, the company’s marketing director who happened to be in the tasting room when I arrived, said Dinner – a double IPA that will be available only on tap at the brewery – will be available probably the second week in March, and is expected to disappear in days. Keep checking the Maine Beer Facebook page if you want to try that.

IT IS MOSTLY COINCIDENTAL that I am writing about new beers from Allagash and Maine Beer Co. this week. They are the two Maine brewers on ratebeer.com’s list of the top 100 breweries in the world.

That says something about the state of Maine brewing. Maine is a low-population state, and this list covers every brewery in the world.

The Ratebeer list provides numbers for only the top five breweries, and neither of the Maine companies was a top five.

Smuttynose in Portsmouth, N.H., which I consider a local beer even though it is just over the state line, is also on the top-100 list.

Maine Beer Co.’s Lunch was the only local beer on Ratebeer’s list of the top 100 beers in the world. Maine Beer also had four of its beers in the top lists by category: Lunch and Another One in IPAs, King Titus in porters and MO in pale/amber ales.

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

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