I drink beers in a whole range of styles, but my favorite style by-far is IPA. I'm a hop-head, haze bro, and every other term you can find for a lover of hop-forward beers. With that being the case, some may find it interesting that one of my all time favorite breweries is Allagash Brewing in Portland, ME. While Allagash is highly respected amongst brewers, beer geeks and many casual drinkers, the are well known for their creative ales that showcase traditional Belgian brewing techniques, with a focus on flavors imparted by expressive yeast strains balanced by malts, adjunct additions, and hops. It is not often that you would label any Allagash beers to be hop-forward. Needless to say I was intrigued when Allagash launched Swiftly, their new IPA. Allagash Swiftly IPA is brewed with Cascade, Chinook, Simcoe and Mosaic hops and is available now on draft and and in 16 oz cans.
Allagash Swiftly IPA pours clear amber-red with a massive off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the Belgian style yeast along with a hit of floral hops. The expressive yeast also leads the flavor, notes of bubblegum, clove and peppercorn mixing with the added coriander. The hops are present as well, hints of pine, resin and lemon along with a bit of bitter bite. A solid malt backbone rounds out the flavor, touches of bread dough and caramel. Swiftly is medium-bodied, smooth and not overly boozy at 6.5% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with some lingering hop and yeast flavors. This is an old-school Belgian IPA, lots of West Coast flavors plus that distinctive Allagash house yeast. The beer is very well-balanced, just what you expect in an Allagash beer, but I personally would have liked a little more hop character since it is labeled "IPA". Still, this is an excellent beer, worth trying if you like the style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.