Of the hundreds of beers hitting the taps as part of 2015 Philly Beer Week, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant had the righteous opportunity to concoct a limited-edition release with our good friends at Allagash Brewing Company.
Why do you need to try this Iron Hill collaboration crafted with the unique additive of rhubarb—yes, rhubarb!—and how did we get connected with Allagash and kickstart this partnership? Chestnut Hill’s head brewer Chris LaPierre passes along the full scoop below.
Iron Hill Blog: For the past three years, you’ve collaborated with Allagash Brewing Company on a very unique beer. How did this brewing partnership begin?
Chris LaPierre: My girlfriend Suzanne is Allagash’s Mid-Atlantic Sales Manager. She came up with the idea originally. I’ve also become friendly with a lot of the Allagash brewers from all the times I’ve tagged along with her up to Portland, Maine, for her meetings.
What’s very cool about this collaboration is that in enables Iron Hill to offer Allagash’s production brewers a creative opportunity. Can you explain?
Allagash sends one of its shift brewers down for part of Philly Beer Week to represent the brewery. I always collaborate with that brewer, and this year it’s Sean Ellsworth.
The thing that’s neat about this program is that production brewers don’t get many opportunities to formulate recipes. Allagash has a pilot program and is better than most at letting their shift brewers get creative. But there aren’t nearly as many opportunities as one would get in a brewpub. So it’s a really cool opportunity for a guy who spends his time making beer but doesn’t get to make up many recipes to create something, then represent that beer in another city.
I always want the beer to be the Allagash brewer’s creation, so all I really do is take their recipe and make it work on our system, then Suzanne and I brew it. That way it’s designed by an Allagash brewer in Maine and brewed by local Allagash rep in Philly with my guidance.
What’s your main goal with brewing this collaborative beer?
My goal is for this to be their beer with my main role being to make sure it works on our system. Then, of course, to enjoy drinking it with Sean when he gets down here!
Break down the beer (style, ingredients involved, etc.) and why you’re excited to tap it.
It’s a sessionable hoppy Belgian Ale fermented with a blend of Orval and DuPont yeast and accented with fresh, pureed rhubarb. I’ve never worked with rhubarb before, so it’s something new for me. It gives a nice fresh and tart character that is right at home in a Belgian ale. I also appreciate that this is a low ABV beer. Philly Beer Week is a marathon—not a sprint!
The important question: where can we find this beer?
Now on tap—and continuing on tap for several weeks—at our Chestnut Hill location. Also, throughout Philadelphia at the following PBW events:
Friday, May 29, 5:30 p.m., at Memphis Taproom’s "The Maine Event" with Allagash’s Rob Tod and Sean Ellsworth.
Also on Friday, May 29, 9 p.m., at the unofficial post-Opening Tap after-party— "The White Party"—at City Tap House Logan Square with Rob Tod and Sean Ellsworth. Need an extra incentive? The Newspaper Taxis will perform Beatles covers.
Saturday, May 30, 2 p.m., at BRU at the The Mainard Event with Allagash’s Sean Ellsworth.
Sunday, May 31, 2 p.m., at Kite and Key for the "Throwdown in Franklintown."
Sunday, May 31, 6 p.m., for the "Girl Power Hour" at Bar-Ly featuring 60 taps of all female beer-repped breweries—Allagash included.
Monday, June 1, 10 p.m., at Alla Spina for industry night.
Tuesday, June 2, 9 p.m., for the "Sadie Hawkins Dance" at Varga Bar with New Holland's Joel Armato and Allagash's Suzy Woods taking turns on the turntables.
Saturday, June 6, 12 p.m., at The Industry for the "Drinking and the Damage Done" event, featuring Woods DJing.
Sunday, June 7, 8 p.m., for the “yeehaw we survived” event at Fergie’s—the 8th annual TUD (totally unnecessary drink) sponsored by Yards and Allagash.
With 11 locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, there’s an Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant near you. We specialize in handcrafted beers and fresh, from-scratch New American cuisine. Monthly releases vary by location, so scout out our beers on tap and visit us soon.