On Saturday, May 9th, 2015, Allagash Brewing Company hosted its Wild Friendship Celebration event at the brewery in Portland, Maine. Attendees who were lucky enough to be drawn in the lottery to purchase a ticket got to attend one of the two sessions that featured 13 rare beers and locally catered food with nearly free range of the Allagash brewery. Besides the fact that Allagash put on a top notch beer geek event they also succeeded in raising over $10,000 for Full Plates, Full Potential, a charity whose mission is to end childhood hunger in Maine.
“It was such an honor to see so many people strolling the brewery, savoring these beers,” said Allagash founder and brewer Rob Tod. “We are passionate about creating beers people enjoy and helping give back to the community in the process.”
I didn’t end up with tickets to the Wild Friendship event but I had the opportunity to attend a press event at Allagash before the doors opened for the first session of the Wild Friendship Celebration, we got a chance to sample the original Wild Friendship and the newest blend that was being released that day, we learned about the beer and we also learned about Full Plates, Full Potential. John T. Woods of Full Plates, Full Potential and Senator Justin Alfond were on hand to talk about the initiative.
Sadly, hungry children in Maine isn’t a topic I hear discussed very often, but it should be. John threw out a number that surprised me, 87,000, that’s the number of children in Maine who can’t count on a regular meal, that’s 1 out of every 4 children in Maine. Full Plates, Full Potential aims to change that by connecting organizations around the state that can help, promoting good communication on what does and doesn’t work as well as raising awareness and working towards federal funding.
“I am constantly amazed to see the selflessness of partners like Allagash Brewing Company and others who donated their time, talent and treasure without asking for a penny in return,” said Full Plates, Full Potential founder John T. Woods. “They are committed to ending childhood hunger in Maine, and demonstrated that commitment at the Wild Friendship Celebration.”
Wild Friendship Blend consists of three different beers that were spontaneously fermented at Allagash, Russian River and Cantillon, then aged in oak barrels for 2 years. The beers were then brought together at Allagash to be blended, bottled and further aged prior to the release. The original idea came from Jean Van Roy of Cantillon who contacted Allagash and Russian River to see if they’d like to take part in what Jason Perkins, Brewmaster at Allagash, called a “transcontinental spontaneous fermentation beer”. The Wild Friendship Blend that released for the Allagash event was the second blending and the release event was limited by the number of bottles of Wild Friendship so that everyone in attendance could receive a sample. The brewers all agreed that this beer would never be available for retail sale and only served at special tasting events.
Wild Friendship – Allagash Blend – was a bright golden color. The beer had an acidic aroma with a bit of oak and earth. I found the flavor to have a nice tart bite with an undertone of oak and a dry, sour finish that lasted a long time but didn’t overwhelm the palate.
Wild Friendship – Cantillon Blend – This was a treat, the first version of Wild Friendship called Assemblage De L’Amité , this beer was slightly darker in appearance but still a golden color, my glass was hazy but I believe my pour was near the end of the bottle. Softer, less acidic nose, more oak and earth than the Allagash blend. This blend is easier to find the malt body and oak notes, a smoother beer up front with the sour presenting itself at the tail end, again dry finish with a lingering sour.