Good Beer Hunting

no. 371


“Some people get a blue cheese kinda thing.”

Allagash Brewing Company’s Mat Trogner is describing the aroma wafting from the aged hops being scooped out by hand for what will be the brewery’s final Coolship brew of 2017.

“Some get a dirty sock thing," he says. "I think they smell kind of good.”

Brewing a coolship beer is a pretty unique experience. Throughout the day, traditional steps are taken—a turbid mash, a longer-than-usual three-hour boil, and an addition of those aged hops. The final step, of course, is pumping the wort into the coolship on a bitterly cold Portland evening.

But manually weighing the hops is what stands out. There’s a tactile response when you reach into the large satchel and watch the airy, flaky particles float about, their minuscule weight only barely enough for gravity to have a say in the matter. The fine dust gets on your hands, your clothing, into your nose. The smell is something you talk about. As I reach in for another scoop, I look to Mat with a confession:

“They do smell a little funky, but I like it.”