When I opened the Coolship Resurgam—one of Allagash’s rare barrel-aged beers—I once again felt the lump of the all-too-familiar beer-lover’s paradox. A rush of anticipation as I poured the deep gold liquid into a tulip glass, burst of citrus and oak and funk floating in the air, followed by an undeniable pang of regret because the Coolship Resurgam (bottled on March 12, 2013) was the last in a small cache of the brewery’s limited-edition beers that I’d secured several months back.
Part of the brewery’s Coolship series, the creation of brews like the Resurgam trace back to 2008, when Allagash built their coolship—a large, shallow pan used to cool wort overnight using ambient temperatures, where yeasts naturally start to form. The next day, the coolest wort is transferred to the barrels, the mad alchemy of fermentation begins, and the beer ages until the brewmaster’s sage-like taste buds determine it’s ready. And when one of the four beer types in the Coolship line is ready to be released—gradually, in painfully small batches—it’s done unannounced.
So…yeah, finding more is largely a fool’s errand, one that’s all too familiar to the beer-obsessed.
Thankfully, the Resurgam washed away some of the initial regret in a wave of pure satisfaction. Its white head faded quickly, with notes of guava, pineapple, and funk on the nose, and the first sip was both tart and refreshing, almost replenishing. The dense mouthfeel made it feel more potent than its 6% ABV, with a tannic punch from the oak barrel-aging, with richer fruit notes that tasted both dried and fresh at the same instance. The puckering taste of grapefruit intensifies as the beer warms, a complex flavor profile derived from spontaneous fermentation and barrel-aging; surprisingly no fruit was used in this blend of old and young beers.
Try as I might, the 375ML bottle was gone all too soon.
But I take some small comfort in the fact that the beer’s name comes from the motto of the brewery’s home city of Portland, and means “I shall rise again.” Perhaps, with a lot of due diligence and a bit of luck, I’ll rise that beer to my lips again, soon.
City: Portland, ME