In 2011, I was 25 years old, and I didn’t like beer. I felt confused and disappointed with myself. Beer is a crisp, refreshing, carbonated alcoholic beverage. A staple at summer barbecues for millions of Americans. It’s even acceptable to drink during the day. What was wrong with me? I love wine. I love bourbon. I love tequila. It just makes sense that I should love beer too. And so, during the summer of 2011, I religiously started visiting Rustico, one of my favorite restaurants in Alexandria, and ordering flights of beer, hoping that one day I would discover the game-changer: a beverage that would open my eyes to the crisp, clean delight that America loves so much.
One day, it happened. The beer that passed my lips was light in color, not bitter, with citrus-notes. It was just so good. That beer was Allagash White, a craft-brewed Hefeweizen from Portland Maine. Ever since, I’ve been dying to visit the brewery. And this past Saturday, my wish came true.
Let me tell you, the folks over at Allagash did not disappoint. The customer experience was incredible, and they weren’t doing anything beyond using their common sense and making great beer.
- A great product – Yes, it always starts with a great product. After our tour of the brewery was over, we found ourselves back in the tasting room, where we each received a flight of four beers: Allagash White, Allagash House, Allagash Tripel and Allagash Curieux. Not only were these beers absolutely delicious, but they were completely free. Not just a taste here or there – this was a well-poured flight and really served as a nice ending to our tour. You can leave the brewery without having spent a dime (the tour was free too). But that assumes you have far better self-control than I do. I left with a case of beer and a smattering of retail goods. Just couldn’t help myself.
- Brand ambassadors – Allagash is home to a gaggle of quirky and hilarious employees who obviously love what they do. When our fun-loving tour guide wasn’t photo-bombing our pictures, he gave an in-depth explanation of the brewing process throughout the tour. It was evident he loves working at Allagash sharing it with guests. His enthusiasm turned me into even more of a brand ambassador, too.
- Transparency – By the time we left the brewery, we really felt like we understood how the whole company worked, from the quirky employee culture, to the pride with which they brew their beer. It made total sense why Allagash is so good – when fun people are doing what they love, you just can’t lose.
If you ever head to Maine (which I highly recommend doing – good for the soul), stop by Allagash to experience it for yourself. Be sure to make your reservation in advance on their website: http://www.allagash.com/
Cheers and happy summer!