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Allagash Black

Where In Town: 1 West Dupont Circle Wines and Liquors, 2012 P St. NW

Price: $12.99/750 ml

Black and White and Drunk All Over

At first glance, Allagash Brewing of Portland, Maine, can seem a little monochromatic: Its flagship Allagash Black (a Belgian-style stout) and Allagash White (a Belgian-style wheat ale) don’t seem to leave much room for a rainbow of flavors. But Allagash Black demonstrates why its brewer has become one of the East Coast’s most popular producers of ales inspired by Europe’s Mecca of monk-brewed beers. It starts with the slightly tart Guinness-like aromas of roasted barley, which give way to caramel, coffee, citrus, banana, and clove—all before you take a single sip. It’s sexier than Fifty Shades of Grey.

Darkness Visible

Belgian-style stouts are like the theoretical dark matter that accounts for much of the universe’s mass: No one really knows what they are or how to define them, except that they’re dark and heavy. They also, unlike much of the universe, contain Belgian yeast. Allagash Black tastes like bitter chocolate and prunes with that characteristic fruitiness associated with Belgian dubbels or strong dark ales. The finish is smooth with a bourbon-like booziness. Open one of these bottles on a cool fall night or as a hellishly good Halloween treat.