Monday, May 19, 2014

The best brew pub in the Americas?

If you understand why Belgium could be considered the beer epicenter of the world, or why Burgundy could be considered the Pinot noir epicenter of the wine world, then you will understand why the Selkirk Abbey brew pub in northern Idaho may be the best brew pub in the U.S.

While other breweries dabble in a few Belgium style beers, Selkirk Abbey devotes its entire existence to a broad portfolio of the style. The only other brewery in the U.S. that comes close to such a devotion to the Belgium style is Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine (also worth the trip).

Selkirk Abbey is all about the beer. Located in a small industrial park and lacking a kitchen, the beer and the perfect atmosphere to enjoy the beer are the focus here. There's nothing fancy. Just a nice comfortable room filled with friendly people who take their beer very seriously and themselves not so much. It's just a fun place to drink.

The beer celebrates the Belgium style in all of its traditional diversity. From light coriander-filled whites to sophisticated saisons, to moderately hoppy IPA's, to delicious darks, all of the beers are stylistically spot on, well balanced, and filled with unexpected nuance. They also put on a few guest taps that feature beers from Belgium or other inspired Belgian-themed microbreweries in the U.S. Their Saint Stephen Saison is even a subtle homage to the Grateful Dead.

Selkirk Abbey is a come as you are, feel free to bring in some take out food (Belgium beers can pair with any cuisine), have a good conversation, and listen to some live music kind of place. What's not to like?

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