The Courtyard Brewery opens today with a killer tap list

23 Oct

The long awaited opening of The Courtyard Brewery in New Orleans is today. And since they only got their permits that allow them to brew their own beer last week, that means their taproom won’t have any of their own concoctions just yet. But the plan was to always have guest taps, and they are opening with some great ones. Check out the list of beers owner Scott Wood sent me.

The Courtyard Brewery

Blanche de Bruxelles
Saison Dupont Cuvee Dry Hopping
BFM 225 Sour Saison
Anchor Lager
Stillwater Stateside Saison
Gnarly Barley Korova Milk Porter
North Coast Old Rasputin
Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 14
New Belgium Le Terroir
Stone IPA
Stone Hibiscusicity
Green Flash Le Freak
Lagunitas IPA
Lagunitas lil Sumpin’ Wild
Green Flash Hop Odyssey Cedar Plank IPA
Founders Breakfast Stout
Great Raft At Arms Length IPL

So if you’re in New Orleans and want to go check out a new cool place to drink, head on over to The Courtyard Brewery at 1020 Erato Street.

Courtyard-Brewery-Image-657x360

NOLA Brewing expanding distribution to all of Florida

23 Oct

This morning, NOLA Brewing announced that they are expanding their distribution footprint to include the entire state of Florida. They have previously been in the panhandle, but will now be able to send their beers to the rest of the state. Good news for The Beer Buddha who just moved there.

NOLA-Brewing

NOLA Brewing Launches into Florida with Brown
Distributing
New Orleans craft brewery, NOLA Brewing Company, has signed a distribution agreement with
Brown Distributing for the vast majority of Florida.
In 2008, Kirk Coco and Peter Caddoo (former Brewmaster at Dixie Brewing Company) began
their initial dream of bringing production and manufacturing back to New Orleans, founding
NOLA Brewing Company. Since Dixie’s departure from the city in 2005, NOLA Brewing is the
only operating production brewery in the city of New Orleans and Orleans Parish. Since their
opening, NOLA has made a name for itself brewing high quality beers in the heart of Louisiana
and will be offering a full line-up to the Sunshine State. They will initially launch with Rebirth
Pale Ale, Hopitoulas, Mecha and Irish Channel Stout. 7th Street Wheat is slated to roll into
Florida by Summer 2015.
NOLA’s beers have been available in the Panhandle for over three years and they have received
an enormous push from fans to offer their beers throughout the rest of the state. Kirk Coco, CEO
for NOLA explains “Florida is becoming a very craft centric state with great local breweries like
Cigar City, 7venth Sun, Funky Buddha, Pensacola Bay and many other up and coming
breweries. We wanted to have our beers in the mix, and get the great opportunity to participate in
the craft beer community as well as have a great excuse to go to Florida more often!”
To help maintain a consistent supply of beer in the pipeline, NOLA is completing a production
expansion that will help to support their new markets. “We are more focused on maintaining our
quality and developing a solid, slow growth plan while keeping our beers unpasteurized, to
deliver the freshest and most aromatic beers to our consumers.”
When searching for a new distributor in Florida, NOLA explored different options and landed
with Brown Distributing for handful of reasons. Kirk explains, “We were fortunate enough to
meet with all of the distributors, but when it came down to making the decision, we felt the folks
at Brown Distributing just understood our brand, our growth plans and were the most capable
team to support our beers.” Brown Distributing Company, headquartered out of West Palm
Beach Florida, will be representing NOLA’s beers outside of the Panhandle, throughout Florida
(from Tallahassee to Key West).
“We are really excited to bring a piece of New Orleans down to Florida. We always look to
partner with world class breweries and we are confident that with NOLA’s unique line-up of
beers and amazing reputation in the Southeast that they will fit beautifully into our family” said
Ian Salzberg, Senior Marketing Manager at Brown Distributing.
NOLA Brewing will be hitting the shelves and taps around Florida by November 2014.

It’s a Major Award!

22 Oct

It's a Major Award

On Saturday I got word that I had won my very first medal in a homebrew competition. My peach wheat, Prunus Persica, took first place in the fruit beer category of the 31st annual Dixie Cup in Houston, TX. I was hoping for the best, but truthfully, I didn’t expect to win, especially since my previous entries in homebrew competitions didn’t yield the results I had hoped.

Let’s back up a bit though, shall we? I started homebrewing about 2 1/2 years ago. Initially, I was unsure how much I would enjoy it, since I’m a beer drinker who likes to mix things up. I rarely buy six packs of beers, because I like to drink all kinds of different beers. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I gave it a shot. In fact, my first five batches of homebrew were of the one gallon extract variety, all brewed on my kitchen stove. That first batch of IPA I brewed wasn’t great by any means, but it was drinkable and even enjoyable. Ditto for the basil wheat, pumpkin wheat, pumpkin ale and another IPA that followed. It was then that I decided to make the jump to 5 gallon batches. I brewed a peanut butter chocolate stout as my first 5 gallon batch, then a double IPA as my second. It was a that point that 2 things happened: 1) my dear wife banned me from ever brewing again in the house (I didn’t see the problem with the house smelling like hops for 3 days, but she did), and 2) I came to the realization that bottling 5 gallons of beer at a time really, really sucks. It was about that time that a neighbor who was moving left me with a refrigerator, so I did what any homebrewer in my situation would do: I purchased some kegs, taps and CO2 tank and built a homemade kegerator.

Since then, I’ve moved from extract brewing to all-grain brewing, which is basically the equivalent of going from baking Betty Crocker brownies in a box to baking brownies from scratch. Once I tasted my very first all-grain beer, a coffee vanilla porter brewed on New Year’s Day this year, I knew the future of my homebrewing would be brighter. I had submitted a few of my previous extract beers to a few competitions, but none of them really scored very well, though they weren’t flawed either. I thought my coffee vanilla porter was good enough to submit to the American Homebrew Association’s National Homebrew Competition last spring, and it got a really good score in the regional round, even if it didn’t advance to the finals.

Fast forward to late summer, when I wanted a light and refreshing beer to enjoy after cutting the grass or while sitting by the pool. I opted for a very simple wheat beer, then added 5 pounds of peaches to it after primary fermentation had completed. That amount of peaches still didn’t quite give it enough peach presence, so when I kegged it, I added a little bit of peach extract flavoring and a touch of lactic acid to give it a slightly tart finish. I lucked up, because I was left with a really good and easy to drink peach beer. A couple of BJCP certified judges even told me it was a very well done beer, so I figured I’d enter it into a competition. It was also the only beer I had available when the deadline for submission to the Dixie Cup rolled around. So I entered it into the fruit beer category, but without any expectations. Fruit beer is such a wide encompassing category with regard to the style of beer (it can be anything from a fruited lager to a stout), as well as the type of fruit used. I was actually just hoping for some feedback on the beer and thought it might score well.

This past Saturday, I got a text from a friend who asked me if I wanted to know how my beer fared. Of course I wanted to know. He sent me the link to the Dixie Cup website that showed the winners of each category, and there it was. Prunus Persica took 1st place in the Fruit Beer category. Hot damn!

I still haven’t gotten the judges score sheets to see their comments or the medal I was awarded (it made its way back with another buddy who was in Houston for the Dixie Cup), but I’m still elated. I’m certainly proud to say that of nearly 1,000 beers entered into the 2014 Dixie Cup, mine was one of 45 that garnered a gold medal for 1st place in one of the categories.

Oh, and lest I forget: congrats to my friends Toby Guidry (1st place Strong Scotch Ale), Wayne Odom (2nd place American Pale Ale), Dale Yoes (3rd place Dry Stout), David Komendanchik & Ashlyn Harmon (1st place Smoked Beer and Honorable Mention Fruit Beer), and Keith Primeaux & Ray Calhoun (1st place Specialty Beer) for medaling in this year’s Dixie Cup and representing Baton Rouge homebrewers so well. Cheers guys (and gal)!

Prunus Persica Beer

Prunus Persica, my homebrewed peach wheat ale.

LA Homebrew to celebrate 1st anniversary on Learn To Homebrew Day

21 Oct

Louisiana’s premier homebrew supply shop is turning one year old, and they’ll be celebrating by, how else, but with a big brew day. LA Homebrew opened up in late October 2013 and their first year has been a roaring success. Baton Rouge needed a full service homebrew supply shop, and the first year has proven that the homebrewing community here is probably larger than anyone, even owner Keith Primeaux, imagined.

LA Homebrew 3

Saturday, November 1st is the 16th annual Learn to Homebrew Day. LA Homebrew will be hosting a demonstration open to all who are interested in embarking on the homebrew journey, or to help those who are already addicted to the hobby improve their beers.

See what they have to say about the event below:

Learn to Homebrew Day was established by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) in 1999 to encourage homebrewers to introduce their non-brewer friends and family to the most rewarding hobby, obsession and lifestyle since the beginning of time!

Homebrewing is easy and fun, which is why LA Homebrew Supply Shop is hosting an American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Learn to Homebrew Day event on Sat Nov 1st. This event is free and open to the public.

We are happy to invite anyone interested in homebrewing to stop by our shop from 10am to 4pm on Saturday Nov 1, 2014 to join in the fun. We will have multiple brewers brewing up a wide array of beers that day from simple extract kits to all grain recipes.

We are also excited to celebrate our One Year Anniversary on this very same day! LA Homebrew opened in late October 2013 and our first year of business has been an amazing success. We could not have survived without the support of the active local homebrewers in our area. All of our customers are invited to come out and enjoy lunch on us! Jambalaya will be served and there will be lots of food and fun for everyone.

They will start brewing around 10AM and it will run until 4PM. If you’re interested in learning more about brewing your own beer, go see Keith, Ray and Co. at LA Homebrew that day, or drop by the shop Monday through Saturday. They will be happy to help you make your own beer.

Abita Bourbon Street Stout Review

21 Oct

Last week I got some beer mail from Abita with a couple of their brand new releases. They sent me a bomber of the Imperator black IPA and a bomber of the brand new Bourbon Street Stout.

Abita Beer Mail

Check out Abita’s description of Bourbon Street Stout:

Bourbon Street Stout is an Imperial Stout that is aged in small batch bourbon barrels. Our Imperial Stout is brewed with a combination of pale, caramel, chocolate and roasted malts. Oats are also added to give the beer a fuller and sweeter taste. The roasted malts give the beer its dark color as well as its intense flavor and aroma. After fermentation the beer is cold aged for 6 weeks. This is necessary for all of the flavors of the malt and hops to balance and produce a very smooth flavor.

After the cold aging the beer is transferred into the bourbon barrels. It is then aged for another 8 weeks to absorb all of the flavors from the barrels. The result is a stout that brings out the roasted flavors from the malt and the warming toasted, vanilla, and bourbon flavors.

Last night, I was able to open up the Bourbon Street Stout and I shared it with my wife, Teresa, of I Eat BR fame (not so shameless plug).

Abita Bourbon Street Stout

It poured a deep black color with a nice two-fingered tan head. The aroma was distinctly bourbon, vanilla and malty, but neither was overpowering. The flavor had a nice mix of chocolate, vanilla, roasty malts, as well as the bourbon and oak. Everything worked well together, and no one flavor dominated. Teresa really got the chocolate flavor and commented that it stood out to her. The mouthfeel is a bit thin for an imperial stout, but I find that it actually works pretty well in this type of beer as it makes it a bit easier to drink. This isn’t a big chewy stout, but it still boasts a hefty 10% ABV. There isn’t a lot of residual sweetness, so this beer isn’t at all cloying, and that contributes to the drinkability Can you really call a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout drinkable? Well, I can, because this is my blog.

All in all, this is a great effort by Abita. If you recall, this beer placed 2nd in my Top 13 Beers from Louisiana in 2013, and it’s great to see a beer like this bottled by them. This is what the beer geeks have been asking of Abita. They have the resources to make great beers that the real beer connoisseurs will love, and this is a step in the right direction for them, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve long been asking them to bottle their Select series, since those are generally pretty creative and well done beers that I seek out. Hopefully this marks the beginning of a trend for Abita.

Check back soon for my review of Imperator.

New Belgium Beer Dinner at Galatoire’s in New Orleans Wednesday Night

20 Oct

Just got word of a New Belgium beer dinner at Galatoire’s in New Orleans this Wednesday. There are only a few tickets left, so you better hurry. Check out the menu and the pairings below. It looks delicious.

Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak Hosts New Belgium Beer Dinner

Wednesday, October 22

7 p.m. Gathering and Hors d’oeuvres

7:30 p.m. Dinner

Menu Includes:

Reception

Fried Cornichons with Remoulade Sauce

Bacon Lardons with Barbecue Glaze

Poached Apples with Honey in Phyllo

New Belgium Sunshine Wheat

 

First Course:

 Fat Tire Battered Fish and Chips 

Malt Vinegar Slaw

 New Belgium Fat Tire Amber

Second Course:

 Foie Gras Torchon 

Banana Nut Bread and Praline Sauce

 New Belgium Wild2 Dubbel Ale

Third Course:

Buffalo Quail  

Corn Bread and Blue Cheese Dressing

 New Belgium Ranger IPA 

Fourth Course:

Black Lager Braised Short Ribs

Parsnip Puree and Glazed Carrots

 New Belgium 1554 Lager

Dessert Course:

Baked Brie 

Candied Ginger

New Belgium Yuzu Ale

~

 Located in Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak main dining room, the New Belgium Beer Dinner is $65 per person, inclusive of tax & gratuity.  

Make your reservations today by calling (504) 525-6022.

Limited seating is available.

Tin Roof Rougarou debuts at the brewery on Thursday

20 Oct

Tin Roof Brewery is bringing back their Rougarou Imperial Black Ale again this year, and Thursday marks the debut. Head on out to the new taproom at the brewery to be among the first to get a taste of this year’s version. It’s a roasty and hoppy concoction that packs a punch. This year’s edition starts with a big hop aroma that gives way to a chocolaty and malty flavor, but with a big hop backbone.

Tin Roof Rougarou Label

The taproom opens at 3:00 Thursday, and a free bomber will be raffled off every hour starting at 4:00. Plates of jambalaya from Restaurant IPO will be sold for $5 each, so you can keep the party going well into the night.

Tin Roof Rougarou 2

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