Being a beer blogger has it’s perks. Among them, is that every so often I get to try a beer before it hits the market. That was the case this last night, as not only did I get to sample a beer early, but I got to record a radio show with two other beer bloggers: Jay Ducote (Bite and Booze) and Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene). Jay was fortunate enough to get a bottle of the Parish Brewing Grand Reserve barleywine from Andrew at Parish to share with us ahead of its November 30th release.
We devoted an entire segment of the radio show, Raise A Glass (Raise A Glass on Facebook and @RaiseAGlass on Twitter), to the Grand Reserve as we sampled it on air. The appearance was a nice dark ruby color with a two finger head that quickly dispersed. There was nice lacing on the glass as the head disappeared and as I drank it. The aroma was a wonderful blend of hops and malt, neither of which was overwhelming. The taste was surprisingly smooth for a relatively young barleywine. The hops were there, but not overpowering at all, which is sometimes the case with beers of this style. The bitterness was enough to let you know it was there, but it didn’t linger around beyond its welcome. It had a big malt backbone as well and was very balanced. Mouthfeel was medium, as it wasn’t overwhelmingly thick, nor was it too thin.
Parish really has a winner with this Grand Reserve. As far as I know, it’s the only barleywine style produced by a Louisiana craft brewer, and it would not be a stretch to say that this is the best beer currently on the market from the Louisiana craft brewers. It is designed to be a beer that you can age, so that you can try it again at this time next year and it will be even smoother. There were roughly 1,300 bottles of this beer produced, so it is very limited. But since each was hand bottled, waxed and numbered, it is definitely one to savor. Make sure to grab one to try now, and one to age.
Parish Grand Reserve is scheduled for a November 30th release in south Louisiana. There are about 80 cases to go around, about 30 of which should hit the Baton Rouge area on or around November 30th. There will be a few casks that will be released as well, starting with Avenue Pub in New Orleans on November 30th. Some of the bottles and kegs will be held back so that it can age a bit more, and hopefully people can have a vertical tasting alongside next year’s release.
Be sure to check out Raise A Glass on Friday’s at 6PM and Sunday’s at noon on Baton Rouge’s Community Radio Station, WHYR 96.9 FM, or check them out on an iTunes podcast. The episode we recorded will be airing soon, and will be available on iTunes shortly after airing. So check it out to hear my full thoughts, as well as the other guys. Thanks to Jay and Eric for the invite, and I hope to return to the show soon.