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Beer review: Lagunitas Sucks

28 Aug

Hey look, I’m writing a beer review. It’s been a while. A couple years ago, I used to write weekly beer reviews for a local magazine (OK, it may be a stretch to call it a magazine, but I digress). I’d make sure I posted the review here, and I had several people tell me how much they missed it when I stopped writing for them. Well, it’s high time I start writing them again. I won’t make promises to do them weekly, but I can’t say that I won’t do multiple reviews in a week. It’s my blog, so I’ll post stuff when I want.

Most people that know me, know that IPAs are far and away my favorite type of beer to drink. Thus, my fridge is full of IPAs of all sorts. I’ve got everything from session IPAs all the way to double IPAs and (soon) black IPAs. So, guess what most of my beer reviews will be about? So let’s get started.

Lagunitas finally entered the Louisiana market in the fall of 2014, and the first beer I asked the rep and distributor for was their double IPA named Sucks. If you don’t know the story behind Sucks, check it out here. It took too damn long, but after my persistent begging (I’m sure the distributor and brewery rep are glad to finally get me off their backs), Sucks finally made it here to Baton Rouge. I bought a six pack of Sucks for $9.49 from The Beverage Store (shameless plug for the beer store with the best prices in the city), so it’s probably $10-11 elsewhere.

Thanks to Lagunitas’ archaic bottle dating system, you need an abacus to determine when it was bottled. They use the Julian calandar to date their bottles, and you have to look really hard high on the neck of the beer to see the black ink printed. This beer was bottled on the 211th day of the year, which by looking up on my handy dandy chart, translates to July 30th. It’s kind of a bummer that this beer is already nearly a month old when it hit our shelves, but whatevs. On to the beer.

It had been a while since I had this beer, and I really loved it the few times I’ve had a chance to drink it. I poured it into my sweet Lagunitas mason jar style glass, and it was a beautiful golden color. It’s not too dark (if you’re a brewer reading this and your IPA is an amber color, stop. Remove the crystal malts from your recipe and try again), and it looks like an IPA should. I was somewhat disappointed in the aroma. I remember Sucks having a big dank and piney aroma, and this one was a bit muted (was it because it’s a month old?). The taste, however, was what I remember. It’s a big piney IPA, with some slight grapefruit, peach, and floral notes. But the main flavor is pine. There’s a touch of sweetness to it, which I guess makes it balanced, but not in a bad way. Some big IPAs are so sweet that you lose the hop flavors, but that’s not the case with Sucks. I might prefer it to be a touch drier, but that’s nitpicking. The mouthfeel is a touch bigger than medium (much like my shirt size right now). The finish has some hop bitterness to it and it lingers a bit, but isn’t too crazy. These bottles are listed at 8%, whereas I remember all the previous bottles were listed at 7.85%. I guess they do things a bit differently in the Chicago brewery than the Petaluma brewery. The original gravity is listed at 1.085, which means to finish at 8%, it has a final gravity in the 1.025 range. That likely accounts for some of that sweetness on the finish, but I don’t think it drinks like a sugary mess (most double IPAs worth a damn finish at a much drier 1.010-1.015 FG).

All in all, Lagunitas Sucks is probably the best valued double IPA around. In a time when many 22oz bomber of double IPAs go for $12 or more, Lagunitas has managed to give us 72oz of delightful hops for about $10. In fact, all of Lagunitas’ beers represent good value, especially when compared to most other craft beer prices. So while I didn’t quite like Sucks as much as I remember, I can easily look past that when I know I can get a $10 sixer. If you want to try it, I wouldn’t delay, because who knows when the next shipment will make it to Baton Rouge? It took damn near an act of Congress to get it here now, even though the label states that it’s an “Un-Limited Edition.” So grab some and enjoy your glass o’ hops.

Cheers!

Lagunitas Sucks

NOLA Brewing set to launch their first lager

27 Aug

NOLA Brewing is finally set to live up to their name. The New Orleans Lager and Ale Brewing Company will unveil their first lager on September 2nd at a release party at the new World of Beer location in New Orleans. Darkest Before Dawn will be a Munich Dunkel, which is a European style lager that is a dark color featuring notes of caramel and chocolate with little hop presence and a light, crisp finish.

Read more about Darkest Before Dawn below.

NOLA Darkest Before Dawn

New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) Brewing to Launch First Lager

NOLA Brewing is launching first lager, Darkest Before Dawn, at World of Beer

 

New Orleans, LA (August 27, 2015):  After six years of brewing ales, NOLA Brewing will launch their first lager, Darkest Before Dawn, on September 2nd, 2015 at the new World of Beer location in New Orleans.

WHAT: Launch of NOLA Brewing’s first lager, Darkest Before Dawn

 

WHEN: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

 

WHERE:     World of Beer

300 Julia Street

New Orleans, LA 70130

 

WHY: To celebrate the launch of the first lager NOLA Brewing has ever produced, World of Beer is hosting a Launch Party and will be the only venue serving this beer before it is available to the public.

Darkest Before Dawn will be NOLA Brewing’s Fall Seasonal this year and should be available through the end if December. Like all NOLA Brewing seasonals, it will then be available to distributors in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in draught form.

“We are finally reaching production levels that allow us to age our beer in fermenters for the longer period of time needed to produce quality lagers,” Kirk Coco, CEO and owner of NOLA Brewing, says. “This dark lager is the perfect Fall beer for New Orleans because it is crisp and light enough to handle our warm weather, but satisfies that seasonal craving for a dark roasted beer.”

NOLA Brewing’s first lager will be a Munich Dunkel, a dark European lager that is a deep dark copper to brown color. Brewed with predominantly German Munich malts and a small amount of caramel and dark roasted barley, this beer will have a rich, malty aroma with a hint of sweet chocolate. This lager will not be a hoppy beer and the malt shines through on the tongue. Darkest Before Dawn will have an ABV between 5 and 5.5 percent.

“We decided to name our first lager ‘Darkest Before Dawn’ to signify the city’s resilience and ability to move forward and not look back since we are launching it near the 10 year anniversary of Katrina,” says Coco. “There is also the connection with the city’s forays of late-night drinking and walking out of a dark establishment and the sun is up.”

Tin Roof Gameday IPA coming soon

20 Jul

Just in time for football (and tailgating) season, Tin Roof will be launching their newest release, Gameday IPA in August. This session IPA will be perfect for those long tailgates before LSU football games, when you want something more flavorful than a light lager, but want to stay in the game a little longer. Did someone say Amarillo, Simcoe, Mosaic and Warrior hops? Yes please.

Read more about it below.

TIN ROOF BREWING COMPANY CELEBRATES THE START OF FOOTBALL SEASON WITH A TAILGATE KICK-OFF PARTY AND RELEASE OF THEIR SEASONAL GAMEDAY SESSION IPA

Baton Rouge, La., July 20, 2015—Fall is upon us, and we’re celebrating our favorite season the most appropriate way we know how: tailgating and beer. Tin Roof Brewing Company is partnering with 104.5/104.9 ESPN Baton Rouge and ShoppersChoice.com to celebrate the start of football season with a tailgate kick-off party and release of their seasonal Gameday Session IPA.

Together they’re inviting the entire community to gather at Tin Roof Brewing Company’s tap room, on Saturday, August 15, to join in on the official kick-off of tailgate season by setting up their tents (spots limited, registration required), cooking and eating their favorite football fare, and tasting Tin Roof’s newest brew.

“In south Louisiana the game doesn’t start at kickoff in the stadium, it starts during the tailgate,” said Derek Ponamsky of ESPN 104.5/104.9 Baton Rouge. “Gameday Session IPA is the perfect match for our sensibility. It is the official beer of tailgating.”

The Tin Roof Gameday Session IPA is nice and easy, perfect for hours of tailgating. It has a wonderfully balanced malt profile and is full of Amarillo, Simcoe, Mosaic, and Warrior hops. This hop blend gives a full range of citrus, lemon, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, peach, passion fruit, and piney flavors; making it a whirlwind of classic American hops.

“I’m a hop head, so I’m excited about the Gameday Session IPA. The hops are wonderfully aromatic and really shine through,” said Charles Caldwell, co-founder of Tin Roof Brewing Company.

Tin Roof Tailgate Kick-off Overview:

·       WHEN: Saturday, Saturday, 12 p.m.

·       WHAT: Gameday Session IPA release, ShoppersChoice.com food spread, live DJ, tailgating, great times for all

·       WHERE: Tin Roof Brewing Co.,1624 Wyoming St, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

For more information about the Tin Roof Tailgate Kick-off or reserving a tailgate spot for the event, please contact Tin Roof Brewing Co. Event and Marketing Director Rivers Hughey at 225.377.7022.

Gameday IPA

Great Raft Brewing to launch Baton Rouge and Northshore markets in August

30 Jun

great-raft-brewing-logo-square

Hey Baton Rouge and the Northshore, are you ready for some Great Raft? Come August, you’ll finally be able to get some in the Capital City. The Shreveport brewery today announced plans to begin distribution of their lagers and ales beginning in August. That means you’ll be able to find both draft and six-pack cans of their flagships as well as seasonal releases in draft and 22-ounce bottles.

Great Raft features three flagships, Southern Drawl (pale lager), Commotion (American pale ale) and Reasonably Corrupt (schwarzbier, which is a black lager).

Great Raft Commotion Great Raft Reasonably Corrupt Great Raft Southern Drawl

Their seasonal offerings include Grace and Grit (Double IPA), All My Tomorrows (Hoppy Saison), and At Arm’s Length (India Pale Lager), Creature of Habit (coffee brown ale), Awkward Uncle (Belgian strong dark ale), as well as a line of collaboration beers with chef John Besh’s restaurant group.

More details about the exact dates of launch, and what seasonals/specialties that will be available will be forthcoming as things get ironed out.

Great Raft tap handles

Read the full release from Great Raft below:

Great Raft Brewing Expands Distribution to Baton Rouge and Northshore Markets – Flagships, select seasonals available in August – Crescent Crown Distributing selected as distributor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lindsay Nations, Press Contact

info@greatraftbrewing.com

318-734-9881
June 30, 2015, SHREVEPORT, La. – Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport’s first craft brewery, will introduce its products to Baton Rouge and Northshore markets starting in August. The distribution partnership with Crescent Crown Distributing means more of southern Louisiana’s craft beer enthusiasts can soon enjoy Great Raft’s flagship beers.

“We are excited to share our beers with our patient fans and new consumers alike in these markets. We brewed 3,000 barrels of beer in our first year of operation and are growing every month,” said co-founder and President Andrew Nations. “We hoped to expand to Baton Rouge and Northshore last year but expectation-surpassing sales in other markets prevented this growth.”

Reasonably Corrupt™ black lager, Southern Drawl™ pale lager and Commotion™ pale ale, Great Raft’s original, flagship beers, will be available on tap and in cans throughout the Baton Rouge and Northshore markets in early August. Seasonal and small-batch offerings will be selectively available as well.

Great Raft’s expansion plans will continue with additional Louisiana parishes in early 2016.

“We are proud to make beer in Louisiana, for Louisiana, and are eager to begin sharing our beer with more and more of the state,” Nations added.

Founded by Shreveport natives Andrew and Lindsay Nations, Great Raft Brewing began operations in October 2013. For more information about Great Raft Brewing’s beers, expansion plans and more, please visit www.greatraftbrewing.com.

About Great Raft Brewing: Great Raft Brewing is a Shreveport, Louisiana based craft brewery dedicated to making creative, authentic beer and helping to build a great beer culture within communities it serves. Co-founders Andrew and Lindsay Nations are Shreveport natives with a passion for beer. Born from their desire to bring exciting, flavorful, fresh craft beer to their hometown, Great Raft Brewing is bringing the craft brewing tradition to Northern Louisiana.

Information about Great Raft Brewing can be found at http://www.greatraftbrewing.com. Learn more on Twitter https://twitter.com/GreatRaftBeer and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/greatraftbrewing.

Abita Strawgator makes its return

27 Jun

Two years ago, Abita Brewing made official what many people had been doing for years. People down in south Louisiana are fond of blending Abita’s beers to make different concoctions. One of the more popular ones was a blend of Andygator, a Helles Dopplebock, and Strawberry Harvest lager. In 2013, it was called Strawator, and was part of their draft only Select Series.

Last summer, it was rebranded as Strawgator, and released in 22-ounce bombers, as well as draft. And now it returns. Abita was kind enough to send me an advance bottle, so here are my thoughts.

It pours a beautiful golden color with some haze to it. The smell is all strawberry, with no hops and little malt presence. The first sip is refreshingly sweet, and it drinks much easier than the 8% ABV listed. Subsequent sips bring more and more sweet strawberry flavor. However, this one doesn’t finish syrupy at all. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of strongly flavored fruit beers, and 22 ounces would be too much for me in one sitting. But, in smaller doses, I could enjoy it, especially if paired with dessert or even other fruit. This could probably go well with brie, also.

This will be a popular beer, as it tones down the Andygator bite with fresh strawberry juice, leading to a deceptively strong fruited lager. Look for it on shelves and at your favorite watering hole soon.

So you’re a brewery, and you want to get people into your taproom…

15 Jun

Hey there beer peeps, I’ve been kind of laying low for the better part of the last month after ACBW. I know I ruffled some feathers with that ACBW recap post, but it was good to hear from so many of you who told me that I wasn’t totally off base with my comments. Well, here goes another one that may ruffle some feathers…

Let me preface this by saying that I love supporting my local breweries. I want all of them to grow, attract new beer drinkers, and achieve success beyond what they thought possible when they were in their planning stages. I know the brewery taprooms are just a fraction of a brewery’s operations, but done right, they can and should be a profit center in addition to exposing people to their brand. So it baffles me when I see breweries that aren’t taking full advantage of their taproom.

Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom

Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom

You’re a brewery. Your taproom, first and foremost, needs to be about your beer. Not trivia. Not yoga. Not music. It’s about your beer. The best way to get people into your taproom is to make kickass beer that people want to drink. Sure, there’s a time and place for all that other stuff. But if you need gimmicks to get people to come drink your beer, then you’re not doing it right. Make great beer, and be excited about it. Here’s just a few ways to do that:

Make kickass beer. I think I already covered this, but it bears repeating. Great beer sells itself. If you do this, you’re well on your way to having a successful taproom.

– Give me something different. I need a reason to come to your taproom. Beers that aren’t available anywhere else is the easiest way to accomplish this. Yes, you need to have all your flagship beers and the current seasonal beers on tap. That’s a given. But you also need something that I can’t get off the shelf from my corner grocery store, in order to attract me to your taproom. Whether that’s an entirely new beer, or a different version of some of your core offerings, you MUST have something different. This should be such an easy thing to do, but it baffles me that some places don’t do this. Dry hop that IPA with something different or with more hops than usual. Add some fruit puree to that wheat beer to give it a different character. Try a new recipe for what could become your next big thing. You have to differentiate yourself from the bar down the street, otherwise I have no reason to come visit and spend my money at your taproom. Make sure you have a beer that I can only get at your taproom and nowhere else.

Let your brewers be creative! Invest in a pilot brew system and allow your assistant brewers to have opportunities to brew what they want on it. Not only will this give you some different beers to serve, it creates a sense of ownership in the guys and gals that brew the same ol’ same ol’ week after week, day after day. Let the guy in packaging come up with a recipe. Ask the bartender if there’s a style people keep asking for, and brew it. Make sure your pilot system is big enough to brew at least 10 gallons, preferably more. But you have to consider this as an investment in your brewery, one that could provide the next big seller for you. This is the perfect place for eager test subjects. Do you want to release a double IPA or a saison, but aren’t sure what hops or yeast is going to make your beer just right? Let your brewers make lots of different versions of the beer and get feedback from taproom guests.

– Don’t have empty taps! For the love of god, you should NEVER have empty taps in your taproom. There always needs to be something waiting to be tapped should you kick one of your specialty kegs. Always. You are doing yourself and your customers a disservice if you have empty taps. There’s a local taproom that I can always count on to have 30% to 40% of their taps empty. Why is this? Come on, put something on there. You can’t sell beer that you don’t have tapped. There should never ever ever be empty taps in your taproom. Period.

I should never see this in your taproom! Ever!

I should never see this in your taproom! Ever!

Private events are great, but…if you’re closing your taproom for a private event every other day, then I’m going to quit bothering trying to figure out if you’re open or not. I understand private events can bring in a lot of money, but you also turn off potential customers who get frustrated showing up to a closed taproom. Balance is key here.

– Food is a big deal. I am much more likely to hang around longer at the taproom if I can grab a bite to eat. Food trucks are your friend here. Work on relationships with local food trucks and get them scheduled to come out on a regular basis. If people can count on quality food to pair with great beer, they will come (and stick around).

– Promote your new releases. This should be a no-brainer, but if you’re releasing a new beer, do it at your taproom and make sure everybody knows about it. Get people in there to buy your beer directly from you, then you can do a release at a restaurant or bar later on.

– Limit the gimmicks. I understand, sometimes you need to get people to show up on traditionally slow nights by offering something different. Maybe you can host a running group every so often, have a yoga class, feature a movie night, or have a trivia night (I know these are popular, but I hate trivia night). But don’t overdo it. Again, your taproom should be about your beer, not the gimmicks. You may need to bring people in with a gimmick every so often, but the beer should be what keeps them coming back. Don’t forget that. And read this list again, if you forget that.

– A comfy environment is important. Make sure your taproom has a comfortable, inviting environment. There should be plenty of places to sit, both at the bar and at tables. But make sure there’s room for people to move around, especially around the bar. An outdoor area is a nice touch too. If there’s music playing, don’t have it so loud that people can’t hold a conversation. A laid back, comfy place to unwind with a few beers is exactly what I want in a brewery taproom.

– Make sure your servers are informed. The people pouring your beer have to know your beer inside and out. Ideally, they should be beer nerds, but if not, they still need to know what hops are used, and what makes your blonde ale different from your wheat ale. They should be able to make recommendations based on a customer’s beer preferences. If not, you could lose valuable sales and customers.

– Connect with your customers. OK, so I’m adding this one too. The best taprooms also seem to be the ones whose owners and brewers are regularly around to get feedback from the people drinking their beer. Have a presence in your own taproom, and engage your customers. Be excited about your beer. Tell them what makes it special. If you can create a connection with the people who drink your beer, it will bring them back. When I see a brewery owner pulling a tap handle of their own beer and running the register, I know that their heart is in it. When the brewer pulls out something they’ve been working on from the back or even beer from another brewery to share with customers, it embodies everything that is right about craft beer. It’s about friendship and sharing and always trying new things to make your own beer better.

Remember, kickass beer gets people in the door and keeps them coming back. Give me a reason to come to your taproom time and time again with something new.

I know some of my brewery friends may take offense to this. That’s not at all what this is intended to be. It’s advice from my point of view. I would love to visit brewery taprooms more often. Give me a reason to do so.

What do you think? What gets you into a taproom and keeps you coming back?

ACBW 2015: You win some, you lose some…

18 May

So the 2015 American Craft Beer Week has come and gone, with Baton Rouge saw quite a few (mostly successful) events last week. Here are some of my honest thoughts about last week.

The biggest pre-ACBW event was Gnarly Barley’s 1 year anniversary party on May 9th. This was a roaring success, as hundreds of people turned out for the event, and for $10, each attendee got a commemorative snifter glass and 5 pours of different Gnarly Barley beers, including some exclusive to the event (keep this in mind, as we will re-visit this value later in this post). The Raspberry Catahoula Common was a well done refreshing beer that would be great on a hot summer day. The barrel aged Korova milk porter was excellent as well. We also got the bright idea to have the Raspberry Catahoula Common blended with the regular Korova, and that was super tasty. The newer batches of Radical Rye PA are also really nice, as the hop aroma is on point. This was a great event, and I was very happy to help Zac and Cari celebrate their first year in business.

Gnarly Barley Glass

Monday brought the release of the newest batch of Parish Brewing’s Ghost in the Machine double IPA. I scrambled around town to pick up some 4-packs, then headed to Corporate Brew and Draft to try it on tap at 5:00 that evening. What was really interesting was that they had a keg of the previous batch (released in early March) to go alongside the keg of the new batch. There were obvious differences between the two batches, and this release has proven to be the most polarizing. The previous batch has been described by many as a juicy citrus bomb, while the new batch has more dank and resinous qualities to it, and the clarity has increased greatly. I think both are fantastic, yet I find myself gravitating to the newest batch since I find that it has everything I desire in a double IPA: great hop aroma, hops that will melt the enamel from your teeth, and an easy finish without much lingering bitterness. Others tell me they prefer the juiciness of the previous batch. So, for those of you who’ve had both, which do you prefer?

Ghost 4 vs. 5

Tuesday, I went to the Tin Roof tap room for the BBQ dinner plates that Jay Ducote of Bite and Booze was cooking and to try the new Smoke Shack brown ale. The food was delicious (I think the greens may have been my favorite of all time) and I thought the Smoke Shack was a well done beer. I think I’d prefer drinking it when the weather is a bit cooler though (this would be a nice late fall football tailgate beer). This beer would be wonderful with some brisket, pulled pork or a good burger, that’s for sure. The taproom was packed, and it was great to see a lot of people there supporting the local brewery and chefs.

Smoke Shack

Wednesday I was able to try some of NOLA Brewing’s Arabella peach sour and Belma dry hopped Hurricane Saison at Chimes East, and both were enjoyable. I took that evening off to catch up with the family, but heard the turnout at Olive or Twist for their cellar night was nice, as they had a bunch of great beers that were opened. I did get to try Boulevard’s Calling IPA at home, courtesy of Scott, one of the Happy’s Running Club co-founders, and I think it’s by far their best IPA. Hopefully we will get to see Boulevard in Louisiana sooner, rather than later.

Calling IPA

Thursday was also a slow night for me, as I just swung by Tin Roof to try one of their Single Hop Experimental beers, which was pretty good. The hop was HBC 512, and was nice, but nothing exceptionally memorable. I ended up having a couple of other beers at home, which is more my speed anyway.

Friday, I was able to try Bayou Teche’s peach IPA with lunch, and I was impressed. The peach wasn’t overdone, and the hops were fruity. It was a well done beer from them. I also opened my first bottle of NOLA’s Lowerline sour ale, and it was very nice. If you see any bottles, make sure to grab some, because there probably aren’t many left on Baton Rouge shelves.

Lowerline

And now we get to Saturday. First off, I stopped by Tin Roof’s taproom to try out a test batch of their double IPA. It’s a good thing we made it there when we did, because the 5 gallon keg took all of 40 minutes to float, and they were only pouring half pints. My honest feedback on this test batch is that the initial flavor was very nice, with notes of citrus and pine. However, I thought it was a bit boozy (I’m not sure what the ABV was) and the bitterness seemed to build on the palate as I drank more. After I finished my half pint, I couldn’t shake the bitterness from my palate. It could also use some more dry hops for a hoppier aroma to help offset some of the perceived bitterness. But I think this is a good starting point for this beer. Also, keep in mind, that different people enjoy different characteristics from a DIPA. I like a lighter mouthfeel and easy to drink beer with a huge hop aroma, which I find also translates to more hop flavor. Others like a chewier beer with more back end bitterness. So, what I may like in a DIPA may not be the same as what others like. I’d definitely like to try more of the test batches, and I hope my feedback helps.

Our next stop was the Pelican House for their inaugural Delta Brewer’s Ball. This is where I have to be brutally honest. First, let me start by saying this. Pelican House reached out to me well in advance to ask that I help promote the event. They gave me 2 tickets to the event for me to use, as well as 2 to give out to readers of my site. I did a promotion on here and on social media to give away 2 tickets, and I sponsored a Facebook post for the week leading up to the event so that lots of people were reached. Tickets to the event were $30, so I was able to attend for free along with a guest. But the whole event was poorly run, and I would have been pissed off had I paid $30 to attend. Basically, it was a $30 cover charge to get into the bar. Each attendee got a t-shirt and allegedly a goodie bag with schwag from each of the breweries represented. I never got said bag, but I really didn’t care. The specialty beers were being poured at the satellite bar, and the line was ridiculous. I never even got in that line, because I had no desire to wait that long to buy a pint of one of the specialty beers. But what angered most people is that there was no beer included in the $30 ticket. All the beers were full price with tax charged on top of it. There were a LOT of unhappy people that felt swindled, and I don’t blame them one bit. Remember when I said earlier that the Gnarly Barley 1 year anniversary event cost $10 for a commemorative glass and 5 pours of beer? Yeah, think about that versus $30 for a t-shirt and no beer. The best part about the entire event was the couchon de lait from City Pork. They even felt it was necessary to have a stripper get body art painted on her during the event. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up if you tried. That’s what people’s $30 ticket went toward. I honestly feel bad about even promoting event, and to anyone that bought tickets because they saw my promotion, please accept my apology. I don’t like to publicly bash a local business, but this was unacceptable. I left after only 45 minutes, and walked across the street to Corporate Brew and Draft. That place started to fill up with disgruntled Brewer’s Ball attendees, and the comments were all the same. Many of the brewers and brewery representatives were unhappy as well, because people who bought tickets were taking it out on them. That should not happen.

Here’s what this Brewer’s Ball should have been: $30 should have gotten you a tasting glass, not a t-shirt. Each attendee should be given a punchcard, allowing them to get a sample of each specialty beer that the breweries in attendance brought. Everything should be spread out more, so that there are no huge lines, and the attendees can interact better with the brewer representatives. And these breweries flagship beers can be sold at regular prices at the main bar, should the attendees want to drink additional beer. But the way this event was poorly managed this year will likely prevent a lot of people from ever returning. I can include myself in that one. There are too many well run craft beer bars and restaurants in this city for me to put up with one that still can’t get their act together after over two years. The guys and gals that work there are nice people. They really are. But I have had far more bad experiences when going there than any other craft beer bar in the city. I know that this will piss some people off, but so be it. They pissed a lot of people off Saturday. Good luck to Pelican House in the future. Hopefully this will be a learning experience for them. But they seem to have more than their fair share of “learning experiences.” Again, if you went because you saw my post about the event, I apologize.

I did have a great time afterward at Corporate Brew and Draft. There, it was about the beer with no bullshit. I didn’t have to wait in line or pay outrageous prices to drink good beer, and everything was nice and laid back, just the way I like it. The Gnarly Barley cask of Korova with coconut and cocoa nibs was outstanding, as was the NOLA Four Roses barrel aged Irish Channel Stout. I was also able to try the Chafunkta Bayou Blaze red ale, and it was a really well done beer that I will be happy to drink again, even for someone who isn’t a huge fan of the style. There was also a keg of a Thai spiced IPA with Falconer’s Flight hops from 40 Arpent that was really enjoyable.

I wrapped up this year’s ACBW with brunch at The Chimes. They still had some great beers on tap, and I enjoyed a snifter of 2014 Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout with my crab cakes topped with poached eggs.

Tell me about your American Craft Beer Week experiences. What did you do? What was the best beer you had last week? Did you try something new that you’ll be seeking out in the future?

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