On Tap – January 18th

18 Jan

Just in case you’re not paying attention to my Facebook page or Instagram, I figured it’s about time I started linking my biweekly column in The Advocate here. This piece was originally published online in The Advocate on January 18th.

Can you dig it?

Parish Brewing has started canning its flagship beers, and all three are now available at area retailers. Canebrake wheat ale, Parish’s biggest seller, and South Coast amber ale are both available in six-packs of 12-ounce cans. Envie American pale ale is available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.

Because space is at a premium at the Broussard-based facility, production of the canned version of these three beers was outsourced to Brew Hub in Lakeland, Florida. The beers are brewed and canned with the same recipe and under the supervision of Parish employees before being shipped to Louisiana.

This arrangement will allow Parish to get these beers in the hands of more drinkers, while helping the brewery examine demand in new markets in advance of a brewery expansion. Draft and bottled versions of these three beers are still produced in Broussard.

Canebrake

Gnarly Barley Jucifer cans are back

Hammond’s Gnarly Barley Brewing released its Jucifer IPA as a flagship draft and canned beer in May. The beer proved to be so popular across markets that the brewery had to temporarily halt canning because demand was exceeding production ability. Draft still has been available at area restaurants and bars, but fans who wanted to drink it at home have had limited options.

But fear not, Jucifer cans have returned. The brewery recently installed several new fermenters, which afforded them production space to begin canning this juicy IPA once again. Cans officially hit the market this week.

Jucifer

Abita introduces Maison Blanc, Bad Mother Shucker

Abita Brewing has a couple new, limited-time releases that have hit shelves around the area, Maison Blanc and Bad Mother Shucker.

Maison Blanc is an offering exclusive to Louisiana that celebrates the 300th anniversary of New Orleans. This beer is brewed with a light grain bill, Hallertau Blanc hops and finished with sauvignon blanc grapes. The result is almost a hybrid between beer and white wine. The finish is dry, yet there’s a touch of sweetness from the grapes.

Bad Mother Shucker is the first release in the new Limited Series. Abita has transitioned the Select series from 22-ounce bomber bottles into this series of six-packs of 12-ounce bottles. This oyster stout brings big flavors of roasty chocolate, with a hint of briny sea salt on the finish, which comes from the Louisiana gulf oysters added late in the brewing process.

Bad Mother Shucker

NOLA Brewing retires Mecha, introduces Hoppyright Infringement

NOLA Brewing has retired Mecha, a double IPA formerly known as MechaHopzilla. First introduced in 2012, NOLA was forced to change the name from MechaHopzilla to Mecha thanks to the producers of the “Godzilla” movies.

As IPA tastes have evolved over the years, the brewery realized they needed to introduce a new double IPA that aligns with what hoppy beer fans are looking for today. In late 2017, the brewery introduced Hoppyright Infringement, named as an obvious ode to the saga that took place around Mecha.

Hoppyright Infringement is a hazy, juicy, New England-style double IPA weighing in at 7.6 percent alcohol by volume. Find it in four-packs of 12-ounce cans at area retailers.

Hoppyright Infringement

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Dogfish Head expanding to Louisiana in January 2018

22 Dec

One of the most influential craft breweries in the nation is finally bringing their beer to Louisiana. Starting on January 8th, Dogfish Head will officially be available in the Bayou State.

Known for their off the wall beers, Dogfish Head will bring the full gamut of flagships as well as seasonals to Louisiana. Look for their 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA, as well as SeaQuench Ale (a delicious lime gose) right off the bat. Check out the full list of Dogfish Head beers here. Not all will be available initially, but we should see most of them at some point in 2018.

Crescent Crown Distributing will handle Dogfish Head for the state of Louisiana. Keep your eyes peeled for events around the state starting January 8th, when the beer will be available on draft and in packages.

DFH

Rally Cap Brewing coming to Baton Rouge

28 Nov

Whoa, has it really been since March that I posted here? Whoops. I’ve been busy writing beer columns for The Advocate newspaper, that I let this blog slip. Sorry about that. Hopefully I’ll get more content up soon.

But good news for beer fans here in Baton Rouge, as a new brewery has announced its intentions to open in 2018. Check out their press release below:

Rally Cap Brewing Company to Begin Operations in Baton Rouge
New Facility to House Production Brewery and Taproom
BATON ROUGE, LA – November 28, 2017 – Rally Cap Brewing Company is proud to announce that it has secured a lease and will begin renovation of a property which will house its production brewery and taproom. The 9,400 sq. ft. facility is located in the Industriplex Area of Baton Rouge at 11212 Pennywood Ave.
Construction on the sports-themed brewery will begin this winter, with an opening planned for summer of 2018. The brewery will feature a 15 barrel brewing system designed to accommodate future growth, which is expected to include wholesale distribution. A 2,000 sq. ft. taproom, as well a sizeable outdoor patio area, will remain true to its original industrial design, but will also include a number of large screen UHD TVs designed to allow to guests to root for their favorite team while they enjoy a handcrafted beer.
Rally Cap Brewing was founded by Kevin Whalen, former Vice President of Casino Operations at L’Auberge Casino Hotel Baton Rouge. A long-time homebrewer, Whalen is anxious to contribute to the growing craft beer culture in the Baton Rouge Area, noting “our beer is ‘hand crafted for the home team’ and our home team is the Baton Rouge community”.
The tap room will feature a wide range of continually rotating beers, however Whalen considers Rally Cap to be a hop-centric brewery. “We love our hoppy beers, from the traditional West Coast IPA to the hazy juice bombs that have become incredibly popular. That being said, we plan to brew a wide variety of styles and expect all of our guests to be able to find a brew that fits their taste.” Whalen noted.
Rally Cap plans to document its journey from a brewery in planning to a fully operational brewery. Prior to the publication of its main website, the brewery will share regular updates on its blog – http://rallycapbrewingblog.com. Progress can also be followed on Rally Cap’s various social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, all using the handle @Rallycapbrewing.
Contact: Kevin Whalen, kevin@rallycapbrewing.com
###
About Rally Cap Brewing Company:
Rally Cap Brewing Company is a brewery in planning in Baton Rouge. Upon its opening, Rally Cap will serve a wide variety of hand crafted beers for enjoyment on draft in the taproom or in crowlers and cans to take home.
Follow us on Facebook at https://facebook.com/RallyCapBrewing
Like us on Twitter and Instagram at @Rallycapbrewing

Rally Cap Brewing

2017 Founders KBS

31 Mar

April 1st is tomorrow, and you know what that means. No, not April Fools Day, it’s Founders KBS release day! Yes, this barrel aged coffee and chocolate stout is making its annual return on April 1st.

I was fortunate enough to be sent a sample of this year’s release by Founders, and it arrived just in time to give it a quick review before release day. So, here we go.

2017 KBS weighs in at 11.8% ABV, which is right in line with previous years releases. The aroma is of coffee and chocolate. Lots of chocolate and coffee. Oh, grant you, there’s some vanilla and oak notes from the barrel aging, but the bourbon isn’t overpowering. The flavor is, well, you guessed it, chocolate and coffee and barrel. KBS strikes the perfect balance between all three. Neither one outshines the other, and that’s what makes KBS so damn enjoyable. The coffee is there. The chocolate is there. The bourbon barrel notes are there. But it drinks not like a 12% imperial stout. It is so balanced and nuanced, that the beer disappears much more easily than anticipated.

So, go get some KBS on Saturday. If you’re so inclined, Calandro’s Supermarket on Perkins is hosting a release event beginning at 7 AM Saturday. And they’ll have donuts. Yes, barrel aged stout plus donuts at 7 AM equals winning. You’ll also have the opportunity to win two tickets the the Zapp’s International Beer Festival later that day, where you can taste my kickass homebrews. Well, two of them. A raspberry Berliner Wiesse called #ShoulderKisses, and an American IPA named Rock Out With Your Hops Out. But either way, you can get KBS. So you should go.

And if not there, look for it at other fine specialty grocers and bottle shops starting Saturday.

KBS

Founders 2017 KBS

Avery Brewing to launch in Louisiana

23 Mar

Boulder Colorado’s Avery Brewing will begin distributing their beer to Louisiana this spring. Avery has signed on with Mockler Beverage in the Baton Rouge market, Southern Eagle in the New Orleans market and Champagne Beverage in the Northshore market. Avery beers will debut at Zapp’s International Beer Festival on Saturday, April 1st at the LSU Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge. Representatives from Avery will be in town the following week for launch events all over Baton Rouge. Other markets around the state will follow shortly afterward.

Avery tap pour

Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing.

Expect to see the following beers to begin:

  • White Rascal – a Belgian style white ale brewed with coriander and orange peel
  • El Gose – a German style Gose brewed with lime and sea salt
  • Liliko’i Kepolo – a Belgian style white ale brewed with passionfruit
  • Raspberry Sour – a barrel aged sour ale with red raspberries added
  • Vanilla Bean Stout – a 10.8% barrel aged stout with vanilla beans added
  • Maharaja Double IPA – a limited quantity of this double IPA will make its way here to begin.

There will also be some other barrel aged offerings as they become available.

el-gose

Avery El Gose. Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing.

White Rascal will be available in 12 ounce bottles, El Gose and Liliko’i Kepolo will be canned offerings, while Raspberry Sour and Vanilla Bean Stout will be sold in 22 ounce bombers.

 

Avery Liliko'i Kepolo

Avery Liliko’i Kepolo. Photo courtesy of Avery Brewing.

My thoughts on Bayou Teche’s new offerings

23 Jan

A few weeks ago, I told you about the changes to Bayou Teche’s flagship beers, as well as a new flagship IPA being introduced. Late last week, I was given a sample of each of the beers by Bayou Teche, so it’s time for me to give my thoughts on them.

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New Bayou Teche packaging

We’ll start with the LA 31 Biere Pale, which was tweaked a good bit from it’s previous iteration. This beer poured a light bronze color with a bubbly, though small head. It’s not crystal clear, yet not super hazy, either. What stuck out to me the most was the fruitiness and berry notes to both the aroma and flavor. That’s what I got from it. There was a clean bitterness and it was easy to drink. It’s enjoyable and quite an improvement over the previous recipe. It won’t be a hophead’s dream, but that’s not what it’s designed to be. I’d imagine this would pair really well with soft cheeses, as well as spicy foods.

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Bayou Teche LA 31 Biere Pale

Next was the Acadie, a Biere de Garde style French farmhouse ale. This one poured darker than the Biere Pale, definitely a copper or amber color. There was a soft hop aroma to it, and the best descriptor I have for this beer is clean. It’s an easy to drink beer for someone looking for something more than a light lager or blonde ale, but who doesn’t want a huge blast of hops or big malt bomb. I think it would appeal to the Fat Tire drinker, and it should pair well with a number of south Louisiana cuisines. Truthfully, it was my least favorite of the four, but I think that’s more due to the fact that I’ve become so accustomed to big flavor profiles in the beers I gravitate toward. But this is certainly a well brewed beer that won’t blast your palate.

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Bayou Teche Acadie

 

The Noire was dramatically changed from what it was, and this one was really solid. It poured a dark black and immediately I got notes of dark chocolate on the nose. The taste followed suit and the beer was roasty with a dry finish. This one is almost like a session stout, because it has a light mouthfeel and won’t fill you up or get chewy on you. The farmhouse notes come through more on the finish. I really enjoyed this one, and would say it was my second favorite of the bunch.

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Bayou Teche Noire

Finally, we get to the Swamp Thing IPA. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of hoppy IPAs. So naturally, I was most curious to try this one out. It’s has a simple grain bill of primarily pilsner malt and features Mosaic and Citra hops. I have a love/hate relationship with Mosaic hops, as sometimes I get big tropical fruits and berry flavors from them, yet other times I get a strong onion presence. I’m happy to say that this one fell on the tropical fruit side, balanced by the grapefruit forward notes of the Citra. The aroma seemed a bit muted upon first pour, but as it warmed up, became more prevalent. The clean malt bill really allowed the hops to shine on the palate and there was a nice fruitiness to the flavor from first sip through the finish. There was enough hop bite on the finish to let you know you are drinking an IPA, yet it wasn’t ever bitter. This was certainly my favorite of the four beers, and one that I’ll happily drink on a regular basis.

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Bayou Teche Swamp Thing IPA

All in all, I think the three reimagined beers from Bayou Teche as well as the new IPA have them headed in the right direction. Truthfully, I was always curious to try their beers, but rarely did any have me seeking out more. I’ll definitely grab some more Swamp Thing IPA to keep in the rotation, and the Noire is a really solid option for a dark beer when I want something along those lines. Although Acadie may not be my cup of tea, that doesn’t mean it’s not something you will love.

I’m happy to see that Bayou Teche is making changes to their beers that will have me (and hopefully many others) buying more of in the near future. Thanks for the samples Karlos, and thanks to Sami for delivering them.

Urban South Brewery expanding to Baton Rouge

14 Jan

urban-south

Are you ready, Baton Rouge? New Orleans’ Urban South Brewery is expanding into the Baton Rouge market right after Mardi Gras. The brewery officially signed with Mockler Beverage this week, and will make their debut in the capital city in mid-March.

March marks the brewery’s first anniversary, and they at last have enough tank space to expand outside of the New Orleans area. They will start with draft and cans of Holy Roller IPA (see my review from last year), Charming Wit and Delta Momma Citra Lager, which will be their seasonal offering at that time. They’ll also send up some specialty kegs, like Grapefruit Holy Roller IPA and the Modillion Double Dry Hopped IPA, which is the first release in their Architecture Series. You can go check out that release at the brewery on January 28th, if you so desire.

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Urban South Holy Roller IPA

I’m certainly looking forward to having cans of Urban South’s beer available up here soon, and so should you! Check out some of the can designs below.

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Bayou Teche: changes are afoot

4 Jan

Bayou Teche Brewing has been brewing their unique beers in south Louisiana for the past seven years or so. During that time, a lot has changed about the beer culture around these parts. The team at Bayou Teche has recognized that, and is implementing quite a few changes over the last several months to bring some new beers to market, as well as to update some of their current flagship offerings.

As I mentioned last month, a brand new IPA (Swamp Thing) will make its debut in the next several weeks. I also teased that Bayou Teche would do some rebranding to some of their flagships. Well, here are some of the details.

According to Bayou Teche co-owner, Karlos Knott, “we have spent considerable effort the last few months here at our farmhouse brewery, adding new equipment, employees, and brewing a bunch of test batches. We have installed new water filtration equipment, increased the size and scope of our lab, and hired a new brewer.” That new brewer, CJ McFaul has a lot of experience in the industry, and recently brewed a big barleywine that will age for nearly a year in rye whiskey barrels, and be released as the 2017 vintage of Biere Noel. He also brewed a test batch of Biere Joi, the Mello Joy coffee infused dubbel, which will be released in February.

Acadie is the brewery’s Biere de Garde, a French farmhouse ale, and very few American breweries offer one. Acadie has been reworked a bit, and according to Karlos, “is still a copper colored ale with a light to medium body with an earthy, spicy, tangerine-like aroma, a soft, sweet malt flavor and a nice hop bitterness. Crafted from European malts, Louisiana raw sugar, Saphir hops from Germany and our fancy as hell house Biere de Garde yeast. Acadie offers a complex flavor that tapers off to a peppery, dry finish.” He also says they’re really enjoying it at the brewery, as samples from the fermenters have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Acadie also pairs really well with pretty much any south Louisiana cuisine. Check out the new packaging for Acadie below.

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Bayou Teche Acadie

Bayou Teche’s first beer was the LA-31 Biere Pale, which has been its flagship beer since 2009. Although it’s labeled as a pale ale, most people don’t realize that it’s a Belgian style pale ale, which is very different from American style pale ales. That said, the brewery has reworked this beer the most from its original version. They started with changes to the water chemistry, and tweaked the grain bill a bit. They cut out some of the caramel Vienna malt and added some Biscuit malt. The hops have been updated to include a blend of Mosaic, Cascade and Chinook, with the majority of the hops added in the whirlpool (after the boil) and during dry hopping. Karlos says that this pale ale will be an “unfiltered, bronze-colored pour, with a biscuit malt center, featuring piney, citrusy and spicy hop flavors and gentle bitterness.” He believes the changes to Biere Pale “will be the most perceptible to our fans.” The new packaging on this beer is pretty cool as well.

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Bayou Teche Biere Pale

Finally, the Biere Noire will feature the most changes. Karlos said, “When we first started brewing that one as homebrewers, it was pretty much a black French Saison. Once we opened the brewery and brought bottles to our distributors, they freaked. But fast forward six years, and we figure the Louisianan craft market is ready for our original intent for this beer.” The updated version of Biere Noire will feature “specially roasted malt with chocolate notes, European barley and wheat, and select noble hops. The malts lend a nice and dry French roasted coffee flavor to this now unfiltered ale. It is now fermented with our house saison yeast, albeit a pretty cool temperature to keep the esters down just a bit. It is still an easy drinking, low ABV black ale, just now a tad more complex and in my opinion, food friendly beer. I think everyone’s going to really dig this one.” Again, the new packaging on Biere Noire is pretty sweet.

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Bayou Teche Biere Noire

All of the new beers should head to distributors beginning the third week of January. The brewery will be working with retailers to host events in each market as the new beers hit shelves and taps around the state. And of course, you can go straight to the source at the brewery taproom in Arnaudville to try them around the same time.

Lots of new things in store from NOLA Brewing in 2017

3 Jan

Happy 2017, y’all! Hot off the presses is this release from NOLA Brewing. Looks like this year is set to be an exciting one from the New Orleans brewery. Check out all the good stuff coming below:

NOLA Brewing is Looking Forward to a New Year With New Beer
The Eight Year Old Brewery is Pushing Out an Unprecedented Amount of New Brews in 2017

New Orleans, LA (January 3, 2017) – NOLA Brewing Co. is proud of the accomplishments of 2016, but its members are very excited about what is in the works for 2017. With new products, expansions, collaborations, awards and new beer in the works, NOLA Brewing Co. is primed for their biggest year yet.

In 2016, NOLA Brewing expanded to Nashville, Tennessee, growing their territory to five states. They made new friendships with four collaboration brews with Left Hand Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewery, Fairhope Brewing, andSouthern Prohibition Brewing. In addition to the collaboration brews, they also premiered four new beers including “Arabella”, “Dry-Hopped Lowerline”, “Tart of Steel”, and “Hog Tied,” as well as launched two new products, the JAM BOX and Crowlers in the NOLA Brewing Tap Room. To round out the year, they were able to pull a win at the World Beer Cup with Sauvage and won Best Brewery and Best Tap Room in Louisiana in the Rate Beer Awards.

“We had a great 2016, but this new year is going to be phenomenal for the NOLA krewe” says Kirk Coco, CEO of NOLA Brewing. He continues, “We will have new equipment which will help bring more beer than ever into the market as well as seven collaborations, new Funk Series brews, more festival sponsorships, more territory expansions and most importantly, new brews! NOLA Brewing’s eighth year is going to be a big one with a lot of positive changes that we are excited to take on.”

NOLA Brewing is working on new “Funk Series” barrels that will launch in 2017. These new wild yeast beers will include the 8th Anniversary Ale, “The Ocho,” as well as two new Funk Series market launches, “Dryades” and “Desire.” Along with the two new funks, “The Petit Lot” will be launched in the Tap Room as small batch 500 ml bottles of specialty Funk Series brews, including a popular sour from the past, “Out Tequil-Ya.”

One of the biggest changes for NOLA’s clean beers is the purchase of an in-house can labeler. “This labeler will allow all of our seasonal and Lagniappe beers to be available in the market in cans, which is a first in NOLA’s history,” says Coco. Tentatively, NOLA hopes to be canning their first seasonals in March and will launch twoLagniappes, “ISPA” (a sweet potato based IPA) and the ever popular “Girl Stout” later in the year.

New beers that will be launched (in draft and cans) will be a brand new IPA. “Hopitoulas” fans need not to worry; NOLA’s second best selling beer will still be available. The new yet-to-be-named IPA will be a juicy New England style IPA for those who are looking for a more grown up version of the popular style.

NOLA’s favorite lizard branded brew is transitioning yet again this year with an upgrade as well. “Mecha,” also formerly known as “Mecha Hopzilla,” will be retired and a new Douple IPA, “Hoppyright Infringement,” will be taking over. “We have had a great run with our original Double IPA, but it’s time to continue its ever-changing nature with a fun, new version that we are confident our fans will love,” says Coco.

Continuing on with new beers are seven collaboration beers that will launch in 2017. “With the many friends we have made over the years, we couldn’t turn down these special opportunities to work together to create something unique with some of the best breweries in the world,” says Coco. “We are going to be very busy, but there is no denying we will be learning and having a lot of fun!” Breweries NOLA Brewing has committed to collaborating with for new brews will include J. Wakefield Brewing, The Bruery, Modern Times Beer, High Wire Brewing, Gallway Bay Brewery (located in Ireland) and 7venth Sun Brewery.

While focusing on brewing these many new beers, NOLA is also looking west for the first time. Within the first few months of 2017, NOLA Brewing is hoping to launch in Houston, Texas. “While our goal is never to become a national brand, we want NOLA Brewing to be available in areas of the country where people already have a personal connection with New Orleans,” says Coco. “We have been receiving requests to move into Texas for years now and we believe it is finally time for us go.”

With more products, wild beers, clean beers, collaborations, and expansions that ever before, NOLA Brewing is ready to move forward and celebrate eight years in New Orleans with unprecedented growth.

NOLA-Brewing

Homebrew Recipe: Pecan Strong Ale

28 Dec

Last month I shared my homebrewed coffee vanilla porter recipe and mentioned sharing more recipes. Well, here’s another that I brewed for the holiday season. I dubbed this one the 2016 Christmas Ale, but it’s not really a spiced beer in the spirit of many Christmas ales.

This one actually has a history. In fact, I brewed a variation of this beer over four years ago as the first batch of beer that I kegged. Then for the 2015 Iron Brewer competition, our team was assigned pecans as an ingredient, and we brewed a version of this beer that won the people’s choice favorite. So, it’s definitely a beer that I have some experience with, and is a nice winter beer that incorporates the flavor of pecan pralines.

Here’s the recipe for the base beer:

  • 12 pounds Maris Otter
  • 1 pound Crystal 60L
  • 1 pound Flaked wheat
  • 8 ounces Crystal 120L
  • 6 ounces Chocolate malt
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar at 10 minutes
  • 2 ounces Willamette hops at 60 minutes
  • 1 ounce Willamette hops at 5 minutes
  • Scottish Ale yeast (Wyeast 1728)

I also added a pound of roasted pecans to the mash, and soaked another pound of roasted pecans in some bourbon for a couple weeks. Those pecans were added to the fermenter after primary fermentation had concluded and stayed there for about a week before packaging the beer.

I mashed at 154° to give this beer some body, as I didn’t want it to finish very dry. This beer started out at 1.081 OG and ended up being 8.2% ABV. I also added about an ounce of vanilla puree at kegging to give it that praline feel. It’s not hoppy at all, with just enough bitterness to keep the beer from being sweet. The color is dark brown with ruby notes, and although there’s not much head to it, I’m not at all phased by it. I probably could have soaked up more of the oils from the roasted pecans, but it drinks nicely regardless. I’m very happy with the way it turned out and enjoyed sharing some bombers that I bottled and gave away as Christmas presents.

christmas-ale

 

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