Archive | January, 2013

Tin Roof Brewing News

31 Jan


Today I was able to catch up with Tin Roof Brewing co-owner Charles Caldwell on what’s going on with them in the new year. It seems like there are a lot of exciting things in store for Tin Roof in 2013, and here are some highlights.

First off, on Friday February 22nd, Tin Roof is partnering with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to host an Iron Brewer tasting event by the members of Baton Rouge’s premier homebrewing club, Brasseurs a la Maison. What is Iron Brewer? Brasseurs a la Maison members were split into teams of 3 or 4, and each randomly assigned an ingredient that is grown or produced in Louisiana, which had to be featured in a beer they brewed. Twelve teams will unveil their beers on that Friday at an event at the brewery, where a guest panel of judges and you, the beer drinkers of south Louisiana, will crown the Iron Brewer of 2013. Everyone who brings a can good to donate to the Food Bank will receive a ballot, and you’ll be able to vote for your favorite beer. I was a member of one of the teams, along with fellow beer blogger Eric Ducote of BR Beer Scene, and our sweet potato saison is coming along nicely. More details to come on this unique event as we get closer to the date.

In other news, Parade Ground Coffee Porter has been a hit, and the last of it is hitting local bars and restaurants now. What does that mean? It’s time for a new seasonal. And if you’re reading this, you’re amongst the first to know that Tin Roof’s next seasonal brew will be Juke Joint IPA. According to Charles, it’s a very aromatic, hop-forward IPA, which uses Warrior and Chinook hops for bittering and Simcoe, Centennial and Cascade hops for flavoring and dry hopping. It will weigh in at 7% ABV and around 75 IBU’s. Look for Juke Joint IPA to hit the local market in draft form around March 1st. In talking to Charles, he compared Juke Joint IPA to Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, an IPA that is full of hop aroma and flavor. I’m really looking forward to trying this one out, as IPA’s are my favorite style, and Simcoe may be my favorite hop.

In other news, Watermelon Wheat will return as the summer seasonal, and this time there should be cans available in addition to draft. This should be a June release.

Parade Ground Coffee Porter will again return next fall, and the hope is to have it out in cans then as well. They are currently aging some of last year’s coffee porter on bourbon oak cubes, and the thought is to release this limited brew next fall when the 2013 Parade Ground Coffee Porter is released.

There are also thoughts of bottling their double black IPA, Rougarou, in 22 ounce format in late 2013, but that will be dependent on how much room they have to brew and ferment it.

It sounds like it will be an exciting 2013 for Tin Roof, and I look forward to seeing how this all plays out over the year.



Jester King Funk Metal

31 Jan

Last week I had the opportunity to try one of the newest offerings from Jester King, a two year old craft brewery in Austin, Texas. They are known for their farmhouse style ales and they use lots of funky yeasts and often age their beers in oak barrels.

Funk Metal is a sour, barrel aged stout which utilizes wild yeast, brettanomyces, and some funky lacto and pedio bacteria to give it some extra sour kick.  And sour it was. The initial aroma had a lot of funkiness to it, and the taste lived up to that. Yet, the back end had that classic stout roastiness with a smooth finish. There was so much going on in this one, yet it all worked in harmony.

I hope to get my hands on another one of these soon. They are very limited, and Texas is really the only place to find one. So if you venture over that way, keep a look out for Funk Metal or any of Jester King’s other offerings.

Funk Metal

Abita Spring IPA

30 Jan

As alluded to by The Beer Buddha back in early January, Abita Brewing will be replacing their seasonal Red Ale with a Spring IPA this March. According to Abita, it is made with both Amarillo and Centennial hops, will have an IBU of 65 and weigh in at 6.25%. They’re billing it as a West Coast IPA with an intense up-front aroma and flavor.

I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. Abita’s flagship IPA, Jockamo, is quite honestly, one of my least favorite beers. I’m hopeful that this one will be better than Jockamo, but I won’t have sky high expectations.

Look for Abita Spring IPA this March.


Saint Arnold Brewing tidbits

29 Jan

Saint Arnold Brewing announced today that their 2012 production increased by 22% over 2011 production. They eclipsed 49,000 barrels of beer produced, which was up by nearly 9,000 barrels over 2011. In addition, they announced that Louisiana was their fastest growing market, posting an increase of 62% in 2012 over 2011.

When Saint Arnold was first released to Louisiana a bit over two years ago, I wasn’t initially impressed. The beers that were initially available here were Fancy Lawnmower and Christmas Ale. That expanded to the seasonals such as Spring Bock, Summer Pils and Oktoberfest. None of those really wowed me. But then I tried Pumpkinator in the fall of 2011, and was blown away. Endeavour, their double IPA followed in the spring of 2012 and they’ve upped their game with more special releases since then. Divine Reserve 12 came in late summer, and I still have a bottle aging. Bishops Barrel #1 was an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, and I was lucky enough to get some to age for later consumption, despite the fact that it was only sold in restaurants and bars.

2013 appears to be another banner year. ICON Red was just introduced, and it’s an easy drinking Belgian-style pale ale. ICON Blue will follow in March, and that one will be a Cascadian Dark Ale (black IPA). Also due in March is Divine Reserve #13, a Belgian Quad. And before that, Bishop’s Barrel #2 will be released. This one will be an old ale aged in Chardonnay barrels with cherries. That should be a nice sour/tart brew.

It’s great to see Saint Arnold growing as well as doing some different things. My hope is that it will inspire other breweries to up their game since they see the success Saint Arnold has had. Release day for Pumpkinator and Grand Reserve has become huge in Texas, so much so that some friends in Texas have asked me to get some for them here in Baton Rouge when it’s released. That used to be easy, but now it’s even difficult here. Pumpkinator flew off the shelves when it was released, and Divine Reserve #12 was nearly as tough to get.

Congrats to Saint Arnold and I’m excited to see what else they come up with in 2013 and beyond.


Parish Canebrake bottles coming to Baton Rouge

28 Jan

Per an update on their Facebook page, Parish Canebrake bottles will be shipping to the Baton Rouge distributor this week, and they’ll be on retail shelves next week.

This is just in time for crawfish season and I think Canebrake will be a perfect beer to wash down some spicy boiled crawfish. Check out your local grocers and liquor stores next week and stock up. I’d imagine it’ll sell fast here, just as it does in Lafayette.


Dirty Soles

27 Jan

Saturday marked the first race of the 2013 Forge Trail Series. The Dirty Soles races were held at Pelican Park/Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville. There were 3 options, a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon. This also marked the first time I haven’t run a race in the series since it began in 2010. However, I was in charge of the timing. It was, well, quite and experience.

Manual timing seemed pretty straightforward in my head. I had a list of the race numbers, and I would just write the times down as they came through, then enter into an Excel spreadsheet to record the results. Let’s just say it sounds much easier than it is. When a pack of 6 people finish within seconds of each other, identifying the numbers, times and finish order becomes quite a challenge. I ended up just writing down race numbers and times, then trying to enter them in the spreadsheet between finishers. Again, that sounds easier than it was.

I’m sure I made a few mistakes, but hopefully it wasn’t anything that upset anyone or will keep them from coming back. It was quite the learning experience. I’ve already started planning how to streamline my process and make it better for the next race.

On a better note, I served my homebrewed pale ale to the race finishers. The whole 5 gallon keg was floated an hour after the first 5K finisher was done. Fortunately there were a couple of brown ale homebrew kegs there as well from two other runners, but they didn’t last much longer either. I think everyone enjoyed the fact that there was homebrewed beer, crafted by some of the same people who were out there running, and in my case timing, the trail race. There were roughly 175 people, so the kegs didn’t stand a chance. But all the homebrew was gone, while the ice chests were still filled with cans and bottles of local craft beer when we loaded up after everyone had left. But what makes me proud is that there was nothing but homebrew and craft beer served and the runners loved it. There were no Bud, Miller or Coors products, and that makes me happy. Every beer served at this race was brewed within a 75 mile area of the event location. Supporting local races and local beers is important to me, and I’m glad to have been a part of it.


The next race is the Forge Headhunter on March 9th in Denham Springs where there will be another 5K, 10K and 21K. Going to brew the Headhunter IPA soon for those racers.

That will be followed by the Equinox 50K and 10 miler on the beautiful trails in Clear Springs, Mississippi on March 23rd. The beer is yet to be determined though, but it will be a spring seasonal type brew.

Cheers and happy trails.

If a marathon was easy…

23 Jan

On Sunday I took a break from racing to work the final aid station before the finish of the Louisiana Marathon and Half. OK, you got me. I haven’t been racing much at all anyway. But it was still a good experience to work the flagship road marathon of this state. Sorry Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, you suck and you well never get another penny from me. And if you’re reading this and considering running a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, DON’T DO IT!!!

OK, off my bandwagon.

Anyway, since we were both the first and last aid station, our crew had the late shift. So, I didn’t see the runners come through at the beginning, and I got there too late to see the half marathon leaders. But I got to see the majority of the half finishers, as well as every single marathoner. My kids helped pass out water and Powerade until they got bored and left. I took a few turns on the microphone to offer encouragement to the runners. And I drank beer. And I’m proud to say more than a few marathoners were delighted to have a drink of beer at mile 25.

It was great to see so many smiling  faces as they came through our aid station. Yes, some were hurting, but most were all smiles, and I’d like to think we had  a hand in that. One thing I’ve taken from running the trails so much, is that you should just have fun out there. After all, why do we run if we aren’t having fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and have a good time. Because at the end of the day, nobody cares how fast you ran, if you set a PR, or if you just ran with someone to help them finish their first marathon. Watching people come through and high five the volunteers while taking a sip of beer was way more enjoyable to me than somebody who can’t take the time to smile or acknowlege the workers because they’re too concerned with beating a certain time or setting a PR.

The Louisiana Marathon was a first class event all the way around from the expo to the finish festival. Many other “big” races could learn a lot by paying attention to what the Louisiana Marathon does for their runners to make it an enjoyable all around experience. Great food and local craft beer at the finish are just a couple of reasons to toe the starting line.

But watching so many people have fun made it an enjoyable day for me.

To steal the catch phrase from Happy’s Running Club: Run, Drink, Be Happy. Words to live by.

If a marathon was easy...

Old Rasputin XV

17 Jan

South Louisiana recently got a shipment of a beer that was thought to be unattainable in these parts. Many of you know about North Coast Old Rasputin, which is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts widely available. North Coast Brewery, the makers of Old Rasputin, also barrel age some of this stout, and release it every year as a special anniversary brew. This year marks 15 years, thus the moniker Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XV.

Calandro’s in Baton Rouge managed to get their hands on six cases of this beer just yesterday. I picked up a couple bottles, and tried some of it this evening. The bottle is 500ml, which is 16.9 ounces, and it is corked and caged. The cork came off with a pop. I poured it into a large snifter glass and immediately got a dark brown to black beer that had an ever so small bit of ruby tint to it, with a nice two-finger tan head. The smell is of roasted cocoa, coffee and vanilla, with a touch of bourbon. The taste is much of the same. Unlike many bourbon barrel aged beers, this one isn’t overly boozy tasting. It doesn’t seem as rich or as thick as the original Old Rasputin, but it is very enjoyable. The mouthfeel is thinner than you’d expect, making this one a very drinkable imperial stout despite the 11.9% ABV.

For the Baton Rouge folks, I highly recommend grabbing a bottle of this hard to find special edition stout. This was one that we didn’t expect to see around here, and we’re extremely fortunate to get allocated so much of it. Get to Calandro’s on Siegen and get a bottle for now, and one to cellar. For the New Orleans peeps, Steins got some of this, so go check them out and grab a bottle or two.

Old Rasputin XV

Breckenridge Brewing to Louisiana

16 Jan

I got word from a source today that Breckenridge Brewing will soon begin distributing to Louisiana. This is a nice addition, as they make some pretty good brews. I know I’m a fan of their Vanilla Porter, which is a great beer. They also make an Agave Wheat, which is interesting, and Lucky U IPA, as well as several other year round and seasonal brews. I know I’ll be grabbing some of the Vanilla Porter when it becomes available.

No word on an actual date we’ll begin seeing Breckenridge on shelves, but I’ll be sure to update you when I do find out.

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Sasquatch Nuts

15 Jan


Sasquatch Nuts was the first 5 gallon batch of beer that I brewed back in October. It’s also my favorite. Most people start brewing their own beer with a simple recipe. You know, something easy and relatively light. Not me. I went full out balls to the wall. A peanut butter chocolate stout.

It started with a big stout base, and after fermenting for about a week, I transferred it to secondary on top of a pound of powdered peanut butter and 4 ounces of cocoa powder. Three days later I added another 4 ounces of cocoa nibs. After another week, I bottled. 2 weeks later I tried it. It was just what I was expecting: peanut butter aroma with a nice blend of chocolate and peanut butter flavor. It’s a wonderful dessert beer.

Three months later, I feel the same way. It’s my favorite beer that I’ve made so far, with Pe-Khaaan!!!, my pecan winter warmer a close second. I opened my second to last bottle tonight. I gave so much of this away, that I wish I had more.

Well, never to fear. I’ll be brewing this again soon. And if you’re reading this and want to try it, you’re in luck. I’ve committed to serve Sasquatch Nuts at the Zapp’s International Beer Fest on Saturday April 6th. I’ll be serving it with the great folks of Brasseurs a la Maison, Baton Rouge’s premier homebrewing club.

So if you’re interested in trying this and many other great beers, mark your calendars for April 6th. Hope to see some of you there.

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