The following article that I penned appeared in the March 20th edition of DIG Magazine.
Two years ago, Tin Roof Brewing Company became Baton Rouge’s first commercial brewery. In that short period of time, they have released a variety of beers, including mainstays such as Perfect Tin Amber Ale, Voodoo Bengal Pale Ale, and Tin Roof Blonde Ale. All three of these beers are available on tap, as well as in cans, all over South Louisiana.
Last summer, Tin Roof introduced their first seasonal brew, Watermelon Wheat, which proved to be such a success that there are plans to can this year’s release in addition to its normal draft availability. On the heels of that success, Parade Ground Coffee Porter was released last fall, just in time for cool autumn nights.
But in the world of craft beer, IPA is king. IPAs, or India Pale Ales, seem to be what breweries are judged by these days, from the hop-forward bitterness of West Coast-style to the more balanced and malty East Coast varieties.
Hopheads are constantly in search of their next fix of Humulus lupulus, better known as hops. Unfortunately, Tin Roof hasn’t had an IPA among the five brews it has released to date.
However, that all changes this week when Tin Roof’s Juke Joint IPA hits bars and restaurants in South Louisiana. Owners Charles Caldwell and William McGehee both wanted to create an approachable IPA that could be enjoyed not only by hopheads and IPA lovers, but by beer drinkers who may never have tried an IPA previously or were turned off by overly bitter versions. Brewmaster Tom Daigrepont was able to create exactly what they wanted: a well-balanced and drinkable IPA.
Tin Roof uses five different malts and five different hop varieties to create Juke Joint IPA. The malt backbone consists of mostly two-row pale malt, a staple for most IPAs, but also contains Pilsen, Caramel 60, Munich, and Carapils, each of which provides a different characteristic, such as sweetness, color, enhanced body, and mouth feel. Warrior hops are used to create a clean bitterness that doesn’t stick to the palate. The other four hops used for flavor and aroma are Cascade, Centennial, Columbus (commonly referred to as the Three Cs) and Simcoe. The Cascade and Centennial hops each provide a distinctly citrusy, floral taste and aroma. The Columbus brings an herbal quality, and the Simcoe adds dose of pine.
Juke Joint pours a copper color with a finger of off-white head and some nice lacing along the sides of the glass. The aroma is exactly what they were going for: a lot of citrus that brings thoughts of grapefruit, some flowery notes, and a touch of pine. This is what an IPA should smell like. Upon first taste, you’re hit with a blast of hop flavor and bitterness, but that quickly fades into the malty sweetness of the finish. Again, grapefruit and pine are the main flavors, with the solid malt backbone providing a nice contrast to the initial bitterness.
Juke Joint IPA weighs in at 7 percent ABV and 60 IBUs, or International Bittering Units, which measure the bitterness of a beer. American IPAs generally fall into a range between 40 and 120 IBUs, depending on the style, and Juke Joint IPA is at an ideal spot. Juke Joint is also easy to drink despite the 7 percent ABV, due mainly to its smooth and malty finish.
Drinkers at the third edition of The Truck, the Brewer, and the Blogger pop-up dinner, hosted by the Tin Roof Brewery, were the first to get a taste of Juke Joint IPA. Chef Jay Ducote of BiteAndBooze.com and Chef Aaron Brown of the Taco de Paco food truck served up a trio of Asian-style wings that paired wonderfully with Juke Joint IPA. The Korean fried chicken wings with sweet and spicy chili sauce, the ginger sesame duck wings with pepper jelly, and the Tandoori-style hot wings with curry lentil sauce all went well with the citrusy hop aroma and flavor of Juke Joint IPA. The people who previously thought IPA was a four-letter word came away impressed with Juke Joint because it is not overly bitter and is such a drinkable example of the style. The hopheads in attendance were equally impressed, and couldn’t get enough of that wonderful hop aroma and flavor.
Tin Roof will debut Juke Joint IPA to the public at a release party at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20 at The Bulldog in Baton Rouge. Juke Joint IPA will also be available on draft in bars and restaurants all over South Louisiana. If your local watering hole doesn’t have it, ask for it by name.
A big trend these days is to shop local, buy local, and eat local. I’d like to add “drink local” to that. The same people that bring you these tasty beers may also be your neighbors. They are creating jobs and pumping money into our local economy, and the only way they’ll continue to bring creative beers like Juke Joint IPA to South Louisiana is with your support.