What follows is the August 14th edition of my weekly column written for DIG Magazine.
Many recognize SweetWater beers from visits to the beaches of Alabama and Florida, or trips to Atlanta to see LSU post-season football games. And no doubt many have smuggled back cases of SweetWater beer from those trips. Beginning next week, there won’t have to be any Smokey and the Bandit-type trips to enjoy those beers right here in Louisiana.
SweetWater was founded in 1997, when Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney opened their brewery on the west side of Atlanta. Since then, they have slowly and steadily grown SweetWater into a major craft beer player in the Southeast. They completed an expansion of the brewery earlier this year, which allowed them to expand their distribution into three new states, one of which is Louisiana.
“We’ve received a letters requesting us to bring our brews to the Big Easy, and we’re finally ready to find our way further West…it’s finding our way back that may be the tough part,” said Dave Guender, vice president of sales with SweetWater Brewing Company. “We hear the redfish are biting and the hot weather has folks thirsty, so now is as good a time as ever to bring our brews for the fine folks of Louisiana.”
SweetWater will initially bring a handful of their flagship beers into the state, including 420 Extra Pale Ale, SweetWater Blue and SweetWater IPA. All three will be available in six packs, and you will be able to find the 420 Extra Pale Ale on draft at area restaurants and bars.
420 Extra Pale Ale is a hoppy, yet balanced West Coast style pale ale with a crisp finish. Centennial and Cascade hops provide a citrus note that is balanced by the Munich, crystal and pale malts. At 5.4-percent ABV, it’s easy to enjoy a few 420s while tailgating this fall.
SweetWater Blue is a light-bodied wheat ale with a hint of fresh blueberries. The aroma is uniquely blueberry, yet not overpowering like others of the style. This easy drinking ale is sure to quench your thirst on a hot day, and at 4.9-percent ABV, SweetWater Blue is quite sessionable.
SweetWater IPA uses five different hop varieties to achieve a big, hop-forward aroma and flavor, while maintaining a low ABV for the style. This West Coast style IPA is intensely dry hopped, and the unmistakable pine and grapefruit characteristics of Simcoe hops shine through. Despite the big hops up front, SweetWater IPA has an easy finish, and instantly becomes one of the best widely available IPAs in the state.
Look for SweetWater’s trademark trout tap handles and bottle labels beginning Monday, August 19th in the Baton Rouge area. And as SweetWater is fond of saying, “Don’t Float the Mainstream!”