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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

 

12 Best New Louisiana Beers of 2016

22 Dec brightside-4

It seems like every food and beer blog has an annual “best of” post, and I’m here with another. In previous years, I’ve done a best Louisiana beers of the year, but I’m changing it up a tad this year. Instead of picking some of the same beers that are at or near the top of the list year after year, I’m naming a dozen of my favorite Louisiana beers that did not exist before 2016. Keep in mind that I wasn’t able to visit every brewery in the state or try some of the newer breweries that recently opened. There are a couple breweries that make fantastic stuff, but don’t or aren’t able to distribute beyond immediate area or even their own four walls (Courtyard, I’m looking at you…sorry I didn’t make it by this year).

So without further ado, I present my 12 favorite new Louisiana beers of 2016 (in no particular order).

Parish Opus Vert IPA – This single IPA was released as a brewery only beer back in May, and I immediately fell in love. It had a ton of Simcoe character, which is something that I love. There were a pair of subsequent batches distributed in July and October, and another is coming in early 2017.

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Parish Brewing Opus Vert IPA

Gnarly Barley Brightside IPA – this clean and juicy IPA brewed in Hammond made a big splash at the September brewery release, and it returned for an encore in late November. All the hops are added very late in the boil, whirlpool or at dry hopping. There’s literally no bitterness to be found here, just juicy goodness that makes this beer super crushable. Word on the street is that the next batch will be canned thanks the new canning line that’s coming in early 2017.

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Gnarly Barley Brewing Brightside IPA

Great Raft Come What Mayhaw – this delicious golden sour ale was aged for 9 months in Pinot Noir barrels, then moved into an oak foeder for another 3 months where it aged on Louisiana mayhaws. Sound delicious? Trust me, it was. It was very limited and super hard to find, at least down here in south Louisiana.

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Great Raft Brewing Come What Mayhaw

Old Rail Coalescence IPA – This IPA took elements from several other Old Rail IPAs and blended them into a beautiful hoppy masterpiece. It had everything you want in an IPA: pine, citrus and tropical fruit, but the biggest star of the show was the Nelson Sauvin hops, which lended their trademark white grape notes to this smooth and clean IPA.

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Old Rail Brewing Coalescence IPA

Parish Rêve Coffee Stout – What initially was an experiment from the Broussard brewery, turned into one of my absolute favorite beers of the year. Back in the spring, a 5 barrel batch of this was aged on beans from Rêve Coffee Roasters and it became an instant hit. It was brewed again in the summer, then released in bottles in November. It’s only available at the brewery as of now, but I suspect that may change going forward. This is a coffee lover’s dream.

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Parish Brewing Reve Coffee Stout

 

Tin Roof Gose With The Flow – Last summer, I got into goses. Like, really got into goses. They are just perfect on a hot summer day, whether it be by the pool or after cutting the grass. Baton Rouge’s Tin Roof Brewing did a really nice job with their version of a gose. It wasn’t too sour or too salty, and it drank really easy. Hopefully it returns in 2017 (and I’m requesting that it be canned).

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Tin Roof Brewing Gose With The Flow

Great Raft Heaven Hill Barrel Aged Old Mad Joy – The Shreveport brewery returns with another superb offering. Old Mad Joy is an imperial Baltic porter, and this version was aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. This was a big chocolaty porter, and the barrel notes were perfectly balanced lending oak and vanilla to compliment the base beer. A rum barrel version was released late in the year, but I wasn’t able to try any…yet.

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Great Raft Brewing Heaven Hill Barrel Aged Old Mad Joy Baltic Porter

Parish Galaxy Double Dry Hopped Envie – Parish Envie is probably my favorite easy to find shelf beer in the state. It’s super hoppy, yet crushable with little to no bitterness. Parish took Envie and double dry hopped it with Galaxy hops. This took it to another level. Galaxy is one of my favorite hops, and I could just smell this beer all day long. It was glorious.

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Parish Brewing Galaxy Double Dry Hopped Envie

Old Rail Barrel Aged Anniversary Barleywine – I was able to try one of the first kegs of this beer back in October. After it was brewed, it was aged in Old Forester barrels for 6 months, then cellared for another 6-plus months. There’s so much going on in this beer, and it’s all delicious. There are notes of caramel, toffee and raisin, but also balanced by a plethora of hops which are still evident despite the age. The barrel character really makes this beer fantastic, but you have to be careful because it’s a big one.

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Old Rail Brewing Barrel Aged Anniversary Barleywine

Urban South Citralicious IPA – Urban South opened in the spring of 2016 in New Orleans, so all of their beers were new this year. They had some good ones that I enjoyed, like the Holy Roller IPA and Rectify coffee porter. But the brewery-only Citralicious IPA is the one that has me wanting more. They added freshly harvested wet Citra hops to this IPA, and it was, well, Citralicious! Some of my favorite beers are fresh/wet hopped IPAs, and being in Louisiana, far, far away from the hop growing regions of the northwest USA, we don’t get many in general, and this was the first from a Louisiana brewery as far as I know. Hopefully this returns in 2017.

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Urban South Brewery Citralicious IPA

Great Raft You, Me & Everyone We Know Batch 002 – Great Raft returns again with another delicious sour. The brewery took their hoppy saison, All My Tomorrows, and aged it in Chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces. Then they let it sit on 600 pounds of Louisiana peaches. This version was fantastic. I’m a big fan of peach beers in general, and the fact that it was a funky saison, really made it unique.

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Great Raft Brewing You, Me & Everyone We Know Batch 002

Parish Bloom IPA – Another Parish beer? You betcha. This IPA was hazy, juicy and everything that I love about hoppy beers. It may best be remembered for sparking some changes in the other hoppy beers that Parish brews. The yeast strain used in Bloom enhanced the hops in this beer, and it’s likely that several of the other hoppy beers they brew will use this strain going forward.

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Parish Brewing Bloom IPA

Lagniappe Beer

If you’re counting, that was 12 beers. So let’s make it a baker’s dozen, shall we? I’m including one other non-Louisiana beer below. Why? Because it’s my blog, and I can. And this brewery is literally just across the Mississippi River from Louisiana and less than a two hour drive from my house. And they will be expanding in 2017, which will also include Louisiana distribution.

Natchez Brewing Southern Grace Dry Hopped Berliner Weisse – I was able to visit the brewery back in March, and this was my favorite beer. Southern Grace is a Berliner Weisse style beer that’s very light and tart. It’s dry hopped with Galaxy hops, which lends a passion fruit aroma to it. This one is really refreshing and a perfect summer beer. I’m excited to have their beers here next year.

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Natchez Brewing Southern Grace Dry Hopped Berliner Weisse

Cheers to a great year for beer in Louisiana in 2016. Here’s hoping for even more great ones in 2017!

Gnarly Barley expanding, adding cans and a director of sales

19 Dec

Hammond’s Gnarly Barley Brewing is undergoing some exciting changes. The brewery recently took delivery of a host of new fermentors, which will help them increase capacity a ton. Why is that, you may ask? Well, in early 2017 Gnarly Barley will begin canning their beers! Yes, that’s right, just in time for the Mardi Gras parade season you’ll be able to enjoy Catahoula Common, Radical RyePA and Korova milk porter straight for the can. Or if you’re like me, you can finally drink some of those beers at home on the regular.

January is sure to be a busy time for the brewery, as they’ll have to fill all those new tanks with enough beer to put in those cans in time for a release party at the brewery on February 4th. You can buy all of the flagships in the brand new cans, and there will be sweet new t-shirts and can shaped glasses for purchase as well.

If you haven’t tried Radical Rye in a while, now is a good time to revisit that beer. The grain bill has been altered and it’s a much lighter beer in color, which lets the hops shine.

Check out the can designs for the flagships below:

Gnarly Barley Catahoula Common can design

Gnarly Barley Catahoula Common can design

 

Gnarly Barley Radical Rye can design

Gnarly Barley Radical Rye can design

 

Gnarly Barley Korova milk porter can design

Gnarly Barley Korova milk porter can design

 

To go along with the expansion and can launch, Gnarly Barley is excited to announce the hiring of their very first director of sales. Donn Lacoste won’t just be any beer salesman though. He has a special place in the brewery’s history. He’s been a great friend to co-owners, Zac and Cari Caramonta, since before Gnarly Barley was even a thing. Says Cari, “Donn’s been a part of Gnarly Barley since before there was a Gnarly Barley. We met him years ago at a mutual friends half-pipe ramp jam. We chatted over a home brewed batch of Korova and the bond was created.”

Zac, Cari and Donn, circa 2011

Donn has been manager of The Bulldog Midcity in New Orleans, and more recently Craft Brand Manager at Southern Eagle distributing in New Orleans. So, he has a plethora of experience in all facets of the distribution network, making his new role at Gnarly Barley a natural fit. Donn officially starts on January 2, 2017.

Donn, Cari and Zac

 

Ballast Point to debut in Louisiana

2 Dec

San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing will (finally) make its Louisiana debut later this month. For real, this time. Beginning the week of December 19th, you’ll be able to find bottles of Sculpin IPA, Grapefruit Sculpin IPA and Victory at Sea, a coffee vanilla porter. Also available will be cans of Mango Even Keel, a fruited session IPA. These will also be available on tap around the state, along with some specialty beers at rollout events. Sometime in early 2017 canned Sculpin and Pineapple Sculpin IPA will be available.

Mockler Beverage will distribute Ballast Point in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas.

sculpin

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

vats

Ballast Point Victory at Sea

mek

Ballast Point Mango Even Keel

Bayou Teche brewery expansion and new year round IPA

22 Nov

Bayou Teche recently announced plans to expand their brewery, and they have a few exciting changes on tap (see what I did there?). The expansion will add nearly 50% more room to the brewery, meaning a bigger taproom, more space for a lab, and additional room for their ever-growing collection of whiskey and wine barrels that are used to age beer in. But, according to Bayou Teche co-owner, Karlos Knott, the most exciting part of the expansion is that it will create room for a brand new brewhouse, the first of its kind here in the United States.

Bayou Teche is expecting delivery of a brand spanking new Simatec Multi-Brew, which is branded as a super efficient, multi-functional and modular brewhouse, with each vessel capable of performing all phases of the brew day process. So in the time it takes a standard brewhouse to produce three batches of beer, the Simatec Multi-Brew can brew 9 batches! The Simatec Multi-Brew system is modular in the sense that you can just plug in more of the vessels to increase your production based on your needs.

According to Karlos, Simatec has “installed nearly a hundred of these in Europe, and Bayou Teche Brewing will be the first in the US to take the plunge. I called quite a few breweries in Europe that have the Simatec, and from Scotland, France, Italy and Germany, I have gotten pretty rave reviews. It’s showing up here first quarter and we are pretty freaking excited!”

If you’re interested in reading more about the Simatec Multi-Brew system, Craft Brewing Business has an in depth look at it here.

Bayou Teche will undergo a rebranding of sorts with not only their labels, but with the recipes of several of their flagship beers. They are also introducing a brand new year IPA, to be called Swamp Thing. “We did not want to do the emulative thing and brew a West Coast IPA, or an East Coast IPA, or heck even an English IPA,” says Knott. “We opted to do an IPA that was designed for Louisiana, something we’d consider a Gulf Coast IPA. Swamp Thing is a hoppy, citrusy, unfiltered IPA made with German Pilsner malt and a blend of hops that includes Mosaic and Citra. It’s fermented with an ultra-clean ale yeast that allows these hop flavors to shine. The ABV is on the low side for an IPA – 6.3 %. We feel that’s perfect for the humid heat of South Louisiana. For an IPA, it’s pretty dang crisp and refreshing (almost lager-like), as well as very hoppy and citrusy.”

new-swamp-thing

Bayou Teche Swamp Thing IPA

Swamp Thing IPA should start hitting the market in mid-December, with plans to deliver a limited number of kegs and six-packs to distributors throughout Louisiana on the same day that the beer is packaged, giving customers the opportunity to drink the beer as fresh as possible.

More recipe and package changes are coming as well, so stay tuned!

Homebrew Recipe: Coffee Vanilla Porter

16 Nov

Alright, I’ve been meaning to get around to this for some time, and well, I just never got around to it. I’d love to share some of my homebrew recipes with readers here, and there’s no time like the present to start.

First, let’s jump back to when I started homebrewing. In the summer of 2012, I bought a one gallon homebrew kit for something like $40, just to see how I would like it. It included most of what was needed, including the ingredients. It was an extract kit designed to brew on the stovetop in kitchen pots already on hand. It was an IPA, and of course I ended up adding more hops than the recipe was designed for, because, well, you can’t have too many hops. The beer turned out pretty nice for a first effort. From there, I did about 4 more of those one gallon recipe kits, tweaking each recipe with something different, like adding pumpkin spices to an amber ale and basil to a wheat ale.

That fall, I decided I liked brewing enough to go ahead and start doing 5 gallon batches. I was still doing extract recipes in the kitchen, just on a larger scale. I did a peanut butter chocolate stout first, which turned out to be pretty damn good. The second one was a double IPA that was basically a Pliny the Elder clone, which is the beer that got me kicked out of the house. Well, my kitchen brewing days were over after I made the house smell like glorious hops for an evening (I still don’t see what the problem is with that).

After those two batches, and the associated total pain in the ass of bottling them, I jumped into kegging after being gifted a spare refrigerator from a neighbor who was moving out of town. I turned that fridge into a two tap kegerator, and got all the equipment needed to keg and serve my homebrews. The first beer I kegged was a pecan strong ale that was perfect for the holiday season, and a beer I hope to revisit soon. I continued with the extract brews for another year before finally making the leap to all grain brewing on January 1st, 2014. I brewed my first all grain beer on that New Years Day, right after LSU defeated Iowa in the Outback Bowl. That first all grain beer really opened my eyes to how much better homebrew can be, and despite the trepidation of jumping into all grain brain brewing from extract, it really wasn’t that much more difficult than extract brewing. That beer, a coffee vanilla porter that I dubbed The Mighty Quinn, is still probably the best beer I make, and its iterations have won numerous homebrew awards. So, without further ado, I present to you the recipe for The Mighty Quinn coffee vanilla porter:

Everyone’s homebrew system is different. I brew batches to end up with 5 gallons of beer in the keg. I batch sparge rather than fly sparge, because frankly, that’s just easier and less time consuming. I’ve brewed this recipe enough times now that I know what I’m going to end up with, and the only differences between batches are due to what kind of coffee I use. Here are the ingredients for the base beer, and I always purchase them from my local homebrew shop, LA Homebrew:

  • 11 pounds Maris Otter malt
  • 1 pound brown malt
  • 1 pound chocolate malt
  • 1 pound flaked oats
  • 12 ounces Crystal 60 malt
  • 8 ounces black patent malt
  • 2 ounces Northern Brewer hops added for 60 minutes
  • London ESB ale yeast (Wyeast 1968)

This beer is designed to be a 1.072 OG and should finish somewhere around 1.020 FG, making the ABV somewhere around 6.9-7.0%. IBUs are calculated to be 47, but it is definitely not a bitter beer. It’s a very dark beer, actually darker than the style guidelines indicate at almost 41 SRM.

Our Baton Rouge water is actually pretty perfect for dark beers, so I use it without any adjustments. I mash at 156° for 60 minutes, which allows for a fuller mouthfeel, as this is a beer that you don’t want to be too dry. After sparging with 168° water and collecting about 7 gallons of wort, I boil for 60 minutes adding the Northern Brewer hops as it comes to a boil. I then chill, transfer to my fermentor, and pitch the yeast starter that I made previously.

The real star of this beer is the coffee and the vanilla. The first couple times I made this beer, I made a batch of cold brewed coffee with 5 ounces of coarsely ground beans to go with nearly a quart of water. After sitting in the fridge for a day, I filtered it and added the cold brew directly to the keg before racking the beer on top of it. These days, I simply add 12 to 16 ounces of whole beans (just depends on what size bag I use) directly to the fermentor for 24 hours before I keg the beer. That method is simple, it allows for really easy cleanup, and the coffee flavor and aroma imparted on the beer is fantastic.

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For the vanilla, instead of splitting and scraping whole Madagascar vanilla beans, I use a product called vanilla puree from Red Stick Spice Company (see image below). It’s sold in 4 ounce bottles, and I find that 2 ounces is perfect for a 5 gallon batch. It adds a rich and creamy flavor that softens the coffee flavors and rounds the whole beer into shape. The end product is basically adult coffee. It’s smooth and rich, never bitter.

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Red Stick Spice Pure Vanilla Puree

This is the beer that advanced to the finals of the National Homebrew Competition in 2015, won the Specialty Beer category at the 2015 Dixie Cup, and I’ve picked up several other homebrew awards in various other local homebrew competitions.

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I’ve also done some spinoffs of this recipe, such as upping the Maris Otter malt by 6 pounds and aging the base beer in a whiskey barrel to create an imperial barrel aged version. Also, a few weeks ago I brewed it with Jay D’s single origin coffee roasted by Cafeciteaux and put in a pumpkin spice blend from Red Stick Spice to make a virtual pumpkin spice latte beer for our annual Halloween party.

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Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about this recipe, or homebrewing in general. I’ll certainly do my best to answer them. Cheers!

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