Monday, November 29, 2010

I love this more than words can say

Where To Drink In New Orleans



(Click to see a readable version.)
All rights reserved by ianhoch

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two thoughts:

1) tried the Abita Christmas Ale on draft while having dinner at Mandina's and it was actually pretty good! I had fears of it being as horrible as Harpoon's Winter Warmer, but it was actually pretty dry and didn't have that malty sweetness that infiltrates a lot of their brews (most recently and disappointingly, the Abita Select Rye Pale Ale.) It had a decent spicy/bitterness going on. I liked it!

2) AM I SERIOUSLY WATCHING PEOPLE SPIT UP REGURGITATED CORN ON MY TELEVISION? Come ON, Calagione! Spitting and regurgitating- maybe later I'll head over to Bourbon Street to watch tourists puke and horses crap. Seriously? In case this piques your interest, this is the TV show I'm watching- Brew Masters. Also, if this piques your interest, gross.

Not a good day to be a lady working at Dogfish Head, people.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Brewers Reserve


We picked up the newest Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Brewers Reserve- an Oak Aged Ale. It's a blend of their Oak-aged Bigfoot Barleywine, their Celebration Ale, and the flagship Pale Ale. Then they dryhop the hell out of it!



Clocking in at 9.2% ABV, I got a heavily hopped initial taste of the barleywine - a whopper of a boozy taste up front, but smooth rather than raw or hot.

Strong hop aroma, courtesy of the dry hopping, and there is a pronounced spicy hop flavor, which battles the barleywine bully. As it warms, the woody vanilla flavors courtesy of the oak aging of the Bigfoot becomes more pronounced. I didn't get the citrus or floral hop notes that other reviewers describe, but once I was able to differentiate the hop spiciness and the boozy oak-y spiciness, I was able to match the hop aroma in the nose with the intense hoppiness of the taste.

An interesting beer- it's hoppy as hell but somehow that was camouflaged by the woodsy tones and barleywine booziness so it didn't drink like a hoppy beer. Even though it was bitter. And spicy. And the sweetness from the malt.



It poured a ruby-amber color with significant foamy head and sticky lacing stayed on the glass taunting me with the amount of beer I used to have, but no longer. Is in mah belly!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Day

Finally got off the couch today and headed over to the Avenue Pub for Firkin Friday: Parish Brewing Company's Canebrake cask with Hibiscus. Tasty! Would have enjoyed more than the one except I needed more Anchor '08 and '09.

In the holiday spirit, I wanted to link to a fellow beer blogger's take on Thanksgiving beer pairing - it perfectly encapsulates my own thoughts on the craziness of Thanksgiving Day food and the accompanying boozing.

Take it away, Beer Buddha!

(Bake him away, toys!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Avenue Pub events

This being a holiday week, we have been able to justify more getting out and drinking beer than we usually do (and can) during the regular 5 day work week. Whoo!

Last night, we went to the Avenue Pub's Pub Quiz, and came in 2nd! Which, sure, there were only like 8 teams, but still, we were pleased with our showing. We won a mix six pack of a beer I hadn't heard of before- St. Arnold's and 2 lovely belgian tulip glasses, which, shamefully enough, we'd been lacking in our beer glass collection. (We do have one of these, though!)

We had a great time- it was just the two of us on our team, and we actually didn't know anyone else there except for Polly. But that was fine, sometimes it's just nice to relax. I drank a Unibroue Trois Pistoles, a Brooklyn EIPA, a 10-oz of Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, and then downstairs, the '08 (10 oz) and '09 (4 oz) He'Brew Jewbilation. Somehow this got me completely hammered. Well, I had a beer at home before heading out, but that doesn't count, right?

The categories of the quiz were: the 80s (with the obligatory Michael Dukakis question), Musicals, Computers, Comic Strips, Beer, (all of which we did super on) and also: Mexico. I am ashamed to say our knowledge of our neighbors to the south was patchy at best. The half time question (Name the top 5 MLB player producing states per capita) and the Final Jeopardy question (rank 5 various cities in order of population) were not kind to us either. Still though- fun, free beer (our prize), and mostly not feeling like an idiot!

Hilariously, many pub quiz dudes are annoyed about the beer round which favors us beer geeks and would like it to come to an end.

Tonight, Polly and Eileen served up a tasting that was right up my alley- Christmas/Holiday beers!! They had not one, not two, but THREE years of Anchor Christmas Ale served in a vertical tasting. The 2008 vintage was very smooth- had a very bright fruity taste. The 2009 was complex and nuanced- had amazing molasses notes- a deep, dark sweetness. The 2010 suffered slightly by comparison- it's so new, it goes down "hot" (you can really taste the burn of the alcohol) and the spicy/coffee notes still are not fully integrated with each other. It definitely has potential, and if I was drinking it without the others aside it, I'd certainly enjoy it. I have already certainly enjoyed it, actually.

The next beer up was the De Ranke Pere Noel, which was a significantly lighter beer than the Anchor series. When I first sipped it, I got a hit of spiciness, which upon closer examination (and more sipping) was actually a combination of the hop bitterness, the Belgian yeast, and the typical esters of many Belgian styles. There was a citrusy undertone along with a slight Bengian funk which I enjoyed- it's a very different kind of holiday beer, and I'd be happy to have another glass of it.

The final beer of the tasting was the Sierra Nevada Celebration, which I believe I have made my feelings about known. Specifically- YUM! I actually grabbed a pint of it downstairs when we first arrived EVEN KNOWING that I would be having it as part of the tasting. Again, nice balanced IPA with crack or something in it- I can't explain in beer terms why I love it so, but I do. Also, I'm tired and wish to go to bed.

In conclusion: Pub Quiz at the Avenue every Tuesday night at 8, and beer tastings every Wednesday night at 7:30. Also, I noticed this on our table and liked it enough to drunkenly snap a phone picture of it:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Up from the cellar...

Ok, so our "cellar" is our office, because New Orleans homes have no cellar, because we are like a foot above water level (if that.)

We brought a lot of beers down from Salem, including a couple Trader Joe's holiday Vintage Ale. Trader Joe's gets its annual beer from Unibroue and they are usually dark Belgian style. We had 2 2008s and a 2006. I brought one of the 2008s to the Beer Advocate beer swap a few months ago, and we still have one cellaring in the office. Tonight, after a crap ass Monday, I thought it would be appropriate to crack open the 2006 vintage.

It's good- while cold it pours dark, dark mahogany brown. About 1/4" or so of light tan foam. Smells like dried fruit, ginger, deep spices- kind of like fruitcake the way we make it at home (which is SO AWESOME.) It drinks easy, and it gets tastier as it warms to room temperature.

I think it's aged beautifully- it is so smooth and quaffable. I have a memory of the 2006 vintage still being a tasty brew, but you could taste every bit of the 9% ABV. In 2010, at the start of the holiday season, it's much drier and the flavors have mingled together to produce a really balanced flavor. Carbonation is low, sweetness is definitely lower than it originally was.

It's so good! And it was $4.99 for 750ml! Trader Joe's= genius!

I think we'll hold on to the 2008 vintage another year or so. Mmmm, maybe. Sad that I have no access to the 2010 vintage this year. It is funny that I'm drinking this "Dark Ale on Lees" holiday style beer on a day that was 78 degrees and beautiful. Cognitive dissonance, but I can definitely go with it.

Life is full of trade-offs- you just gotta go with what you think will make you happier at the end of the day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Halle-FREAKING-lujah

I just saw the lineup for the upcoming Sam Adams Winter Collection 12-pack:



And I swooned gleefully! No, not because I am an ENORMOUS fan of Sam Adams or its winter collection. (though growing up in New England, I have a nostalgic affection for Old Fezziwig, most likely because of the AWESOME NAME.)

But because the Cranberry Lambic is NO MORE. My attitude toward Sam Adams in general may be neutral (I wish it no specific harm, but I don't care too much for the beer- a couple special beers are OK though- I like that Latitude 48 IPA.)

But I will dedicate an entire blog post to this news because indeed, I hated Cranberry Lambic THAT MUCH.

It was NASTY.

According to the Urban Dictionary:

Cranberry flavored urine, served as an alcoholic beverage. Made by Samuel Adams. Comes in holiday pack.

Seriously. Everyone hates this beer. It is like the Jar-Jar Binks of the beer world. At Beer Advocate, 876 beer drinkers/reviewers have given it a cumulative C+ (which I think is generous, but hey).

Cranberry Lambic has been puzzling Samuel Adams customers for years (WHY on earth have they been including it for so long?) but I am happy to announce:

IT IS NO MORE!

(Jesus, that shit is Teh Nast. I'm grossed out just thinking about it for this long.)

Thank you, Samuel Adams Global Enterprises Ltd. LLC., Inc.!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday beer time!

OK, I've only had a few beers today so my sass quotient is on the more mellow side.

After the BrewHaHa yesterday, we stopped at Felipe's for post-beer burritos and then to Elio's for MOAR BEER. I was super excited that the Sierra Nevada Celebration and the Anchor Christmas Ale were both on the shelf. Sure, it's still shorts weather here, but I have loved both these seasonals for YEARS. I was sad when we were in San Francisco last year too early (in October) to enjoy the Christmas Ale at the Anchor Brewery.

After an extensive look at the packaging the beers came in, I cleverly gleaned that Sierra Nevada has been brewing their Celebration Ale since 1981, which makes this year's version the 29th edition of the style.



Celebration has consistently been much hoppier than other holiday seasonal beers, and this year is no exception. However, it contains more maltiness than Sierra Nevada's flagship Pale Ale. It pours a bright orange-y copper color, with good carbonation, foam, and lacing. The pine and citrus hop aroma is unmistakable - this is actually billed as a "Fresh Hop Ale" and categorized as an IPA. It's goddamned good. I am looking forward to drinking this all season long.

The Anchor Christmas Ale is surprisingly Christmas-specific in this nutty multicultural world in which we live. And damn, it tastes like Christmas. Malty, dark, warming, and delicious. I could close my eyes and imagine drinking this whilst next to a fireplace with my loved one watching the snow fall outside and hoping against hope that I don't have to slog to work in the snowy mess tomorrow. Better keep drinking these bad boys to keep my mind off that horror!

Happily, it's in the 60s here and I'm still wearing shorts and T-shirts. This perhaps bursts the illusions of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but it doesn't make the Anchor Christmas Ale any less tasty.




The Anchor Brewery has been brewing the Christmas Ale for 36 years (In your FACE, ya young Sierra Nevada upstart!) It's gorgeous- it pours dark with a toasty brown head and ruby red highlights. Also malty and full bodied. I was surprised that it was only 5.5% ABV. It has that toasty, warming feeling that's like a beer version of a hot toddy vibe.

In conclusion: Get out there and enjoy these beers while they last, no matter where you live or whatever holiday gods you worship!

(OMG, I wonder if I can find Anderson Valley Solstice Ale down here! I accept gifts, btw.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beer Festival + Flea Market = BrewHaHa




Feeling slightly less sassy (which happens after having spent the night before drinking beer and then much of the day doing likewise.) We spent the afternoon out in Mid-City for the BrewHaHa, as I drunkenly vowed I would do last night. It was a good time! Had a couple NOLA brews - Irish Channel Stout and Hopitoulous IPA - and the LA 31 Boucanee (a cherrywood smoked wheat beer) and a Rye Pale Ale from Abita, which was sadly weird - overly malty and sweet. Ah, well. The NOLA beers were awesome as usual, and I also enjoyed the Boucanee- it went very well with the very spicy sausage po'boy we got from the Crescent City Pie & Sausage stand there.

They had several local vendors and artists there, as well as flea marketers and non-profit organizations who set up shop. I liked the fact that the organizers also structured it so that people could have samples of the beer, and not just pints. I kind of wish we'd gone with the sample option because some beers there were only available in the sample size.

A side note: I told Kirk and Dylan (from NOLA Brewing) that I started a new blog but got the name wrong, which makes me a moron. I guess that's what happens when you create a blog while drunk and then talk about it while hung over. And drinking.

Pictures!







morning after posting

I feel that it is entirely within the scope of this blog to mention that 1) my sassy entries last night were the result of many sassy beers having been drunk (natch) and 2) we are struggling out of the house right now to BrewHaHa.

Will report back. Perhaps under the influence of beer and coffee. I'll be all riled up!

BrewHaHa

BrewHaHa, bitches!

You going? I will be there on the roof (yeah, that's weird, right? No matter how venerated the ABANDONED BUILDING BELOW is) of 300 N Broad at Bienville, on the ROOF of the old Schwegmann's.

There's gonna be beer, and coffee, (to make it seem like it's not just about the booze, I think- nice try) and food (because of deliciousness.)

It's today, from 11am-4pm. I personally cannot think of a better way to spend the day than drinking local beer on the roof of some crazy New Orleans-nostalgic building.

Now that I've made that joke twice, I fully expect to be thrown off said roof. I can only hope that I drink enough to make the ride a pleasant one.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bitching about Beer

Ok, so I actually do not want to bitch about beer, rather I come to praise it. Or something.

I do not know my place. I will always cause a ruckus.

I like beer. I drink a lot of it. I spend a lot of time drinking it and a lot of money as well. Money well spent, I say.

I'm kind of like a stealth beer lover. My husband is a brewer, and I make many requests of him, but little inclination to assist or compete. I'm super fucking lazy like that.

I actually have another blog already, NoraInNOLA.blogspot.com. But it's more my public blog, my family blog, my blog where I ruminate on any fucking thing that comes into my head. Well, without saying the word "fuck."

This blog is about beer. A lady drinking beer in New Orleans. It will be awesome, because I am awesome and beer is awesome.

To keep things on topic, I will report (and happily) that I spent tonight drinking some great beer at The Avenue Pub. The Avenue is finishing up their Belgian Beer Fest and I had:

* De Ranke Saison de Dottignies - this is a farmhouse style ale which I really enjoyed. It had a subtle spiciness and drinkibility that was a nice respite from the usual macho Belgian high ABV beers - 5.5% and super balanced and delicious.

* Unibroue Maudite - a Belgian strong dark ale, pretty much all you expect and want from a kickass belgian beer. Seriously, Unibroue are beer brewing gods along with Russian River, considering high quality and perfect fucking consistency of product. Damn.

* De la Senne Zinnebir, a Belgian "pale ale." This beer actually has none of the characteristics of what one would think would be a pale ale- the hop profile is minimal to practically nonexistent. Not to say this beer isn't worth drinking- it has a delicious maltiness and lacks the floral yeast flavors that often identifies a "Belgian" style of beer, which may be why it has been assigned the pale ale designation. It's interesting to note that "Belgian" is not just a style of beer, but also an entire nationality of brewers. Sure, many are brewing in the traditional way, but it's funny to think of a beer geek just chilling out homebrewing in Belgium, and it's automatically a Belgian style beer. Even if he's just doing like a brown ale out of a kit, like the first beer my husband brewed.

* Had a Blanche de Chambly, because I COULD NOT STOP WITH THE BELGIAN BEER ACTION. Tasty, for sure- drinkable and delicious. Nothing super duper special, but I was happy to be jaded like that, all "OMG, Blanche de Chamby, such a peasant beer."

I tell you what, the Avenue Pub WORKS IT. I never knew a bar back in Boston that hustled so hard to get a keg of something that couldn't be found in the rest of the state. It's like, they work harder for it, because it's so much harder here to get distribution. Mad ups to Polly, the owner and Eileen, the certified beer geek for looking out for us all.

Tonight, I did confess my predilection for drinking Miller Light, though. It as like confessing to my priest. The priest of good beer. "Bless me Polly, for I have sinned..."