Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cask ale and lambic, Friday night notes

So last night (after a day off from beer to enjoy some cocktails at Twelve Mile Limit and Bar Tonique and wine at Le Meritage on Thursday) we did our usual Friday night Beer Advocate action. We got to the Avenue Pub and made a beeline for the cask, where Polly had set up shop and was pouring pints of St. Elissa IPA into complementary St. Arnold's pint glasses (with pint cozies!)

The cask ale was pretty good- I'd heard it talked up bigtime earlier in the week, so my expectations may have been inflated. But it was a nice IPA and I love IPAs on cask. I keep waiting for St. Arnold's to blow me away- though I did have a nice St. Arnold's winter stout, which I enjoyed.

The big excitement was the unveiling of Cantillon Fou' Foune, an apricot lambic. I love the sour and funky beers. This was so, so, so good. Lip smackingly sour and fruity and drinkable and a gorgeous orange color. I'm so happy I had the opportunity to try it.

In between, we sampled a couple amazing beers that are not available for sale in New Orleans. First up, the Bayou Teche Biere Noel, brewed with cherry bounce. This beer wasn't even actually distributed, really- just some bottles to friends in the industry.

Cherry bounce is an old-school country style infusion of cherries and sugar in bourbon. I'm not sure how it was infused into the beer, but it added a nice - but smooth - booziness and dried fruitiness. For such a dark beer, I was surprised at how dry the finish was. It was so good. I hear a rumor that this will be available for the next holiday season which would make me very happy.

Also a regular brought an IPA to share- Bell's Brewery Hopslam. Never had it before and I was really pleased to have the opportunity to try. As could be guessed by the name, it was a very hoppy double IPA-I was pretty shocked to read after the fact that it was 10% ABV. The sweet, fruity, big hoppy flavor was a wonderful and very pleasant way to close out the evening. Really well brewed.

As I mentioned in my other blog, I love being here in New Orleans- so many beer lovers trying to share everything they get their hands on. The beer scene is small but seriously passionate. And democratic! As long as you love beer, you're accepted and people will share with you. And you with them. In Boston, I feel like there's a beer "celebrity" hierarchy and a certain snobbishness. Here, people just love to drink beer and share it and talk about it.

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