Tonight, Tin Roof Brewing (of Baton Rouge) debuted in New Orleans at Squeal BBQ. So, we went for dinner and to try a couple of beers.
They have two flagships that they are focusing on- Tom, the brewmaster, said that he's tweaking and getting everything in place and exactly the way they want it to be. I think they have some solid potential, but they have some room to take it to the next level. In my conversation with the brewmaster, I got the feeling they knew that too. Which is exciting, because I am looking forward with what they come up with.
The two beers, the Perfect Tin Amber and the Voodoo Bengal Specialty Pale Ale, came to our table looking more or less alike. There were some slightly redder tones in the amber than the pale ale, but it was a very subtle distinction.
Perfect Tin: No noticeable aroma (although I am recovering from a cold), but the taste was clean, drinkable, and drier than I'd anticipated. This was a pleasant change from Abita, which has a sweetness in their amber that I can't abide. A slight mineral tinge- not offputting, but prominent enough to spark a discussion at our table about the relationship between brewing and the composition of the available water. I think they can make this beer more complex, with more subtleties. It's a great start, for sure, especially for those who don't love maltiness.
Voodoo Bengal SPA: I discovered when speaking to Brewmaster Tom that the reason the appearance of the pale ale so closely resembled the amber is the presence of Steen's syrup in it. I didn't get any rum/molasses undertones, but again, this beer finished super dry perhaps due to the addition of simple sugars from the Steen's syrup, which would have fermented completely. Again, not much by way of aroma (and again, I'm willing to chalk that up to temporarily faulty senses.) It was well bittered but I didn't get a lot of hop flavor to go along with it.
I'm happy that another enterprising brewery has put out its shingle in Louisiana. I think that the more brewers and beer we have locally can only improve the entire community and a little friendly competition will benefit every beer drinker in the state (as well as the many visitors who come here.)
I think Tin Roof is approaching their brewing strategy in a smart way. They are starting simple, finding their footing, slowly building their market share, and know that there are still many miles before they sleep. The 2 beers we tried tonight seem in some way to be like a perfect blank canvas- solidly brewed beer (if a little less complex or nuanced) that has the potential to become something really special.
I am looking forward to the next phase of Tin Roof's growth and development! I urge everyone to support this new brewery on the block and give their beer a try.