Wednesday, May 18, 2011

ACBW- Nanobrewery Night Beer Tasting

So, for the Wednesday night tasting at the Avenue Pub, things got ramped up in honor of American Craft Beer Week. 10 different beers from teeny tiny breweries were available to sample - 6 samples for $18.

The breweries represented:
Saint Somewhere in Tarpon Springs, Florida. According to Polly's tasting notes, "The brewer, Bob Sylvester, was a long time homebrewer that started selling his stuff a few years back; I'm pretty certain he still has a "day job"

Jolly Pumpkin out of Dexter, Michigan. They focus on using open fermentation, which provides a theme of general funk and sourness in their beers. Delicious funk.

Dieu De Ciel, a brasserie/brewpub in Montreal, with some amazing beers. They are... not American, but they are definitely "nano" and I believe that they've sent some great stuff to the Avenue Pub and offered to do so again, and this is not the kind of beer you say no to. (this is just the impression I got, though. I might be making crazy shit up.)

Bayou Teche, a local favorite with a significant market presence down here. They created a version of their Grenade called the XXX Grenade, which has been extra hopped with Citra hops, and dry..."hopped" with coconut. The brewer is still playing around with this, and requested specifically that it not be reviewed on a beer website at this time, so I won't do so here, but may get Tom to contact the brewery directly with his thoughts (since he's the one who tried it).

Parish Brewing - for a beer just brewed up in Layfayette, this beer is impossible to get a hold of in New Orleans. It's a one man operation and all his kegs are distributed hyper-locally. ("nano-brewery"... "hyper-local"... my fancypants way of saying "really small" and "really nearby")

OK, here's what I drank:

I started with Parish Brewing's Canebreak. It's described as an American wheat style beer in the tasting notes but I would never, ever pick it out as such. I do agree that it was crisp, smooth, and refreshing. A good beer to start with, but flavor-wise, it had a tough time matching up with the other styles. I did like it though and would love to enjoy a pint on a warm spring/summer day.

Next up was what was probably my favorite beer of the night: Jolly Pumpkin's Baudelaire IO Saison. Probably the most expressive and complete of the tasting notes, it is a saison/farmhouse style. It pours a beautiful amber-ruby color and has spicy, floral notes mixed in with a mild bret-style funk. It drinks crisp and clean with a tart, dry finish. I really dug on this beer, a lot.

Third was the Saint Somewhere Lectio Divinia. I liked it OK, but it didn't make much of an impression on me being in the middle of the tasting. I enjoyed it more as it warmed. A nice beer to sip on. (side note: Tom tried Saint Somewhere's Saison Athene and it just did not work for me at all. I saw others enjoying it, and once Tom got used to it, he thought it was OK, but the aroma just put me off. I think it was a YMMV thing though, I think I just had an aversion to the wild yeast or something, weird.)

Time to try the Dieu De Ciel La Rescousee, a German alt style beer. It was a tasty brew, a nice contrast to the funk and sourness of many of the other offerings. Maltier than your average alt beer- gave it a roastier flavor profile than expected. Tom and I both enjoyed it, though.

I closed out with the other two Jolly Pumpkin offerings: the Madrugada Obscura "Dark Dawn" and then the Maracaibo Especial. The Dark Dawn was a Belgian stout style which was easily the most sour of the three Jolly Pumpkin offerings. It was rich in flavor, warming, light on the tongue, and as dark as Tom's soul. The Especial was a Belgian style brown ale that was amazingly complex with notes of spice, chocolate, citrus, and, of course, the funk. I want to go out and get as many Jolly Pumpkin beers I can get my hands on.

Tom closed out with a Peche Mortel which was certainly BADASS and definitely SOMETHING ELSE. I mean that in a good way, and capital letters are necessary to convey the over-the-top-ness of flavor, bitterness, booziness, toastiness, and intense coffee flavor. Good stuff, but a bit of a palate-blower, which is why Tom left it for the end.

The tasting seemed to be well attended with a variety of beer drinkers getting to know these tiny breweries. Definitely a very special ACBW experience (which is different than A Very Special Episode of ...)

Friday and Saturday, I'll be attending the events at the Pub. I feel like I should get out there to a non-Pub event, but... it's hard to fit them in and these events are the most thoughtful and exciting offerings.

Till the weekend...!

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