So... freaking... sleepy...
Guess that's what a bunch of beers'll do to ya! So. Local's Night at the Avenue Pub. Where beers from local breweries were featured, and featured quite nicely I may add.
Always, always start with the cask. Why? Because it's almost as hard to find cask ale in this town as a street without potholes or a vegetarian entree without crab on top of it. So when I SEE IT I DRINKS IT. Usually this works out well. This evening was no exception- it was NOLA Brewing's Blueberry Blond Ale. Not sure what they did to the Blonde and when (shoulda asked, but as you will see, there was a lot of NOLA stuff to discuss) but it was a tasty, subtly fruity beer without sweetness and with a pale blue head.
Another awesome thing happening was 4 NOLA Brewing draft packs (which is how they sell their beers) with 4 versions of dry hopped Blonde Ale. NOLA did an amazing cask series at the Pub a month or so ago, and this appeared to be an extension of that for ACBW. The Blonde was dryhopped in four different batches with 4 different hops: Mount Hood, Zeus, Czech Saaz, and American Saaz.
These are four VERY interesting hops to roll out. Here are my quick thoughts on them all:
Czech Saaz: the most delicate and subtle hopping of them all. A nicely balanced beer, drinkable, refreshing.
American Saaz: According to the NOLA head brewer, American Saaz hops were developed and initially grown/produced by Anheiser-Busch. Slightly more aggressive than the traditional Czech Saaz hops, it still made for a nice, subtly hopped ale. Hard to describe the difference between the two, but it was certainly a significant one.
Mt. Hood: had more hop aroma and hop-floral taste than either of the Saaz varieties.
Zeus: extremely polarizing at our table. Either loved or hated. Huge herbacious hop presence in the aroma and taste. Tom and I both loved it, and two beer drinkers we were drinking with (whose palates I absolutely respect) hated it. We had an interesting conversation about the chemical compatibility of certain extreme flavors based on this disagreement. (I love drinking in a group of people who love to drink beer!!)
Tom and I ended with glasses of Unibroue's Raftman and Abita's Satsuma Wit dryhopped with Citra hops. The Raftman was terrific as always, and the special Abita keg took a little getting used to- it was cloudy and unfiltered to the point of it looking unappetizing and initially had a pronounced aftertaste (which subsided after the first sip or two) but the citrus and wheat and grassy Citra hops came together in a very refreshing brew. I was slightly surprised, but definitely pleased. It's not a subtle beer by any means, but I could definitely see enjoying a few on a warm summer night. Made an average beer a thoughtful and interesting one.
Oh- we also had a pint of Rogue's Love and Hoppiness and Anchor Steam. Been a long while since we've had Anchor Steam on draft, and the Love & Hoppiness had an interesting story and profile. It's one of the beers in the 2011 series of John’s Locker Stock, which is a recreation of a beer brewed in 2005 for John Maier's wedding. It's a German Pilsner style which was definitely welcomed on a warm beer drinking day like today. Both pints of fine West Coast American Ale were fresh and delicious.