Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'll have beer for Christmas...

So, I ended up having a lovely, cheery, beery weekend.  Not only did I get the Mikkeller Single Hop series from my dear darling husband:

But I also was the lucky recipient of a special NOLA Brewing Christmas beer intended only for internal/employee distribution!  Tom had ordered me a personalize NOLA Brewing work shirt but since it hadn't come in, Head of Brewing Operations and All Around Awesomest Person Melanie thought that it would be nice for me to have something for me to open, even though the shirt would be late.  WOW!  It was a hoppy ale, reminiscent of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale:

Delicious, and such a special way to toast the holiday.

I hope everyone also had a wonderful holiday!  Can't wait for New Years Eve Beer drinking... The Avenue Pub's having a special event on the balcony... more on that soon.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve beers

Stayed in for Christmas Eve- Tom doesn't feel great and we certainly have enough beer on hand to keep ourselves happy. I made a particularly delicious spinach lasagna and we cracked open a couple of beers to celebrate the season.

  1. Samuel Smith's Winter Warmer (2011-12 vintage).  I have such a soft spot for the SS Warmer. I still recall a Thanksgiving several years ago when a friend also visiting family in CT stopped by our hotel room with a bottle of seriously vintage SS Winter Warmers.  Not because he collected them or anything, he just wandered into a gas station selling them for cheap 'cause they were old.  He loved the Winter Warmers and scooped up pretty much the rest of the stock. God, they aged great. But I digress!  The Samuel Smith Winter Warmer is on the list of the Anchor Christmas and Sierra Nevada Celebration that I look forward to every holiday season. For a winter beer, it pours out quite light- a dark gold, which is somewhat unusual.  But it's all malty biscuits and warming without going down "hot." Tom says it tastes like Christmas in a glass.  I don't know that I'd put that description on it (I'd reserve that for the Anchor Christmas Ale line) but it is damn delicious and dangerously drinkable.
  2. Trader Joe's Christmas Ale as brewed by Unibroue (2008 vintage.) This beer has taken me all night to drink- at first sip it was OK but somewhat flat in the flavor department. This is one of those beers that NEED to warm up to let the flavors develop. About the same color (maybe a tweak darker) as the Samuel Smith, it is aged and smooth and goddamn wonderful.
Tomorrow- 10-10-10 and 11-11-11 Stone Vertical tasting! And other stuff, one assumes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top 10 list of 2011 beers in New Orleans

Inspired by Polly Watts' list posted on the Avenue Pub's Facebook page:

1) Cantillon Iris. A gueuze that has been brewed with hops instead of wheat. Tart, sharp, a subtle hop bitterness on the finish. The sour and atypical bitterness marry well. Very refreshing while retaining the traditional gueuze sour characteristics. Recommended for sour lovers and sour skeptics alike.

2) Cantillon Zwanze 2010. More tart than sour, well balanced, crisp, refreshing, mild tartness and subtle. Like a belgian berlinerweiss. Wheat is turned all the way up. Smooth. Biscuits and lemon juice. Dances over the tongue leaving a trail of tartness behind. (I know it's something that won't be around to have again, but it was just that good.)

3) Mikkeller Drink In The Sun. Best session beer in the country. Wouldn't know it was less than 3%, the taste is much bigger than that.

4) Rogue Brutal Bitter: Balanced but very flavorful, like an amped up ESB. An interesting beer to say the least. It's a cross between the hoppiness of an IPA and the smoothness of an ESB. Apparantly in recent releases it's been renamed "Brutal IPA" which I think is misleading, because as IPAs go, it's not brutal at all. "Brutal Bitter" sums up the style quite nicely, a bitter with some West Coast OOMPH. A delightful discovery!

5) Aphrodisiaque from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, an absolutely yummy stout with vanilla, caramel, cocoa, coffee notes all roasty and smokey. Also on Polly's list.

6) Page 24 Biere De Printemps, crazy excellent. It's a beer de garde from Brasserie Saint-Germain.

7) Brooklyn Brewing Sorachi Ace. It's spicy and faintly herbal, with a lemon citrus aroma. Easy drinking and a dry finish. The style is a saison and the spiciness specific to the Belgian yeast works with the spiciness of the Sorachi Ace hops in a truly unique but very satisfying and drinkable way.

8) Jolly Pumpkin's Baudelaire IO Saison. 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

9) NOLA Brewing Cascade Crack on cask- The NOLA version of a black and tan is made with NOLA Hopitoulas and NOLA Irish Channel Stout. Additionally, we have dry hopped the Brewer's Crack with fresh Cascade Hop Cones. Thus, we have Cascade Crack.

10) could be one of several: Saint Helene La Grognarde, Sierra Nevada Life & Limb, Stillwater Cellar Door, Moylan's ESB on Nitro, Thierez Extra, Poperings Hommel, Brooklyn Main Engine Start, NOLA Flambeaux Red, etc., etc., etc. I can't make up my mind!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

40 Arpent - New Kid On the Block

So Tom and I had the opportunity to go investigate a brand spanking new brewery that is currently gathering resources and money and investors, etc. So the brewery, 40 Arpent, which right now is a guy named Michael, hosted this free tasting at a bar called The Rusty Nail, which I think is a really great idea. Got me excited about the stuff he's brewing.  He had a lager that was really quite phenomenal and a "Red Beans & Rice" beer that he hopes can be his flagship beer, and with some refining, I think it can be.  (The beer is actually called Keltic Kajun, but due to my irrational annoyance with spelling things unnecessarily with a "K" I will likely always refer to it as Red Beans & Rice beer.) His dunkleweizen and stout are also beers to be reckoned with.

Anyway, an unexpectedly fun and informative evening with unexpectedly delicious beer. Michael was very busy making the rounds but was a great sport in answering all my various questions and I just love watching a brewer describe his or her beer. (The whole face just lights up and then it makes sense to me about why their beer is so good. 'Cause of the love!)

I wrote a lot more about this on my new other blog sandbox I'm playing in, so go over there and check it out.  But come back to me!