Monday, November 28, 2011

New NOLA blog!

BIG NEWS- a few local New Orleans beer bloggers are joining up to create a NOLA beer website at:

You may be asking yourself, why does New Orleans need this blog, given that there are several venues to find out about beer here?  There's a Facebook page for all of Louisiana, the major players tend to post updates on Facebook and Twitter, there are several beer bloggers on the scene, including yours truly and the Beer Buddha (who was the one who actually started up the NOLA Beer Guide and asked me to participate.)

However, the hope is that this website will consolidate ALL of these points of information, so that we can most effectively get the word out to all New Orleans beer lovers. Since there are several of us posting, we don't need to worry about if someone gets slammed at work and can't get the time to update, or if someone's out of town, or whatever.

I will still be posting here- about my personal beer tastings and other beer adventures.

But check this shiz out! We'll be listing bars, breweries, and restaurants; providing info for homebrewers; and updating beer news and events daily (ish.)

Man, now I want a beer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Venturing back out into the land of beer

Since we are feeling the pinch from unexpected last minute international travel, our going out has been curtailed somewhat. But we did get out to the Avenue Pub for a friend's birthday and I tried two interesting beers while there.

First was the Stillwater Autumnal- a malty, somewhat funky farmhouse ale.  There was a nice spiciness, and I thought I caught a bit of grape/wine taste up front, (looks like it was aged in Burgundy casks, which would explain that) and it had a nice dry finish.  Refreshing, tasty, and nicely challenging.

Second was Brooklyn Brewery's The Companion, which was brewed to celebrate Garrett Oliver's work as editor-in-chief for the Oxford Companion to Beer.  According the the Brooklyn Brewery blog,
Thomas created special new floor malts for The Companion, which is brewed in an old style called “wheat wine”, a wheat-based equivalent to barley wine. The floor malts give this beer a juicy malt character of considerable depth, 55% malted wheat gives it a surprising lightness on the palate, while our house ale yeast lends a gentle fruitiness. The Oxford Companion will impart knowledge, while The Companion imparts conviviality. Maybe you really can have it all?
I liked it.  It was like an imperial hefeweizen, although the alcohol (9+%) is EXTREMELY well hidden.  I was buzzing pretty good after a glass of that. Much lighter than a barley wine and more well rounded in body and flavor than a regular hefe or weisse.  Complex  but not as crazypants as The Concoction.

In other news, I'm happy to report that Tom's homebrew ("black ESB") is really coming along.  It's quite tasty and it keeps getting better as it ages.

Also, welcome to the blog world, fellow lady beer blogger Amy, The Beer Belle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy news!

Got this email from the Avenue Pub (recall, I saw a letter in Offbeat a while back alluding to this).  Hooray!  Mark your calendar...for...

Narke, Nils Oscar, Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri & Oppigarde Beer event.

The Kindness of Strangers Swedish beer event January 21st, 2012

In April of last year I met the owner of a very famous beer bar in Sweden. Stene loves New Orleans and wanted to throw a Mardi Gras party at his bar in Stockholm. Working with Shelton Bros we figured out a way to ship kegs of Abita and NOLA to Sweden. The idea was that they would be filled with Swedish beer and then returned to the Pub. Those kegs are on their way back to us now and we have scheduled the event for Saturday Jan 21st. what I didnt expect was the beers Stene would choose to send us. More than a few have never been in the US before and there is little chance they will return. The Stormskaporter is surely one of the most coveted imperial stouts in the world. It's made in tiny batches and only available in a few places in Sweden. Stene basically gave us one of his allocated kegs. An extraordinary gift.
The Stormskaporter will be the most expensive keg I've ever bought. once the US taxes and registering fees are paid the keg will cost $675 for a 1/4 barrel. That's before our local distributor gets hold of it. Shelton is donating their labor on this so there is no mark up expect for shipping. Because of this generosity we have decided to make at least part of this event charitable. The brewers of Narke lost their son to cancer very recently and we are waiting for their direction on how to donate the funds. We don't have a price yet on the rest of the beers so I haven't set a price or format for the event. We are letting Boucherie have some of the kegs for a Swedish beer dinner. More on that after the first of the year!
Please share this email around to all your beer loving friends. These beers are worth the trip:)
Coffee Stout ÖL ( Dark lager) Beer ( Scottish styled wee heavy 8%)
annual christmas beer , recipe changes each year no reviews yet as it is new.
Hop Yard ( Strong IPA)
Slättöl Galen (With bog myrtle witch was used before hops was common) Porter
no review found
Tanngnjost & Tanngrisir ( Smoked Double Bock) Porter Konjaks
Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri
Barley Wine 2009 ( Gold Medal today at World Beer Awards)
Tjockhult Tjinook ( first time on keg outside Oliver Twist & Akkurat)ö Bitter Extra Stout Midvinterbryggd ( Christmas ale in the style of Anchor Christmas) Golden Ale. ( Very easy to drink Britt styled Ale)
 Oppigards TBA

Sad news

The Alchemist, which I've mentioned before in the immediate aftermath of its destruction in the wake of Hurricane Irene, has just announced that they will not be rebuilding its pub- one reason being that their insurance didn't cover any of the brewing equipment they had set up in the basement brewery of their pub.

We have made the very difficult decision not to re-open The Alchemist Pub and Brewery.  While it is extremely difficult to walk away from the business we have spent our last 10 years building, this is the best option for us moving forward.  There were many factors that helped us come to this decision.
Primarily, we have recently learned that none of the contents in our basement were covered by flood insurance.  Unfortunately, our basement was the lifeblood of our business—our brewery, our beer, all of our food and our offices were in the basement.  Moving forward, we have come to the realization that re-building our basement brewery is not a viable option.
This is really heartbreaking news. They still have their production brewery and will be moving their small batch brewing setup over there to send beers to local businesses, it looks like:
Moreover, and probably most important, we will move our 7 barrel brewery to our new production brewery at 35 Crossroad. Once we have installed the brewery, John will be hard at work to supply the community with his creative and tasty small production beers.
 I wish them all the luck in the world.  I hope someday to be tasting their beers down here in New Orleans.

Home again, home again

Well, I had some difficulty continuing with my cask ale blogging because it turns out that 50mb of data goes pretty fast when posting pictures and blog posts and the like, and that's all the data I had available to me over there.  Plus, we got sucked into serious family stuff, which made drinking more like a medical necessity rather than the pleasure that I like to reflect in this blog!

To sum up: we drank awesome cask ale not only in Edinburgh and St. Andrews in Scotland, but also Chippenham and Bath in England as well.  Hooray!  Man, there was one place in Bath called The Hobgoblin, that I *loved*. They had a great variety of real ale, and it was just grungy and divey and awesome.

Note: I was unable to get any other pictures of the interior because it was too dark and dank for my (non-flash having) camera phone to capture.  Just think: dark, dingy, and rough in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE.  See some reviews here and here to get a better feel for the atmosphere.

As I explained to my father in law, I like classy bars too, and we went to someplace that I can't remember the name of, which was pretty great except for the GIANT ARRANGEMENT of the stinkiest flowers ever right by where we were sitting which gave me a headache and also made me super nauseous. I had one of the best-named beers ever, can you guess which one?

The pub we went both days we were in Chippenham was called The Bridge House and is owned by a conglomerate called Wetherspoons, which buys properties like pubs and hotels and the like and fixes them up.  So, that's a little weird, in that it's a chain, but they are pretty committed to real ale, so I'm down with that.  Nice selection of casks (apologies for blurriness):

One funny thing- it's like beer is divided into two categories over in the UK: real/cask ale that is served at cellar temps, and the other beers that are all labeled as "cold," "extra cold" "ice cold" and whatever.  Even the Guinness! Weird.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day one in St. Andrews

After our swift pint at the Whey Pat, we checked in to our hotel and chilled for a bit, watching crazy British tv and/or napping.

When we got up, we headed to the Central Bar for a pre-dinner pint or two. I haf something called Hop Scotch and.Tom had a Harvistoun's Bitter & Twisted. I liked his B&T so much that I got one myself the next round while Tom had a Fuller's London Pride.

After dinner, we stopped back at the Central for a half pint before turning in. I had been looking forward to having a Theakson's Old Peculiar for a post dinner, pre-bed treat, but it was not how I remembered it. It was much thinner and weaker and less flavorful than the dark, roasty, chewy, dark beer I had in my memory so I swapped with Tom 's Peter's Well (previously still conditioning but became available while we were at dinner)  and enjoyed that quite a bit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Whey Pat

The pub in St. Andrews I love with an unholy fervor is the Whey Pat. It's the closest pub to where Tom's mum lived and they have 7 cask engines, 6 currently pouring. I have a pint of Abbot Ale and Tom has a pint of Landlord.

UNHOLY LOVE. I will likely be posting from here a lot over the next few days. I'll create a Whey Pat tag even!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Edinburgh beers- illustrated!

We arrived super early on sunday morning. Took forever to get a beer-most places didn"t serve till 12:30!

Cask ale!!!

After dinner,  we went to Brewdog, a self-proclaimed "punk" brewery based in Scotland. Definitely an incredibly different beer bar vibe than the typical pub. I had a pint of the "5 am Saint" a nicely balanced dryhopped amber ale, and Tom had their flagship Punk IPA.

Apologies if the pictures are weirdly laid out, I'm doing this with the Android Blogger app on my phone.