Showing posts from 2012

Holiday Hiatus and NYE Beer Dinner

I am currently watching snow fall in the frozen North, so I have not been drinking beer in New Orleans, thus, not much to say till I return on Monday. Trying to decide if I should try to get out for the Crescent Pie and Sausage New Year's Eve beer dinner (featuring NOLA Brewing beers) on Monday night.

Check out the menu:

Happy Hour (Starting @ 6pm) w/ Hors d'oeuvres:
Grilled Sausage with Ice Cold NOLA Brown Ale in the Can

Foie kisses with raspberry coulis
Irish Channel Stout

1st Course:  Deviled Chappapella farms duck egg, lardon & arugula
7th Street Wheat
2nd Course:  Local cauliflower bisque with citrus marinated fried oyster
Guajillo pepper infused Blonde Ale

3rd Course:  Choice of grilled gulf fish-spicy cioppino and corn porridge
Seared beef tenderloin served with two sauces tableside
Smoky Mary
Dessert:  Homemade Cake & Ice Cream (made by French pastry chef Jasiah St. Pierre)
St. Bernardus Abt 12 Quad

$65 - all inclusive. Call 504-482-2426…

New Kid on Freret Street

Over the past couple of months, I've been quite intrigued by a place being built on the corner of Freret and Cadiz, called the Freret Street Publiq House. I did a little research, and saw the theme would be craft cocktails, craft beer, craft food, the whole thing. But I didn't get much more information than that.

Today, after enjoying an always-wonderful lunch and beer chat at Ancora, I wandered down the block because it looked like there was activity happening at the ole Publiq House. I saw a Crescent Crown truck making deliveries, and people going in and out... all good signs of life.  I asked a guy working on the front exterior if the owner/manager was around, and he told me to go inside and ask for Will.  Which I did.

Will came out, gracious enough to take a few minutes to talk to me although he was swamped- he explained that after months of waiting, they finally got their license yesterday and were working hard to get everything in place to open to the public next week af…

Barley Oak and The Old Rail

I first heard about the Barley Oak's plans for a brewpub almost a year ago, during the Swedish Beer event at the Avenue Pub. Vanessa Gomes, the high energy, friendly, and beer-loving Director of Marketing at the Barley Oak told me they had broken ground the previous summer (of 2011) and were building a brewpub, called The Old Rail, from the ground up.

Fast forward to today - the brewpub is built, the brand new steam powered 10bbl brewing system is installed, the head brewer is hired, and a new chef brought on especially to create and serve a menu of beer enhancing food. However, since they are still waiting on final approval from the federal government (ATF) they have yet to start brewing. They'd hoped for the summer of 2012. Then the fall. Then the winter... now they are hoping the process will allow them to start brewing and serving thirsty and beer-loving patrons on the North Shore in the Spring of 2013.

Behold, photographic evidence of the early days of brewpub constructio…

10 Best Louisiana Beers

Top 10 Louisiana Beers of 2012

This is according to Jay D. Ducote, Baton Rouge blogger and personal role model of mine. He asked me, Jeremy "Beer Buddha" Labadie, Polly Watts from Avenue Pub, Vanessa Gomes from Barley Oak, Eric Ducote, and Brenton Day to submit our top 5 beers of the year brewed in Louisiana and created a Top 10 from our replies. I think I'm attributed in the blurb for every beer on the list that I had a part in nominating.

Anyway, GO CHECK IT OUT! It's awesome to see more an more advocating around craft beer in Louisiana. THAT'S THE DREAM! Check out the other blogger's blogs as well, and make them a part of your Louisiana beer blog reading.


Stay tuned this week for a write up of what Barley Oak in Mandeville is up to with their new brew pub, The Old Rail. I talked to Vanessa Gomes, the public face of the Barley Oak (formal title: Director of Marketing and Event Coordinator), Nick Powers, the owner of both establishments, Matthew Horney…


Green Flash has a new collaboration with Brasserie St-Feuillien called Friendship Brew an "ale brewed with spices." We picked up a 4-pack at the Breaux Mart (long the unheralded supplier of randomly awesome craft beer) and tried it after we came home from sampling the Vertical Epic beers. It's a black saison, and is something else! The American hop profile and dark roasty malts work beautifully with the Belgian yeast and spices... I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's like a balance of these 4 divergent flavor profiles that actually works. I don't know how or why it works, because it could easily be a total trainwreck, but it's an interesting and unique beer that I could just enjoy all day long. And at 5.7% ABV, it packs much less a punch you might expect with these characteristics. 
Interesting- looking at some of the reviews, there seems to be an issue with menthol/herbal notes, which I don't get at all.  The herbs I get aren't mint or astr…

Stone Vertical Epic Tasting is... Epic.

So, I am ashamed to say, in my previous post, I mixed up Dec. 12 with the 21, re: apocalypse. Please forgive me, and we shall move along with my Vertical Epic tasting!

The Avenue Pub offered tasting tickets for all 8 years that they had in stock (2005-2012). We went to the Pub yesterday after work to try the first four years (2005-2008) and returned tonight to try 2009-2012. These were all 4 oz. pours, which was good, because they ranged from 8.4-9.5% ABV. Also, some of them were pretty intensely flavored and maybe wore out their welcome by the time 4 oz was imbibed? (I am looking at you, 2006 and 2011!) Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity to do a tasting like this and extend my sincere thanks to Polly and the staff at the Pub for making this happen and celebrating a great project by Stone.

So, for those who aren't familiar with Stone's Vertical Epic series, it's a series that started in 2002- they are all brewed with a Belgian style twist, and are meant to be cellared an…

The End of the World As We Know It

And I feel fine. Thanks for asking!

Anyway, the whole end of the Mayan calendar is coming up this week and will tie into 2 beer events that I hope we all live to see.

First of all, I'd be nervous about this, because the monks of the Abbaye Sint Sixtus are releasing its beer geek Holy Grail, Westvleteren XII, for the first time EVER for sale outside the monastery itself. They SAY it's to finance repairs to the abbey, but the apocalyptic timing seems TOO coincidental. Anyway, this one time only situation has apparently been a bit of a challenge for the distributors, since the monks insisted that the 6 pack (plus 2 tasting glasses) cost no more than $84.99 for the consumer, and that the boxes not be broken up and sold individually. Here are the retailers in Louisiana who will have them on 12/12/12:

Whole Foods, Baton Rouge
Aquistapace’s Grocery, Covington
Whole Foods (Veterans), Metarie
Stein’s Deli, New Orleans
Whole Foods (Arabella Station), New Orleans
The second 12/12/12 event th…

NOLA Brewing - A Brewery On the Grow

When talking about NOLA Brewing's incredible growth, the key word is "double". Double the staff, from 6 to 13 in the past year. Double the production every year from the year before since they opened. Double the brewery space. Um, Mecha Hopzilla a double IPA, and the first beer in NOLA's high gravity line of beers.

The changes aren't just quantitative; NOLA recently went through a restructuring after head of brewing operations, Melanie Knepp, left New Orleans to become a regional sales manager for Stone about a month ago. Acclaimed home brewer and friend of the brewery Derek Lintern became the newest brewer, alongside brewmaster Peter Caddoo and brewer Indy Grap. Buck Brown has shifted his focus more exclusively to sales, bringing on marketing and events new kid on the block, MacKenzie Oescher. Also, the least sexy but possibly one of the most important upgrades: a MUCH larger and powerful glycol beer chiller system behind the brewery. NOLA Brewing thinks about k…

Guest Post: Tours Resume at NOLA Brewing

(Note from Nora: See below for Tom's experience at the first NOLA Brewing tour since hurricane Isaac! Stay tuned for more info on this blog later this week about updates and changes at NOLA Brewing...)

Friday afternoon tours at NOLA Brewing resumed on November 30th after a three month hiatus due to damage inflicted by Hurricane Isaac. The brewery has taken advantage of the break to build out an impressive new tap room and merchandise area. For long-time NOLA fans, the line of taps next to the cold room is still in operation.

Earlier this year, the brewery expanded into the building next door. This new space contains the tap room, with the rest being used for bags of grain and pallets of cans and kegs, waiting to be filled and distributed to thirsty NOLA fans.

A gleaming set of new stainless steel fermenters tower over the main brewing area, where NOLA President, Kirk Coco, gave a spirited tour. He alluded to a secret new beer that is currently in development and also mentioned that t…

Change is good!

So, I've changed the title of my blog to Nora's Beer Blog, and changed the main url to Update your bookmarks, boys and girl, because although will point here for a while, it won't do so until the end of time.

Also, props to Tom for wrangling me an adorbs little cartoon beer-drinking Nora! Love it.

How to run a perfect beer event

Inspired by Polly Watts' and all of the Avenue Pub staff's work this past weekend.

1) Have a specific plan and communicate it clearly and frequently. The Avenue Pub, upon getting formal notification that Cantillon had chosen it as one of a handful of beer bars in the world for its 2012 Zwanze beer release, immediately sprang into action. Emails went out to the email list, the Facebook event was set up, all with a good general plan of what to expect - the event and its logistics on Saturday, of course, but also what was happening the week leading up to the main event.

2) Explain the system and be consistent. Watts worked hard on getting the Zwanze ticketing system in place last year- she wanted to be able to serve the great demand while making sure her staff wasn't overwhelmed, that customers weren't frustrated, and that the system would be difficult to "game" or exploit. Instead of setting something up so that people would be stressed out about getting in lin…

Zwanze Day!

I am in heaven.  Got some amazing Zwanze 2010 before they ran out and I love the Zwanze 2012. Rhubarb is amazing, it's balanced, clean-finishing, and refreshing. Really loving it. Other star of the day is the Augullons Setembre, in my opinion.Great day, great beer, great friends. Thanks to Cantillon and The Avenue Pub.Hooray! (Photos to come, my phone is being stupid.) (Also, I may be sort of drunk, so it may be me who is stupid!)

Brewing Bigshot Interview Series:Andrew Godley, Parish Brewing

Welcome to the latest in my Brewing Bigshot Interview Series!  Today's subject is Andrew Godley, Founder and Brewmaster of Parish Brewing in Broussard, LA (in Lafayette Parish). Parish has gone through an ENORMOUS transition in size of facility and staff this year, and tomorrow it will be debuting Andrew's baby, the Inaugural Grand Reserve Barleywine at the Avenue Pub, so I thought the time was right to see what's going on here!
Andrew Godley founded Parish Brewing back in 2008 while he was still working his day job as a chemical engineer. He was working in a rented commercial warehouse space on nights and weekends, brewing 16 kegs of Canebrake (his wheat beer brewed with Steen’s sugarcane syrup) a week. Then in 2012, he moved his operation into a new, large, state-of-the-art brewery and brewed more beer on his first day there than he had in his entire first year of brewing. To break it down into comparable numbers, Andrew was brewing 150 bbls a year in 2011, and 2012 wi…

Zwanze Day and other New Orleans Beer Updates!

Regarding my previous post, I want to make it clear that I am incredibly grateful and inspired by the work that the Avenue Pub, NOLA Brewing, and other breweries and bars are doing in New Orleans and Louisiana. They just shouldn't have to carry the whole load! There's room for everyone at the table!
On that note, behold the upcoming craft beer awesomeness here in New Orleans::

First and foremost, ZWANZE DAY is on Saturday, December 1! This is the day that Cantillon Brewery in Belgium reveals their annual Zwanze beer, which is different every year. This year, it's a recreation of their first Zwanze vintage in 2008, a rhubarb lambic.  Since Cantillon is all about "celebrating the style of spontaneous brewing" the road to Zwanze 2012 was a bit rocky, as you can see from this blurb on Cantillon's website:
When in early April we brewed a top-fermentation beer which was to become Zwanze 2012, we hoped that it would be ready 3 or 4 months later so that we could organ…

I Want To Go To There

I have done a lot of travelling this fall (which is kind of weird, for me) and as you might imagine, I tend to focus on beer-related activities while on the road. I have enjoyed many beers and breweries and beer bars over the past two months and would like to share what I've learned and seen. (and eaten and drank)

First trip was to San Francisco. My trip to the Bay Area in early October was short and sweet, so I didn't get to go to the many beer places in the city. (Note: I've gone to the Anchor Brewing tour on a previous trip in 2009, as well as Monk's Kettle, Alembic, Toronado, and Magnolia, as well as outside of the city, where of course there's Russian River, as well as Bear Republic, Silverado, Moylans, Anderson Valley, North Coast, 3rd Street Ale Works, Calistoga Brewery, etc. We enjoyed excellent beer service at the French Laundry as well during that trip.) But this past trip, my primary beer activity was focused on my pilgrimage to Toronado - but I was able…

Beer! Cheese! You Know You Want It.

OK, this event was like three weeks ago, and I had so much fun talking to local brewers and other awesome folks, and I didn't even post anything in a timely fashion!

Since I was out of town this past weekend and missed the rescheduled New Orleans on Tap (as well as the Outlaw Homebrew Festival in Hattiesburg, MI, which John from the Keg and Barrel had invited me to judge) I figured I'd discuss the recent, more low-key local brewery and cheese/charcuterie event held on October 24 at the St. James Cheese Co.

Peter Caddoo was there with a firkin of NOLA Brown ale, Gordon Biersch had something that was pretty unremarkable but fine. Gnarly Barley was there, and I hadn't met them yet. They had a very interesting rye beer, that was being called an IPA but didn't quite fit into that category, in my opinion. I think if they can call it something so that the IPA expectation isn't there, they'll have something. They also had a pretty decent coffee porter on tap.


Crowdsourcing a new brewery co-op in New Orleans!

Aaron Hyde, owner of New Orleans' only homebrew store, Brewstock, has a dream. A dream that Tom and I definitely share. A dream of creating a brewing cooperative that the entire beer community of New Orleans can participate in and benefit from. 
I urge you to take a look at what Aaron is envisioning and perhaps make a donation at his Indigogo fundraising page. I hope that he can raise $55,000 in 12 days, but he needs YOUR help to make it happen!

When Tom and I moved to New Orleans, one of the reasons was that the beer culture here seemed to be poised on the edge of greatness. It has one fantastic beer bar, one amazing brewery, many passionate supporters, restaurants that are improving their beer lists, all that. We wanted to be a part of that. We are still trying to find our way. If money were no object, I'd love to open another beer bar, maybe on the other side of Canal. If we were 20 years younger, then trying to open a brewery or find work at one would be our goal. I'v…

Beer in the Bay Area

So, obviously, a significant part of any trip I take is about the beers I can find and drink that I can't get here at home.  Therefore, I report here, the tales of my San Francisco beer adventure!

First night in the Bay area, we were in Redwood City, south of SF. We went to an English/Scottish gastropub type place called Martins West, which had a very nice selection of beers on draft. I started with an Evil Twin by Heretic Brewing, which was fantastic. Such a well balanced beer.

 Had a Honey Saison from Almanac Beer Co., out of San Francisco. I had a sample before committing- but I was impressed. It's a very nice saison, the yeast, hops, spices, and honey balanced nicely. I recommended it to someone sitting next to me, who dismissed it as "something girls drink" and therefore I needed to hold forth and lecture about what girls ACTUALLY DRINK. Which is to say, everything.

The next day I enjoyed a Scrimshaw Pilsner with my oysters at the Ferry Building (I'd recomme…