Monday, February 20, 2012

New England beers I have drunk in New England

Cape Ann Brewing Fisherman's Brew
Cisco Whales Tale Pale Ale
Magic Hat Encore Wheat IPA
Pioneer (from Sturbridge MA) Industrial Pale Ale
Cambridge Brewing Company Audacity of Hops
Tullycross Brewpub Pale Ale and IPA
I have also just acquired several bombers to check in my luggage. More on that later.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

NOLA Brewing and Stone's collaboration porter: Pour Me Somethin' Mistah!

Finally had the opportunity to try the collaboration ale that NOLA Brewing and Stone Brewery were brewing a few weeks ago.  Mitch Steele from Stone was up along with Jason and Sean to eat, drink, and be merry before, during, and after the launch.

We actually had a great time at NOLA Brewing on Friday- we went there with a camera crew and interviewed Dylan (Lintern, VP) and Melanie (Knepp, Head of Brewing Operations) about NOLA Brewing in general and about the process of the collaboration. Everyone I spoke to was just so stoked about the whole process of brewing- brewing together, pitching in, trading ideas and war stories, and just plain working hard and having fun. The brewing of this beer was definitely a labor of love.

(Side note: was able to finally get my hands on my beloved Flambeau Red, since I had to punk out of the Krewe de Brew bar hopping kickoff last weekend.  Hooray! It's still freaking delicious- hoppy and drinkable and tasty and balanced.)

On release day, we were fortunate enough to be invited to NOLA Brewing for a crawfish boil.  Ooh, these crawfish were soooo tasty. so sweet and fat.  Also some of the best jambalaya I've ever had.  Washed it down with some Flambeau Red, then switched it up to Brown Ale, because it was the start of the day that had the potential to be pretty long and full of beer.  (Tom also created something at the brewery called "Session Crack" which takes NOLA Brewing's 2 lowest ABV beers and combines them into something quite interesting and drinkable- 2 parts Brown Ale and 1 part 7th Street Wheat. It sounds weird, but it was actually pretty tasty and refreshing!)

I was able to talk to Mitch a little at the brewery, and definitely got the vibe from him that he and his colleagues were really excited to be part of this. Everyone was having a great time and enjoying each other's camaraderie. Jason and Sean were also super friendly and I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to everyone.

Herding some cats, we got to the Avenue Pub about an hour and a quarter after the balcony opened, and were out of luck in getting access to the outdoor balcony, due to the extreme busyness of the launch event.  I got up to the bar and was able to order a couple of my cask ales- the NOLA 7th Street Wheat base (without the basil) casked with satsuma peel and grains of paradise. I was really happy with it- though I wish it had been on the menu at the bar! (if it was, then pardon my misconception- I didn't see it in the short amount of time I was there.) The wheat base was subtle and clean, and really took to the citrus/acid/sweetness of the satsuma peel balanced with the spice of the grains of paradise. I think it was a really nice beer, and a great way to showcase the versatility of NOLA's 7th Street Wheat base. (I might be biased though!!)  Anyway, that was such a blast and I thank Melanie at NOLA for indulging me in setting this up and to Polly at the Avenue Pub for putting it on cask on a very busy day. I think it got overshadowed by the collaboration release, which was too bad- maybe we should have stuck to our original Sunday evening plan.  But, whatevs. I just hope people had the chance to try it and maybe even enjoy it!

Since the balcony was BANANAS, we decided to grab a growler of the Pour Me Something Mistah and take it to the neutral ground up by 8th street to enjoy while the parade went by. Since it was probably a good half hour from the beer pouring at the Pub to us drinking it al fresco, it was allowed to warm a bit, which I think is good with most beers, but especially a beer like PMSM.

Pours a rich brown with a hint of dark red highlight hidden in there. Plenty of light brown foam and lacing that slowly dissipates. The aroma is just beautiful.  Gorgeous citra hop presence mingled with the slightest bit of roasty maltiness. The marriage between the roast malts and the hops continues into the taste.Very easy to drink. Firm but not overwhelming bitterness. Roastiness with a hint of bitter orange- like a fine dark chocolate with orange flavor. Body is perfectly balanced- not heavy and thick, but not thin.  Mouthfeel- very pleasant to drink, sensation-wise, in the mouth, over the tongue, down the throat.  A really well made beer, in my opinion.  I had it in plastic yesterday at the parades, and enjoyed it just drinking and cheering at the floats and boogy-ing to the music.  Today, I've got the rest of the growler to pour in my Spiegelau beer glass to savor and appreciate.

I hear tell the Avenue Pub sold 18 kegs of this beer yesterday, which does not surprise me. Especially with the temperatures in the 30s and 40s, it's a great beer to warm you up, even though at ~7.8% it is a pretty mellow parade warmer.  Which is good, because Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint, so I think that the spirit of its drinkability also was executed perfectly!

Honestly, this is a beer that just makes me happy.  The story, the labor of love, the taste, and the feel of it in my belly and the lingering aftertaste in my mouth. Thanks to Stone and NOLA Brewing- my favorite throw, and it's made locally instead of China.  IN YOUR FACE, GLOBALISM!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Avenue Pub + Mardi Gras= fun times!

Man, I am excited for Mardi Gras, especially since it looks like the option exists to drink amazing beer while enjoying the parades. I posted this info to the other blog I write for, but I wanted to put it on here too.

The Avenue Pub has taken the first week of Mardi Gras to line up some great beer events. This is the weekend that the balcony is open to the public. They, of course, want their best beer customers up there and the best way to get them to show up and watch the parades with us is to line up some great beers. Drinking the beers will get you access to the balcony for the parades (first come first serve of course).  No problem!

Friday Feb 10th
Saint Arnolds night: Divine Reserve 11 & the rollout of their newest beer: Bitter Belgian.
Krewe of Oshun parade start 6pm, by the pub by 8pm
Click here for more info and to RSVP

Saturday Feb 11th
Stone Brewing & NOLA collaboration rollout:”Pour Me Somethin’ Mistah” on cask and in draft. Plus a couple of other goodies that Stone is sending and a special cask of NOLA’s wheat with grains of paradise (a combination inspired by me, which I am super psyched about!)
(Also, there may or may not be a camera crew filming me for a pilot episode of a documentary.)
Krewe of Ponchatrian parade Start 2pm, by the Pub 3:30pm
Krewe of Sparta parade start 6pm, by the Pub 7:30pm
Krewe of Pygmalion parade start 6:45pm, by the Pub 8:30pm
Click here for more information and to RSVP

Sunday Feb 12th
Sierra Nevada Releases Torpedo on Draft!
Krewe of Carrollton parade start 12 noon, by the pub 1:30pm
Krewe of King Arthur parade start 1pm by the Pub 3pm
Click here for more information and to RSVP

Wednesday Feb 15th
Abita night!
Rum Barrel Aged Abbey Ale & Double dry hopped Jackamo on cask.
Krewe of Druids parade start 6:30, by the pub 8pm
Krewe of Nyx, parade start 7pm, by the pub 8:30.
Click here for more information and to RSVP

NOLA Krewe du Brew Bar Crawl - Feb. 4

Exciting news for all you have been awaiting the release of this years's Flambeau Red Ale by NOLA Brewing.  This hoppy red ale is released only at Carnival time, so it is only fitting that it be debuted just prior to the Krewe du Vieux parade on Satruday, February 4.

The Krewe du Brew Bar Crawl is set to begin promptly at 1:00pm starting at R-Bar (1431 Royal St). From R-Bar the Bar Crawl will then head over to Balcony Music Club (1331 Decatur St) at 2:30. After Balcony Music Club the Bar Crawl will meet at Turtle Bay (1119 Decatur St) at 3:45. Then to end the Bar Crawl everyone will meet at Molly's at the Market (1107 Decatur St) at 5:00. Each bar will be serving the Flambeau Red for $3.00 a pint during our hour there. The Krewe du Vieux Parade starts at 6:30 so everyone will be in perfect position.

The "Mardi Gras on Fire" theme of the crawl pays homage to the imagry evoked by the name of the beer. Flambeau are lighted torches that would be carried during night Mardi Gras parades to illuminate the floats.  Costumes for the theme are highly encouraged!

As far as the beer itself, Flambeau Red Ale™ differs from the classic red ale style by the addition of a rich malt bill and hops. “We feel the hop addition plays well with the mix of pale and dark malts to create balanced, hoppy red ale,” said Kirk Coco President of NOLA Brewing Company.

It's realllllllllly good, probably my favorite NOLA Beer.  (so far- there's talk of a double IPA called Mechahopzilla coming out soon, so my mind may well be blown on that!)

I'll be there at 1pm at the R Bar- hope to see you there too!