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!!