Showing posts from April, 2012

Brewing Bigshot Interview Series: Brock Wagner, St. Arnold's Brewing

Once Upon A Time...I met Nicole, the Louisiana sales and marketing rep for St. Arnold's Brewing on a fine Friday evening when she bought me a pint of their Elyssa IPA on cask. We sat and talked about the brewery and its beers, and the events that St. Arnold's was hosting. We started talking about the passion and vision of the founder, Brock Wagner, and she mentioned that she thought he'd agree to be interviewed by me.

Sure enough, about a week or so later, I got an email from Nicole to set up the phone interview. Which... I  forgot about because I got so slammed at work. Both Nicole and Brock were very gracious about understanding that I am juggling a full time job alongside this SUPER GLAMOROUS blogging gig, and I was able to reschedule for the next morning.

The following morning, I called Brock at his office and, after profusely apologizing to the point of probable annoyance, I busted out my best mad interview skillz.

A little background (gleaned from my careful review …

New brews coming to town!

This past week, the news broke that Green Flash from San Diego would be entering the New Orleans market, hopefully in late May-early June.  The details on the whens and wheres are still To Be Announced.

Also, I just found out that Parish Brewing Company, who have been nanobrewing up in the Lafayette Parish for a couple years out of the founder's garage, and have recently build a really truly actual brewery, will be rolling out throughout the New Orleans market between May 24-26. They will be getting some kegs to the Avenue Pub during American Beer Craft Week starting on Wednesday May 16, so we'll get a little sneak peek of what's been driving our neighbors wild these past couple of years! Congrats guys, I'm glad you'll be able to expand your production and am looking forward to having more local craft beer choices.

So, I'm excited about the continuation of the craft beer movement in New Orleans!  These are both very promising developments and all beer lovers he…


Hey, I got quoted in the Times Picayune on my thoughts about beer in fine dining.  It all started whenTodd Price tweeted looking for suggestions of restaurants with good beer lists, and I think I sent him like 8 tweets worth of info. He contacted me and asked me a bunch of questions, and voila! Quoted as an expert.


Exciting food news at the Avenue Pub this Sunday!

I'm cross-posting between my two blogs because EXCITING BBQ at my FAVORITE BEER BAR! (The Avenue Pub)

Read all about Rob and NOLA Smokehouse here.

Here's the FB invite for the pop up this weekend. Go drink some beer and eat some BBQ!

Easter Keg Hunt and Session Beer Day!

We had the most fun Easter Saturday/Session Beer Day. NOLA Brewing sponsors a fundraiser for the Gulf Restoration Network every year that involves teams going on a scavenger hunt (costumes and unique team names are encouraged) throughout a particular neighborhood until arriving at the final destination, where the NOLA beer flows freely. Tom and I joined up with a fellow beer geek and homebrewer, Dan, and a friend of his from out of town, Erin. Since we are pretty deficient in the costuming creativity department, we just wore our regular clothes and called ourselves the Damn Yankees.

Tom and I bicycled over to the Howlin' Wolf, which was the starting point. We had a couple of beers. Sadly, I chose to drink a non-session beer, the NOLA Blonde, which came in at 4.9%. I KNOW.  Anyway, here's a picture of us at the start:

There were tons of fun costumes: Devilled Keggs, The NOLA Mix Sixpack, bunny rabbits galore, Sexy Jesus, carrots, and Peeps!  The Peeps (which included our friend…

Session Beer Spotlight #9: Coniston Brewing Bluebell Bitter


I love cask and bottled conditioned bitters SO MUCH. And this one is so very tasty. Tom found it at Martin's Wine Cellar on Magazine Street earlier this week and I have been gleefully anticipating drinking it ever since.

The whole concept of the "ordinary" bitter is what session beer is all about. It's traditionally a low ABV (this particular beer is 4.2%, but the bitters over in England tend to be around 3%.), meant to be enjoyed through the day and/or night while socializing at the pub. It's delicious and easy drinking. Bluebell has a fresh grassy quality in the maltiness, and the Challenger hops definitely add a gentle bite  Super smooth. In my semi-professional opinion, YUM.

The fact that the bitter is bottle conditioned really does make it taste and feel like a cask ale. I just love it and would drink it all the time if it weren't for the fact that it was around $5 for a 25 oz bottle.  I salute Shelton Brothers for bringing this wonderful beer…

Session Beer Spotlight #8: Blanche De Bruxelles

Today, tasting a Belgian beer with low ABV! (4.5%) It's a witbier, (specifically a farmer's beer called "Witteke") which is not usually my favorite style, but I gotta say, this example is actually pretty tasty. Awesome on a warm day. A pale straw yellow, unfiltered beer brewed with orange peel and coriander, the spice and citrus notes are present in the nose and taste, along with the flavors from the yeast which is typical of the style.

This is one of those beers that you can totally drink tons of on hot summer days all day long and it would taste refreshing and not get you too hammered. The spice/lemon/yeast taste is definitely there, but it's not overbearing or cloying. It drinks crisp and clean and is thirst quenching.

I'm pretty pleased about it! Definitely a nice surprise and I'm sure we'll be drinking it this summer.

Session Beer Spotlight #7: High & Mighty Divine Brown

OK, I know I've already blogged about High & Mighty this week, but hell, they do so many awesome session beers, I figured I'd give a go at another one of their special bottles. I also had wanted to do as many different styles of session ales as possible, and although this may seem to be the same style- Brown Ale - as NOLA Brown, you'll soon discover that the two share only the word "brown" in their name, session beer ABVs, and outstanding deliciousness. Trying both beers definitely shows the range that is possible in executing a brown ale style- a style often overlooked as not being sexy enough for today's craft beer drinkers. Divine Brown will change that mindset, without going big in the ABV department.

Purchased at Stein's Deli, the beer is 4.5% and pours a lighter shade of brown than I'd expected. Creamy half-inch head that retained throughout the enjoyment of the glass. The bottle alludes to the beer being brewed with oats and coffee, kind o…

Session Beer Spotlight #6: O'Hara's Irish Stout

Back when we lived in Massachusetts, we'd go to a Belgian- and hophead- heavy bar in Brookline called the Publick House. This place was actually a hike from where we lived in Salem, so when we went, one of us would partake of the high gravity beers and one of us (whoever was driving the 30-40 minutes back home <cough> Tom </cough>) would enjoy the only session beer available, O'Hara's Irish Stout.  It's 4.3% and actually, probably our favorite Irish stout out there, regardless of ABV.  (I like it better than Guinness, better than Murphy's. Hmm, gotta try some Beamish again someday soon.)

Brewed by Carlow Brewing Company, and purchased at Stein's this evening, the O'Hara stout is as dark as a ginger's soul and twice as tasty. Poured beautifully into a Sam Adams fancy glass with a good inch of latte colored head, Excellent roasty malt flavors, smooth creamy mouthfeel, finishes dry and crisp with a touch of hop bitterness at the end there. As …

Session Beer Spotlight #5: High & Mighty Fumata Bianca

There are a few words that will pretty much compel Tom and I to grab a beer to try: for me, that word is "rye" and for Tom, those words are "Franconian lager" and "smoked".  And at 4.5%, this High & Mighty homage to a Franconian lager with smoked white rye is a session beer draw for us both.

For as smokey the taste is, I can't discern any smoke on the nose. It pours a pale straw yellow and has a light bodied mouthfeel. The fact that it is so full of smoke flavor and is so light is remarkable. Almost like smoke dissipating on the tongue. It's like nothing I've ever tasted before, which is exciting.

I love that a brewer can do such creative things without having to go big on the ABV. This is such a crazy, playful, light bodied, flavorful beer that I've never had the likes of which before and that just makes me so happy to try. Is this something that I would drink several of while hanging out at the bar? Probably not, because I don't…

Session Beer Spotlight #4: North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner

I was actually planning to write about Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse today, because I'd heard it was a session beer, only to find out that it is 5% and therefore exceeds the cutoff of 4.5% ABV as set forth by the Session Beer Project (which I find entirely reasonable as a cutoff, I'm just disappointed the Berliner Weisse doesn't qualify, because that is a tasty beer with a very interesting history.)

However, I also tasted another beer today that actually does qualify as a session beer, so I am still on schedule with my Session-Beer-A-Day-Writeup project. That beer is North Coast's Scrimshaw Pilsner, and at 4.4% ABV, it qualifies with a tenth of a point to spare! It's a traditionally brewed Pilsner that uses German hops (Hallertauer and Tettnang) and Munich malt.

Today began a stretch of humid days in the 80s that is supposed to last all week long here in New Orleans. Very fitting that Tom and I enjoyed a beer so well suited for the weather! It has a c…