Cask Beer Celebration in New Orleans

So this past weekend marked the 3 year anniversary of the first cask conditioned ale made by NOLA Brewing being served at The Avenue Pub. According to Polly Watts, owner of the Avenue Pub, you couldn't find cask ale anywhere in Louisiana prior to that. As I am a huge fan of cask ale, NOLA Brewing, and the Avenue Pub, you can imagine that the event planned to commemorate this would be relevant to my interests.

The plan was a "Cask Crawl" on St. Charles Ave- NOLA would provide casks to both the Avenue Pub and the Irish House down the street. The weather even took a break from being either steamy or stormy, and just  was mild and comfortable. So, I was looking forward to this event... until I read the description of the one at the Pub. "Peter's Perfect Phirkin"... a Hurricane Saison cask complimented by pineapple, papaya, plums, poblano peppers, peychaud bitters, and dry hopped with Perle hops.

OMG, I thought it sounded hideous. I first thought that I just wouldn't go to the Pub. Then I decided I would go to the Pub and just drink mass quantities of Thornbridge Hall Kipling New Zealand Pale Ale. Then, after ducking people asking me if I liked it, and skirting the truth to outright lying, I decided I needed to woman up and try the damn beer. People were drinking it and enjoying it, so I figured it wouldn't kill me at any rate.

I was surprised to discover that the beer was actually quite balanced and very interesting. The fruit flavors were very subtle, and sort of blended with the saison yeast flavors, and the poblano pepper was more prominent, but still quite subtle. It kind of came together to form a not-unpleasant funk, and I was glad I wasn't scared off. I probably wouldn't ever drink multiple pints of it, but in Peter's own inimitable mad-scientist fashion, he really celebrated this anniversary of the cask by pushing the boundaries of what make a good beer.

I will always remember this beer whenever I hear of anything made by brewers I trust that sounds horrible, and I hope that I will remember that it's worth it to put aside preconceptions and give it a go.

The second cask beer of the night was at the Irish House, which was serving Billy's "Just Peachy," a wheat base with peaches and lavender and honey. This was very tasty and lovely. The peaches and lavender were in very delicate balance and it was delicious, easy drinking. I drank several of them quite happily!

Also, in typical New Orleans fashion there was the Red Lingerie Bar Crawl (it was the night before the Red Dress Run) that coincided with our visit at the Irish House.

Kirk Coco, president of NOLA Brewing, surrounded by Red Lingerie Bar Crawlers
Lessons learned- don't assume anything until you try it, and burly dudes in red lingerie really can work it.