All work and all play make Nora something-something.

... Go crazy? Don't mind if I do!

I kid! Although ACBW was a very busy week and I got pretty tired by the end of it, everything was so much fun. Great beers, great people, great general vibe. Yesterday's Grand Tasting at the Avenue Pub was the showcase event of the week, and I think Polly and her amazing staff pulled off a high quality and smooth running event.

There were so many beers. Beers on draft, rare bottles, cask ales, jockey boxes with experimental beers from NOLA Brewing and Covington Brewhouse. It was hard to choose what to spend the 15 pours I had available on my pre-purchased ticket. We got there before 2pm, set ourselves up at a table upstairs in the back room, and held court for various beer folks that would drop by and chat about the beers - sharing tips for what to be sure to get, comparing notes on beers already tried, and also just goofing off and having fun.

It's difficult to recap the event in great detail, but it was definitely well attended (a record breaking year, I hear tell) but the crowd was manageable (during the afternoon/early evening hours we were there at any rate.) Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, and even if there was a line for beer, the staff was able to serve quickly and courteously, which kept the lines moving along.

Prairie Somewhere

A few of the highlights, beer-wise: The Prairie Somewhere (Prairie Ales and St. Somewhere collaboration.) (Phenomenal.) Stillwater Debauched, Saint Arnold's Bishops Barrel #2, Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 9, Tin Roof James Blonde (their Blonde Ale made with British yeast.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I would love to see the British yeast project be a permanent part of Tin Roof's lineup. I think that the British yeast works so much better with Tin Roof's wort than their current one. I can honestly see the Parliament Pale and James Blonde being my go-to everyday local beers.

I tried my darndest to convince Jon from Tin Roof of this while he was hanging out with us, I don't know if it did any good though!

Blonde, James Blonde

I actually had a pint of the James Blonde with brunch today at the Avenue. I also had an omelette and the mushroom toast. I didn't pair the dishes with Abita (it was the Abita hangover brunch), but from what I heard, the pancake made with the Abita's Lemon Wheat beer was outstanding and it was a great ingredient for that.

Toast Aux Champions - button mushrooms sautéed with a cream and sherry reduction over buttered sourdough toast, served with a thin slice of grilled pancetta

Brie omelette over grilled asparagus and a traditional New Orleans hollandaise.

Abita Lemon Wheat Pancake with peanut butter, bananas, toasted walnuts,
organic honey and homemade whipped cream.
Headed home from brunch via Brewstock to pick up a few bottling supplies. Then, bottling day was in full effect! We got 19 bombers that I capped with bottle caps, which I hope ensures they are all carbonated by the time bottle conditioning is done. The beer smelled amazing from the Simcoe dryhopping and tasted great, so I have high hopes!

Tomorrow, while not technically a part of ACBW, there will be a quite nice event at the Avenue: the pouring of New Belgium beers on draft. At 3pm, the downstairs will start pouring: Lips of Faith-Brewery Vivant collaboration Biere de Garde, Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, Shift Pale Lager, and Sunshine Wheat. At 5pm, the upstairs bar will start pouring: Lips of Faith Biere de Mars, Tripel, Fat Tire, and 1554 (New Belgium's black ale.)

And on Tuesday, my first regular column on the Gambit blog will be published! It will be every Tuesday and it's called "Brewsday Tuesday." Check it out and spread the word!