Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday: Four Sours and a Braggot (ACBW 5/15)

Another day, another 6 different beers sampled.

The Avenue Pub held its "Funky Town" sour beer sampling event. They had ten different sour/wild beers on deck, both served on draft and in the bottle. I bought a sample pour ticket and selected the following four:

Hill Farmstead / Fantome Five Sciences Collaboration.- Tasting Notes: When this beer arrived it was not ready to pour. Shelton brothers told us to cellar it for at least two months to allow the re-fermentation process to complete. Many shops put this beer on their shelves right away so people that tasted it then will have tried a completely different beer. Made with Fantome’s famous wild yeast strains it has subtle grapeskin flavors and a lacing of smoke, strong carbonation and lightly tart. Nora's Notes: A very delicate and subtly complex beer, practically dissolving on the tongue as soon as I took a sip. This was a beer that I would have liked to have more time and ounces to get acquainted with. I definitely got the hit of smoke in this beer, which was a nice part of the flavor profile.

Tickle Me Ale-Mo

Against the Grain Tickle Me Ale-Mo – Funky Red Ale from Kentucky. 7.9% ABV. Brewer's Tasting Notes: Starting with a solid, but not unusual, red ale, we threw in some acidulated malt to tang it up a bit. We then took the tang way over the edge by adding a lactobacillus starter that began metabolizing the sugars to leave lactic acid and other pleasant tart compounds. We then added just enough hops to balance the remaining sugars, boiled the brew to kill the bacterial inoculation, and fermented with ale yeast. Post-fermentation we added French oak spirals for aging. The result is tangy, spicy, tannic, malty deliciousness. Nora's Notes: The brewer's notes are as long as a Tickle Me Elmo bedtime story, but I think they're good to have on hand because this is a very unusual beer. Coming on right after the delicate Five Sciences, the first sip of this hit me as very muscular due to its malty backbone. There was a lot going on. Not very subtly, but I enjoyed this unique beer that defies categorical definition.

Jolly Pumpkin SobrehumanoTasting Notes: From Michigan this is a wild ale made in collaboration with Maui Brewing. Brewed with Michigan sour cherries and the liliko’i ( passion fruit). 6% ABV. Nora's Notes: This beer was the most face-puckering sour that I sampled last night. Yum..

Hill Farmstead La VermontoiseTasting Notes: The result of a collaboration with one of our favorite Belgian Saison brewers, Blaugies. Herbal cloves and yeast. Nora's Notes: Sadly, my pour was the dregs of a bottle so it was really, really cloudy with yeast and lots of sediment floating around in it. I saw other samples being poured and they were clear, so I have to assume that my tasting of this was different than it would be usually.

The other available options were: Stillwater's Lower Dens, Local Option Gose (which was VERY intriguing to me), New Belgium la Folie, New Belgium Cascara Quad, New Belgium Heavenly Feijoa Tripel, and Saint Arnold Bishops Barrel #2 (will be keeping an eye out for this too.)

After my samples, I hopped downtown to Frenchmen Street to get to d.b.a. and try a crazy cask of a Bayou Teche beer that they haven't even released yet (and don't plan to for another several months). Their upcoming seasonal, Miel Sauvage is a honey strong ale called a braggot. I'll tell you, it's not very often you come across a braggot style of beer - it's an incredibly old style, dating back to medieval times at the very least. It was also on cask. It was also at d.b.a., which I hadn't been to yet (I KNOW!)

The Miel Sauvage will be at 10% ABV when it comes out on draft and in bombers. However, the cask last night was primed with maple syrup with ash wood added, and that extra bit of sugar in the maple syrup probably pushed it up to 11% or so. It definitely doesn't taste that big- it was dangerously drinkable. It was too sweet for Tom's palate, but I didn't get that at all. I thought if finished pretty dry with the maple and honey flavors subtly present. It wasn't heavy or boozy/hot. I was quite impressed with it. I had two pints and enjoyed them both quite a bit.

d.b.a.

I was able to try styles of beer last night that are rare or even not really existing! ACBW is really going strong here in New Orleans. I also had just the best time at d.b.a. The vibe was mellow, the beer selection was great, the Tin Men were playing, and I was drinking a one-of-a-kind beer. Bonus: they had Brooklyn Pennant Ale on draft! In conclusion, that was my happy place.

On tap for tonight- things are ramping up even more!

Avenue Pub
5 p.m. — Hop Head Night with: NOLA Double Dry Hopped Mechahopzilla on gravity, Tin Roof Double Dry Hopped Juke Joint IPA, Stone Double Dry Hopped Ruination, Double Bastard with Toasted Oak, and Enjoy By... Lazy Magnolia Double Dry Hopped Timber Beast on cask, Brash & Ska Collaboration Skankin Dirty, Brash The Bollocks Double IPA, Sierra Nevada Hoptimum and Southern Hemisphere.

Barley Oak
6 p.m.-8 p.m. — Three Abita casks available: Buffalo Trace Turbodog cask, Belgian Style Golden Ale cask, and ZSB-Zach's Special Bitter cask. Also free Abita glassware

The Bulldog Mid-City
5 p.m.-7 p.m. — Special release of Ommegang Three Philosophers, BPA, and Art of Darkness
7 p.m. — East Coast Tap Takeover – featuring brews from Brooklyn, Harpoon, Ommegang, and Shmaltz.

Bulldog Uptown
6 p.m.-7 p.m. — Abita cask of Vanilla Double Dog 25th Anniversary Brew and free Abita glassware.
8 p.m. — West Coast Tap Takeover – featuring brews from Sierra Nevada, Stone, Green Flash, Rogue, and Moylan’s.

Evangeline (329 Decatur St., 504-908-8008; www.evangelinenola.com)
7 p.m.-9 p.m. — Special casks in the beer garden featuring Chili Pepper aged Blonde Tin Roof and a Bayou Teche firkin of Biere Noire. Food pairing samples will be available.

Irish House
7 p.m. — three course beer dinner with NOLA Brewing. $45. Limited seating, call 504-595-6755 for reservations. Menu can be found here.

Irish House
Small plate pairing, $11. Covington Strawberry Ale with BBQ oysters

Swamp Room
6:30 p.m. — Abita cask of Buffalo Trace Turbodog ($4.00 pints) and free Abita glassware.

I'll be at the Avenue early on to try some IPAs and get a pint of this years Saison Diego from Green Flash, one of my favorite session beers, and then heading downtown again to Evangeline for local beer on cask with yummy food. Their courtyard is beautiful and I hope tonight continues the trend of being perfect to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking!

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