Friday, September 12, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Terrapin RecreationAle

Alright alright alright, Terrapin Brewing is back up on Feature Beer Friday! for the second time. About a month ago we featured the Terrapin Hopsecutioner, their flagship IPA, and it received generally good scores, with a 77 from yours truly. Terrapin has been one of my favorite additions to the Louisiana market in recent years.  I find that their year-round beers are all worth buying and I've for the most part enjoyed their seasonals and special releases.

Up today is their RecreationAle, which they describe as a "Session Ale" without labeling it as an IPA or pale ale.  I guess it's really up to you as to how it fits, but I'd consider it a pale ale personally. Most importantly, it's only 4.7% abv, which is ideal for tailgating season! In fact, I think it's become my tailgating beer of choice, with affordable 12-packs of cans available around Baton Rouge.

Enough blabber, let's review...

Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Brenton Day (The Ale Runner), Chuck Pierce (Me And My Big Mouth), and Buddy Ethridge.

Serving: 12 oz. can.

Appearance: Deep golden, a little more hazy than Hopsecutioner I think. Hopsecutioner probably gains a little clarity through a longer secondary dry-hopping? Just a guess...

Hoppy, with grapefruit and citrus dominating.

Taste: More hoppy, with those grapefruit notes still coming through. There is a little malt base sweetness, but at only 4.7% there really shouldn't be too much.

Ridiculously easy drinking.

Overall: An excellent session pale ale/IPA.
I imagine this being in my tailgating rotation for years to come.

Overall Rating: 72.5
My Rating: 78

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Upcoming Beer Events! - Louisiana Brewers Bash, Brew At The Zoo, Beefstock, And More...

Hey everyone, time to start spreading the word about a few upcoming beer events in the area.  

September 22-28th - Louisiana Craft Brewers Week - All Over - It's that time of year again, I'll keep everyone up to date when specific events in Baton Rouge are announced, but I know of one in New Orleans for sure... 

September 24th - Louisiana Brewers Bash - The Irish House in New Orleans - Louisiana Craft Brewers Week is September 22-28, and this might be the only event that will feature 9 commercially producing Louisiana breweries.  For those keeping score at home, that's almost all of them, but unfortunately it appears that Great Raft won't be making the trip down. The event is being hosted by Jay Ducote of Bite And, with food from Chef Matt Murphy of The Irish House.  I'll be at this event for sure, I'm excited to see what sort of special releases and casks our local breweries can come up with.

October 10th - Brew At The Zoo - BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo -  Another beer festival, this one at the Baton Rouge Zoo and yes, it will be featuring the local homebrew clubs. The commercial beer list is pretty typical, featuring a lot of local and regional beers plus the bigger craft beers available in the area, but the real standout should be the homebrew stations.  I know I'll be there serving up some beer with Brasseurs A La Maison, and I expect the other local clubs to be there as well.  

October 17th - Great Raft's 1-Year Anniversary Party - Great Raft Brewing Company - I'm unlikely to make it up there, but this should be a great time.  They have been working on several more limited release bombers and draft specialties, and for those who haven't been, the tap room is beautiful. The guys and gals up at Great Raft have been kicking ass, so if you ever find yourself up in Shreveport for this weekend or any other, check them out.

November 2nd - Beefstock - Tin Roof Brewing Company - Alright, so this one is more about the beef, but it is being held at Tin Roof, and everyone that attends gets some complimentary beer, plus the tap room is almost certainly going to be open by then. So, try plenty of beef, drink some beer, and catch some tunes. 

November 22nd - Grand Reserve Day - Parish Brewing Company - I don't know the details yet, but mark your calendars. Last year's event was a great time, and I'll likely be going again.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Founders Porter

Founders Brewing is another relatively new arrival to the Louisiana craft beer portfolio, and this will be their first appearance on Feature Beer Friday! They are known for being one of the better craft breweries in the country, and their star is the Kentucky Breakfast Stout, a bourbon-barrel aged version of their regular Breakfast Stout.  We saw a little of this when they first came to Louisiana and likely will again, but in the meantime we have plenty to choose from out of their regular lineup. 

First up is their regular porter, nothing special about this one, no crazy flavors added, no barrel aging, just a straight up porter. In their words, "Pours silky black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. No absence of hops gives Founders’ robust porter the full flavor you deserve and expect. Cozy like velvet. It’s a lover, not a fighter." It's a respectable 45 IBU and 6.5% abv, so it's probably not a session porter, but that doesn't mean you can't have more than one!

Let's review...

Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Brenton Day (The Ale Runner), Chuck Pierce (Me And My Big Mouth), and Buddy Ethridge.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Dark, nice head, you can't see through it, so it has some thickness to it.

Roasted coffee notes dominate, but Brenton could pick out some hops in there as well.

Taste: Rich, with more coffee and roasted malt notes. We all used those same terms so it was a unanimous approval on the taste of this one.

This one lingers with a little bitterness from the hops and roasted barley. The alcohol doesn't show up at all, so it's very well balanced.

Overall: An excellent porter, and just what we would expect from Founders.

Overall Rating: 80.75
My Rating: 83

Friday, August 29, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Lazy Magnolia Lazy Saison

This review will mark our second review from the oldest brewery in Mississippi, Lazy Magnolia Brewing. Lazy Magnolia is a brewery out of Kiln, Mississippi, just a short drive down I-12/I-10 from here and an easy day trip. In fact, Mandi and I made the drive not too long ago and I wrote a post about our visits to Lazy Mag, Crooked Letter, and Mississippi Brewing.

The Lazy Saison is one of Lazy Magnolia's four current seasonals, available during the Spring. It's a Belgian-style saison with minimal bitterness and a robust 8.9% abv. You might be able to find it on tap, but you should definitely see some in bottles when the release rolls around.

And on to the review...

Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Brenton Day (The Ale Runner), Chuck Pierce (Me And My Big Mouth), and Buddy Ethridge.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Deep golden and a little on the clear side for a saison.

Funky with some bubble gum sweetness. Brenton thought it smelled a little boozy and Buddy thought it smelled a little spicy.

Taste: More bubble gum sweetness with some fantastic spice at the end.   

A rather unique finish, easy drinking despite the abv, but it disappeared a little after the first hit.

Overall: This isn't a bad beer at all, but it seemed more like a Belgian tripel to us than a saison.  With its strong abv, this could get really sneaky if you bring it out to a crawfish boil next spring, but I also think it would really pair well.

Overall Rating: 66.75
My Rating: 67

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beer University at The Chimes

As some of you might have heard or seen, the Chimes Around The World program is no longer with us. This definitely makes me a little sad as I remember the old days with the beer-stained cards that we would fill out as we tried various beers from all sorts of different countries and always finished it off with a Little Kings Cream Ale. I don't know how that became a tradition, I think it goes back to when my cousin Travis and I finished our first round of Around The World and somehow ended up on that beer as #60, from there on out it was always the clincher.  

I managed it three times on my own, plus twice more as part of my kickball team's celebration and attempt at going Around The World in one night.  We'd bring 12 or more team members and friends, get a big table, and knock out 60 in a night, earning "Pirates Of The Caribballin'" a couple of plaques if you look for them. Great times, great memories, the problem is, not a whole lot of great beer. Unfortunately a lot of those offerings from random countries were quite mediocre. I'm not saying all the foreign beer was bad, because there are plenty of imports that are excellent, but in order to get to 20 countries you had to suck it up a few times and drink some swill.

Tyler, the current beer manager at The Chimes on campus, recognized this problem, and realized that if The Chimes was going to return to glory as a craft beer bar, they were going to have to ditch all the foreign filler. So it was out with Around The World, and in with Beer University.  

Rather than drinking 60 beers from 20 countries, in order to complete your "undergraduate degree," you need to drink 50 different beers from up to 15 "courses" such as Beginner Pale Ale, Intro to Imperial Stouts, or Study Abroad Germany.  In conjunction with their Beer U, the Chimes is now also offering all of their beers in 10 oz. pours as well as their traditional 20 oz. imperial pints.

Once you complete your undergraduate degree, you get a Chimes t-shirt, but then the fun begins and you can go for your Beer U Masters and PhD.  Tyler told me that those "degrees" are going to require some of the specialty beers that come through, the more rare stuff like Parish's Ghost In The Machine or a keg of Bourbon County Stout.  Once those advanced degrees are completed you can get your name up on the wall just like they used to do for Around The World.  

All in all I think it's a good program, and it's a great thing to see the foreign filler depart in place of more American craft and quality foreign beers. I'll be working toward my degree, I'm already 5 beers in!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz

Alright, time to visit a much maligned (in America at least) beer style, the pilsner.  This particular example is by Southern Tier Brewing out of New York... yes, Southern Tier is in New York. This will actually be Southern Tier's pace-setting 5th appearance on Feature Beer Friday!, following the Hop Sun, 2XIPA, Live, and Pumking.  That's plenty of Southern Tier, but I can't say that it's a bad thing.  They are a great addition to the local craft beer selection.

The Eurotrash Pilz is their Spring seasonal, so the timing of this post is a bit off, but it'll be something to bump on a throwback Thursday when the release rolls around.  They describe their beer as a "lightly carbonated, malty pilsner, and is perfect for session drinking." It's obviously a pilsner in style, and they use lager yeast, two types of hops, and two types of malts.  Presumably pilsner malt and I don't know about the second... and I'd certainly guess that both hops are of the noble variety.  

Let's see how it goes...

Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Brenton Day (The Ale Runner), Chuck Pierce (Me And My Big Mouth), and Buddy Ethridge.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Clear, golden, nice head... typical pilsner.

 Grassy, a little sweet, not a lot of hops, and the sweetness from the malt definitely is the dominant flavor.

Taste: Very similar to the nose, a little grassy and malty sweet. I think this could definitely use some more hops, and we reviewed this one back in April, so it wasn't old at the time.   

 Easy drinking, no bad aftertaste, thin, but it's supposed to be on the thin side.

Overall: It's a well done pilsner, but I think that only gets you so far in these ratings. I'd absolutely drink this over the BMC of the world, without thinking twice.  It's to style, easy to drink, low in abv for a sessionable experience, and there's nothing bad about it. If this was in cans I'd be a lot more likely to buy more of these next spring.

Overall Rating: 55.75
My Rating: 53

Friday, August 15, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Terrapin Hopsecutioner

And now some more hops, but this brew is available in Louisiana these days, the Terrapin Hopsecutioner. Terrapin is a brewery out of Athens, GA that has been available in Louisiana for a little while now.  They can be found on tap in several places around town and in bottles at any store with a good selection.  Plus they have cans of their session pale ale, RecreationAle, available in 12-packs.  We'll be visiting that brew on a coming Feature Beer Friday! so be sure to check back. 

Hopsecutioner is the strongest of Terrapin's year-round selections, although their seasonal and special releases also make it to Baton Rouge from time to time.  Hopsecutioner is at 7.3%, so like last week's Jai Alai, it's toeing the line between IPA and DIPA, but I see nothing wrong with that.  They list it at 71 IBU, with Warrior, Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Cascade hops.  That's quite the list, I expect it to be dank with those hops... let's see how it is for real...
Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Brenton Day (The Ale Runner), Chuck Pierce (Me And My Big Mouth), and Buddy Ethridge.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Deeper amber than the Jai Alai but still in the same color range, appears to be filtered, less hazy for sure.

Earthy and citric, Brenton picked up some pine notes, but Buddy found the aroma a little thin and weak.

Taste: A little sweet, but I still thought the hops all came through and worked very well together.  

Easy drinking, very similar finish to Jai Alai, another smooth IPA. 

Overall: Another excellent IPA, although we all scored this one a little lower than Jai Alai, if we came back another day that might change. Taste, especially for hops, can be so subjective, but consider this a great locally available and southern-brewed IPA.

Overall Rating: 65.75
My Rating: 77