Friday, November 27, 2009

Parish Brewing - Coming Soon!

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Tuesday evening Jay, Eusebio, and I headed down to Broussard, LA (just a little south of Lafayette) to meet Andrew Godley, the founder of Parish Brewing.  One of Jay's former teaching co-workers Ben met us there as well with his wife.  Andrew was kind enough to welcome us into his home to talk about his brewery project and let us taste several different types of his beer.  He even cooked for us, some delicious bacon-wrapped duck breasts, chicken-apple sausage, and stuffed mushrooms.  I love good food as much as the next guy, but I'm not going to focus on that, I'll leave it to Jay and Eusebio.

We started off with a variation of the Parish Bierre Blanc, an ultra-pale ale dry-hopped with west coast hops.  Andrew admitted that he wasn't too fond of this experiment, and we all agreed that it was the weakest of the brews we tried.  Super bitter and dry tasting, tasted a lot like grapefruit up front.  Crisp, and not far away from being a very refreshing ale, but this one needs more work.

Next we tried Andrew's pilsner, a superbly refreshing lagered brew that struck us all as what a true American pilsner should taste like.  For those unaware 'lagering' a beer involves fermentation at much colder temperatures, which takes significantly longer to produce than a more typical ale.  As much as we hate to say it, it was like a Budweiser if they didn't water it down for the masses.  Definitely enjoyed this one, but we were just getting warmed up.

After the pilsner we tried some of the Parish Oktoberfest.  Andrew tried a different method with this, creating an Oktoberfest ale instead of the normal Märzen style of lager.  Very much amber in color, with lots of rich malt flavors and well balanced with the hops.  This reminded me a good bit of the Heiner brau Märzen, which I've found to be their best beer.  I think that Parish Brewing will do quite well with this one as it is. 

Fourth on the list was the Parish specialty, the Canebrake ale, brewed with Louisiana sugarcane.  I love the idea of using local ingredients as much as possible, and this is a delicious example of doing just that.  I think Andrew is still perfecting the right amount of sugarcane (or raw molasses made from the sugarcane) to use in the brew, and in the sample we tried I think the beer could have used even more sweet flavor from the molasses.  I'm confident the perfectionist in him will find the right balance to really make this a spectacular favorite among local beer.  

Last we tried the Pumpkin Patch ale, which was definitely the highlight of the night.  I've tried many a pumpkin beer in my day and this is right up there with the best.  Similar to the Canebrake ale, Andrew used only fresh pumpkin to create the flavor of the beer, and it didn't miss.  Just the right amount of spice and sweet to go with the beer flavor.  What I like best about this and all of the Parish beers is that they are unmistakably beer.  They aren't trying to be something more or different, just good beer crafted to be the best they can be.  


 Again, thanks very much to Andrew and his wife for hosting us for the evening, the beer was delicious, and the food and company was top notch as well.  I look forward to seeing some Parish beer on tap sometime next year, and you all should look foward to it as well.  It'll be nice to have another solid local option for tasty brews!

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