Monday, January 31, 2011

One Month... Resolution Check-In

Alright, one month down... 7 "resolution" or goals if you will, and let's revisit and see how I'm doing.

1.  Visit more breweries: Two down, four to go.  I've stopped by Tin Roof Brewery twice and also visited Andrew over at Parish Brewing.  That post will be coming shortly.  Very much on pace for this one.

2.  Get published somewhere other than my own blog: Nothing on this front really.  I've been featured in a few twitter daily publications, but that's just a reprint of a blog post, so while it's pretty awesome to get my posts out there more, it doesn't really satisfy my goals here.  Oh well, plenty of time.

3.  Keep home-brewing:  Check.  I transferred Dustin and I's third beer to secondary fermentation and a 4th will be brewed shortly.  We also have a mead and cider fermenting.  Doing well with this one so far.

4.  Enter a home-brew contest: Nothing on this one yet, but we're still working on some recipes.  This will happen.

5.  Drink a beer stronger than I ever have before: Nope, not yet.  There really aren't TOO many out there stronger than 14%, so I'm going to have to really search for one of them.  Haven't seen any in Louisiana or my travels yet.

6.  Continue to get in better shape as I drink more beer: I guess I've been minimally productive on this one, running some and losing a few pounds.  I was traveling 3 weekends in January, so hopefully this will be better the next few months.

7.  Drink 365 new beers in 2011:  Well, this is day 31, and I've drank 31 new beers.  I have another 40 or so stockpiled, plus I'll keep looking for beers around town.  Right on pace.

So... I think I'm doing pretty well... I hope everyone else is keeping up with their resolutions and goals for 2011!

Reviews - Three Beers From Left Hand Brewing

And now, the first batch of beers from that beer run in Gainesville a few weeks ago.  They really had a great selection of beers I can't get in BR or in Houston, so I went a little nuts.  Among the beer haul was a trio of bombers from Left Hand Brewing out of Longmont, Colorado.  I've seen their beers in Alabama before, and now in Florida, but never in Louisiana unfortunately.  I've tried a few of their 12 oz. brews in the past, the Milk Stout and Oktoberfest for sure, among a few others, but never any of these three.  Last time I had any was a trip to Alabama a few years back and they can't have anything larger than 16 ounces, so these 22 ounce bombers would have been illegal!  Poor Alabama... at least they're not Mississippi.

Warrior IPA: A well above average IPA, hoppy up front with just a subtle hint of some caramel malts.  Very citric on the tongue, but not so bitter than I didn't want to keep drinking.  It's brewed with all Colorado hops, giving it a little different feel than most IPAs using Pacific NW hops.  Worth checking out for any hop head out there.

My Rating: A-

Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout: A good looking stout on the pour, with sweet and boozy aroma of toffee and chocolate.  The taste was as expected, but a little weak.  Not much of the barrel-aging notes come through and there's not a lot of balance.  It's a decent beer overall, but for the style it's below average I think.  This one has some really bad reviews out there, but I didn't find it to be an awful beer, just mediocre.

My Rating: B-
Chainsaw American Strong Ale:  This one was kind of weird for me, and really required a different approach than most beer... as in... I had to drink it somewhat warm to really enjoy it.  The first few sips I had when the beer was still quite cold were brutal.  The aroma was fantastic with hints of caramel and dark fruits almost like a brandy.  The taste was just bitter hops and hard to swallow.  After that I let the beer warm to closer to room temperature the flavors mellowed out and each sip was better than the one before.  I know it's an odd approach to take for a beer, especially the way 'frost-brewed' is bombarded into us by the big advertising, but trust me, it's the way to go for a beer like this.

My Rating: B

And with that, 3 more down on the resolution.  I actually went slightly out of order in my reviewing as I had a Stone Cali-Belgique Ale in between these three, but I wanted to mention all the Left Hand beers in one post.  That's called creative liberty... or something.  I'm still right about on pace, and have a nice stockpile at home for the next month or more.  


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Swamp Head Stumpknocker Pale Ale

This past weekend I ended up in Gainesville, FL to visit my friend Diane.  I don't like UF, but I don't hate it either like I do Ole Miss or Auburn or Alabama... and really there's not a whole lot to Gainesville other than the university.  The University of Florida has an enrollment of over 50,000 (according to Wikipedia) and the Gainesville metro area is somewhere around 250,000.  For comparison, Baton Rouge has a metro population approaching 800,000 and LSU's enrollment is closer to 25,000!  That's a pretty big difference, but it also made getting around town pretty easy.  

After a beer run to a fantastic beer store called Tipple's Brews, we made our way to a college hangout called The Swamp.  We weren't too hungry after a large breakfast, but it was definitely time for a beer.  I'd read previously about a local brewery called Swamp Head and was happy to see that they did have one on tap, the Stumpknocker Pale Ale.  It came out a copper color, with a creamy white head with good lacing.

The beer had a floral aroma, with a little fruit in there as well.  It was definitely hoppy for an APA, but I still enjoyed the smell a good bit.  The taste is similar, definitely hop dominated and not much of a malt presence. Pretty good, but it seemed to me that this one was bordering on a darker colored IPA flavor profile.  I like IPAs, so that's fine by me, but this one definitely was a hop-forward APA.  As for the mouthfeel, it was creamy, with a slight bitter aftertaste due to the hops.  Very easy to drink, I ended up going through 4 or 5 of them! 
A good local brew... unfortunately I wasn't able to try any of Swamp Head's other beers on the trip, but maybe one day I'll be back or they'll make it over here.  As it was, this one made number 23 on my list!

My Rating: B+

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Hitachino Nipponia Belgian Pale Ale

And now for #22 on my list... the Hitachino Nipponia, a Belgian Pale Ale from the Japanese Kiuchi Brewery.  Their White Ale is one of my favorite beers of all-time, so I'm excited to try this one, another Japanese take on a Belgian ale. 

It pours a light gold color... yellow at the thinner parts but more of a gold through the thick of the body. Small white head, but really good lacing.  The smell is simultaneously sweet and hoppy and spicy... it's really intriguing. There's definitely a large hop profile but the Japanese spices blend well with it. Interesting to say the least.

I really like the taste of this one... except there's almost TOO much going on. It has a good balance befitting a pale ale, but the spices add a different element not usually found in an American Pale Ale. They dominate the malts and barley and really form the second layer underneath the dominant hops.  There is also a sour note to it that comes through from the sorachi ace hops. 

All in all, I'm really enjoying this one.  Easy to drink despite the abundance of flavor, in fact the different feel makes me want to keep on drinking and take another taste.

Another good one from Kiuch... not as good as the White Ale, but still a great beer.

My Rating: A

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tin Roof Brewing - Brewery Tour #1

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2011 was to visit at least 6 breweries during the year.  No rules on how small or how large, how far away, or anything else on this one... just 6 breweries.  (Well, I guess one rule... have to be commercial, hanging out in some homebrewer's garage doesn't count!)  With that in mind, Jay and I took the time to stop in on the Tin Roof Brewery last weekend.  The new brewery is located in an old building between River Road and Nicholson Drive, just south of downtown Baton Rouge.  They didn't have anything brewing at the time, but co-owner Charles Caldwell was happy to take the time to show us around and share a few pints. 

Tin Roof is starting out a little small, but they still have a 30-barrel brewing system and a couple of new fermenters to work with.  In addition to the tanks for heating and chilling the water, all the cleaning equipment... it certainly has all the feelings of a legit microbrewery, and plenty of room to expand.  As of now everything is kegged in 5-gallon kegs for distribution to the area bars, but a bottling line is certainly in the future plans for the brewery.  

A few weeks ago... well... longer ago than that I guess... I attended the Tin Roof roll-out party at The Bulldog.  I was pretty critical of the Perfect Tin Amber the first time around, and after talking to the guys, they weren't extremely thrilled with it either.  The good news is that they have been working on improving it with each batch, and I can say that work has definitely paid off.  The newer version of the Amber Ale has more body to it, better malt flavors, and a more distinct color to separate it from the Pale Ale.  The Pale Ale is still a solid beer as well, hoppier (as it should be) and a well balanced easy to drink brew.  

I'm really excited about the progress they've made in just a few months since rolling out the first batches, and I know they have some fun seasonal brews and new flagship beers in the works for once they really get going and have the first two down to a science.  So, keep up the good work guys, and cheers to having some local beers!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Beer Run!

Made a serious beer run earlier in Gainesville. On the list:

Left Hand
Saint Somewhere
Key West
Clipper City

Can't wait to drink them all!

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: 2011 Abita Strawberry

It's that time of year in South Louisiana... okay, it's actually a good bit early this year... but still, the Abita Strawberry is out, and flying off the shelves.  Needless to say, the majority of people down here love this stuff.  The release each Spring Winter is definitely the most anticipated and heralded launch of any of the local seasonal brews.  When it was first released several years ago it was off the shelves before everyone could get some to enjoy... since then Abita has stepped up their production, even going national this year.  

Fortunately, the quality is still there.  Some years have been too sweet for my tastes, but Abita really seems to have the recipe down now.  For those that haven't had the pleasure, it's a gold colored lager, with a large white head.  You can see that to the right, I don't really need to describe the look for it when a picture can do the job!

I checked out my old review on this... and I remarked about it being overly sweet, and tough to drink more than one.  Well, that's definitely changed.  I can down a 6-pack of these guys in 8.7 minutes these days.  The wheat base is much more a part of the beer, making more of a strawberry beer and less of a strawberry malt liquor.  This turns the Abita Strawberry into a tasty, sessionable lager with enough sweet kick to let you know it's a fruit beer, but also enough malt base to retain it's beer characteristics.

What the result is, in my opinion, is the perfect beer compliment to a batch of spicy crawfish.  So, give one a try, the new batch is great, and enjoy!

My Rating: B+

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Fort Collins Chocolate Stout

I'm not going to enjoy every beer I try, but I don't take pleasure in posting negative reviews or 'slamming' a beer on here.  Unfortunately, this one really disappointed me.  Dustin and I picked up a 6-pack to enjoy during our latest home-brew day, and we settled on this one because we were brewing a stout, and it was a new one to me!  I've had several previous beers from Fort Collins, and all received decent reviews from me.  I enjoyed their Pomegranate Wheat a good bit and their Rocky Mountain IPA was really good.  This Chocolate Stout though... totally missed the mark. 

The look of it wasn't bad... a typical dark brown color and the off-white head characteristic of stouts and porters.  The aroma smells malty with just a little bit of chocolate. Not bold at all, a little bit medicinal.  The taste is way off.  It's bitter but not in a good way you'd expect from chocolate. In fact, there's not much chocolate flavor at all, just a medicinal bitter flavor that kills any enjoyment the other flavors might impart.

It's thin, bad aftertaste similar to the bitter taste.  Maybe I just got a bad bottle, it certainly happens that things go wrong and bad beer gets out on the market?  I have a few more from the 6-pack, so I'll give it a return visit later and see if the bad feelings hold true, or if I just had some bad luck.  Considering it has an overall rating of B on BeerAdvocate, I think there's a good chance I just caught a bad bottle, or bad batch. 

My Rating: D+

And with that one, 21 down in 2011... a new low on the 2011 ratings, but I'll give it another shot to make sure. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beer #20: Stone Pale Ale at Monjunis

Last week, after hitting up The Bulldog's happy hour for three new beers, Jay and I headed over to Monjunis so Jay could do a little research on muffulettas for his next Town Favorites article.  I do all the photo work, so on trips like these I usually enjoy the food as well... it's a nice perk!  The manager / owner Blair Kornegay hooked us up with a sampling of the muffulettas available, but also to some wine and bourbon.  As we were talking the topic of my blog came up and I mentioned the 365 in 2011 resolution... and sure enough, he had a beer in the back that I hadn't tried before!  The Stone Pale Ale.

I know what you're thinking, and I was kinda surprised at myself too, but I'd never tried the regular Pale Ale from Stone.  I've reviewed them as much as any other brewery on this blog, but it was always the Arrogant Bastard or Smoker Porter or Ruination IPA, etc... and never the basic APA.  It pours a copper color, clear with a small white head. Pretty decent look to it.

The smell is a good malt hops blend that I've come to love from the APA style. Slightly on the hop edge for this one, but that's really no surprise from a west coast brewery like Stone.  The taste is a little odd to me. It hits the tongue with hops, malts, then hops again instead of the usual malt taste up front followed by a hoppy finish.  Still slightly on the hoppy side of the blend, just like the aroma.  This isn't really a bad thing at all, just a little different, and something that a hop head would probably really enjoy!

It's got a good mouthfeel, great carbonation, not thin at all.  Easy to drink, and not too strong at 5.4% abv.  Another top notch beer from Stone, I'm a fan! This one ties the Squatters Fifth Element Farmhouse Ale for the highest score so far with 20 beers down.

My Rating: A-
Thanks again to Blair at Monjunis on Highland Rd. for the hospitality!   The muffulettas were fantastic, but I'll let Jay cover the food side of things

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Abita Strawberry Harvest - Hitting Shelves 1/18/11!

Hey everyone, I'm sure you're already aware, but if not, Abita announced on their facebook page, and Twitter, that they will be stocking the shelves with the 2011 version of their Strawberry Harvest this morning in Louisiana, and nationwide next week!  

It seems a little early to me, but hey, I'm not going to argue, if the crawfish are in the restaurants, Abita Strawberry should be too!  This should be available shortly at any grocery or liquor store in the Baton Rouge area.


The Bulldog BR - 3 New Beers

There really aren't too many good options when it comes to a variety of draft beer in Baton Rouge.  There are a lot of places with the standard Mockler Beverage 4-beer lineup, some places like Ivar's, Schlitz & Giggles, Happy's, and a few others with a better tap range of around a dozen beers, and then a few places like The Chimes and The Bulldog that actually put together a pretty good tap lineup.  

Last Thursday I met up with Jay at The Bulldog for happy hour before we headed over to Monjuni's for a muffoletta tasting for one of his upcoming articles.  I knew Abita had a vanilla porter as their select brew, so I wanted to give it a try before it was too late!  I also knew they had the NOLA Irish Channel Stout on tap, and was looking forward to giving that one a try.

Unfortunately I was already too late for the Vanilla Porter... apparently it went quick!  Oh well, on to the new Abita Select, an Imperial Stout.  Poured into a shaker pint glass from the tap... it a good looking stout, dark body with a finger worth of creamy off-white head.   This is basically what a brewer should be shooting for with the appearance of a stout beer.

This one packs a rich malty-chocolate aroma and a taste to back it up.  It's a little sweet up front then finishes off with a bitter roasted kick. The 8.5% abv isn't too apparent in the flavor of this one, it doesn't kick or have a warm burn like a strong beer usually would.

My biggest complaint would be that it's a little thin but it's still a solid imperial stout. As usual, Abita's select series outperforms their flagship brands.
My Rating: B+

After trying the Abita Imperial Stout, it was on to the NOLA Irish Channel stout... a seasonal brew from the guys at NOLA that I didn't want to miss out on.  I know their next seasonal, the "Flambeau Red" is about to roll out so it was now or never for this one.  First off, that picture really is a second picture, not just a different photo of the Abita Imperial Stout.  They really look that similar!  Which is a good thing, considering this is what a stout should look like.

This one didn't have a strong aroma to it. A little bit of sweeter malts come through, and just a hint of chocolate. The taste is much more rich and bitter, chocolatey and strong.  The flavors hit a lot harder on the taste than in the aroma.  This is definitely not a dry stout despite the Irish in the name.  I'm not a New Orleanian, but I'm pretty sure the Irish Channel is one of the many neighborhoods of the city?

Good full bodied mouthfeel, not boozy at all... another solid beer from NOLA.  These guys continue to impress and represent Louisiana craft beer well.

My Rating: B+

After that I had time for one more, and scanned the beer list and new additions for something new... voila, the Saint Arnold Christmas Ale was still on tap!  I've tried a handful of beers from Saint Arnold, but never the Christmas Ale... so the seasonal offering was the perfect beer for adding a third new one to my list.  It's a clear amber color, small head, nothing to look at here folks, move on.  In all reality it's a pretty mediocre looking beer.  Maybe it's just the pour from the bar, but not impressive.

The smell is spicy with a hint of pine.  From a Christmas Ale I tend to expect a little cinnamon and ginger and other Christmas spices, but they aren't here... at least not in any abundance.  The taste is more subdued, mild hops but they are there.  There are fruity flavors mostly, pear and grape? This one confuses me more than any beer I've had in a while. I'm still not getting any typical winter warmer spices.

It's a good beer, one I'd definitely drink again, but a confusing beer.  It's not very consistent with the style, or at least this one didn't measure up.

My Rating: B-

And from there it was on to Monjuni's to take some pictures for Jay's next article.  They even surprised me by having a beer in bottles that I'd never tried before!  That'll have to be the next blog post, coming tomorrow!  

Count at the end of this post: 19 out of 365.

The Bulldog on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Beer Tasting At Slinky's - 3 New Beers

Hello everyone!  I'm still going strong on my goal to drink 365 new beers in 2011... a little ahead of pace actually, although there's a little lag time in what I've drank to what I've had the chance to write about!  This past Tuesday I headed to Slinky's for a beer tasting with Jay and a new friend Matt.  After a warm-up drink, something new called Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown, it was time for the tasting.  Slinky's does tastings every second Tuesday of the month, usually for a good price (this one was only $12) and you get to keep the glass!  I used to go a good bit but it had been a while before this one.

The tasting lineup featured 6 beers, 3 of which I had tried before and 3 new ones... that's good enough for me!  Up first was the Veldensteiner Pilsner... which may sound familiar because I've already tried 3 new beers this year from Veldensteiner.  Fortunately neither of them were the pilsner, so here goes.

We received our choice of Abita Select "stange" glasses or Stone pint glasses.  Since I have more pint glasses than I know what to do with I went to the Abita glass.  The "stange" is a traditional German style glass, tall and cylindrical and designed to concentrate a beer's aroma into a smaller opening rather than a glass that tapers out at the top.  

This beer is a pale yellow color, large frothy white head, but really an average looking beer.  The smell is a lot sweeter than one would expect for Pilsner, strong malts and not a lot of hops. Weird, but I like it.  The taste is more balanced, the pilsner hops are there in more force and it's not as unusually sweet.  Decent mouthfeel, crisp and easy to drink... an unusual but good pilsner.  A good start to our tasting for sure.

My Rating: B

After the Veldensteiner Pilsner we tried two of the previous Veldensteiner beers that I had tried before... the Lager and the Weissbier.  The general consensus was that the Weissbier was the winner of the Veldensteiner brews, and I agree, it's still their leading beer in my book.

After the three German beers came a pilsner from New Zealand, Monteith's Pilsner.  I've seen a few beers from Monteith's around town at beer stores but hadn't picked any up, so I was pretty happy to see it as part of this tasting. 

This pilsner pours an orange color, with a big head, not bad looking at all.  (The head was bigger before I took the picture!)  The nose is definitely earthy, a little citrus hops in there and an earthy malt presence.  The flavor is very bready, and sweet, with no boldness of hops at all. Pretty weak really, but crisp and easy to drink.

I'd expect a little more out of a truly good pilsner, so this one falls into the average range for me.  It really could be better, but I've had worse beers for sure.

My Rating: C+
BeerAdvocate: C+

Up next was a pair of beers from the Mendocino Brewing company in the states.  The first was the Red Tail Ale, which is a pretty good amber ale that I had tried previously.  Unfortunately it didn't count towards my resolution, but that's alright.  The second Mendocino beer on the list was the Blue Heron Pale Ale, which IS a new one for me! 

The Blue Heron Pale Ale pours a slightly hazy orange color with a thick creamy head... best looking beer of the tasting.  (Note to self... do a better job of taking pictures right after the pour, not after I take my notes!)  The aroma is flowery, with hints of honey and caramel and a good blend of hops. Not bad at all!  The flavor has more of a hop presence than the nose, and not as much balance and not as tasty as I was hoping based on the aroma.

The ale is medium bodied, decent mouthfeel but the lack of balance hurts.  It really doesn't have enough balance to really have me going back for more, but it's still an above average beer to me.

My Rating: B
BeerAdvocate: B-

And that concluded the beer tasting, bringing me 3 closer to my goal, and putting the 2011 total at 16.  Look for me at the next Slinky's beer tasting, should be the second Tuesday in February!

Pilsner on FoodistaPilsnerAmerican Pale Ale on FoodistaAmerican Pale Ale

Friday, January 14, 2011

Draft Magazine's 100 Best Beer Bars In America!

Draft Magazine has released their 2011 list of the top 100 beer bars in America, and I was thrilled to see a couple of Louisiana beer bars make the cut. 

Not surprisingly, they are both in New Orleans, which unfortunately kicks Baton Rouge's ass when it comes to beer.  Hey, they're a bigger market, they cater to more beer geeks, more tourists looking to find a good beer bar... it happens.  I'm not going to complain, I'm just going to make sure I visit often and have some good beers when I do!

Making the list for the first time, and this is no surprise to me, is The Avenue Pub.  I've hailed The Avenue Pub as the go-to bar in Louisiana for craft beer since I started writing this blog, and it seems the word is getting out nationally.  The beer is always served perfectly, the tap lines are clean, there is new stuff on tap every time I show up, and the food is fantastic as well.  Congrats to Polly and everyone else over there for the recognition!  And thanks for making every trip a great beer experience.

Also on the list from New Orleans is Cooter Brown's, which somehow, and shamefully, I've never been to.  I'm not sure how that's happened, but maybe on the next trip to the Big Easy I'll have a chance to give it a go.
It's great to see some Louisiana recognition nationally for craft beer... hopefully it's a sign of better things to come for craft beer in the state.

Pictures taken from the respective bar websites.

Avenue Pub on Urbanspoon

Lucky # 13 - Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown

This past Tuesday night I went with Jay and a few other friends to Slinky's for their monthly beer tasting.  I'm pretty sure it's monthly at least... 9 PM on the second Tuesday of every month I believe... I'd know for sure but their website could really use an update or three.  It's always a pretty good deal, about $12 for samples of 6 beers and you get to keep the glass.  I'm always a fan of interesting glassware and prefer not to steal them from bars, so a give-away with a tasting is a good draw for me!

Before this most recent tasting we stopped in and had a warm-up beer... I went with something new of course, and they had a couple of beers from Hook & Ladder brewery that I'd never seen before or even heard of.  Apparently it's located in Silver Spring, Maryland, which I'm pretty sure is in the Washington DC area.  The really cool thing about Hook & Ladder is that they donate a penny from every pint and a quarter from every case sold to burn treatment centers across the country.  According to their site they've donated over $60,000 so far in their existence.  Can't argue with a beer that helps a good cause!

As for this specific beer... it's an "English Brown Ale" in style, which includes popular beers such as Newcastle, Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, Abita Turbodog, and Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan.  A lot of beer geeks deride the style as being boring, and while you're not going to see high-gravity beers with crazy flavors there are some damn fine interesting brown ales out there.  

This one poured a beautiful dark brown color, but not much head, probably as a result of the cold pint glass.  I was a little surprised Slinky's would use frosted pints, but oh well... I did my best to let it defrost before pouring.  The aroma was an appetizing blend of molasses and nuts, just like a good brown ale should have.  The taste was dominated by nut flavors and raw sugar flavors like the molasses that was on the nose.  Not much hop presence but that's typical for the style.  This was a well-crafted easy to drink brown ale, and at $3.50 one I'd definitely recommend to anyone looking to try something new.  

My Rating: B+
BeerAdvocate: B

And that brought my up to 13 new beers in 2011... with three more to come during the tasting that followed, that post will be up next!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Las Vegas - Part 2

Unlike part 1, this part actually takes place in Las Vegas!  Imagine that?!  After arrival in Sin City and a not-so-quick trip to the hotel, we got situated at the Monte Carlo and headed to a bar called The Pub for pre-entertainment beers and food.  We were in time for happy hour so most of the group focused on 2-for-1 domestics, but I was interested in the local brews.  

Unfortunately The Pub was in the process of replacing and adding a lot of their tap lines, and it so happened that the beer towers they had down were largely the local brews from Tenaya Creek Brewpub and the Joseph James Brewing Company.  Well crap, the local beers are what I wanted!  Fortunately they had a few on tap, so I went with a Tenaya Creek Hefeweizen.  

It had a typical hefe appearance, light and hazy with a creamy white head.  This one was an easy drinker, but that's about all it had going for it.  Just a faint lemon aroma and not a lot of flavor at all.  A disappointing start, and nowhere near as tasty as the Squatters Hefeweizen I had tried earlier in the day.  
 My Rating: C  

Second on the list was The Pub House Pilsner.  This one came out (pictured to the left) a clear gold color on tap in a pint glass.  Pretty decent head for a bar pour!  There was a faint hoppy smell but not much else going on.  The taste was hoppy and the beer had a real crisp mouthfeel to it.  A mediocre pilsner, in my opinion.

My Rating: C
BeerAdvocate: N/A

Lastly, before heading out I tried a Sin City Amber, produced by a local chain of brewpubs.  This one came out a transparent amber color with a small head.  Nothing special to look at, really.  The aroma is malty as it should be, but weak, not much to it there either.  The flavors were a little better, with a solid amber malt base and a respectable hop balance to it.  This one was my favorite of the three beers I tried at The Pub, but overall I was not impressed. 

My Rating: C+

Unfortunately that concludes my beer adventures on the trip to Las Vegas... I was able to get a few new brews under the belt, bringing me up to 12 so far for 2011.  (I've actually tried 4 new ones between this trip and writing the blog... but who's counting?  Other than me, of course...)  Hopefully if I'm ever back at The Pub they will have their beer lines straightened out.  This trip unfortunately left some to be desired, and there were several more local beers I'd have loved to try.  

Until next time... cheers, and enjoy this picture of the strip from The Foundation Room where we watched LSU destroy Texas A&M... it's the only other pictures I can post on the blog!

The Pub (Monte Carlo) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poll Results Are In, Your Favorite Louisiana Brewery Is...

After a week of polling my few dedicated readers, the results for your favorite Louisiana brewery is... drumroll please... Parish Brewing!
Parish Brewing, headed by Andrew Godley and located in Broussard, LA narrowly edged NOLA Brewing out of New Orleans for the coveted (I assume) title.  In fact, the difference between the two was a mere one vote over the course of a week.  NOLA (New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Company) was followed by Abita, Tin Roof, Bayou Teche, and Heiner Bräu / Covington

Congrats to Parish Brewing, and let's all look forward to more good Louisiana beer in 2011!

Picture courtesy of Parish Brewing Company.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Las Vegas - Part 1

Alright, time for the first installment of the new beers I tried on the recent trip to Las Vegas for Dustin's bachelor party.  Sorry, no bachelor party stories in this webspace... maybe check Brent's facebook?  

Our first stop (after spending the night in New Orleans) was actually in the Salt Lake City airport, at a place called Squatters Pub.  The brewery opened in 1989 and now they run 3 locations... the original in Salt Lake City, a location in Park City, and a location in the airport.  And for an airport pub the selection was really not bad.  They had a wide range of the standard beers plus bottles of some of the specialties.  

First up was the Squatters Organic Amber Ale.  It's a pretty typical looking amber ale served in an imperial pint glass.  Dark caramel color with a small white head, but on a bar pour you don't really want a large head, right? 

The aroma is malt dominant as it should be, but with a nice hint of hops.  It has a good balance on the nose for sure.  Unfortunately the taste was a little weak compared to the smell, the same flavors but watered down.  It has a bitter hop hit on the aftertaste, but still an easy-drinking amber ale.  

My Rating: B-

The second beer I tried from Squatters was the fantastically named Polygamy Porter.  Thanks for not taking yourselves too seriously, guys!  Although, I'm sure since they are brewers the guys running the show at Squatters probably aren't Mormon?  It's also worth noting that these beers are full strength, not 3.2% alcohol. 

As you can see it's a dark brown, nearly black, color with a decent sized head.  Good looking beer, and a solid aroma of chocolate and roasted malts.  The taste is a lot like the amber ale... just weak compared to the nose.  The roasted malt flavors are still there but it's watery and really thing for a porter.  Another easy drinker, but not super impressive.

My Rating: B-

Third on the list was another beer from their regular rotation, the American Wheat Hefeweizen.  This one really has a good look to it, beautiful orange color and haziness. Definitely the best looking beer I've had from Squatters so far. 
The smell is mostly citrus, a little banana, very nice.  The flavor is definitely heavy on the wheat, with a milder citric profile than the nose.  A little weaker than I was hoping, but this seems to be the trend so far.

Even still, this one was easy to drink, tasted good... my favorite from Squatters so far.
My Rating: B+
Apparently I like this one better than the masses!
Last up, Buzz and I decided to split one of the special release beers, the Squatters Fifth Element Belgian Farmhouse Ale.  Split, you ask?  Yeah, because it's a 750ml bottle and costs $18.99, I have no problems splitting a beer.  This one even came with some proper glassware, props to the airport pub for serving it correctly!  

As you can see, it's a hazy golden color with a bubbly white head and lots of carbonation.  The aroma is very floral, with hints of honey and lots of spices.  The taste is even more floral and spicy, with a little hops and a dominant sour flavor to it.  This Fifth Element is a really good beer, the best yet from Squatters, but I'm glad I split it because it would be tough to drink an entire 750ml bottle by myself.

My Rating: A-

And with that, I was up to 9 new beers on my quest to try 365 new beers in 2011, and we were on the plane headed to Vegas... and Part 2 of my beer drinking portion of the weekend.  Cheers!

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