Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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.

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