Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brewery Tour #2 - Parish Brewing

It's hard to believe it had been about a year since I had been to Broussard, LA to visit Andrew Godley and his operation at the Parish Brewery.  Since then he's gone commercial with a few of his beers, but demand in the Lafayette market is so high (and his capacity so low) that he's only been able to produce two beers regularly, his Canebrake Wheat Ale, and the Biere Amber.  In addition, he hasn't been able to expand out of the Lafayette region.   

This time, I headed down with Dustin Davis and one of my female beer geek friends, Danielle Wheeler, to check out the progress and give Andrew's beers a try.  Before he took us on a quick tour of the brewing process, we broke out some of the latest batch of Canebrake (pictured in the pitcher.)  It was delicious as always, with a sweet hint of cane sugar and a thick wheat base.  Considering this is Andrew's best seller by far I think he's got it down pretty well... he's still working on perfecting the brewing techniques on his 1.5 barrel system, but it's just about there.  

We also tried some of the Biere Amber that Andrew had on tap... he wasn't pleased with that batch, and I agree with his assessment.  The heating elements in the boil kettle had burned the hops a bit, and it gave the beer a bit of a burned grass taste to it.  It was still plenty drinkable, and I enjoyed a few glasses, but it wasn't up to the level Andrew wanted for releasing commercially.  

The real treat of the night, though, was a taste of the Grand Reserve Barleywine.  This is a special beer Andrew has been perfecting in anticipation of a seasonal release once he expands to some larger brewing equipment.  Unfortunately we were at the end of a keg, so we only got a taste, but that was a brilliant brew.  Sweet on the front of the sip and bitter on the back, an excellent blend of caramel, fruit flavors, piney hops... yum.  Eventually Andrew plans to have this one out in bottles, and when I see it, I'm going to stock up.

And perhaps even more exciting than the beers we tried, are the plans for the future.  According to Andrew, Parish Brewing has some investors lined up, and it won't be too long before some micro-brewery scale equipment (his nano-brewery scale brewing equipment is shown in the pictures) is coming in, and then we're going to see some Parish all over the state.  Plus we'll be treated to all the varieties of beer Andrew has created but has had to shelve for lack of fermenting capacity.  I can't wait, and it's great to see another local brewery doing well.  Keep up the good work!

On a side note, I was torn to whether I should count any of these as new beers for 2011... I decided ultimately not to, as I've previously tried the Canebrake and Bierre Amber, even though these were slightly different recipes.  And I opted against counting the Grand Reserve Barleywine because it's not commercially available yet.  We did break out a bottle of Stone Cali-Belgique to taste while we were hanging out... that one did count and look for the review in the next few days!

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