Thursday, June 7, 2012

WYES Private Beer Sampling Recap

Alright, after a few weeks of hype and impatience, the long awaited WYES Private Beer Sampling was finally upon us.  Mandi and I took off a bit early to grab a bite to eat at Avenue Pub, because no beer trip to New Orleans is ever complete without a trip to the pub, right?  They had Canebrake on tap so I had that and after a few other beers and some sandwiches it was off to the fairgrounds for the beer sampling.  I had read up a bit on some of the breweries that would be there and was excited for some of the Tin Roof Porter, Abita's barrel aged beers, and trying several of the homebrews from the New Orleans clubs.  Honestly there were so many local options that I didn't even need to get into all the various other beers.

The highlights:
Parish Canebrake through the hop Randall: delicious and obviously extra hoppy.
Tin Roof Coffee Porter:  The rumor mill says this could be the next seasonal and if this recipe works large scale then it'll be their best beer yet.
Abita Bourbon-Barrel Aged Doubledog: Aged in Buffalo Trace barrels, this is a strong improvement on the mediocre regular Doubledog.
Lazy Magnolia Southern Hops'pitality IPA: Good IPA that we should see more of.
Saint Arnold Endeavour DIPA: Fantastic double IPA, should be available locally.
Mudbug Brewery Cajun Stout: A low-abv stout with some cayenne, pretty good.
Mudbug Brewery King Cake Lager: This one had me worried but was actually quite delicious, really surprised me!
Brewstock Imperial Hazelnut Brown and Black IPA: Two brews from the local New Orleans homebrew store, both were fantastic.
Crescent City Homebrewers Strong Scotch Ale: A very good homebrew, in my opinion.
Mystic Krewe Of Brew: I tried most of their selections and really enjoyed the Rosemary Pale Ale, Hot Chocolate Porter, and the Imperial Vanilla Milk Stout. 

Disappointments:
Yeah, there were a few disappointments... it happens when you try so much beer.
Abita 18th Star Biere de Garde: Mediocre beer, which is a shame because usually their selects are pretty solid.
Bayou Teche Cafe' Brulot Biere Joi: Sorry guys, this just didn't work for me.
Tin Roof Zythos Hop Project: I think even they were let down by this one. 
Nothing really new from NOLA Brewing... they had a cask Hurricane Saison but I was hoping for something a little more from them at their local festival.
Rogue Voodoo Maple Bacon Ale: I had been wanting to try it but not wanting to buy a full bottle.  After tasting it I'm glad I didn't spend the money.

Regrets: 
Not drinking more from Crescent City Homebrewers, they had 5 or 6 beers and I only tried one... oops! 
Totally missing out on Cajun Fire Brewing, a "brewery in planning" in New Orleans.
I missed the New Orleans Rum Barrel Aged Abbey Ale from Abita... would have liked to give it a try.

That's the summary, and as you can see there were a lot more highlights than disappointments.  I didn't even get to some of the really good craft beers there like the Stone RIS, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, or Schmaltz Human Blockhead.  There were just too many locals and homebrews to try everything as it was.  At the end Mandi and I were both thorougly satisfied with some great beers and a few we might never get to try again. And because I know pictures make every blog post better, here are some of the best ones: