Friday, February 28, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Victory Festbier

Another Yankee beer... this time from Victory Brewing out of Pennsylvania.  (Yes, I know technically Maryland isn't a northern state... they are south (and west) of the Mason-Dixon line after all, so maybe they should be considered part of the south... and maybe the sun won't rise tomorrow either.)  Victory isn't available in Louisiana yet, but it can be found pretty easily in Texas if you're making a trip that way, and most states to the north and east of us as well. 

Today's Feature Beer is the Festbier, Victory's take on an Oktoberfest. They keep it authentic, using imported German malts and hops, and even using a decoction brewing method to replicate the original processes. Nothing wrong there, that's for sure.
Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Jeff Herman (Tiger Deaux-nuts), Dan Fisher, and Mandi Kaelberer.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Copper with a bit of cloudiness. 

I thought it was on the sweet side, with a lot of maltiness and some breadiness as well.  Dan picked up sweet plums on the nose.  

Taste: Sweet, but a little funky, a little fruit flavor as well coming through more than on the nose to me.  Dan was still picking up some fruity prune flavors.

Chewy, with a funky aftertaste.

Overall: I'll admit this isn't my all-time favorite style, but I do think this is a well done Oktoberfest beer.  For a nice fall day (or a hot as balls Louisiana fall day) this would probably be a good choice for some session drinking.  

Overall Rating: 68.75
My Rating: 61

Friday, February 21, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus!

This might be a brewery you've never heard of... but if you have you probably know this is likely going to be a very good review.  I'm not even too familiar with DuClaw Brewing, which is a fairly small company out of Maryland, has actually been around since the mid 90s, making them pretty old in the craft beer world.  Unfortunately they are only available in Maryland as far as I can tell... but that's where having good beer maven friends comes in handy.  

Today's Feature Beer is the Sweet Baby Jesus! from DuClaw. It's a chocolate peanut butter porter, clocking in at 6.5% abv and a substantial 56 IBU.  Yeah, that's right, chocolate, peanut butter, porter.  I've had homebrewed peanut butter beers before but this might be a first for me as far as commercial offerings go.  Enough talk... let's review.
Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Jeff Herman (Tiger Deaux-nuts), Dan Fisher, and Mandi Kaelberer.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Dark brown, small head, good looking beer. 

Peanuts!  Lots of peanuts, and a little roastiness as well. Dan said that he smelled ground up peanuts and roasted chocolate... looks like we are in agreement on this one.  

Taste: Just like it smells, peanut butter, chocolate, a little roasted malt, but mostly strong delicious peanut butter.

A little on the thin side, but it is a porter not a stout so no marks off there. Smooth with a great finish.

Overall: Phenomenal beer, and an excellent attempt at a peanut butter chocolate porter.  It's really hard to imagine someone attempting a style like this and doing much better, consider this one to seek out if you're ever traveling to Maryland or trading with someone in that area.

Overall Rating: 87.75
My Rating: 88

Friday, February 14, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild

Okay, another one that isn't available in Louisiana... at least not yet.  I have nothing definite but I've been hearing rumors about Lagunitas coming our way for a while now.  I certainly hope there's some truth to them because they would be a great addition to our market with some delicious but affordable beers.  

This week we have the Little Sumpin' Wild from Lagunitas Brewing, out of Petaluma, California.  The Little Sumpin' Wild is a Belgian take on their Little Sumpin' Sumpin', a pale wheat ale that borders on an IPA.  It's a little stronger at 8.8% and is fermented with Westmalle Trappist yeast to give it a distinct Belgian flavor profile.
Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Jeff Herman (Tiger Deaux-nuts), Dan Fisher, and Mandi Kaelberer.

Serving: 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Deep golden color, not a lot of head on this one. 

Funky with a good noble hop aroma, and also some citrus.  The Belgian yeast funk is present right away.  

Taste: Tart, hoppy, no boozy flavors, the alcohol is well hidden beneath the yeasty funk.

Dan said that this one finished very tart, and I agree. It has that expected high level of carbonation from a Belgian-styled brew.

Overall: I would love to have this one on hand regularly, it's a great example of a Belgian IPA and at a great price.  This one comes strongly recommended from the panel if you see it in Texas or elsewhere.

Overall Rating: 81
My Rating: 74

Friday, February 7, 2014

Feature Beer Friday! - Southern Tier Pumking 2013

What's that?  Feature Beer Friday! for two weeks in a row?  That's right, and expect this streak to continue.  No more slacking for me, it's time for regular beer reviews and other content on a weekly basis.

For this round, the 2013 release of Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing in New York.  Southern Tier is a relative newcomer to the Louisiana market, and I've featured a few of their regular lineup before, including the Hop Sun, 2XIPA, and Live.  They have also brought us the Creme Brulee and Choklat stouts as well as a few special kegs of barleywine, and of course their pumpkin seasonal.  Pumking is described as an Imperial Pumpkin Ale, clocking in at 8.6% abv.
Reviewers: Eric Ducote (BR Beer Scene), Jeff Herman (Tiger Deaux-nuts), Dan Fisher, and Mandi Kaelberer.

Serving: 22 oz. bottle.

Appearance: Deep golden color, not a lot of head, this is definitely more of a traditional pumpkin ale as opposed to a pumpkin stout.

Pie crust, not overly spiced or too much pumpkin, but it's there. Both Dan and Jeff said that it reminded them of a pumpkin pie.  

Taste: More pie crust, and honestly it could use a little more pumpkin.  It's like everything is there except the pumpkin itself. Despite that it's still delicious.

Finishes easy with a lot of breadiness.  

Overall: This is a pretty solid pumpkin beer among the traditional style of brewing pumpkin beers.  It's not going to rival the Saint Arnold Pumpkinator or Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Stout, but it's better (in my opinion) than something like the Wasatch Pumpkin Ale or even the Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale. It's absolutely worth picking up a bottle next fall. 

Overall Rating: 78.25
My Rating: 76

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Iron Brewer - February 15th at Tin Roof Brewing!

Hey everyone, just wanted to let you all know about an awesome event coming up soon.  The Iron Brewer competition will be put on by Brasseurs A La Maison, at Tin Roof Brewing on Saturday February 15th.  The event will run from 2:00 until 5:00 and the cost of admission is simply canned good to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank!  I'll be there along with Team Cream Ale to take home the victory as decided by the general public.

Each team was randomly provided a different style of beer and, in the spirit of romance and Valentine’s weekend, instructed to incorporate ingredients with aphrodisiac properties.

The event is open to adults 21 and over. Entry fee is at least one non-perishable food item for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, but attendees are encouraged to bring more to help the organization reach its goal of 2,500 pounds. Festival goers will be allowed to vote on a People’s Choice Winner.

“Last year’s event was incredibly successful and our teams had a great time, so we decided to do it again,” stated club president, Blake Winchell. “We have a variety of styles like stout, farmhouse, blond/cream ale, English bitter and more. Word on the street is that teams are using ingredients like chocolate, strawberries, chili peppers, honey, different types of herbs and who knows what else. It should be another great event.”

Created in 2010, Brasseurs a la Maison is Baton Rouge’s largest home brewing club with over 260 members. The club meets the second Wednesday of each month to sample, discuss and learn about beer and brewing. For more information on the Iron Brewer event or the club, visit