Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Unlike a lot of other beer bloggers out there I do my best not to discriminate. I don't drink craft or imports only. I try to find the love in all beers. I'm notorious for being seen at Avenue Pub drinking a Miller High Life and I don't care. As I've said many times on this blog I'm a beer geek not a beer snob.
Whenever a new beer enters the market I want to get my hands on it and let you readers know what I think. And I promise you I will judge that beer appropriately according to it's style. Sometimes the beer just sucks that bad and others we find are better off than expected.
That brings me to Big Flat 1901. I was contacted via text by a buddy of mine Travis Combel regarding a beer he saw at Walgreens for $3.49. Yeah he said $3.49. No, that's American dollars not Pesos. I looked it up and it looks like Walgreens has their own beer. It's pretty common amongst chain grocery stores and drug stores to have a brewery contract brew some beer for them to sell. I'm sure many of you remember Schwegmann's beer or K & B beer. Both of those were brewed by Dixie Brewing here in New Orleans.
Anyways, I HAD to pick some of this up and give it try. $3.49 for a six pack? Unreal. AND it comes in cans which is very smart marketing with Mardi Gras right around the corner. Perhaps it could be the perfect cheap Mardi Gras beer? Let's check the review and see....
Brewery: Says Brewmaster's Choice but it's Genesee Brewing Co.
Beer: Big Flats 1901
Style: American Adjunct Lager
Louisiana Availability: Yes. Only at Walgreens.
Appearance: From the can the beer pours a very clear golden color with tons of bubbles and huge white head which dissipates quickly.
Smell: Has a very grainy quality to the aroma. Not much else. At all. Even after they use the "choicest hops". Their words not mine.
Taste: Can we say adjunct grain? That's ok though because let's be honest it's a cheap American Adjunct lager. And for the price this one really isn't all that bad. On that note enjoy this one VERY COLD.
Mouthfeel: Watery and highly carbonated.
Overall: I picked this up at Walgreens for $3.49. No that's not a typo. $3.49. A six pack. Should we expect this one to be the next Pliny? Of course not. But for the price it really isn't all that bad. I say if money is tight and you need a beer get yourself to Walgreens.
Score: 2.5 Buddhas out of 5
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
After racking my brain for about 20 minutes I came up with the Beery Award. It sounds kind of dumb but it works. I'm sure some you may be offended that you aren't on the list and I say don't be. Just take it as constructive criticism. If you aren't on the list and you think you should be maybe you need to work a little harder. Just maybe. Some of you may be pissed because you are on the list. My answer is oh well. On that note I say let's get on with the awards!
BEST LOCAL BREWERY
Still somewhat of a newcomer but old enough to be judged properly I'm gonna break the mold and go with NOLA over Abita because NOLA really continues to impress with their beers. They continue to do the cask beer which in my opinion can help break up the monotony which happens in the craft beer world. What I mean by that is there isn't much loyalty amongst craft beer drinkers so you have to keep them coming back for more and the cask ales that NOLA does really does keep us coming back. Irish Channel Stout didn't hurt either! Great brew!
BEST NEW LOCAL BREWERY
Bayou Teche Brewing
Without a doubt this goes to Bayou Teche Brewery. Talk about blowing up. These guys are everywhere right now and as a team they show up to every event which is pretty cool. I predict we're going to see more coming from these guys really soon. Hell, I already have a bottle of Granade in my fridge ready for a review!
BEST BEER STORE SOUTHSHORE
I used Beeradvocate.com to be the judge of this one. With 35 reviews and a solid A+ rating this one can't be argued. I think the only thing holding Steins back is the inability to drink while eating one of those incredible sandwiches.
BEST BEER STORE NORTHSHORE
Now I'll admit that I've never been here but I hear nothing but good things about this place and again with 17 reviews and an A on Beeradvocate.com it wins this category easily.
BEST BEER BAR SOUTHSHORE
Again I used Beeradvocate.com in order to be impartial but come on. I've said it a million times. There is NO better beer bar in Louisiana. 26 reviews on BA and an A? Nuff said.
BEST BEER BAR NORTHSHORE
Chimes Restaurant and Oyster Bar
Again another bar I've never been too. Mainly cause I have no reason to go to Baton Rouge. Ever. But this was the only beer bar across the lake that had more than 10 reviews on BA which was my minimum amount of reviews to even qualify. With 15 reviews and a B+ review this place wins.
BEST CASK ALE
NOLA Blonde with Citra Hops
If you tried this one you'd understand. It was close with Parish Brewing Canebreak with Hibiscus.
BEST COMEBACK BREWERY AWARD
Heiner Brau/Covington Brewhouse
Henryk Orlik from Heiner Brau could be a marketing genius. I'm not really 100% sure whether he changed his recipes up for his Covington Brewhouse line or if he is slowly phasing out Heiner Brau and focusing on Covington Brewhouse. Either way his Covington Brewhouse lineup is doing really well. Could it be because the local name? I've had the Bock. Pilsner and Strawberry and all three are solid brews. In my opinion his Strawberry smokes Abita's. Now Heiner Brau never really went anywhere but creating the Covington Brewhouse lineup surely created a resurgence for his company.
WORST BREWERY ROLLOUT
Magic Hat Brewing
Do you remember this one? Yeah, me neither. And I was invited. And 4 months later they fire their sales guy because Independent Brewers United is bought out by North American Brewers. Stay classy Magic Hat!
BEST BEER DINNER
Brooklyn Brewing at Boucherie
Sorry but this one was incredible. The food was incredible and Garrett Oliver was actually there. Made a big difference.
BEST NON LOCAL BREWERY
This one was actually tougher than I thought but not much. I based my ratings on regular line up availability, specialty brew availability and frequency of brewery rep visits. Stone Brewing wins because of Jason Armstrong. He is a rep that pays real attention to New Orleans. We get a lot of specialty beers and have all of their regular lineup. I have to admit Brooklyn Brewing came in second because they do a good job of sending the specialty brews and well, that fantastic beer dinner.
HUGE DISTRIBUTION GRAB OF THE YEAR
Southern Eagle and Saint Arnolds Brewing
In the beer world this was similar to the Saints signing an at his prime Jim Brown at running back. HUGE GRAB! Saint Arnolds has been around and brewing since 1994 and has never left the state of Texas with no interest in doing so. Until this year. Somehow Matt McKiernan worked his brew doo magic and convinced Saint Arnolds that their first and only venture out of Texas should be to Louisiana. Great job guys!
Well, this category isn't all that difficult considering we only have 2 that I know of. Crescent City Brewhouse and Gordon Biersch. One is a tourist trap and the other is a chain. I went with who makes better beer and Gordon Biersch is the answer hands down. I think it's time we have some local brewpubs open up in town that cater to the locals.
Well that's it. Hope you enjoyed the 2010 Beery Awards. If you didn't like my picks please leave some suggestions and if you have any ideas for more categories for 2011 let me know!
The Beer Buddha
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I know a lot of you are trying to figure out what will be the best present for your spouse. If that spouse is a beer lover well then you came to the right website because I'm going to give you what I feel are 5 of the coolest gifts you can get for your resident beer nerd.
5) A gift card to your local beer store. This is the most simple gift and one of the best because not only does it allow your beer nerd to pick out his or her own beers but it keeps your money local. I would recommend a minimum of $20 on the gift card as that'll still allow them to get a very nice selection and is reasonable for a family on a budget.
4) Beer Glassware. Now unless your beer nerd is like me and has too many beer glasses they could use some "proper" glassware. Beer, like wine, should be consumed in proper glassware or style specific glassware. Each style of beer has its own style of glassware. There are a lot of stores in the New Orleans area where you can get some generic glassware such as Williams & Sonoma or even your local beer store but if you prefer to shop online my recommendation would be Beer Geek Shop as their website is simple to use and they have a nice selection of beer glasses at reasonable prices.
3) Beer Books. I love reading about beer and I think that books always make a great gift. So a book about beer is the best idea right? Here is a list of four books that I've read and enjoyed the most.
Brewmaster's Table by Garret Oliver: This book is perfect for the beer nerd who likes to pair their food and beer.
Great American Craft Beer: A Guide To The Nations Finest Beers and Breweries by Andy Crouch: This book is kind of like a Craft Beer 101 book. Perfect for beginners and any self proclaimed beer expert.
Brewing Up A Business: Adventures in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery by Sam Calagione: Your beer nerd want to start a brewery? Well even if they don't this book is an inspirational read about the entrepreneurial spirit of one of craft beers most celebrated owners.
The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer by Christina Perrozi and Hallie Beaune: Kind of an all beer guide to beer. This one covers styles, food pairings and keeps you entertained the entire time!
2) Old school beer Memorabilia. I'm always a sucker for old school beer stuff from New Orleans brewing past. And it's really easy to find thanks to websites such as ebay. Come on, you know an old school Jax Brewing clock would look great on your wall!
1) A kegerator. I really don't need to say anything here but duh. What beer nerd doesn't want their own personal beer dispenser.
Well there you have it. I think it's a pretty damn good list but if you want to add to it in the comments please feel free because I know there are other great beer gifts out there!
The Beer Buddha
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I love stories or movies in which the little guy succeeds against all odds. You know what I'm talking about. You know the one where that scrappy kid from Goonies is trying out for Notre Dame football and keeps getting his ass kicked and he just won't quit because he has daddy issues and his brother is a douche and then the dude from Swingers shows up and is like, RUDY! RUDY!! Yeah Rudy, that's right. In my opinion there are two new breweries right now that are doing just that- Cigar City and The Bruery. Bucking traditional approaches of small, steady growth these two breweries seemed to have gone balls to the wall and it's paying off for them. Here is the moment you expect me to post a picture of Rudy Ruettiger but no, I give you THIS instead:
Yeah I just did that. Bet you didn't see that one coming at you huh? And if you're reading this via email and aren't getting pictures or videos you just totally missed it. You're welcome to those they DID get to see it.
Anywho, The Bruery from Placentia, California just celebrated their second anniversary this past summer. The demand for their beers is insane. In two years they've gone from start up brewery to rock star brewery. Hell, they're available in Florida for crying out loud. This past summer during a trip to the House of Mouse I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of bottles from these guys and one of them was the Saison Rue. We cracked open the bottle this past Friday night at our weekly Friday Pint Night at Avenue Pub. I keep telling you guys to come out via my Facebook page so no excuses and no whining about how you weren't invited. Here is my review:
Brewery: The Bruery
Beer: Saison Rue
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Louisiana Availability: Of course not.
Appearance: This beer poured a hazy amber with a nice foamy white head.
Smell: Interesting hints of tart green apples, pepper and a slight hint of fruity hoppiness.
Taste: Now don't take this the wrong way but main the flavor that dominates here is....Jagermeister. I know, I know but that's what I tasted. The Bruery website doesn't say they use anise but man that's what I got the most of. I also got slight hints of green apples, barnyard mustiness and pepper but the anise just dominated the taste for me.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with a lot of carbonation.
Overall: An absolutely great brew but the anise just kept throwing me off. I swear I tasted Jagermeister and it was driving me crazy. Don't worry Patrick Rue I I'm pretty sure I was the only one meaning my taste buds just suck. Oh well, I still enjoyed the hell out of it though and will grab another bottle whenever I see it.
Score: 4 out of 5 Buddhas
The Beer Buddha