Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Beer Buddha's Top 10 List of the Best(and Worst) Beery Shit That Happened in New Orleans in 2011

So a lot of people are coming out with these amazing Best of (insert whatever here) lists for 2011. Polly Adler of Avenue Pub and Nora McGunnigle of NOLA Beer Bitch and NOLA Beer Guide both came out with amazing Best Beers of 2011. Me? No, I'm not going to do that. They already did it and did it really well. Not sure I can top either of those lists.

No, instead I decided to do what I do best and use humor to mask the fact that I am a horrible writer. Get me in a crowd of people and I can talk beer all day but when it comes to writing things down my limited vocabulary and getting hit too hard while playing contact sports limits my ability. But then again perhaps that very thing is what makes you all actually read the blog?

So on to my list. What exactly is it about? Not really sure. It's a best of and worst of I guess. It will focus on New Orleans and the surrounding area however. That much I do know. At least I think it will. And I'm sure it may piss some people off too.

1) My Favorite Local Beer of 2011

So this is a tough one. Okay, maybe it isn't but I did try some great local beers this year but one really stood out. I will state now though that the beers I considered in this are beers that are actually distributed. But the one that I really enjoyed most was NOLA Brewing's Flambeau. I can hear it now, Abita is booing and yelling that I am biased. That brings me to the next category.

2) The Biggest Local Let Down of 2011

So yeah, I'm sure you saw this one coming but I think I am right when I say that Abita's 25th Anniversary Vanilla Doubledog was the biggest let down by a local brewery in 2011. Abita is the 15th largest craft brewer in the country and this beer is what they chose to celebrate 25 years of brewing. Don't get me wrong it's an okay beer I just expected something better. I got a lot of flack for my review and apparently alienated friends that work there but I believe that the score of 81 on Beeradvocate.com justifies my feelings.

3) Best Beer Festival of 2011

I went to a bunch of beer festivals this year and had a blast at all of them but one really stood out and it wasn't because of the beers being served but rather the style of the festival that made it stand out. NOLA on Tap, which was put on by The Bulldog was THE festival this year in my opinion. Not only did proceeds go to a good cause(LASPCA) but it was a pay as you drink festival. That's right, you didn't have to pay to get in. You just paid for a certain amount of tickets which you traded in for brews. Full size or sample size. In my opinion THIS is the future of beer fests in the country.

4) Best Beer Bar in 2011

Honestly this category really isn't fair but why punish one bar because all the others can't hold it's jockstrap? We all know The Avenue Pub is THE beer bar in not only New Orleans but in Louisiana. Nothing against all the other bars in the state but you ALL know you have a long way to go to be mentioned in the same sentence with AP.

5) Beer Bar Let Down of 2011

Yeah this is a category. Normally it wouldn't be but why not. I was that disappointed. The wife, kid and I took a trip to Baton Rouge(I don't know why but the wife wanted to go) and did a visit of some of BRs beery places. We went to Tin Roof which was awesome but based on reviews on BA we made the fateful decision to go to The Chimes for lunch. The beer selection was plentiful. Quality was bull shit. Attention bars who want to be a beer bar: It's quality not quantity.

6) Best Out Of State Brewery Entering Louisiana in 2011

This one really isn't all that hard since we didn't have too many coming to Louisiana in 2011 but I'm giving this one to Stillwater Artisinal Ales.

7) Bullshit Out of State Brewery Entering Louisiana in 2011

This one goes hands down to Fort Collins Brewery for entering into the state in of all places Baton Rouge and NOT in New Orleans. Please take the picture of New Orleans down from your site until you actually distribute here please.

8) Surprise Beer of 2011

Big Flats 1901. Yeah that just happened. What do you want me to say? This beer came in at like $3 for a sixer and it wasn't half bad. Sometimes you just need a cheap, tasteless beer to get you through. This one fits the bill.

9) Louisiana Beer Trend of 2011

The beer can. Tin Roof, NOLA Brewing and Abita are all releasing beer in cans. The first two didn't really surprise me but Abita jumping on the band wagon at the last minute shocked me a bit. Now they could have been planning the canning line for years for all I know but it does look like a lame attempt. It's as if they realized that NOLA Brewing and Tin Roof are going to do awesome sales during Mardi Gras because of the can choice so they decided to get in the game too. All goes back to my assumption that Abita is a reactive not proactive company. But who am I to judge. I'm only a consumer.

10) Brewery to look forward to in 2012

Can I just say all of them? Well sure I can because I'm writing the damn thing! 2012 is going to be a great year for beer in Louisiana!

Well there you have it. Hope you enjoyed it. Hope you all have a Merry Christmakwanzakah!!!


The Beer Buddha


Jay D. Ducote said...

Well said all around. Being a Baton Rouge guy, I'll certainly admit that we have nothing that comes close to the Avenue Pub or Barley Oak. Chimes and Bulldog try to play, but you're dead on about quantity versus quality. They are both beer bars, but not craft beer bars.

Eric Ducote said...

Have to agree that the Chimes has unfortunately really punted the ball when it comes to quality beer on tap. They are eschewing the quality brews that they CAN bring in for the likes of Rolling Rock and other bland beers.

Oh, and you aren't missing a damn thing with Fort Collins, you can have them all.

Smurfe said...

Pretty good list and pretty spot on with my thoughts. I do have to disagree a bit about the Chimes in BR. There are two of them and I bet you went to the original one which I do agree isn't the greatest. The Chimes East is much better IMHO. They both beat The Bulldog in BR though. That place is a big letdown for me. I love their place in Metairie, Lagers. If they had table service I would probably alter my opinion.

Meg said...

Spot on. I can't find Big Flats. Every time I see it advertised I ask for it, but the store doesn't actually have it. Where have you seen it?

Brenton Day said...

Really agree with the Abita Vanilla Doubledog comments. The Chimes to me isn't really a beer bar, but a restaurant with a lot of taps. Nothing stands out there. Gotta get you to The Cove when they finish their tap bar. Absolutely the best beer bar in Baton Rouge, and they'll really cement their place when they get their draft beers soon.

I've got a Fort Collins sampler pack that you can have if you're in town.

Anonymous said...

Avenue Pub may have the best Beer selection, but they need to clean that place up. It's full of dust if you look up and it smells moldy in there...

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