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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Rogue Spirits Oregon Rye Malt Whiskey

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and HAPPY GAMEDAY!  LSU takes on Louisiana Tech tonight, and gameday means it's time for another #wakeywhiskey and this morning I'm going to finish off a bottle of Rogue Spirits Oregon Rye Malt Whiskey.  I've featured Rogue Spirits before with their Dead Guy whiskey, so I won't go too far into the details of the distillery, but I will happily talk about this particular bottle.  It's crafted primarily from rye malt grown in Rogue's own farms, plus two other specialty barley malts that Rogue refers to as their Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malt.  

Very similar to the Longrow scotch I reviewed last week, Rogue controls every step in the process, from the growing of the malts to the bottling of the spirits.  Their barrel aging facility is right on the saltwater in Newport, Oregon, and the Oregon Rye Malt is "ocean aged" for a minimum of three years. It's bottled at 80 proof for 40% alcohol and is available year round in 750ml bottles. 

Rogue Spirits Oregon Rye Malt Whiskey

The pour is a light amber color, translucent as any spirit should be.  The aroma isn't heavy on the cinnamon notes like some rye whiskeys but instead is very clean with a hint of peach and almonds. The taste is clean and smooth, with the cinnamon spice coming through a little stronger than on the aroma and a grainy bready flavor from the malted barley.  This is an easy drinking very pleasant whiskey that would be a great introduction to rye whiskey for someone looking to try some new spirits.  

That's all for now, happy gameday and #GeauxTigers!       

Friday, September 21, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Tin Roof's Côte Ouest IPA

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, on this beautiful first day of Fall!  Oh wait, it's still a billion degrees outside, but at least it's football season, right?  And at least cold cooler weather is on the way!  So I've been told, next weekend should finally start to feel a little like Fall, but this weekend is going to feel a little like the surface of the Sun.  

For today's Feature Beer I went back to local brewery Tin Roof for their latest specialty release, the Côte Ouest IPA, brewed in collaboration with Blake Winchell and Bill Childress of Brasseurs A La Maison.  As the name suggests, this is a traditional American IPA in the West coast style as opposed to the trendy New England style that's all the rage right now.  That means more malt balance, more bittering hops, and usually less back end dry hopping.  It also traditionally means a departure from the hazy "juicy" feel of the NE style, although this particular example retained some haziness.  

The Côte Ouest is draft only, but the batch resulted in about 10 barrels of finished product, so expect to see it on tap at the Tin Roof taproom for several more weeks as well.  Since cans weren't available, I grabbed a crowler on my last visit to try later.  First thing though, check out that fancy tap handle!  Apparently Blake didn't even know he was going to be features so prominently until he showed up to the release party, so I guess the joke is on him.  

Tin Roof's Cote Ouest IPA

On to the beer!  First the stats... 7.5% abv which is right at the cut off between IPA and DIPA, and approximately 70 IBU.  The pour is a dark orange-ish color with a bubbly white head and a decent amount of haze.  The hop aroma is still strong but more floral and traditionally bitter rather than citrus.  The taste is strongly bitter, and despite the darker color, there isn't a huge malt presence, rather the Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo hops come through with a combination of floral and piney bitterness with still a hint of citrus but not an overpowering presence.  All four of those hop varieties are produced in the Pacific NW and are prominent in the American IPA's surge in popularity, so it's great to see them used so generously in this beer.  

This won't be on tap for too long, so if you like hoppy bitterness and are looking for a change of pace and a bit of a throwback, head over to Tin Roof and give this a taste.  Cheers! 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Wakey Whisky: Longrow Peated Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our first SEC gameday of 2018!  The LSU Tigers face a tough road test today against the War Eagles/Plainsmen/Tigers of Auburn.  I've pretty much always hated Auburn, although they've never been at the top of my SEC hate list, they've always been in contention, in my case back to the cigar smoking on the field days of 1999.  Dick move, Auburn.  Dick. Move.

Now, I have no Alabama whiskey in the collection, so I'm going to have to get a little exotic and break out a new bottle of scotch for this round of #wakeywhisky.  As I'm sure any regular reader knows by now, scotch drops the 'e' from whiskey in their spelling, so this is a bottle of whisky rather than whiskey.  This particular bottle is the Longrow Peated Campbeltown Single Malt, which is a double distilled and highly peated single malt variety. 

Campbeltown is one of the traditional five regions of scotch production, along with Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, and Islay.  Campbeltown is the smallest of the regions with only 3 active distilleries, including the J. & A. Mitchell & Company which independently operates the Springbank distillery which produces the Longrow scotch that I'm drinking today.  This is the only distillery in Scotland that carries out the full process of malting, mashing, fermenting, distilling, aging, and bottling all under one roof.  Very few distilleries malt their own barley, and quite often they outsource the mashing process to brewing facilities.  

Longrow Peated Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Okay, so, on to the whisky, this one pours a very light color, which indicates to me that it's not a crazy long aging, or it's possibly a very light char on the barrels that they use. The smell is without a doubt peat heavy but it's not so powerful that it's all I can smell.  There are notes of honey, honeysuckle, smoke, and vanilla, all melded together into a delicious sip of whisky.  The smoke builds as I continue to sip with a bit of a bitter astringent note adding another layer of complexity.  The finish is smoky, peaty, with a definite hint of oak. 

This is really one of the more complex scotches that I can remember trying.  So many have a complexity to them, but they are usually still dominated by a distinct note, whereas this whisky really doesn't have a dominant note and instead is a mashup of flavors that compliment each other extremely well.  I wasn't sure what to expect from this new bottle to my collection, but I'm immediately a huge fan.

Here's hoping the LSU Tigers play as well as this scotch tastes, if so we might be seeing a big upset this afternoon.  Cheers, happy gameday, and GEAUX TIGERS! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Tin Roof / Gnarly Barley's Liger Juicy Pale Ale

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone!  It's another Friday and that means another featured beer here on Bite And Booze.  I'm going with a local collaboration today, the Liger Juicy Pale Ale which was brewed by Tin Roof and Gnarly Barley to celebrate last week's LSU vs. SELU football matchup.  Tin Roof brews the Bayou Bengal, a licensed LSU beer, and Gnarly Barley out of Hammond brews the Lion Up, a licensed SELU beer, so it only made sense for the two to combine forces for a Rivalry Edition beer.  

I'm a huge fan of local breweries collaborating together on beers like this, as well as local breweries collaborating with regional and national breweries.  It's a great way to get new ideas, new beers, and new exposure for these craft breweries that support a lot of local jobs.  This beer sold out quickly in cans at the brewery last weekend, but as of Wednesday night there was still plenty on tap, and they were selling crowlers of it to go.  So, as I'm an LSU fan, I grabbed a Tin Roof glass and gave the beer a try...

Tin Roof / Gnarly Barley's Liger Juicy Pale Ale

The first thing that hit me is the hop aroma as soon as I popped the can, citrus flavors dominate due to the galaxy, citra, and mosaic hops used.  The color is a pale yellow, not quite orange juice color, but hazy and vibrant.  The aroma out of the glass is more of the same, strong citrus hop flavors which invite me in for a sip.  On the tongue the hops continue their dominance, with a medium body and a minimal malt presence.  This is basically a toned down pale ale version of a "juicy" NEIPA and they nail it.  At 5.5% but bursting with hop flavor, this would be a great game day beer or perfect for breaking out after mowing the lawn, which is exactly what I in the picture above!

Here's hoping this makes it into the regular rotation for either Tin Roof or Gnarly Barley, I know I'd drink plenty more if it was readily available.  In the meantime, hit up the Tin Roof taproom and grab a crowler or two for the weekend.  Cheers! 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Ole Smoky Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey

By Eric Ducote

Good morning Tiger fans and welcome to an undefeated week 2 and a huge jump in the polls following an ass whipping of Miami.  I'll admit, I didn't see that coming, I expected a good game and wouldn't have been shocked with a win or a loss, but going out to a 30-point lead on a top 10 team was unforeseen.  So I guess the question really is, was Miami overrated, was LSU underrated, or was it some combination of both?  I'm not a genius prognosticator, but with Southeastern Louisiana University (SELU) coming into Tiger Stadium this week, I feel like 2-0 is a strong possibility.  On a side note, Baton Rouge's Tin Roof Brewing and Hammond's Gnarly Barley Brewing put out a collaboration brew to commemorate the meeting of the two teams.  Tin Roof brews an official LSU licensed beer, and Gnarly Barley brews one licensed by SELU, so the collaboration makes perfect sense.  Look for that one out now and coming soon as a Feature Beer Friday?

Back to the wakey whiskey (#wakeywhiskey) though... last weekend I was in Knoxville for the game, and of course I hit up a local liquor store to buy a few local bottles.  I had already picked up a few directly from Postmodern Spirits in Knoxville proper, but I saw this bottle from Gatlinburg that caught my eye.  It's the Ole Smoky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the term "straight" means that in addition to all the qualifications for a bourbon, this one has been aged for at least two years. Ole Smoky primarily makes mooonshine, although more of the flavored variety as opposed to the illegal variety, but they also produce some flavored whiskeys and a few unflavored bourbons.   

Ole Smoky Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Now, the whiskey itself, because that's the important part, right?  The color is a little darker than caramel with a bit of an orange hint to it.  The smell is fairly muted, with hints of vanilla and oak but nothing too overpowering. The taste is a little on the harsh side at first, but once it settles down the typical bourbon flavors come out like corn sweetness, a bit of a mineral quality, a little vanilla, and the oak char comes out even stronger.  After a few sips neat to work out the palate, I added an ice sphere to see what opens up, and found first that the oak flavors on the aroma come through stronger than before.  On the tongue the initial harsh notes are reduced and then the whiskey flavors emerge with vanilla on the strong side.  I feel like this one benefits from the ice to open up the flavors.  

Not a bad pour, not the best I've ever had, but I'm all about trying new whiskeys and this one definitely has a place on my shelf.  Now, time for LSU to get to work and make it a 2-0 start.  Geaux Tigers!