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Friday, April 20, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Tin Roof Blonde vs. Flying Tiger Burma Blonde

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone!  This week I'm going for a bit of a departure from the standard review.  I happened to have two Louisiana brewed blonde beers (one ale and one lager) in the fridge, so I figured this was the perfect chance for a little side by side blind taste test.  I had my lovely wife Mandi pour the pair of beers into identically sized glasses and bring them out without me knowing which beer was which.  

In one corner glass: Tin Roof Brewing's Blonde Ale, hailing from Baton Rouge, 5% abv and 15 IBU.  In the other corner glass: Flying Tiger Brewery's Burma Blonde, a blonde lager from Monroe, 5.1% abv and 19 IBU.  Now there's no way I (or anyone) is going to notice the .1% abv difference, and I probably won't even be able to notice the slight difference in IBU especially considering both of these beers rely on Glacier hops, but I figured that I could probably pick up the differences in flavor imparted by the yeast strains.  No promises though, that's for sure.  

Two mystery beers... at this point I didn't know which was which.

After receiving the two beers, both in New Belgium glasses (which are my favorite) it became obvious that there was no was to really tell them apart based on appearance.  Both beers had about the same exact golden tint and fairly equal levels of opaqueness.  On the aroma, the beer on the left had a very clean crisp aroma with just a hint of grainy sweetness, while the right had a similar crispness with just a hint of sulfuric flavor.  Both beers tasted quite refreshing, with the only difference again being a slight sulfuric flavor on the right beer that caused me to give the edge, slightly, to the beer on the left.  With that in mind I cast my vote to the beer on the left and Mandi revealed that that one was the Tin Roof Blonde.

The contestants.

Honestly these two beers are extremely comparable, and I had no problem crushing both and could easily see myself drinking plenty of either of them as the weather heats up in South Louisiana.  While I did lean toward the Tin Roof Blonde, if someone asks me which one to pick, I'd say to support your local brewery.  You can't go wrong either way. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Chargrilled Oysters with Blanc Du Bois Butter

by Chef Aimee Tortorich

The Gulf of Mexico produces some of the world’s best oysters, so it was a no-brainer for this round of recipe development. I picked out a dozen beautiful oysters from a local seafood market, Tony’s Seafood and made a simple wine butter featuring Jay D’s Blanc du Bois that complemented the natural flavor of the oysters. Simple, delicious, and quite the treat!

Chargrilled Oysters in Blanc Du Bois Butter

1 dozen(12) Gulf oysters, shucked and on the halfshell
1 stick butter, unsalted
½ cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs chives, minced
½ cup Jay D’s Blanc du Bois
1 Tbs fresh garlic, minced

For the Blanc du Bois Butter:
Allow butter to soften and combine with parmesan, chives, Jay D’s Blanc du Bois and garlic. Mix very well then put in fridge to harden.

Shuck oysters and leave on half shell. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each oyster and grill or broil until butter is bubbly and slightly browned.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Burgers with Chuck: The Burger Pizza at Rotolo's Craft & Crust

by Chuck P

Ok everyone settle down. I know what you’re saying after reading that title. A hamburger pizza doesn’t qualify as a “burger” Chuck. You’re probably thinking I’ve lost my damn mind. Well folks, let me tell you about the Burger Pizza at the new Rotolo’s Craft & Crust.

First off let’s make it very clear. This is not your standard hamburger pizza by any means. This incredible concoction created by Mitch Rotolo Jr. is a pie straight out of my dreams. A perfect vision of combining two of my favorite foods into one gloriously delicious meal. Like, seriously. Looking at that picture has me craving one right now!

Let’s talk toppings. It’s pretty much everything you’d throw onto a standard burger. It’s got a mustard base, ground beef, grilled onions, mozzarella and is topped off with pickles and french fries-- French fries, people! I mean come on man! If that’s not a straight up burger pizza then I don’t know what is.

Taste-wise, it is completely spot on. Imagine it as if you’d taken the top bun off of your burger and ate it that way. Granted, no one really does that, I’m just trying to make a comparison. If I had one recommendation I would do like a Thousand Island dressing drizzle on it which would give it almost a Big Mac kinda feel or maybe even a garlic aioli or any type of sauce you’d normally add to your burger. And also bacon... LOTS OF BACON.

This was a trial run that our Bite & Booze team got to try , so it’s not available to the masses just yet. We were told that it would either be added to the menu full time soon or served as a special once they were completely satisfied with their final recipe.

Make sure you’re following Rotolo’s Craft & Crust on Facebook and Instagram to find out when the Burger Pizza will be available as well all future specialty pies to come.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Rogue Spirits Dead Guy Whiskey

By: Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone!  Today is a big day around Baton Rouge (if the weather doesn't screw us over) with a few of my favorite festivals taking place.  Kicking off downtown today (and continuing tomorrow) is the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, and over at LSU's Rural Life Museum you can find the Zapp's International Beer Festival.  I've been attending both events pretty regularly over the years, and it's a little (okay, a lot) disappointing that both are starting at roughly the same time, but the good news is that there is plenty of time this weekend to do both if you choose!  That's certainly my plan.  

With a beer festival on my minds, I figured it would be the perfect time to try out a whiskey created by a company primarily known as a brewery, the Rogue Spirits Dead Guy Whiskey. I'm sure most of you out there have heard of Rogue Ales, an Oregon-based brewery that has been around for years with beers like the Dead Guy Ale and Hazelnut Brown.  Well, they also have their very own distillery in Newport, Oregon where they create three different whiskeys and two types of gin.  

Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey
The Dead Guy Whiskey is made from the same malted barley combination that comprised the malt bill on their Dead Guy Ale, primarily 2-Row with some Munich, Crystal 15, and a couple of locally grown malts as well.  This might seem like a departure from American whiskeys which use primarily corn but also wheat and rye, but distilling from a mash of malted barley is extremely common in Scotland and Ireland.  Malted barley is used almost exclusively in the production of both Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey, so with that in mind, I expected some similarities with those spirits in this offering from Rogue.  The Dead Guy Whiskey is then aged in oak barrels for at least two years in barrels exposed to the ocean.  Their barrel aging facility in Newport is exposed to the saltwater in a similar manner to the Lagavulin aging warehouse in Islay, Scotland.  

I'll be honest before getting into the review... I'm not a huge fan of Rogue beers, and I've tried a rum from them in the past that I thought was outright awful, so my expectation going into this one were pretty low.  That said, I'm always willing to give a beverage a chance, and the idea behind this one had a lot of promise, so I poured pretty heavy anyway.  The color is excellent, which was apparent before the pour, a deep amber that appears more rich than the two years of aging... perhaps this was a second use barrel or smaller barrel?  The aroma is much more like a lighter Scotch to me, with a bit of honey, some citrus, some floral notes, and a very pleasant alcohol character.  The taste is more of the honey note, with some vanilla oak character from the barrel aging, with maybe a hint of saltiness, but I certainly don't get the "ocean aging" on this one like I do in a bottle of Lagavulin or Jefferson's Ocean.  I'd bet that a few more years could really change this one for the better with the ocean aging they are going for.  It's really smooth though, very easy to drink with some extremely pleasant Scotch notes that remind me of a good Speyside single malt.  

I was seriously impressed with this whiskey, complex refreshing flavors that kept my attention throughout the pour.  This is definitely worth a purchase if you see it out in the wild! 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Flying Tiger's Heroic Hops IPA

by Eric Ducote

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Feature Beer Friday! We're staying in-state this week with an offering from Flying Tiger Brewery out of Monroe. This is one of the handful of Louisiana breweries that I haven't yet had a chance to visit, and in fact I don't think I've ever even been to Monroe.  I certainly don't remember ever visiting, and that's something that I'll have to change eventually... and when I do, a visit to the Flying Tiger taproom will certainly be in order.  

Flying Tiger Brewery (not to be confused with Flying Heart or Crying Eagle) takes their name from the Flying Tigers, a volunteer group of American pilots who defended China against Japan during World War II. They were commanded by General Claire Chennault, who grew up in small Louisiana towns near Monroe. 

Heroic Hops is one of four flagship brews produced by Flying Tiger, in addition to a rotating lineup of seasonal and specialty brews in their taproom. The Man At Arms Amber Ale, Burma Blonde, and Warhawk Kolsch (a ULM affiliated beer) round out their flagship offerings. Heroic Hops comes in at 5.8% ABV and 69 IBU, right in the wheelhouse for an American IPA. They describe the beer as, "Citrus, Sauvignon grape, and tropical notes fly forward as these hops blend effortlessly with a strong base of two row and Munich malts. Let there be no mistake, heroism is definitive…as is the beer you drink."  

Heroic Hops IPA by Flying Tiger Brewery

My first impression on pouring this beer is that it's hazier than I expected... I was expecting more of a traditional IPA look to this one but it's got a good bit of turbidity going on. I'm not saying it's as hazy as last week's Jucifer, but it's certainly not a filtered clear IPA either. The color is gold-to-amber, with a bubbly white champagne-esque head. The aroma is definitely strong with the sauvignon grape notes they described. I don't know if I would have picked that out without the description, but now that it's in my head, it's all I can think of when I smell this beer. There are definitely hints of citrus as well, but the sauvignon notes dominate in my opinion. The taste is a great follow through on the inviting aroma, with a fantastic balance of bitterness of tropical flavor, and the malt smartly stays out of the way to let the hops shine.  

All in all, this one really impressed me. I had only tried a few beers from Flying Tiger before, and wasn't sure what to expect from this IPA, but it has all the makings of a fantastic Summer weather back patio beer. Unfortunately this one isn't available in Baton Rouge yet, but next time you are up in North Louisiana, grab some, and bring a 6-pack down for me!