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Friday, March 23, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Old Rail Brewing's Don't Forget The Flowers DIPA

by Eric Ducote

Hello everyone, it's been a week since my last Feature Beer Friday post... which of course means it's time for another one! Funny how that works, right? Today's Feature Beer Friday (Hashtag FeatureBeerFriday) is coming to us from the Old Rail Brewing Company out of Mandeville.  If you're wondering why you haven't seen any beers from Old Rail on tap or in stores around town, it's because they are a brewpub and sell 100% of their product out of their restaurant and taproom in the heart of historic Mandeville.

Old Rail's tap list features a handful of regular offerings like their Seven Sisters IPA and Cow Catcher Chocolate Milk Stout, but they are also putting out some really phenomenal seasonal and specialty beers.  I was over that way a few weeks ago and stopped in to see what was new, and the Don't Forget The Flowers DIPA caught my attention, so it was an obvious add to my flight.

Old Rail's Don't Forget The Flowers DIPA
Old Rail's Don't Forget The Flowers DIPA

Don't Forget The Flowers clocks in at 7% abv which leaves it on the low end for a DIPA, but that's fine with me, I don't drink to get drunk, I drink because beer is delicious.  The team at Old Rail describes the beer as, "Clean, Smooth, Soft, Citrusy and Tropical, Juicy Hop Character, Sweet Malt" and the name is derived from the train that used to run right next to the brewpub.  They say, "You stand on the platform waiting for your beloved to arrive, flowers in hand. The complex aroma wafts from the large colorful bouquet as you hear the whistle in the distance and you begin to smile. You didn’t forget the flowers. The trains no longer run here and no one comes waiting with flowers but that doesn’t mean we can’t find inspiration to invigorate our senses and bring a smile to our faces."

I without a doubt get a strong floral aroma, coming from some hops that aren't used as much in the current hazy New England-style IPA trend that's dominating the industry currently.  The floral aroma gives way to the light-bodied smooth and slightly sweet taste that's dominated by a complex hop flavor of flowers and citrus with hints of the tropical fruit they mention.  The finish is easy and it lets the hops linger without being overly bitter, making me want another sip right away.  They have an easy drinking winner here with this DIPA, and it's still on tap, so if you are looking for something to do this weekend, head on over to Old Rail and give it a try.  Just remember to be responsible on the road!

Cheers everyone!  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Chocolate Chile Truffles

by Liz Courville

These truffles are the perfect chocolatey treat. Not only are they decadent, but they’re not terrible for you either! They’re packed full of healthy fats and proteins from the cashews and pecans, loads of beneficial fiber and carbohydrates from the dates plus antioxidants from all of that cacao! Don’t forget the Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub… it’s the secret ingredient that changes the dessert game completely.

These truffles can be eaten for dessert, a snack or even as a part of a well-balanced breakfast! They are loaded with energy and won’t leave you feeling sluggish like most other desserts. Do yourself a favor and make these ASAP!

Chocolate Chile Truffles

14 truffles
(Raw, Vegan, Gluten-free)

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw walnuts
1 Tbsp cacao powder
¼ tsp sea salt
½-1 tsp Jay D's Coffee Chile Rub
12 Medjool dates, pitted (soak in warm water 10 minutes if dried out)
1 ¼ cups dairy free dark chocolate (chopped roughly)
1 tsp coconut oil
Topping: ¼ cup cacao nibs, walnuts and/or sea salt for topping

Place cashews and walnuts into food processor and pulse until a meal consistency, set aside in a different dish.

Next, place dates into processor and pulse until small clumps/small balls start to form.

Add in cacao powder, Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub, and half of the nut meal. Pulse and continue to add in small amounts of nut meal until a loose/soft dough starts to form. (You may not need to use all of the nuts, can use left overs for toppings.)

Once dough is easy to form, scoop out 1 Tbsp and roll into balls. If they are not holding together well, hold and press the dough into palm and heat for a few seconds. Approximately 14 balls should form, place these on parchment paper and place in freezer to chill.

While these are chilling, melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave in 30 second increments. Once melted, stir in coconut oil to help the dipping process.

Take the chilled dough out of the freezer and dip each ball and place back onto parchment paper. Once all are dipped, top with excess nuts, cacao nibs or sea salt.

Let sit out at room temperature before diving in! Store at room temperature in airtight container. (For long term storage, use freezer.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Beers with Chuck: Magic Marshmallow Breakfast Milk Stout from Tin Roof Brewing

by Chuck P

St. Patrick’s Day in Baton Rouge is a very big deal. People line up sometimes overnight to secure their spot for the annual parade and prepare for a long day of drinking. There’s lots and lots of Jameson and Guinness being consumed and unfortunately, a lot of very unnecessary green beer. Luckily for us Tin Roof Brewery made sure to give us a better option this year with their third consecutive specialty release the Magic Marshmallow Breakfast Milk Stout.

To keep with the theme of the day, the guys at Tin Roof decided to go all out and include Lucky Charms cereal into the brew recipe. How much Lucky Charms you might ask? We’re talking 72 boxes of magical deliciousness! They also used a marshmallow flavored coffee and lactose to give it some creaminess.

On my first pour I noticed the hint of the cereal coming through with a bit of the coffee on the aroma. Greeted with coffee first, some vanilla creeps in, but after it began to warm up I thought the vanilla faded giving way to more of the coffee. The lactose was minimal in my opinion, but still noticeable. The cereal itself arrived at the finish but was subtle which I liked with a bit of bitterness rounding it out.

Tin Roof has been crushing the small batch game recently with the release of the Santeria Double IPA (aka the beer formerly known as JUJU), Haze Hunt Triple IPA and now with the release of Magic Marshmallow they continue to bring down the house. Unlike the aforementioned Santeria and Haze Hunt which were both brewery exclusives you can find this breakfast milk stout on tap at your favorite craft beer watering holes.

Congrats to Tin Roof on another delicious brew. I can’t wait to see what type of specialty beer they do for Easter!*

*Tin Roof has nothing scheduled for release that’s Easter themed. Or do they???

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Bushmills Distillery Reserve 12-Year Single Malt

by Eric Ducote

Alright lads and lasses, it's St. Patrick's Day, which means it's time to throw on some green clothes, don some green beads, get some Irish beer and whiskey ready and head on down to your local parade.  Baton Rouge annually hosts one of the larger St. Patrick's Day parades in the country and this year it just happens that March 17th falls on a Saturday for some extra Irish charm.

I've rode in the parade many times, gone to watch many times, partaken in the overpass block party and without a doubt made an ass of myself more than once.  This year though, no revelry for me, as my newborn son is finally home from the NICU.  I hope everyone headed out to the parade has fun, but I'm still going to find time for a little wakey whiskey.

Bushmills claims to the the world's oldest whiskey distillery although that's based on a license granted in 1608 to distill whiskey in the county, and not based on registering the Bushmills brand itself, which happened in 1784 and would make it the 5th oldest whiskey brand in the world. Regardless, that's old-- That's even older than Chuck P, although not by much.

A little more Bushmills trivia:
The distillery isn't actually in the Republic of Ireland, but is instead in Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. It's on the island of Ireland though, so it's Irish whiskey to me.

This particular brand is the 12-year Single Malt, which is comprised of barrels that are between 12 and 14 years old, and it's aged primarily sherry casks. The special thing about the 12-year is that it's only available at the distillery in County Antrim, and nowhere else.  This particular bottle is one that I've been saving in the cellar for quite a while, since a 2006 trip to Ireland in fact, so it's past time I took another pour or two.

I compared it to a regular bottle of Bushmills, and the 12-year is without a doubt a darker, deeper color with a rich honey tone to it.  The aroma is very floral, with notes of honeysuckle and vanilla, complex and strong.  The taste is amazing, in my opinion, with a hint of citrus to go with strong oak and vanilla and a little dark fruit as well.  I think the sherry casks used in the aging really add another layer to this on top of the standard oak notes and it blends together exceptionally well.  The finish is smooth with just a hint of booziness (it's bottled at a modest 40% abv) that doesn't linger nearly as long as the sherry notes.

I know this isn't one that you guys and gals can just go pick up off the shelf, but if you ever find yourself in Northern Ireland and swing by the Bushmills distillery, this is worth a pick up.  Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone, and sláinte!  

Friday, March 16, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Southern Prohibition's Crowd Control Imperial IPA

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everybody, I hope you are having a fantastic Friday so far, or whichever day you might be reading this, I hope it's awesome.  Today's Feature Beer Friday (Hashtag FeatureBeerFriday) comes from Southern Prohibition Brewing out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Southern Prohibition (or SoPro) established in 2013 actually makes it one of Mississippi's oldest craft breweries. It wasn't too long ago that Mississippi was a black hole for craft breweries thanks to restrictive laws, but starting with Lazy Magnolia in 2005 the state has started to join the craft beer movement.  The group Raise Your Pints has done a lot to help in the legislature as well as the breweries themselves continuing to fight for their business. In the end, Mississippi is starting to catch up to the rest of the country, or at least the rest of the South, and that's without a doubt a great thing for craft beer drinkers in the region.

Enough history though, how about the present, and this Crowd Control Imperial IPA?  The pour is hazy, but not quite the juicy look of some "New England" styled hoppy brews. The color is a deep, opaque gold with a frothy white head and the hop aroma reached my nose before I was even done pouring.  The first thing I noted from the aroma is that this has a much more dank, piney, resiny scent than all of the juice bombs I've been drinking recently. The beer is hopped to feature Mosaic hops, which have a real tendency to give off a green onion flavor, but I'm not getting that as much as the resinous, traditionally bitter hop bite.

The taste is more complex, with the resin notes coming through strong and coating the tongue and a minimal sweetness in support.  The finish is bitter, but in an awesome way and completely different from the velvet smoothness of a real "soft" juicy IPA.  Even a minute after a sip there is some lingering hop bitterness, which makes me want to go back for another sip (or another can) to satisfy that craving for MORE HOPS! It's only 8% abv, so the lower side for an Imperial IPA, and not so strong that I can't go back for another, right?

SoPro has a real winner on their hands here and it has been a favorite pick of mine ever since cracking the Baton Rouge market.  If you see some out there, don't hesitate to give it a try.  Cheers!