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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Duck & Leek Dumpling with Blanc du Bois Blueberry Sauce

by Chef Jenn Breithaupt

These dumplings make an excellent appetizer with a pop of color. You can stuff a dumpling with a plethora of fillings; dumplings are delicious. I chose duck and leek because they pair very well together. The fat from the duck and the acidity from the leek create a great balance. An alternative way to get some color on them is to poach them or quickly sear in a hot skillet.

Duck & Leek Dumpling with Blanc du Bois Blueberry Sauce

makes about 25 dumplings

2 duck breasts, small diced, skin off (reserve skin)
1¾ cup leeks, thin half moons
2 Tbss shallots, minced
½ cup carrots, small diced
1 rib celery, small diced
1 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
⅓ cup Jay D’s Blanc du Bois
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
25 small wonton wrappers
1 egg
1 Tbs water

For the blueberry sauce:
1½ cups Jay D’s Blanc du Bois
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
6 oz blueberries, crushed

Take skin off duck breasts and place skin into skillet. Turn heat to low and allow for skin to fully render fat (this may take a while). Once fat has rendered, discard skin, but keep the fat.
Add small diced duck breasts, shallots, carrots, celery and garlic to skillet with duck fat. Cook until vegetables are soft, duck is cooked and there is no liquid left in skillet. Set aside and allow to cool.

Whisk 1 egg and 1 Tbs of water. Set aside to be used for egg wash for dumplings. Put wonton wrapper down so one corner is pointing towards the top (diamond-shaped) and brush along edges with egg wash. Place 1 Tbs of filling in the middle and take the bottom corner to meet the top corner to form a triangle. Seal on all three sides and brush with egg wash.
In a saucepot, bring water to a simmer. Poach dumplings until dough is soft.
To make the blueberry sauce, combine blueberries, Jay D’s Blanc du Bois, honey and salt in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened and reduced by half. Serve over dumplings or as a dipping sauce.

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!


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Barbecue Buddha Bowl

by Liz Courville

Are you trying to reduce your meat consumption? Looking for some meal ideas that aren’t salad or just super bland? Well you are in luck. Because this Barbecue Buddha Bowl is probably one of the most satisfying meals!

The combination of complex carbohydrates from the rice and sweet potato, the high protein content of tofu, plus the vitamins and minerals coming from the leafy greens and tahini dressing creates a well-balanced meal that isn’t a compromise on flavor! Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce adds that sweet and salty barbecue coat over the tofu, you won’t even miss the meat! Try this out on your next “Meatless Monday,” or make it like, every day… it’s just that good!

Barbecue Buddha Bowl

serves 2
(Vegan, Gluten-free)

1 (14 oz.) pack of extra firm tofu
½ cup Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
2 cups brown Supreme Rice, cooked
½ ripe avocado
1 cup kale or spinach
½ cup tahini
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sweet potato, cubed
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Press tofu for 15-20 minutes to remove excess liquid.

Place tofu into a medium sized bowl and add in ¾ cup Jay D’s Barbecue Sauce. set some aside for drizzling over baked tofu once finished. Mix together gently. (Marinate over night for best results.)

Place tofu on a flat pan lined with parchment paper and do the same for the sweet potato cubes.

Once oven is preheated, place tofu and sweet potatoes in the oven. (Tofu should take 20-25 minutes, sweet potato cubes should take 15 minutes.)

While the tofu and potatoes are baking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water and sea salt to create a dressing for the greens.

After tofu and potatoes are finished, scoop out 1 cup of cooked brown rice into 2 separate bowls. Slice the ½ of an avocado into ¼ into cubes or thin slices.

On top of rice, scoop out ½ of the baked BBQ tofu, ½ of the baked sweet potato, ½ cup of greens drizzled with ½ of the dressing, ¼ of an avocado - into each bowl for a completely satisfying meal!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Gnarly Barley's Jucifer IPA

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and welcome to another riveting installment of Feature Beer Friday here at Bite and Booze. I'm going to keep trying to feature a mix of local, regional, national, and possibly even international brews in this space, but naturally being in Baton Rouge my beer fridge is going to contain more locally available brews than not.  The good news in that regard is that there are no shortage of Louisiana breweries putting out some excellent brews.  

With that in mind, this week's offering is coming to you from Gnarly Barley Brewing just down I-12 in Hammond.   Gnarly Barley was established in 2014 by husband and wife team Zac and Cari Caramonta.  Like many brewers before and since, they got their start homebrewing before turning their passion into a full blown business.  Currently the brewery is open for tastings on Fridays from 5 to 9 and on Saturdays from 12 to 5.  If you are ever looking for something to do on those days, it's easily worth the short drive to Hammond, but of course drive responsibly. 

Gnarly Barley's Jucifer IPA

Today's offering from Gnarly Barley is the Jucifer IPA, their take on the extremely popular hazy "New England" IPA style, or just NEIPA for short.  The style is finally recognized by the BJCP as it's own distinct type of specialty IPA, and the impression is described as: "A refreshing hop-driven pale ale showcasing fresh, juicy, fruity hop flavors and aromas. Moderate bitterness and low malt flavors only play a supporting role, preserving approachable drinkability. Deceptively soft, creamy mouthfeel gives way to a crisp, dry finish characteristic of all American IPA’s. Singularly hazy but still attractive to those who appreciate an intense hop experience.

Now on to the review... 

Jucifer comes in at 6% abv and 79.5 IBU, and pours a hazy bright golden color that's perfect for the style, with a frothy white head that lingers for minutes.  The aroma is strong with grapefruit and blood orange, in my opinion, strong citrus flavors with a hint of tropical tones.  The taste is more of the same, with an excellent blend of citrus and tropical flavors with just the right amount of underlying bitterness to accentuate the hops but prevent a harsh acerbic finish.  At 6% this is a smooth easy drinker that will always have a place in my beer fridge.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Pork Egg Rolls

Easy to eat, and a crowd favorite, these pork and cabbage egg rolls are a spin on the classic European dish, cabbage rolls. Using ground pork and cabbage along with Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet Rub, this eggroll packs a punch of flavor. The Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard  mixed with sour cream adds a nice tang.

Pork Cabbage with Molasses Mustard Dipping Sauce

makes ~14 egg rolls

1 package of egg roll wraps
1 lb ground pork
½ head/2 cups cabbage, diced
¼ cup carrot, small dice
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet Rub
½ cup tomato sauce
½ Tbsp kosher salt
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Molasses Mustard Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
Pinch of salt

Heat canola oil to 350℉ in a skillet. In another skillet, brown ground pork. Add carrots, onions, and garlic, then saute until soft. Add Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet Rub, tomato sauce and salt. Cook for 6 minutes, then set aside to cool. Take an egg roll wrap and brush each side with egg wash. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on wrapper and fold up the corner. Fold the left and right corners into the middle and continue to roll. Fry both sides of egg roll until golden brown and delicious. Serve with molasses mustard sour cream.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: 11 Below's Oso Bueno American Amber Ale

by Eric Ducote

Happy Good Friday everyone! I'm coming to y'all on back to back days (be sure to check out yesterday's MLB opening day Wakey Whiskey post) with an all new Feature Beer Friday.  I've ventured out of state a few times already, but today will be my first feature from the state of Texas. My mother was over in Houston a few weeks back and was nice enough to bring a few 6-packs back for me (it's like she knows I like beer) so here's the first review from that haul.   

11 Below Brewing is a relative new-comer to the Houston, TX area, a city that not too long ago was virtually a craft beer wasteland outside of Saint Arnold and is now blossoming with breweries everywhere you look. Houston itself is home to around 20 breweries now, not counting the rest of the metro area, which is large to say the least. If you are ever in Houston (to check out an Astros game maybe?) 11 Below can be found in an industrial park just to the NNW of the beltway.  They are open every Thurday and Friday from 5 to 9, and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 6.  Like all the other Texas breweries, they operate on a token system, where $10 buys you admission and you get three tokens to redeem for beer.  It wasn't too long ago that Louisiana breweries operated their tours/tastings in a similar fashion, and hopefully Texas can catch up to the taproom trend before long. 

Oso Bueno Amber from 11 Below Brewing
Now for the beer itself, Oso Bueno is an American Amber Ale, a stalwart of styles that has been popular for years among novice and expert craft beer drinkers.  The style is defined by the BJCP as: "An amber, hoppy, moderate-strength American craft beer with a caramel malty flavor. The balance can vary quite a bit, with some versions being fairly malty and others being aggressively hoppy. Hoppy and bitter versions should not have clashing flavors with the caramel malt profile." Oso Bueno (which translates into "good bear" and don't miss the pun...) clocks in at 5.3% abv and 22 IBU, which puts it on the lower end for the style and has me expecting that this will be a more malt-forward example.

This beer pours a reddish brown, deeper than what I would consider a true amber color but not all the way into brown ale territory. True to expectation, the aroma on this one is rich with toffee and caramel, with just a hint of hop bitterness adding a bit of a floral note. There are no surprises on the taste, the malt sweetness dominates and provides a nice change of pace from all the NEIPAs I've been drinking lately. This offering is a smooth easy drinking malty amber ale that definitely has a place in my fridge. Unfortunately nothing from 11 Below is available in Louisiana yet, but if you are ever in Houston (or other parts of SE Texas) and you see the Good Bear, don't hesitate to give it a try.

Cheers, and happy Good Friday to you all! 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Cooperstown Distillery Classic American Whiskey

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone on this most joyous of days!  What are we celebrating today you ask? A day that should be a national holiday.  A day that should be celebrated around the country and even in Canada.  A day that should see all kids home from school and all parents off of work to join them. 

It's the most American of all days, it's Major League Baseball's opening day!

This is a special one for me as it's the first time I'll be able to share in the glory with my son.  He might only be 5 weeks old, but it's still his first opening day, so this morning I'm breaking out my Astros championship shit, my little man is going to wear... some onesie I guess... and we're going to watch some baseball.

Cooperstown Distillery Classic American Whiskey
With that in mind, I had the perfect selection, the Classic American Whiskey from Cooperstown Distillery in Cooperstown, New York.  For those unaware Cooperstown is home to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame And Museum, a pilgrimage for any baseball fan that I have yet to make but hope to one day.  The good people at the Cooperstown Distillery were nice enough to send samples of their Classic American Whiskey and their Double Play Vodka to the Bite and Booze team, and although I'm not much for vodka, it's wakey whiskey time!

The first thing to notice is the packaging, as this sample is packaged in a miniature baseball-shaped bottle just like the actual full-size packaging only smaller. It's a very attractive design for a baseball fan even as a collector's item in addition to a whiskey storage vessel. According to their site, this whiskey is mashed and distilled in the traditional bourbon style with a predominantly corn grain bill in addition to some rye and barley.  It's then aged for 10 months in used American oak bourbon barrels, which means they can't call it a bourbon (has to be new charred American oak barrels) but that also could accelerate the aging process since there should be some characteristic bourbon flavors trapped in the wood of each barrel.

The sample I had appeared a little lighter in color than the website photo to the right, but I attribute that to the smaller volume. The aroma starts off with some corn sweetness and a fairly aggressive hit of alcohol. It's not bad, but it smells like a very young whiskey, not surprising for only being aged 10 months. The taste however is unexpectedly smooth with classic hints of vanilla and oak, and a smoothness completely surprising given the short aging and the rough notes of the aroma.

It would appear that their unorthodox (for a whiskey at least) method of aging in used bourbon barrels paid dividends on the flavor profile of this whiskey, and I think this might be an avenue for other distilleries to consider, so long as they don't mind not being able to label a product as bourbon.

I hope you all enjoy a glass of whiskey as well today, and Go 'Stros!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Brie en Croute with Barbecue Fig Jam

Who doesn’t love cheese wrapped in dough?! My favorite part about preparing this dish was cutting open the crust and watching brie ooze out. We transformed this mild wheel of cheese into hot, gooey comfort food. The sweet-tart fig sauce gives contract to this appetizer and will make this a must-have when hosting friends and family. Serve with your favorite crackers!

Brie en Croute with Barbecue Fig Jam

Serves 8-10

Photo: Jordan Hefler Photography

1 Wheel of Brie cheese
1 Package of Fillo dough, at least 10 sheets
1 egg, beaten
Barebecue Fig Jam
8 whole fig preserves
½ cup Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce

Preheat oven to 350℉. Combine fig preserves with Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce in a small pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Stack 10 Sheets of Fillo dough and place the wheel of Brie Wrap at the center. Fold up corners to completely encase the Brie. Brush egg wash over dough and bake until golden brown. Once out of the oven, cover the top with Barbecue Fig Jam.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Old Rail'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!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Irish Stew

The newest product to hit Jay’s online store, the Coffee Chile Rub, has everything you crave - from the deep flavors of locally roasted coffee to the kick of spicy peppers, this rub is a go-to for anything from braised stews to seared steaks. This Irish Beef Stew is a perfect weeknight favorite for the whole family, especially around St. Patrick's Day!

Irish Stew

Serves 4-6
3 lbs beef stew meat
2 cups onions, small diced
2 cups celery, small diced
1 cup carrots, small diced
12 oz stout beer
2 Tbsp flour
1 quart beef stock
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
3 oz tomato paste
2 Tbsp Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub
4 cups small fingerling or small red potatoes, quartered
3 cups carrots and parsnips, ½” circles
Parsley, finely chopped

Toss beef with salt and black pepper. Sear beef until golden brown. Add onions, celery and carrots; saute for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour and slightly toast the flour by continually stirring. Add beer, stock, Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub, garlic and tomato paste. Simmer for 1-2 hours. Add root vegetables (carrot and parsnip slices) and simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Southern Craft's Three Generation Tripel

By Eric Ducote

Hey everyone!  I hope you have all had a fantastic week... this morning I'm featuring a beer from Southern Craft Brewing, out of Baton Rouge.  Unlike the last two from Tin Roof, this beer should (if you're reading this promptly) still be available on tap at the Southern Craft taproom out on Airline Hwy. near Barringer Foreman.  Southern Craft became Baton Rouge's second active craft brewery back in 2015 and has been brewing several flagship beers plus a few seasonals ever since.

Last night, they debuted a new specialty brew, the Three Generation Tripel which was a collaboration between the Southern Craft brewmasters and local homebrewers Blake and his father Craig Winchell.  Both of them are members of the Brasseurs A La Maison club locally and they named the beer in honor of the two homebrewers plus Blake's son Brennan.  The beer is brewed primarily with pilsner malt spiked with some Belgian candy sugar, with some noble hallertauer hops to balance out the sweetness.  The Belgian yeast gives some traditional esters and leaves the beer with 8% abv.

My first thought was that the color was spot on for the Tripel style, which trends lighter in color than the dubbel and quad Belgian styles.  Traditionally Tripels are of medium strength with lighter color and body and more floral hoppiness than the other Belgian styles.  The appearance is spot on, and so is the aroma, with some sweet notes combined with earthy and flowery hop notes.

The taste is a solid follow through on the aroma, with the sweet candy sugar notes taking a little more of a starring role along with the sweet bubble gum esters from the Belgian yeast.  All of the flavors balance together well and leave a slight lingering sugary sweetness with hints of flowers.  In my opinion, this is one of the best Southern Craft beers to date, so if you are free Friday afternoon, go check out the taproom from 5-9 and you should be able to find some of this still on tap. While you're there, be sure to check out their other current seasonal beers, the Citeaux Oatmeal Coffee Stout, and the Hyla IPA.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Molasses Mustard Hollandaise

Adding Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard to a classic butter sauce was an absolutely delicious idea! This sauce is tasty on anything and everything: vegetables, meats, seafood or your favorite dish. The fat from the butter is balanced well with the acidity from the Molasses Mustard. This hollandaise came out a rural, rusty-orange color and is an excellent contrast over bright green asparagus and a poached egg.

Molasses Mustard Hollandaise

Serves 8-10

3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten.
1½ sticks unsalted butter, melted until foamy, foam skimmed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice.
2 Tbsp Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
1 tsp Slap Ya Mama hot sauce
Kosher salt

In a saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. In a stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks over hot the water bath. Using a small ladle, slowly pour a thin stream of butter into egg yolks while whisking continuously. Keep butter warm (not hot) during process. Add lemon juice after the third ladle of butter is whisked into egg yolks. After all butter is added, add Molasses Mustard, hot sauce and kosher salt to taste. Whisk until uniform color.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Tin Roof's Haze Hunt Triple IPA

by Eric Ducote

I know, I know, two straight Feature Beer Friday posts featuring local brewery Tin Roof Brewing, but this also makes two straight weeks that Tin Roof has released a beer worthy of receiving some attention.  Last week's post featured the new Juju Imperial IPA and one week later they upped the ante with a similar (albeit noticeably different, which I'll elaborate on later) Triple IPA themed after the old Duck Hunt game from the original Nintendo system.

Before I even get into the beer, I have to congratulate Tin Roof on putting together a great release day.  I had a pretty busy weekend and wasn't able to get to the brewery early for any pre-gaming, only barely managing to show up as doors opened at noon, only to see a line going down the front steps, across the front of the building, and turning toward the street.  I'm guessing somewhere between 75-100 people were already waiting to get in and buy their 4-packs, teku glasses, and shirts.  I wasn't too worried about the merchandise line, as I have amassed an overflowing glassware collection as it is, so I went through the side door and got a pour of the new beer.

Juju ended up 10.5% abv while the Haze Hunt finished at 11.2%, so even though one was labeled an Imperial IPA and the latter a Triple IPA, the alcohol content was really close together.  There's really no standard definition for a Triple IPA, so some breweries just label anything stronger than their Double (or Imperial) IPA as a Triple.  Other breweries try go get over 12% before they put that Triple label, and some only aim for over 10%.  As of now, it's not an officially recognized style, but my understanding is that the powers that be are considering adding a Triple IPA in the next edition of the style guidelines... but that's enough beer nerd talk, right?

My first thought was that the Haze Hunt has a little more orange on the color, but still fairly light and definitely still hazy like the Juju. The aroma is strong with tropical fruit flavors like passionfruit and pineapple, with nary a trace of the booziness underneath.  The taste is bitter but bursting with mango and pineapple with a hint of dankness and a smooth finish.  The Haze Hunt doesn't quite have the velvety smooth finish of the Juju, but it's still extremely pleasant and kept me coming back for more.

This is two extremely exiting and well done beers in a row for Tin Roof, and it's awesome to see our local brewery get this sort of hype.  I am confident the winning ways are doing to continue over there by downtown for the foreseeable future!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Coffee Rub Braised Short Ribs with Grits

You can never go wrong with the enticing aroma of falling-off-the-bone beef short ribs. The longer the short ribs are braised, the more they pack in flavor. The sweetness of the barbecue sauce paired well Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub to balance the richness of the grits. We served the short ribs with the braising liquid or jus so to saturate the creamy grits. The flavor complexity of this dish is ideal for your next family meal or dinner party.

Coffee Chile Rub Braised Beef Short Ribs with Grits

Serves 6

Photo: Jordan Hefler Photography
Photo: Jordan Hefler Photography

6 beef short ribs
½ cup onions, small dice
½ cup celery, small dice
½ cup carrots, small dice
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
¼ cup green onion whites
1 quart beef stock, divided
2 Tbsp Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub
1 cup Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
1 cup grits
1 quart heavy cream
Pinch kosher salt
Brown short ribs over medium high heat, with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove and set aside. Cook onion, celery, carrots and garlic until soft. Deglaze pan with ½ cup beef stock. Add Jay D’s Coffee Chile Rub and Barbecue Sauce. Add the rest of beef stock and braise 3-4 hours covered.

Instructions for Grits:
In a saucepan, heat up 1 quart heavy cream to a simmer and whisk in grits and salt. Simmer about 20 min or until absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Burgers with Chuck: Building Dreams at Burgersmith

by Chuck P

Here’s a question I’d like to pose to you that I’ve been asked numerous times:

If you were building your dream burger, what would be on it?
Sounds like an easy question right? But really it takes some thought. The amount of toppings you can put on a burger is almost infinite. You have to carefully consider the consistency of the bun, the variables of wet and dry ingredients and how the flavor profile of your selected toppings will mix with the choices you’ve made. There are a number things that could turn building your dream burger into your worst nightmare.

With that being said, I was recently put to task with creating a “dream burger” of sorts that would be all around blog worthy by the boss man himself Jay Ducote at one of our recent Between The Buns recordings at Burgersmith on Perkins. In between segments, we were trying to decide which burger to order when Jay thought it would be a good idea for me to create my own burger and make it as crazy as possible. Far be it for me to back down from a burger challenge! I happily agreed and began going over their list of toppings on the menu.

My brain was in overdrive looking over all the choices that were offered. But before I could get too excited I had to take a step back and think of what flavors would work perfectly on this burger.

My first choice was the patty itself. The brisket patty seemed to be calling out to me. If you’ve never had a burger with that patty I highly suggest you do. Next were the toppings. I decided to go with some of my favorites-- cheddar cheese, bacon and a fried egg. I then added the creole mayo, but still felt something was missing. Looking over the offerings again I spotted the one choice I knew would be a perfect addition: the house-made chili.

Sitting back and looking over the choices my mouth was watering. Now I just needed to finish it off and choose a bun. I looked over at Angie, Burgersmith’s Marketing Director and asked one simple question, “Could I get grilled cheese sandwiches as buns?”

She replied, “Yes but you should probably use the child’s size so the bread won’t be as thick and you can bite into it better.” She knew what I was getting at.

With that answer, my dream burger was on its way to becoming a reality.

As we continued to record radio segments with Angie I couldn’t keep my mind off of this potential beauty. I felt pretty solid in my choices, but sometimes just because you think you’re right doesn’t mean it always works out. I’ve burned myself a few times trying to go crazy with burger toppings that seemed like they’d work but didn’t.

And arrived! My dream burger aptly named The Chuck P Over The Top Burger had come to fruition.

The Chuck P Over The Top Burger at Burgersmith
The Chuck P Over The Top Burger at Burgersmith

It completely exceeded my expectations. This burger looked EXACTLY like I pictured it in my head. The ends of the bacon glistening, the chili pouring over the toppings like a waterfall of deliciousness and the beautiful buttery grilled cheese buns almost moved me to tears. It was almost too perfect to eat. Almost...

Biting into my dream burger was euphoric. The flavor combinations couldn’t have been more perfect with the chili battling everything else to be the star of the show. Every topping I picked came through in each bite. It was a glorious achievement that met every delicious expectation that I had and then some.

After taking a few pics and posting to my Facebook and Instagram pages, my feeds were flooded with a sea of comments from those who were in complete awe of my burger baby!

There were even a few folks who went to Burgersmith and actually ordered my creation!

After the smoke had settled, I sat back and reflected on what I had just brought to life from the top of my grease soaked brain. What a delicious accomplishment, but could such a thing be tried a second or third time? Could I match or even top what was just laid before me?

Stay tuned true believers...

Friday, February 23, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Tin Roof's Juju Imperial IPA

by Eric Ducote

Hey everyone, welcome back to another Feature Beer Friday!  Initially I had another beer in mind for this week's post, but that was before I swung by Tin Roof Brewing last weekend and tried their latest release, the Juju Imperial IPA.  This isn't Tin Roof's first attempt at an Imperial IPA, but it is the first one to be canned, and the improvements shown at Tin Roof over the last few years had me really excited to give it a try.

The crowd was already pretty solid when I got there about 30 minutes after opening, but it didn't take long at all to get a pour of the Juju from Greg behind the bar.  My initial thought was that the color was on point for the current overwhelming trend of hazy juice-bomb IPAs.  The recipe for this one is essentially a doubled up Voodoo, aiming for twice the abv (alcohol by volume) and using twice the amount of hops, which are limited to the simcoe and citra varieties.  I was also informed that even though the can labels list the abv at 9%, it actually fermented stronger than expected all the way to a 10.5% beer.  Personally I think this really helps the beer as the yeast chewed through even more of the fermentable sugars leaving less residual sweetness and a more minimalist canvas to showcase the hops.

The aroma on this one is pure hops, citra dominates with expected tropical citrus flavors that fill the nostrils.  The taste is more of the same with a silky smooth mouthfeel, an explosion of citrus hoppiness and a bit of a bitter piney backbone due to the simcoe hops as well. It was an exceptionally easy drinker considering the 10.5% abv.  After a few rounds at the brewery I bought a couple of 4-packs to take home, as this was definitely a beer I wanted to try again. 

Most of the Bite and Booze team was also at Tin Roof enjoying some Juju, so I figured I'd ask them what they thought as well.  Jay said, "Boozy, hoppy and juicy - a great combination of flavors that hold up to the Imperial IPA name while building on the strength of the Voodoo Pale Ale backbone. I couldn't stop drinking them at the release party, and that's rare for me and a double IPA like this." Blair agreed that she couldn't stop drinking them, and referred to it as "sneaky."  As John Turturro would say about this beer, "I fear you are underestimating the sneakiness."

The general consensus among everyone I spoke to is that Tin Roof really hit a home run with this release.  This is a welcome addition to the local beer scene and it's on par with the hops coming out of other breweries in the state.  I'm pretty sure it's all sold out by the time I'm even writing this, let alone posting it but there are plans to make some more (from what I'm told, a 30 barrel batch compared to this 10 barrel release) in the near future.  In the meantime if you have a friend that wants to share, take them up on the offer!  And if you are reading this in time, Tin Roof is planning on releasing a new Haze Hunt Triple IPA this Saturday (2/24/18) so go give it a try.