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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!  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Pretentious Brewing IPA Flight

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone!  I recently returned to Baton Rouge from a long weekend trip to Knoxville, TN with Mandi and Brooks, and definitely took the opportunity to check out a handful of breweries, brewpubs, beer bars, and even a distillery that will be featured on an upcoming Wakey Whiskey post.   Knoxville, for being about the same size metro area as Baton Rouge, is killing us in the craft beer department, and we only made it to about half of the breweries in the area.  One of the best that we did get to try, my favorite was Pretentious Beer Company in the Old City neighborhood just to the North of downtown.  

Upon arrival I was impressed to see an array of beers on tap including multiple NEIPAs, so a flight was in order.  After careful consideration I opted for the #trendyAF, Waka Flocca Flame, Floc The Line, and the #supertrendyAF.  

A flight of NEIPAs at Pretentious Beer Co. 

All four of my selections are variants of NEIPA, with the "Floc" names being a play on the term flocculation, which is the suspension of the yeast in the beer that contributes to the haziness of the unfiltered NEIPA style.  Even though I wrotet hem down in one order, the bartender recommended a drinking order for me which happened to be the exact reverse of my selections, so I took her suggestion and started drinking right to left.  

Up first, the #trendyAF, which is a milkshake NEIPA (typically indicating the inclusion of lactose) with mosaic hops and pomegranate.  A deliciously hoppy and smooth beer, and the flight was off to a great start.  Up next was the Waka Flocca Flame, 7.1% and triple dry hopped with mosaic, giving a dank slightly onion-y bitterness.  Third on the lineup was the Floc The Line, 6.4% and triple dry hopped with galaxy, mosaic, and citra cryo hops, giving it a much more balanced and complex hop character than the Waka Flocca Flame.  Last up is the #supertrendyAF, which obviously is a variant of their #trendyAF milkshake NEIPA.  This variant features blood orange and vanilla, and is described as "taking creamsicle to the next level."  I found it a little on the sweet side, but also bitter and delicious, and it really reminded me (in a humbling way) of the Peach Hoppler Milkshake IPA that my team put together for the canceled Iron Brewer event.  We used peaches, cinnamon, and vanilla, and the sweet flavors worked extremely well with the hops, just like they do in this #supertrendyAF from Pretentious Beer Co.  

In the end I left extremely impressed, and I didn't even get past the NEIPA list before it was time to make our way to the next stop.  Next time you get the chance to swing through Knoxville, make this a stop on your tour, you won't be disappointed!  

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey

By Eric Ducote

Good morning all and HAPPY M'F'IN' GAMEDAY to you all!  We wait all off-season for this day with a bit of hope that this season is going to be the one.  This season LSU is going to beat Alabama, win the SEC, go to the playoffs, and win the WHOLE DAMN THING.  We also all know that this isn't likely, but hey, for now, I'm saying there's a chance.  LSU is starting off the season with the University of Miami, which is a tough test right out the gate, both for the Tigers and for my wakey whiskey selection.  I try to tie what I'm drinking in to who the team is playing, or where they are, or just something that makes a connection.  

Well, I don't have any Miami whiskey.  I don't even have any whiskey from the state of Florida.  Do they even make whiskey in Florida?  What's "Florida Man" up to these days anyway?  In the absence of a Miami connection, I had to go with the backup plan, base my selection off of where I am at the time.  Well it turns out for this Labor Day weekend I'm on vacation in Knoxville, Tennessee, and in the Bite and Booze collection just happened to be a bottle of Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey from the Sugarlands Distilling Company in nearby Gatlinburg.  

Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey

This is a blend of three barrels from the same batch that were all barreled at 118.42 proof back on May 29th, 2015, then aged for two years and five months prior to bottling at barrel strength.  The final proof on this whiskey is a robust 120.98 for 60.49% alcohol by volume.  As mentioned before, this is a straight rye whiskey, with a grain bill of 51% rye, 45% corn, and 4% malted barley.  All of that information is right on the bottle (plus more) which is phenomenal for a whiskey geek like me.  

Now, the whiskey, this was aged in 25 gallon barrels so even though it's only around 2.5 years aged that increased surface area per volume will augment the aging process.  This sped up process leaves a rich copper colored whiskey with hints of red and orange.  The nose is potent with alcohol but also some cinnamon and vanilla notes.  The taste is strong with a pronounced alcohol burn (to be expected!) then the oak and vanilla comes through from the barrel char as well as more cinnamon notes which is very typical for rye-heavy whiskeys.  This is definitely a sipper that will probably benefit from an ice cube of a splash of water (maybe next pour) but it's a good sip just served neat and room temperature.

I'm glad to have tried this one, now I need to look for some other Sugarlands products while I'm up in Knoxville.  Cheers! and GEAUX TIGERS!