Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taking a Tour of Louisiana's Craft Beers at Zapp's International Beer Festival

– Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

zapps stockings
Needless to say, it was a pretty exciting day. Two thumbs up.

I don't claim to know too much about beer. As someone who turned 21 only a couple of years ago, the world of booze is still pretty new to me. My drink of choice tends to be whatever can get me intoxicated the fastest for the least amount of money.

Don't judge; I'm a college student.

But since I've been interning with Team Bite and Booze, I've learned that my Mic Ultra just isn't cutting it.

In order to further my education, Jay and Blair brought me to Zapp's International Beer Festival on Saturday to literally get a taste of the local craft brew scene.

My goals were simple: drink as much delicious beer as humanly possible in three short hours while staying sober enough to be able to recall and write about the experience later.

Despite the rain, the mud, and getting separated from the group for an hour, I managed to accomplish my goal.

Without further fanfare, here is my (amateur) list of stand-out beers at this weekend's Zapp's Beer Fest:

zapps mud
Blair and I were smart enough to wear sensible shoes...but we still got muddy.

Seven Sisters IPA by Old Rail Brewing Co

Out of Mandeville comes the Seven Sisters IPA. Caramel colored and served ice cold, this was my first beer of the event and one of the most memorable. Seven Sisters is pretty hoppy, which isn't usually my jam, but the sweet and malt flavors sold me.

Berry-ly Legal by LA Homebrew

Based in Baton Rouge, this home brew supply shop can set you up with your own at-home brewing system stat. Luckily for us Beer Fest attendees, they served up some creative home brews. The Berry-ly Legal is a raspberry honey wheat beer. Light in color and slightly syrupy, this brew is best in small doses. I'd take this over Abita Strawberry any day.

The Saison of Saint 14 by Bicycle Brew Club

This Baton Rouge club's brews were going fast. Before they ran out, I was able to sample their festival darling, the Saison of Saint 14. I wasn't a huge fan of this dark brew, but everyone else couldn't get enough. I'd give some tasting notes, but it was that unmemorable.

Stout Chocula by Redstick Brewmasters

This chocolate stout, brewed by Brad Bendily of Redstick Brewmasters, was one of my favorites. I'm a huge fan of chocolate beers, both to drink and to cook with. Stout Chocula was rich, creamy, and not overwhelmingly chocolatey.

Blonde Sugar Sex Magik by Tin Roof Brewing Company

It's no secret that we're pretty big fans of Tin Roof. Turnrow with a burger is as close to food heaven as I can get. But I wanted to try something different at the Tin Roof tent, so I opted for the Blonde Sugar Sex Magik. I'll admit I only picked it for its name, but I wasn't disappointed. Cool and crisp, this was a pretty standard blonde but with a hell of a kick at the end (re: chili pepper). It was more spicy than sexy or magical, but it was an interesting brew.

zapps blue
The Blue tasted like my childhood. 

Blue by SweetWater Brewing Company

I never thought I'd be writing this sentence, but Blue would make an amazing breakfast beer. This blueberry ale tasted exactly like the frozen Leggo blueberry pancakes of my childhood in the best way possible. It was more refreshing than sweet, which was a nice break from all the dessert beers I'd been drinking.

Revenge of the Quakers by LA Homebrew

I heard a group of beer aficionados singing the praises of this brew, so I trekked back through the mud to the LA Homebrew tent to see what all the fuss was about. The sign described this brew as a "chocolate vanilla coffee infused Bourbon oatmeal stout." That's a mouthful, but it perfectly described the layered flavors of the beer. The chocolate, coffee and oatmeal flavors stuck out the most to me.

zapps larrys
Larry's Famous had some interesting concoctions. 

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Stout by Larry's Famous

At this point I was fairly intoxicated, rain-soaked, and caked in mud up to my knees. But I wasn't going to let a little rain keep me from trying this Vietnamese Iced Coffee Stout. I love Vietnamese iced coffee, so I knew I'd be into this stout. It tasted exactly as I imagined it would: a boozier version of my favorite caffeine fix.

Black IPA by Larry's Famous

IPA's really aren't my jam, but I'm learning I like the darker ones, and this Black IPA was no exception. One of the pourers at the tent recommended this one to me, and I had low expectations. It just sounded kind of boring. But the flavor was dark and rich, and I caught some hints of berry at the finish.

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