Friday, June 29, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Parish's Envie Pale Ale

By Eric Ducote

Good morning again, and whatever time of day you're reading this, if you're in or around Louisiana, it's almost certainly HOT.  Extremely ridiculously hot.  And humid.  And being outside just in general sucks and it will for several more months.  However, we can't (at least not easily) live out lives entirely inside so when grills need to be lit, wings need to be smoked, sausage needs to be grilled, and lawns need to be mowed, we brave the elements and look forward to a tasty beverage to make us feel a little more whole afterward.  

This past weekend was one of those times as my friend Blake (who you might remember brewed the Southern Craft Three Generation Tripel) invited me over to fire up the BBQ and watch some World Cup action.  I needed a few brews for the day in addition to Blake's homebrew, so I grabbed some Jucifer and then noticed the canned Envie from Parish Brewing.  Not too long ago (I think January or February of 2018) Parish started contracting out the brewing and canning of their three flagship beers to Brew Hub out of Lakeland, Florida, a city just to the East of Tampa and the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers.  Lakeland is also home to Florida Southern College, whose campus contains a large concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings.  Fascinating stuff, really.

Parish Brewing's Envie Pale Ale

Back to the beer though... the first Brew Hub batch of Envie wasn't very well received locally, but since then Andrew and the Parish team have worked with Brew Hub to ensure that subsequent batches meet the same quality as the bottled and kegged Envie that comes out of Broussard, LA.  After hearing from many people that the more recent canned batches are all coming out exceptional I had no hesitation buying a 4-pack of the 16 oz. cans for a hot day.

My first thought is that I love the 16 ounce can packaging. I feel like more breweries should offer it, as it's great for a sessionable beer like Envie (or Canebrake) if I'm drinking it solo, and it's more to go around for bigger beers that I'm sharing.  This can was dated 05/09/18, but even though it's getting to be 6 or 7 weeks old, I still expect tropical hazy goodness.  The appearance certainly delivers on the expectations, hazy orange-yellow color with a frothy white head.  The aroma is full of fruity hop flavors, a little more exotic than the Ghost In The Machine I tried last week, but still familiar flavors like passionfruit and guava.  There is a little more bitterness and less fruit note on the taste, but still those tropical flavors dominate, leaving a finish of hoppy mango.  

This doesn't pack quite the hop punch as the Ghost, but this is also far more suited for a backyard BBQ in the middle of the summer heat.  Or the cans are perfect for a trip to the pool, the beach, or a canoe trip.  Stay safe out there, stay hydrated, and save room for a few beers! 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Parish's Ghost In The Machine Double IPA

By Eric Ducote

Hello everyone, and welcome to this year's Summer of Ghost!  Last year Parish Brewing out of Broussard, LA decided to treat everyone by pumping out new batches of their signature hazy New England-style Double IPA all summer long and it seems as though 2018 is going to be no different. The guys over at Parish were busy during the month of May brewing up batch after batch of the delicious brew and then spent the first week or so of June bottling it all up and sending it out throughout their distribution area.  On June 14th, all the Ghost was released at once and I had no trouble finding some at Martin Wine Cellar while my wife picked up a pack at Rouse's.  

The three 4-packs I ended up with (so far) were bottled on 6/4, 6/6, and 6/7, but I didn't notice anything different between the three bottlings.  Ghost in the Machine is brewed to 8% abv, and "brewed with obscene quantities of hand-selected Citra hops" according to Parish's website. Citra is known for (and this should be obvious) a distinct citrus flavor, and Ghost is one of the better examples of how strong the citrus notes can be.  The hop profile can vary slightly from year to year and between different hop yards but Citra is always going to give a strong orange/grapefruit profile.  

Summer 2018 Ghost in the Machine

On the pour, this batch of Ghost is the distinct bright reddish-orange color with all the haze in the world and a finger worth of bubbly head.  The aroma is that enticing combination of bitter hops and citrus, with the primary note in this batch being grapefruit, although hints of orange and lemon come through as well.  The joke online is to compare this beer to Sunny D, and although I totally understand where that comes from, the hop oils in Ghost and other IPAs give a much more bitter feel on the palate and then there's the alcohol content to deal with.  Although into the double or imperial range, the 8% abv on Ghost is very well masked by the obscene hoppiness and all the citrus notes, giving the beer a clean pleasant finish.  The finish really just makes me want another sip, and then another beer, and then another 4-pack.  I don't mean to make light of addiction, which is a serious issue, but this is so delicious and drinkable that it's hard to just slowly sip and stop after one.  

As usual, Parish keeps killing the NEIPA game, and I'm thrilled to have Ghost in the Machine as a regular addition to store shelves throughout the summer.  Cheers! 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Tin Roof's Barley. Barleywine

By Eric Ducote

Hey everyone, it's time for another Feature Beer Friday here at Bite And Booze.  Today's tasty beverage comes from local brewery Tin Roof, their Barley. Barleywine.  Barley. is named after the brewery cat Barley that for several years frequented the brewery and the taproom.  Barley was always extremely friendly, allowing visitors to give them a pet and frequently enjoying the sunshine on the Tin Roof logo mat by the side door. Unfortunately a few months ago Barley the cat passed away, so in their honor, Tin Roof brewed the Barley. Barleywine.   

Barleywines have long been one of my favorite styles, starting with the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot series, and moving into offerings like the Old Guardian from Stone and the Old Ruffian from Great Divide.  I remember always being excited for a Houston beer run where I could find that offering from Great Divide and if I was lucky an Old Numbskull from Alesmith.  Before too long the Louisiana breweries started getting in on the action, most notably with the Grand Reserve series from Parish, but Abita also put out a select series barleywine and Bayou Teche got into the game.  So, when I heard Tin Roof was putting out a barleywine, well I had to stop in and give it a try, and buy a 4-pack for a later review of course.

Tin Roof Barley.

Tin Roof describes the beer as, "In memoriam: Barley the Cat. Dedicated to our late friend and cat, Barley, this Barleywine features complex malt character from a blend of American, Belgian, English, and German malts. Look for rich flavors of caramel, dark fruits, and sweet malt. All American hops in both kettle and dry hop layer classic aromas of grapefruit and pine. Raise a glass to this special feline, and remember him laying in the sun on the lawn or hanging out in the taproom. RIP little buddy." My first thought on this one is that it's a really dark pour, a little darker than I'd expect for a barleywine which trend more copper colored but this one is closer to a brown.  The head is vigorous and lasting, giving me ample time to snap a picture before pouring the rest of the can.  They definitely nailed the caramel and sweet malt notes, with definite hints of toffee and I do get some of the dark fruit.  The taste is really smooth for an 11%, 70 IBU beer, with those same rich toffee notes underlying an earthy hop bitterness. 

I don't think this is the best barleywine I've ever tried, but it's pretty damn good.  Last I saw, 4-packs were still available in the taproom, so go grab one before they're all gone.  I have a feeling this beer will only get better with age as well.  RIP Barley! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Jim Beam 12-Years Signature Craft

By Eric Ducote

Good morning friends, and happy National Bourbon Day to you all! I'd have a hard time naming my favorite type of whiskey, but bourbon is without a doubt on the short list for consideration.  Every June 14th, because every day should be used to celebrate something, is National Bourbon Day, so that obviously requires a ceremonial wakey whiskey! Jim Beam (disclaimer, Jim Beam is owned by Beam Suntory, the third largest distilled beverage company in the world) is the most popular bourbon worldwide, and the second best-selling whiskey brand, but I'm not about to raise a glass with a pour of the regular white label. This morning calls for a pour of their Signature Craft 12-Years Small Batch. 

Jim Beam Signature Craft

The Jim Beam Signature Craft is one of their more premium releases under the Jim Beam name, having been aged for 12 years (minimum) and bottled at 86 proof.  For comparison, the regular white label is a 4-year bourbon and the Devil's Cut is a 6-year.  All that extra time in the barrel helps give the Signature Craft a deeper brown color and a rich caramel and vanilla aroma.  That sweetness is accented with a hint of the booze and a slight leathery note. The taste on this bourbon is exceptional and without a doubt reflects the extra aging with oak, vanilla, and even a little peppery flavor.  

The finish is smooth, although there's a hint of medicinal bitterness at the very last bit of aftertaste.   That's really the only ding on the scoresheet for this whiskey, a great addition to any collection and a fine way to kick off National Bourbon Day! 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Gnarly Barley's Gnarvana Double IPA

By Eric Ducote

Hey everyone, it's another Friday, and another featured beer, but not a  new brewery this time around as Gnarly Barley has made a few appearances always in this space.  I'll be honest though, if a brewery keeps putting out good beer that I have access to, they'll find a way into a post or two of three before too long.  

Not too long ago they put out a special release Gnarvana Double IPA at Gnarfest in honor of the brewery's 4th birthday.  It was hailed as a juicebomb of a Double IPA, and unfortunately I wasn't able to make it out to the party this year, my first year to miss the big anniversary.  Fortunately though, I have some good friends who made sure that I didn't miss out on the beer du jour.  (That's the beer of the day.)

A pour of the Gnarvana Double IPA

The Gnarvana pours crazy hazy, with a grapefruit flesh shade of orange and a bubbly white head that doesn't stick around too long due to all the hop oils. The aroma is pure pineapple... just pineapple on top of pineapple layered with some pineapple juice.  On the taste, you guessed it, more pineapple! There's a little other citrus in there on the taste, some orange and grapefruit to give it a bit of complexity, but the truth is, this beer is a pineapple bomb, which I personally find to be delicious.

Last I saw online, there were still cans to be found at the brewery, so if you're wanting to give this a try, make the quick trip over to Hammond and find yourself in Gnarvana.   

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Jay D's Bites: Molasses Mustard Succotash

by Chef Jenn Breithaupt

“Sufferin' succotash!” Corn, beans, squash, hominy and other vegetables make up this Native American dish. Corn, beans and squash are known as the Three Sisters in agriculture because they grow together in synergy. The corn provides a structure for the beans to climb eliminating the need for poles. The beans give nitrogen to the soil that the other plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, preventing weeds from growing. Creating a dish with these vegetables allowed for the Native Americans to stay satisfied longer so they can utilize their energy.

I made this succotash with corn maque choux in mind, except heavy cream is added. The addition of Jay D’s Molasses Mustard gives it some color and a tang of acidity.

Molasses Mustard Succotash

serves 2-4

2 Tbs butter, unsalted
25.5 oz can hominy
15.5 oz can butter beans
1 ear corn, cut off cob
1 cup orange bell pepper, small diced
¼ cup jalapeño, small diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup Louisiana Molasses Mustard
¼ cup heavy cream

In a medium sauté pan, heat butter until bubbling, then add all vegetables. Sweat until soft. Add salt, black pepper, Jay D’s Molasses Mustard and heavy cream. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Serve hot with breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Feature Beer Friday: Saint Arnold's Pub Crawl Pale Ale

By Eric Ducote

Hello again everyone!  Today I'm featuring another Texas Brewery, Saint Arnold Brewing, to go along with recently featured Rahr & Sons and 11 Below.  Even though they weren't my first Texan brewery featured, Saint Arnold claims to be Texas's oldest craft brewery, shipping out their first keg on June 9th, 1994.  As they approach their 24th birthday late this month, I figured it would be appropriate to try out one of their newer releases, the Pub Crawl Pale Ale.  

This beer debuted in January 2017, but the 6-pack I picked up at Robert Fresh Market were dated 03/05/18, which is well within my comfortable freshness range.  It's described as a bright and sessionable pale ale with a 4.7% abv and 48 IBU.  

Saint Arnold's Pub Crawl Pale Ale

At first, the pour... this certainly fits what I would expect out of "bright and sessionable" with a luminous yellow color and a frothy white head.  On the nose I get mostly citrus hop flavors with perhaps a bit of a floral note and a backbone of crackers or bread from the malt.  The taste has more of the same citrus notes, coming strong from the Centennial bittering hops as well as the Amarillo and Galaxy used in the back end.  All three of those hop varieties showcase citrus flavors so it's no surprise that the beer tastes like it does.  The 4.7% abv makes this one an easy drinker, just a little stronger than a standard light beer, with a clean slightly bitter finish.  

This is a really good option for a summer poolside beer, at a backyard BBQ, or just relaxing after some yardwork.  The weather is heating up, and we could all use a cold beverage or two, right?