Tag Archives: what to drink

Abita Brewing Company: One of My Favorite Breweries In ‘Merica

image

As you can probably tell by now, I am pretty obsessed with Abita Amber. It is definitely one of my favorite beers, and I was convinced the best Abita product – until a shipment from Abita arrived at my apartment.Came home from dinner @ Kuma Inn (Followed by Drinks at Los Feliz and Spitzers), walked into the mail area and saw a huge box addressed to yours truly, Hedge Fun NY. In a semi-drunken state I ran into the apartment and opened up the box like a kid discovering the awesomeness of Christmas. Cutting through the tape, and throwing packaging peanuts everywhere, I got down to the bottom and found 6 six-packs of three different types of Abita Brews (36 Beers for all you non-mathletes) and a beer koozie. They sent Abita Bock, Abita Restoration Pale Ale, and Abita Wrought Iron IPA. In a burst of excitement I threw them in the fridge, and there they sat getting cold until the right night to give them a try.

A week later, I decided to have my buddy Nick come over and give me his opinion on these Abita beers. Since he works at Brinkley’s, thought it would be a good idea to involve him since he knows beer. Also, similar to my article on Anchor Brewing Company, I had Nicole drink some of the beer to see her comments. The night prior we ordered Mile End Deli, so we figured this was a perfectly good time to order it again and start the drinking process.

In their package to me, and on their website, they have a great display of color/bitterness – ‘Color and Bitterness Comparison Chart’. I put this below so you can check it out as well.

Abita Restoration Pale Ale
Type: American Pale Ale (APA)
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 5.2%
Chart: Color 9 / IBU 25

Side Note: Abita’s brewery is located in Abita Springs, LA about 30 miles north of New Orleans. Through their sales of Restoration they have raised over $550,000 for hurricane relief efforts. Round of applause gentlemen, now back to the beer…

The Restoration Pale Ale is brewed with pale, caramel and carapils malts. It is liberally hopped and dry hopped with Cascade hops. Fresh out of the bottle and into a pint glass, the beer pours a cloudy gold color. Nicole mentioned it was more orange, which she may have been right considering I stare at Bloomberg and Excel sheets all day. Picked up some of the floral aromas from the Cascade Hops, and I was ready to drink.

From the initial appearance and reading the ingredients, I was expecting it to be similar to the Anchor Brewing Company Liberty Ale. After tasting I realized they were similar but definitely not the same. Similar to the aroma we all picked up a citrus, piney, hoppy taste on the backend that  left the bitterness of the grapefruit/lemon zest taste in your mouth. Definitely a characteristic of most IPA, but where as some ales overdue it I find the Restoration Pale Ale to be mildly bitter, which left us all with the same conclusion: We can drink 1 or 2, definitely not something we can drink all night. Abita suggests pairing with fish, and different types of cheeses. We had it while eating a ‘Smoked Meat Sandwich‘ on rye bread from Mile End Deli – think the two went well.

Abita Wrought Iron IPA
Type: Indian Pale Ale (IPA)
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 6.9%
Chart: Color 9 / IBU 80

Remember back before the weather was below freezing, and their wasn’t snow blanketing the side walks? While walking through Central Park, you would see something called grass. This beer smells like freshly cut grass, so much so I am using it as an air freshener in my apartment because I miss warm weather.

This IPA is forged with the intensity of Apollo, Equinox and Mosaic Hops. Brewed with pale ale malt, the beer pours a golden/copper color, not much different than the Restoration Ale. The name Wrought Iron comes from the color of iron when it’s being forged – thinking outside the box with that one.

One sip in Nicole’s face looks like a little kid eating a Shock Tart for the first time. She hates bitter IPA’s, and with an IBU of 80 safe to say we should have known she was going to  dislike it. But still fun to see her reaction.

Nick seemed not to mind the beer. Being around a multitude of different beers, he has definitely tried his fair share of IPA, i.e. having Ithaca Flower Power  IPA on tap.

For me, this was a one every once in a while type of beer. Abita suggest pairing the Wrought Iron IPA with meats, luckily my diet consist of 98% Red Meat, 2% Bread/Potatoes. As mentioned earlier, we were eating smoked meat from Mile End, and the two definitely went well. The overpowering of the malts by the hops gave the bitterness and piney resin feeling, so biting into smoked brisket and mustard was an awesome mix with it.

Abita Mardi Gras Bock
Type: Bock
Availability: Seasonal (Jan – March)
ABV: 6.5%
Chart: Color 13 / IBU 25

Let me start off by saying, this is one of my new favorite beers – and a contender for my favorite Abita product over Abita Amber. I never thought those words would leave my mouth, but I love this Bock Beer. I also think I might like this as much as Shiner Bock, which is another thing I thought I would never say. When we finished drinking the beers, we all said Abita Mardi Gras Bock was the best of the three.

Once poured into a pint glass we were able to see the amber/auburn color, and with a color of 13 it is just a few shades away from Abita Amber. Abita Bock is brewed with pale, pilsner and caramel malts and German Perle hops. This combination is great, and the beer goes down smooth. I didn’t even realize the size of my gulps until I would be done with a bottle after a minute or two.

From the first taste you pick up the malty sweetness and caramel, a bit of a bread taste – which I thought may have been left over from the rye bread on my sandwich. But once the sandwich was long gone I realized it was part of the beer.

I am a little confused as to why Abita lists this as having an IBU of 25, which is the same as Abita Restoration Pale Ale. I tasted no hoppy bitterness as all, and for Nicole (who hates IPAs) and Nick (knows all things beer) not to notice it further confuses me. From drinking so many IPAs lately, and having my mouth punched with that piney resin everyone loves so much, this was exactly what I needed. Considering my love for Amber, Bock, Brown, and Dark Beers – I think this is the reason I enjoyed this so much.

The only true complaint I have about this beer is that it is not produced all year-round. I wish they would send me over a 6 month supply along with some of the Abita Turbodog that I have been wanting to try that the waitress at Balthazar steered me away from … But that’s a whole different story all together.
beer_profile_chart

Anchor Brewing: America’s First Craft Brewery?

photo

In 1849 German brewer Gottlieb Brekle (hence Brekle’s Brown Ale) settled in California. Purchasing a saloon a few years later in San Francisco, this later on became the brewery known know as Anchor Brewing – which officially was born in 1896. Over the next couple dozen decades, the brewery witnessed two of it’s founders die in freak accidents, The Great San Fransisco Earthquake, Prohibition, the brink of bankruptcy – and being shipped in a box delivered to the lobby of my apartment. My life is pretty awesome.

I open the fancy box, which was shipped from my friends at Dog and a Duck, and threw the beers right into the fridge. The other night while my fiancé was over, I figured this might be a good time to taste the beers. She isn’t a beer drinker, but on occasions she will order one. Additionally, I will usually make her try my beers sometimes if they are good to see what she thinks. She has been getting pretty good at picking out details of each beer, so I felt like this was a good idea since the Anchor Brews would be something she would probably like.

Anchor Steam Beer
Type: California Common / Steam Beer
First Brew: 1896
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 4.9%

This is the flagship beer, and as you can see was first brewed the year Anchor Brewing  was founded. The beer gained early popularity prior to the years of Prohibition, and in fact was the reason the company was saved from the brink of bankruptcy by one of its fans, an Stanford Graduate named Fritz Maytag. By the 1970s, the brewery began pumping out bottles of this recipe out of its newer locations.

The beer pours a golden, almost burnt auburn color with a thick white head. The Anchor Steam Beer has a blend of pale and caramel malts, which provides a bit of malty sweetness with a hint of biscuits. There is also a slight taste of minty, fruity taste (citrus/apricot) however not as much as I tasted in the Liberty Ale. The hops, which are Northern Brewer, which gives mild bitterness but far from overwhelming. Nicole mentioned she tasted something familiar, the only thing she could relate it to was Blue Moon. The smell of the beer is nice, mix of floral and fruit smell, which makes sense due to the taste mentioned above. The beer is finishes extremely crisp, and very refreshing. The carbonation level is almost perfect, and I think this would be a great beer to drink on a hot day. Highly recommend this beer, and after drinking it is no wonder why the company has been around for so long built of the back of this beer.

Liberty Ale
Type: American IPA
First Brew: 1975
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 5.9%

Although considered an IPA, this beer is extremely well balanced. The ale is brewed with pale malted barley, cascade hops, and a special top-fermented yeast. Liberty Ale is also goes through the process of dry-hopping which is the practice of adding fresh hops to the brew during aging. During this time period, Anchor Brewing also produced some of their other beers including Anchor Porter, Old Foghorn Barley Wine Ale, and it’s first annual Christmas Ale. For reasons such as this, they believe they are America’s first craft brewery/micro brewery – and to be honest, they are putting up a pretty good argument.

Once we put the glasses up to our mouth, we smelt the citrus, earthy, and pine smells from the cascade hops. The taste, was exactly like the smell – but with less bitterness then I expected considering there was a prevalent aroma of grapefruit and pine. The carbonation, which the company describes as ‘champagne-like bubbles’, makes the beer very drinkable. I recommend this as well, this was Nicole’s favorite due to the lemon-zest and resinous taste. If you girlfriend drinks beer, or is willing to try beer, this is a good beer to have her try.

Anchor IPA
Type: India Pale Ale
First Brew: 2014
Availability: All Year-Round
ABV: 6.5%

This is one of Anchor Brewing’s newest beers, and they included the press release in their package. From reading over the details, you can see the company went out to establish an IPA that stands out from the overcrowded space. According to their Brewmaster, Mark Carpenter,

“Right now a lot of Pas are so hop forward that your palate can only enjoy one because of the high bitterness . Our IPA will have a strong hop flavor so you know you’re drinking an IPA. But, the combination of malts we’re using are strong enough to hold up to the bitterness, allowing you to enjoy more than one.”

Once I poured the beer, I was able to tell there was a huge difference in the color from the other two beers. The first two, poured a golden/auburn color, this more of a bronze caramel color. I think the best way to describe the Anchor IPA is calling it the ‘Liberty Ale on Steroids’. Some of the same characteristics, but more intense – for example the piney hops taste. This is due to Anchor using Cascade hops, like the Liberty Ale, but with some additional hops as well. Also, they use five hops during the dry hopping process. The hops give a bitter bite to the beer, and the strong metallic after taste. Way to much of an IPA for Nicole, however if you are big into IPA’s, this is definitely the beer for you.

Where to Find?

On their website, they have a great Beer Finder App, which shows you where you can finder their products. After searching a 1 mile radius from Soho, I can see this a long list of places where I can find their beers. This includes both restaurants, bars, and stores.

Most Important Chart of the Day: Beer Taxonomy Chart

Today in honor of ‘National Beer Day’ our friends at Business Insider/RateBeer.com put up their Beer Taxinomy Chart to show the different types of beers. I personally hate any type of ‘National (Insert Stupid Object) Day’ posts from any website – but this one is actually pretty awesome. Enjoy image

Wine Wednesday: Louis Jadot

logo-louis-jadot

Want to impress your girlfriend’s family with a good looking bottle of wine without spending your bonus check? Walk to your liquor store, and pick up pretty much any bottle of Louis Jadot. Not only does it look vintage, fancy, and more-expensive than it really is, the wine is really good. I personally have been drinking this vineries’ wines for years. When I am drinking red, which I usually am, I go for either the Beaujolais  (Around $13/per bottle) or the Pinot Noir (Around $20/per bottle). On the rare occasion I have white wine, Pouilly-Fuisse is a great bottle.

So next time you are forced into going to one of those dinner parties, or family parties, drop one of these bottles in the hands of the host – and look like a boss.

beaujolais-villages