Archive for the Beer Category

The Delachaise

Posted in Bars, Beer, Eat, Entrees, Imbibe, Restaurants, Reviews, Wine with tags , on 15 December, 2009 by la fille

Ok, so I have a new job that is AWESOME. There are many things that make it awesome, one of which is the fact that it’s located in a different neighborhood from the one in which I live. My old job was three blocks from my abode. This was damnably convenient, of course, but it also meant my world was very small. Get up, walk to work, get off, walk to the grocery, walk to the wine store, walk to a restaurant, walk home…you get the drift. On a REALLY exciting day I might get on my bike and ride to a restaurant.

Working Uptown means that I get regular exposure to a bunch of places I used to hear about but never went because they were more than 100 yards from my house.

I’ve been to the Delachaise a couple of times since becoming a part-time Uptowner, and I must say, it’s pretty rad. Good cocktail selection, good wine list, and probably some of the best frites I’ve ever had.

Y’all. THOSE POTATOES ARE FRIED IN GOOSE FAT. AND THEY’RE SERVED WITH PEANUT SAUCE.

Sweet Jesus, I may have to take a second to recompose myself.

All right. Now, I’m a humongous fan of peanut sauce, and am usually of the opinion that anything served with it is purely a vessel to get said sauce into my mouth and should take a supporting role in the process. These fries, however, make me question that philosophy– they are plenty awesome on their own. They also come with a malt vinegar minez, just like they do it in Britain. I often wonder why more Americans don’t eat mayo with their fries, since we usually opt for the most fattening option available.

I also had my first frog legs. “Wickedly spicy”, according to the menu, and glazed in remoulade, I’m now a fan of those little cuisses de grenouille. Although I must wonder what they do with the rest of the frog. My coworker Skooksie just suggested maybe they make fwog gras (get it, GET IT?) out of ’em. Or maybe there are a bunch of French high school students dissecting legless frogs in biologie class.

They’ve got very well-chosen wine and beer lists, and offer a huge variety of stuff by the glass. The night in question I stuck with an ’07 Olivares Monastrell. The tap choices are terrific too, with a representative selection of styles like Chimay, Anchor Porter, Spaten Lager, and even a lambic.

I like the atmosphere a lot and, as my dining partner noted, the fact that the building’s long and skinny means that it doesn’t take many customers to make the place feel full. They do allow smoking, also.

Flojindamesa over at Eat Drink Nola relates an amusing Delachaise experience here.

The Delachaise

3442 St. Charles Ave.

504.895.0858

thedelachaise.com

‘Tis the Season(al): Abita Satsuma Wit

Posted in Beer, Imbibe, Photos, Reviews on 18 June, 2009 by la fille

june09-04(photo by lafille)

Another summer, another refreshing witbier hits the market.

I’ll admit, I’m pretty picky when it comes to this style. Belgian wittes are some of my favorite beers, especially when the thermometer starts creeping upwards of 90 degrees. Wittekerke in a can is my favorite summer beer, but I haven’t found it in NOLA yet, so I’ve been drinking Hoegaarden. Last week, Brother O’Mara brought me a bottle of Abita’s new Satsuma Wit, and of course I had to give it a try.

Color: hazy gold

Nose: creamy, malty, and citrusy–the satsuma really comes out in the aroma

Taste: very light (natch); not very well-balanced with a slightly metallic aftertaste; the satsuma is strong in the nose, but not so much on the tongue

It’s definitely passable, but needs work to be able to compete with Blue Moon or something of that ilk. I’d really like to taste it on tap, though. It may be totally different.

Birthday Treats

Posted in Beer, Cocktails, Eat, Imbibe, Photos, Recipe, Sweets with tags , , , , , on 29 May, 2009 by la fille

Yesterday Brother O’Mara had a birthday, and for said birthday, I decided to jump on the bandwagon (albeit rather late) and make some cupcakes. They’ve been super-trendy for ages, but until now I’d only eaten and not baked them. I decided on a couple recipes from my favorite magazine, Imbibe: Chocolate Stout (I used Young’s) and Coconut Tequila, both of which turned out so incredibly well that we had to take them all to work this morning so we wouldn’t eat only cupcakes all weekend.

Recipes below the photos.

may09-01

Chocolate, beer, sugar, and cream cheese. Yes please.

may09-05

Though they were already cool by the time they hit the windowsill, it’s still pretty idyllic, no?

may09-03

This is the presentation to which Brother O’Mara came home.

MAKE THEM FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES TODAY!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 24

INGREDIENTS

12 oz. stout beer (they called for Guinness, I used Young’s)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

3/4 c. sour cream

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa, plus more for garnish

2 1/2 c. sugar

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

for the frosting:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar (I used less and got a more liquidy frosting)

RECIPE

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beer, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.

2. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet beer mixture.

3. Divide batter among 24 buttered or papered muffin tins and bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender.

4. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream, then slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar.

5. After cupcakes have cooled, top each one with a heap of frosting and a dusting of cocoa.

from the Nov/Dec 2006 issue

may09-06

Coco Loco Tequila Cupcakes

makes 24

INGREDIENTS

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

large pinch of salt

1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. unsweetened coconut milk

2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger

1 tsp. coconut extract

1/4 c. tequila (I used what was on hand, Cuervo Gold)

1/2 c. buttermilk (I didn’t have any so substituted 1/2 c. milk mixed with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar — gross, but it works)

1 c. shredded sweetened coconut

for the frosting

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk

2 tbsp. tequila

2 tsp. coconut extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

shredded sweetened coconut for garnish

RECIPE

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition.

2. Add coconut milk, ginger, and coconut extract and beat for one minute at high speed. In a measuring pitcher, stir together tequila and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in three batches to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture in two batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing well after each addition. Fold in the shredded coconut.

3. Fill each cupcake tin (you buttered or papered them, right?) about three-fourths full with batter and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

4. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, beat cream cheese on high speed until smooth. With mixer on high, slowly add coconut milk, tequila, and coconut extract. Continue beating until thoroughly combined and smooth, about five minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating on high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

5. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

from the May/June 2009 issue

may09-04

(all photos by lafille)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER O’MARA!

Gluttony Saturday: Dan Stein’s Deli

Posted in Beer, Cheese, Eat, Entrees, Imbibe, Photos, Restaurants, Reviews with tags , , , on 15 April, 2009 by la fille

Stein’s Deli is one of my favorite places in New Orleans, for many reasons.

First and foremost, the food. They make the best Reuben I have ever stuck in my mouth, and everything else I’ve had there is mouthwateringly delicious. Case in point, this past Saturday when we went with Cap’n Will. Here’s what we ordered:

lafille: The Robért — Imported Prosciutto, House-Made Fresh Mozzarella, Aged Balsamic Vinegar on Ciabatta

— This was the first time I’d had the Ro-Berrrrre, and it turned out to be filling but not too heavy. The homemade Mozzarella was awesome, as were all of the other ingredients.

Cap’n Will: The Fernando — Imported Prosciutto, House-Made Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto on Ciabatta

— Great combination of flavors!

Brother O’Mara: The Kelly — Imported Prosciutto, Triple Creme Cheese, and Apple on Ciabatta

— One of Brother O’Mara’s favorites. The apple and triple creme go so well together!

Another great thing about Stein’s is the beverage selection, both alcoholic and non. Any time I’m craving an interesting or hard-to-find soda I head over there. Since Brother O’Mara and I have been enjoying drinking Dark and Stormies lately, we each drank ginger beer–Barritt’s for him and Boylan’s for moi. The Boylan’s is technically ginger ale, I think, and it was definitely not as spicy as Barritt’s or our current fave, Regatta. More in the Canada Dry style, know what I’m sayin’?

3120993029_484bf7a7d4

Barritt’s Ginger Beer and the Fernando

(photo by Brother O’Mara)

Stein’s also has –hands down– the best retail beer selection in the city. They don’t have an on-premise permit, so you can’t drink it there, but damned if Mr. Stein isn’t responsible for my current home collection of good beer. The man knows his brews. Whether you’re looking for a Belgian or an American microbrew, this is the first place you should look. They have beer classes on a pretty regular basis as well, which I highly recommend. I went a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

NYT Article on Brewing in NOLA

Posted in Beer, Imbibe, Words with tags , , , , , , on 30 March, 2009 by la fille

New Orleans Gets Its Brews Back, by Nick Kaye

Nice shoutout on the once and future brewing industry in our fair city.

New Orleans Gets Its Brews Back
Published: March 27, 2009
Once a regional beer capital, now the Big Easy has only a handful of breweries in the area — perfect for a weekend of sampling.

I ROLLED into New Orleans on a cool afternoon, putting the windows of my car down to let a twangy version of the standard “James Alley Blues” out and up into the clear, cornflower sky.

“Times ain’t now nothing like they used to be,” went the song on the radio, and I thought to myself, “You can say that again.”

The difficult recent history of the Crescent City hangs like a specter over gutted houses and weedy, desolate lots. But despite the tough times, the spirit of New Orleans is as wily as ever. Arriving there still feels like showing up at a party in full swing.

Visitors come for a number of things that the city does like nowhere else: the music, the food, the architecture. I, however, was in town with just one thing in mind — beer.

The history of brewing in New Orleans is as cloudy as an unfiltered ale, little known outside its confines. Once a regional beer capital, it turned out a slew of popular brands like Falstaff, Jax, Regal and Dixie.

Now there are only a handful of breweries in the area, including Abita, Heiner Brau and a newcomer named NOLA Brewing Company. The good news is that over a well-hopped weekend you can sample all the local brews, tour their birthplaces and learn the story of the once — and possibly future — beer town of the South. The local brewing scene is concentrated these days in suburban St. Tammany Parish, on the north shore of the vast Lake Pontchartrain opposite the Big Easy. So that’s where I headed one morning, with an old college buddy along as designated driver, flitting over the brown lake like a water spider on the seemingly endless causeway.

About an hour out of New Orleans we turned off the highway into downtown Covington, where, in a barnlike building that was once a hardware store, the Heiner Brau brewery stands.

The air around the building dripped with the thick and unmistakable malty sweet smell of brewers hard at work. Inside, under a latticework of cedar beams, a few guys in wool caps moved among rows of shiny copper kettles and tanks. We found Henryk Orlik, the brewmaster and owner known as Heiner, sitting in his brightly lit office.

Mr. Orlik, a native of Germany, has been brewing since the age of 16. He immigrated to America in 1994 with his wife, Angela, and their children to get in on the blossoming craft-beer movement. After stops in Cleveland, at the nearby Abita brewery and in North Carolina, he started Heiner Brau in late 2004.

“I did nothing else with my life” other than brewing, Mr. Orlik, who is 53, said in a thick German accent. He stays busy producing a light, floral Kölsch and a dark brown Maerzen year-round, as well as a rotation of five seasonal brews.

Hurricane Katrina hit just about one week after Heiner Brau’s first bottles shipped in 2005, but the building managed to ride out the storm with little damage. That set Mr. Orlik on a path to becoming a kind of brewing caretaker for the area. He currently makes beers for local restaurants, as well as for the Big Easy Brewing Company, a Marrero, La., brewery whose plant was shuttered after Katrina.

I tasted a few of the excellent brews, then followed Mr. Orlik as he showed off the equipment and a small collection of antique brewing gear. Before we left, Jack Shugg, who runs Heiner Brau’s distribution, offered a rare treat — a taste of a creamy Zea Category 5 American Pale Ale — made for the Zea Rotisserie & Grill restaurant chain — straight from a tank, or as he said, just “released from captivity.”

One of the biggest moments in Heiner Brau’s short life came in spring 2006 when it was asked to take on Dixie beer, the old local favorite.

Founded in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans in 1907, the Dixie Brewing Company was still sputtering along when Katrina upended the city. Its old brick building on Tulane Avenue was left stewing in 10 feet of water, and when the flood finally receded, looters moved in to haul off anything of value, including a copper kettle 16 feet in diameter. The brewery these days, with its imposing metal dome, is nothing but a spooky shell.

Heiner Brau brewed for Dixie for about six months, but was ultimately unable to keep up with demand. Its beers, including the popular Blackened Voodoo Lager, are currently shipped around the country from the Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wis. Dixie’s owners, Joe and Kendra Bruno, are eager for it to return to production in its original home. “We believe that it belongs there,” Ms. Bruno said recently by phone.

There is talk of filling the vintage building with a modern brewing operation, but for now, as plans for a sprawling hospital complex in the neighborhood take shape, it isn’t clear what will become of it.

For instance, the National Brewing Company building nearby on Gravier Street, which was long a Falstaff brewery and still bears a rooftop statue of beer’s patron saint, King Gambrinus, has recently been converted into apartments. And the Jax Brewery on Decatur Street, opened in 1890, became a mall in 1984.

Surveying these relics makes it clear how large a part brewing once played in the city. Municipal records from the late 19th century show that about a dozen breweries were operating simultaneously, according to the Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum, research center and publisher based in the French Quarter.

One night during my visit I made my way to Cochon, the culinary hot spot in the Warehouse District. Opened in 2006, the restaurant offers a full slate of local beers and serves a blend of Southern and Cajun fare, with standout dishes like the namesake Louisiana cochon, a seared patty of shredded pork served with turnips, cabbage and fried pork cracklins ($22). I went with an Abita Restoration Pale Ale — a brew created after Katrina that Abita used to raise about $550,000 for the rebuilding effort — and drifted off into pork-induced bliss.

Abita is known as the Southeast’s oldest and largest craft brewery. A few miles east of Heiner Brau near tiny Abita Springs, it was started in 1986 by a couple of local home-brewers and now ships to nearly 40 states.

Abita’s large building rises abruptly out of the piney woods, its recently added tasting room sporting a wrought-iron-laced facade. Inside, a long line of college students and older beer geeks snaked up to a row of 14 taps loaded with everything from the widely available Turbodog dark ale and Purple Haze raspberry brew to the new Satsuma Harvest Wit, a blond ale made with a type of mandarin orange grown in Louisiana that had a nice bitter bite.

Visitors get time to pour themselves samples, and after a video presentation comes a walk through the brewery, led that day by Keith Cieslinski, who, in sneakers, track pants and tie-dyed Abita shirt, looked more like a gym teacher than a docent.

“Stay alert, stay alive,” Mr. Cieslinski said as we entered the cellar area, a shiny steel forest full of nearly three-story-tall tanks.

The tour was shorter than usual that day because of a late-night accident earlier in the week. A tank that was being cleaned had become overpressurized and ruptured, tearing a hole in the building. There were no injuries, but the incident had the tasting room talking.

After the tour we followed the crowd a few minutes down the road to the lively Abita Brew Pub, the original home of the brewery, where a few cats were lounging out front under a tree swaddled in Spanish moss. I had the tasty barbecue crab claws ($8.50), in a sauce made with Abita’s Amber lager, and washed them down with a bit more of the satsuma brew.

Abita may be the consensus local beer of choice, but a new brand that recently hit town is seeking to challenge that mantle. NOLA Brewing Company — New Orleans lager and ale rather than the usual New Orleans, La. — stands out from the other regional brewers because it is now the only one, aside from a few unremarkable brew pubs like the French Quarter’s touristy Crescent City Brewhouse, actually within the New Orleans city limits.

Occupying a warehouse on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Irish Channel neighborhood, NOLA was started by Kirk Coco, a native New Orleanian who returned to the city in late 2006 after 11 years in the Navy, and Peter Caddoo, a fixture of the local home-brewing scene and a former brewer at Dixie.

I arrived around noon one day to find Mr. Coco, in a bright white sweater and slacks, and Dylan Lintern, a new NOLA employee, inside the dusty, hangarlike space. Bags of malt were stacked high, and clusters of steel tanks and other equipment sat idle. They had just finished meeting with a “political consultant,” Mr. Coco said, trying to speed the process of having the city connect their water line, a hurdle they cleared soon after.

“I can guarantee you we would have been brewing beer three months ago if we were on the north shore,” Mr. Coco said. “Or if we were in Kenner,” a nearby suburb, “which is where I was told we should open up when I went to get my permit.

“I stuck with New Orleans because I came back here to rebuild this city.”

Mr. Coco was based in Seattle during Katrina and afterward vowed to his wife that they would move to New Orleans when he finished his enlistment. He wanted to start a business in the city, and finally settled on a brewery.

“Unfortunately,” he said, laughing, “I can’t really brew beer.”

A home-brewer friend put him in touch with Mr. Caddoo, and before long NOLA was on its way.

They are starting with just two ales, a blond and a brown, available only in area bars. Plans are to move on eventually to some of Mr. Caddoo’s many other recipes, like an India Pale Ale made with sweet potatoes. Saturday tours are expected to start in May.

“I certainly hope in the next 10 years,” Mr. Coco said, “that I’m doing an interview one day and I can talk about the six or seven microbrews in the city.

“We should be the capital of Southern brewing again.”

IF YOU GO

You’ll need a car — and a designated driver — for a tour of breweries in and around New Orleans, because the north shore area is roughly 40 miles from the city center.

BREWERIES

Heiner Brau, 226 East Lockwood Street, Covington; (888) 910-2337; www.heinerbrau.com. Tours on Saturday only, at 10, 10:45 and 11:30 a.m.

Abita Brewing Company, 166 Barbee Road, Covington; (800) 737-2311; www.abita.com. Tours Wednesday though Friday at 2 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

NOLA Brewing Company, 3001 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans; (504) 896-9996; www.nolabrewing.com. A list of bars and restaurants that currently serve NOLA brews, like the Bulldog at 3236 Magazine Street, is available online.

FOOD

Cochon, 930 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans; (504) 588-2123; www.cochonrestaurant.com.

Abita Brew Pub, 72011 Holly Street, Abita Springs; (985) 892-5837; www.abita.com.

Local Beer Review: Abita Mardi Gras Bock

Posted in Beer, Imbibe, Reviews with tags , , , , on 19 January, 2009 by la fille

12 oz. bottle purchased at Dan Stein’s Deli

Style: Helles Bock

ABV: 6.5%

Official brewery description:

Bock (January – March) is the first of our seasonal brews. It is brewed with Perle hops and pale and caramel malts. Our Bock is similar to a German Maibock in its high malt content, full body and slightly higher alcohol content. Abita Bock is a very popular brew, especially during our Mardi Gras season.

Why I bought this beer:

Of course I’m going to try every seasonal Abita puts out. Their Amber is the go-to afternoon beer in the Bro’Fille household. Also, a colleague of Brother O’Mara made the heady claim that it was his favorite Abita brew.

Actual drinking experience:

Color: orangey-gold with a white head

Aroma: malty, caramel

Taste: very malty (+), but with a slight bitterness and a short finish

Overall decently tasty, but definitely lacking in body and finish. Dan Stein didn’t like this one either, but I’m much more forgiving of it than that blasted Lobotomy Bock. Still sticking with Abita Amber, but I wouldn’t pour the Mardi Gras Bock down the sink if it were given me.

Beer Review: Indian Wells’ Lobotomy Bock

Posted in Beer, Imbibe, Reviews with tags , , , , on 19 January, 2009 by la fille

Lobotomy Bock12 oz. bottle purchased at Stein’s Deli, $1.49

Style: doppelbock

ABV: 10.8%

Official brewery description:

This smooth rich dark southern German dobblebock is an Indian Wells Brewing Co. favorite. This 10.8% beer is powerful, but VERY easy to drink! This beer is not for the timid. A few of them and you’ll feel like you’ve had a frontal lobotomy the next day. Consume with caution!

Why I bought this beer:

Of course the name and label are attention-grabbing, and I was intrigued by such a low-priced high-gravity beer. Of course, alarms went off when, at the cash register, Dan Stein was like, “This isn’t worth the glass it’s bottled in.” Oh well, best to give it a shot anyways, eh?

Actual drinking experience:

Color: dark brown with a quickly-dissipating white head

Nose: Smells metallic, like bottle, with a hint of the sweetness that belies a high-gravity beer

Taste: Bitter bitter bitter, with hardly any finish.

I gave it every opportunity to get better. I poured it into a glass. I let it warm up. I made sure my palate was clear.

Dan Stein: 1, lafille: 0