New Orleans is always a wonderful, whirlwind tour of bars, if you are open to it. And on a cold, blustery Monday full of grey skies and down jackets, a cocktail or beer is just what you need to warm your spirits and close out the chill on your fingers and toes.
Drive on out River Road and check out the cozy, comfortable River Shack for Abita and NOLA brews on draft. Think the bar version of Cracker Barrel and you've got the River Shack. Warm, friendly people, and fresh popped popcorn on the bar. Um, yes!
If Uptown's your gig, head to St. Joe's for the best blueberry Mojito you've ever tasted, Lazy Magnolia's Jefferson Stout or Anchor Christmas Ale on draft, or the old standby Chimay in the bottle. Talk about cozy and friendly.
The final leg on my New Orleans Monday bar tour? The Avenue Pub for two of my favorite easy drinking beers: Blanche de Bruxelles and Blanche de Chambly. With Bruxelles, notes of honeysuckle, grapefruit honey, and white flowers welcome the nose and make you wanna dive in for more. And drink in copious amounts on a hot summer day, with seafood on the grill. Blanche de Chambly, another star from Unibroue, fills the nose with apricot, yeast, biscuits and herbs. Both lovely, both yummy.
SO, for my Christmas beer?
Great Lakes Christmas Ale: ABV: 7.5%
First off, this is the same producer that won my Best American Porter, with its Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. (see Beer # 98 of my 100 beers 30 days) Second, this is a deeeeelicious beer folks. No kidding. Loads of spices jump like kids on pogo sticks out of the glass. Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and coriander. And I mean ginger like I have not seen in any other holiday brew so far. Refreshing fresh ginger and warming baked gingerbread simultaneously. Cherry skin. And lets talk about the honey notes people, on both the nose and palate. Yum, yum honey.
Sure enough, this beer that spawns musical homages on You Tube (I'm serious!) is brewed with, yes, honey, cinnamon, and ginger. The great thing (no pun intended) is that none of these adjuncts is overbearing or overwhelms the beers. Drinking this on a cold, winter night is a pure pleasure.
Do yourself a favor and obtain a sixer of this beer for your next yuletide gathering. You will be thanking me 10 times over. I promise.