It's not a phrase you see everyday....but in the humid chill of New Orleans in February, cozying up to a bar with friends and drinking delicious beers on an average Wednesday night makes your week warmer....and definitely happier...
Allagash Odyssey: 10.4% ABV: Thank you Henry! This ale aged in oak barrels is just down right delicious. It drinks like a wine, with its aromatic and flavor complexity/growth over time.
Lovely black currant and nose-perking sour cherry dominate the nose, with notes of warm licorice make this a beer you want to keep sticking your nose in over and over.
Avery Mehistopheles: 16% ABV: Holy high ABV. This beer is NO JOKE. Prep yourself and your friends to drink this liquid monster. Have you seen the creature on the label? Pour into port glasses or Riedels and sniff away....Blackstrap molasses. Dark dried fruit (think date), port, roasted malt, bourbon. Coffee notes with tobacco on the finish.
It's a thick nose, if you get what I mean by that. Imagine the Louisiana bayou with its heavy, moisture-laden air, full of ladies fanning themselves on paint decayed porches, and men in non-air-conditioned bars breathing their souls into the brass necks of trumpets and trombones on Bourbon Street. That's the weight of this beer.
Bells Two-Hearted Ale: 7% ABV: Lots of floral, specifically white flower aromas and flavors. A mild palate with a soft finish. A lovely, feminine style IPA. Now don't take that the wrong way. Calling a beer feminine is NOT an insult. In fact, it is a beautiful compliment, because true delicacy in ANY alcoholic beverage is incredibly difficult to achieve. It's alot easier to produce a burly, in-your-face beer or wine than a balanced, polished product. When I come across a wine that I would describe as feminine, it is normally a wonderfully refined French white Burgundy or a small-production, high quality Italian wine, like those from Jermann or Gaja. That being said, I would recommend this beer for those just venturing into the IPA world...
Bell's The Oracle DIPA: 10.4% ABV: To compare and contrast, we opened the wonderfully delicious Oracle....and what a fantastic taste-test! The Oracle is full of pine, grapefruit, and herb with a rich, full mouthfeel. With its piney, resiny qualities you achieve much more bitterness and vibrancy in the beer. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed them both, because like us all, they represented almost....a mood.
Alesmith Wee Heavy: 10% ABV: I think this guy needs to age. With its heavy nose of caro syrup and maltiness, I felt like we had opened this beer too soon. Wine drinkers, relate it to opening a wine too early or during its "dumb phase". You know it's got more to offer, but you were too eager. Much, much later, I got notes of bacon on the stove, dried fruit, and brunch pancakes...Hmmm interesting! But this was HOURS later. And who, except dorks like me, will do that? I have complete faith in this beer, and I promise to revisit it in the future...
Brouwerij Fonteinen Oude Gueze: I liked this guy, and ended up drinking the dregs of it long after the tasting was done. Intense, yet nice and balanced funkiness and sourness. Tree fruit of apple and pear played a pretty second fiddle to the dominant aromas, and gave depth to the aroma and flavor profile.
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA: 9% ABV: The same beer I had previously tried at NOLA Brewing. A wonderfully intense pine forest! Refreshing herbal nose with citrus, which follows through on the palate. Good bitterness, with balance without being overwhelming. I like it.
SIDE NOTE: Do yourself a HUGGGE favor and go see the outstanding Shamar Allen in concert. Seriously. Anyone who can play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana on the trumpet with a fervor that makes people rise off of the floor in a high-pitch, energetic unison is awesome in my book. And his song "Bring 'em to the Dome" with Dee-1 performed live is one of the most heart-bursting, pride-inducing, crowd-calling song for New Orleans and the Saints I have ever witnessed. The floor was about to fall through from all of us jumping at the House of Blues....It's our house.