Welcome to the start of a new offseason series here, And The Valley Drinks, in which myself and other contributors will talk about and review some of our favorite beers, wines, liquors, cocktails, what have you. Seems like the perfect thing to pair with our recipe series? Right?
No, YOU just want an excuse to drink more.
Anyways, I'm going to lead off with one of my very favorite beers, NOLA Brewing's Brown Ale.
Actually, that's not fair to them. This isn't just one of my favorites, it's probably No. 1 on my list with a bullet. Truthfully, I'm a bit of a beer snob. Well, kind of a beer whore really. Beer call girl? Beer gigolo? Whatever...dark beers -- stouts, porters and brown ales like this, are right in my wheelhouse. NOLA brewing is a small, but growing brewery on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, with a couple of regular offerings and some fantastic seasonals. From their own website:
"NOLA Brewing - New Orleans Lager & Ale - represents the creation of refreshing high-quality beer in the heart of New Orleans. Located in the Irish Channel, we provide locally produced products and are sensitive to the taste, look, and feel of great beer. Founded in 2008 by Kirk Coco & Peter Caddoo, NOLA Brewing is providing quality lagers and ales for you to enjoy."
They offer daily tours at their brewery, and their tap room is open from 2-3 p.m. on almost every Friday. It's a great visit if you're in the city. NOLA Brown Ale, along with their Blonde Ale, are two of their flagship beers. The Brown is a traditional English-style brown ale, somewhat similar to Newcastle. It's somewhat readily available in cans these days -- the local Winn Dixie by my house keeps it in stock -- and it's 4.0 percent alcohol by volume.
I would note that while this is available in cans, a beer like this really needs to be drunk out of a cup to get the full flavor experience with the smell, etc... NOLA Brown, as the name implies, has a rich, kind of almond-y brown color, with a very nutty bouquet. The initial flavoring is has a few different notes to it, notably a slight coffee tinge -- not quite a bitterness. And you really taste the roasted malt on the back end, making this a beer that goes down really smoothly. Too smoothly, as my dad would say.
Everybody's mileage will vary as we do this, but like I said, I'm starting out with my personal favorite, and this beer gets FIVE out of five stars.