From Big Apple to Big Easy

La 31 Biere pale

I know what you all are thinking, but Northern Jersey is close enough. It's catchy. Get over it. The point is that I went to New Orleans for Jazzfest! I stayed at the Hotel St. Marie and was lucky enough to have my brother, who has been to NOLA many times, show me around the city. From legally drinking in the streets to Jazzfest to Killer Po-boys, the four day trip was packed with adventure. But, as you know, I will focus on the beerventures!

On some random street

Of course, what is the first New Orleans brewery that you think of? Abita! My first beer in the city was Abita Amber. This Vienna styled lager poured an amber color with a short-lived, white head. It smelled of toasted, caramel malts; not a huge aroma. It tasted lightly of caramel. The mouthfeel was thin and very lightly carbonated. Overall, it was nice with my jumbalaya and easy to drink. It seemed to be what all the locals kept recommending to me as their go-to beer. 

The next Abita beer I had was the Andygator. The Maibock poured a clear gold, had a white head, and released aromas of spice and malt. It tasted of a subtle, malty sweetness with a dry, hoppier finish. Not bad, but I think I preferred the Amber. I was expecting to drink some Abita Purple Haze while there, but surprisingly, I couldn't find it! I've found it all over NJ, but not once in New Orleans. 

At Jazzfest

At Jazzfest

Another Louisiana native, the LA 31 Biere Pale, poured a bronze color with an aroma of herbal hops. The taste was a bit biscuit-y with light hoppiness. It was not my favorite of the trip, but it was created to complement the local cuisine. Next time, I will have to try it with some boudain and see how that changes my opinion!

To speak just a little on the food, I am so grateful that I had my foodie brother to guide me. I have to thank him, Sarah, and Kris for the most amazing birthday dinner at Galatoire's. I highly recommend it, if you are ever in the area! (French food is my weakness!) Everything we ordered was superb, as was the service. Another "must go" is Killer Po-boys. I recommend grabbing a braised pork belly po-boy.. or two or three!  

Well, that's a quick overview of my very short, but fun filled, trip to NOLA. I can't wait to go back! 

Ever been? What's your favorite thing about the city? Your favorite Louisiana beer? Comment below and let me know! I love to hear from you. Make sure you're following my instagram and untappd for some VERY exciting news coming soon! 

Until then, hoppy drinking! 

 

- One Hoppy Lady

Ommegang Dinner @ The Office

Glancing at the beer menu, as my Nirvana IPA is brought out

As some of you may know, the new and improved Office Tavern and Grill in Morristown, has been remodeled with 38 taps (40, but one is root beer and another is prosecco) and a completely modernized menu. As a newer "craft beer-centric" bar, they recently hosted a Brewery Ommegang dinner where (executive chef) Kevin Felice created 4 original recipes to pair to 4 Ommegang beers. Thanks to my sister, onesaltypup, I was in attendance (an early birthday gift). Since I am not a food blogger, I will focus more on the beers, but for more details on the actual dinner, you can check out onesaltypup!

Before any food came out, we were greeted with a "welcome beer." (Why don't more people greet me this way?) Ommegang Nirvana IPA was a lighter, east coast styled IPA. The hops were less bold than your more well known West Coast IPA. The nose had a juicy, citrus smell with a piney hoppyness. The taste had lemon, perhaps a bit of grass, grapefruit rind, a some pine.  I thought the hops were well balanced with the tropical fruit/citrus flavors in this beer. 

Ommegang Witte

The next beer served was the Ommegang Calypso Hennepin, alongside a chilled white grape gazpacho. Being a big fan of Ommegang's original Hennepin, I was excited to see what this was all about. Now, the difference is that Calypso Hennepin is dry-hopped with calypso hops, which gives it more dry bitter flavor. Unfortunately, I felt that the calypso hops actually took away from the greatness of the original Hennepin. It masked some of the fruity, grassy, summerish taste with dominating potpourri and floral notes. As a personal preference, I don't favor perfume-y/floral beers. Not to say this was a bad beer, but I think the original Hennepin is much more dynamic and better balanced than the Calypso. The gazpacho was delicious though. 

Spring Lamb Meatballs

The second course, spring lamb meatballs with spicy tomato coriander jam, mint gremolata and ricotta, was designed to pair with Ommegang Witte. The Witte poured a cloudy straw/yellow color. The smell and taste were very traditional of a white beer: light and citrusy. The flavors mainly consisted of lemon and orange with subtle clove spice and coriander, a good representation of the style. The lamb meatballs were also very good. Surprisingly moist!

Ommegang Abbey Ale

Three Philosophers inspired the third course, slow braised short rib with gingered spring carrot puree and dandelion pesto. I must say, Three Philosphers is already one of my favorites from the brewery. This Belgian Quad poured a dark chestnut color and smelled of dark fruits and brown sugar. From the taste, figs, plums, and cherries were present, accompanied by an almost rum-like booze flavor. The body of the brew was medium to full. All together, this beer is deliciously satisfying and a perfect pairing with ribs. 

The fourth course's olive oil cake with lemon custard and basil was designed for Abbey Ale. This Dubbel poured an amber-ish brown with a thick head and apparent carbonation. The aroma consisted of dark sugar, plums and cherries, while the taste was of dark fruits and slightly bitter dark sugar. The mouthfeel was silky, medium bodied and well carbonated. 

Now, it's time to pick a favorite! Out of the ones I had never tried before (Nirvana IPA and Calypso Hennepin), I would choose Nirvana IPA. I really thought it had a nice balance of flavors. Out of the rest, I would have to go with Three Philosophers. Favorite course? I would have to say the Spring Lamb Meatballs.

What's your favorite Ommegang beer? Comment below and let me know! 

Stay tuned for my next post on New Orleans!

Until then, hoppy drinking! 

 

- One Hoppy Lady