For those unaware, I’m spending the bulk of the winter in Louisiana while my wife teaches down South. It’s win-win; I’m doing a ton of writing and hanging out with my 2 year old son while she provides a valuable service to the kids of Baton Rouge (And she gets to keep her job in Buffalo for school year 2013-14).
As if the temporary time away from the barely double-digit temps wasn’t cool enough, I get the glory of Southern beer. There’s simply a wealth of brews that don’t make their way up North (at least yet). Here are a couple I picked up at Whole Foods this evening:
1) Southern Star Brewing Company’s Buried Hatchet
Full disclosure: I bought this beer because of the impeccable art work coupled with a killer review below the price tag (nice job, Whole Foods). Don’t believe me? Peep this can, y’all.
The thing about Buried Hatchet is it will bury you. At 8.2% ABV, it’s got legs and it knows how to use them. I worried that I kept the brew too cold to appreciate the flavors at play, but the cocoa leapt out of the glass and only became more stand-out as the room warmed it. It’s deep, dark and complex without making you work too hard. You’ve got a good chance to pick up a note of cinnamon/brown sugar but the sweetness doesn’t kick you. Maybe toffee is a better call, but I’m not picky on description. There’s coffee all over the place and the alcohol is present but not overly-boozy. If you can find this beer, drink it.
2) Abita’s S.O.S. (Save Our Shores)
So you want to sell me a beer? Put it in a 22 (check), make it easy drinking but higher ABV (check, 7.0), throw in some splendid art and give me a cause (check, 75 cents per bottle given to help the Gulf Shores affected by the BP Oil Disaster). Abita’s S.O.S. does not disappoint in any way.
This German-styled pilsner is almost over-the-top in its flavor, with citrus (mostly grapefruit) giving you the biggest impression. Plenty of white with a deceptive white head; I thought I had poured poorly only to find out others who’ve tried the brew found the same thing at play. Again, the flavor is lights-out. There’s a grapefruit juice-meets-beer factor that makes this sessionable despite the ABV. I haven’t been a massive Abita fan — hit or miss, really — but this one is certainly a hit. Here’s to this with late night pancakes.