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Draft Notes

One beer at a time…

Archive for the category “Lager”

Abita Mardi Gras Bock

With Mardi Gras around the corner it is only fitting to take a look at Louisiana’s own Abita Mardi Gras Bock. Abita is probably considered the craft beer most associated with New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. The brewery is located about 30 miles north of New Orleans in Abita Springs/Covington, LA.Abita Mardi Gras bottle

Fans of HBO’s “Treme” , set in New Orleans, would have seen Abita’s Amber taken down in many scenes. I challenge you to sit through an episode of that show without tapping your foot to the tunes… impossible even for a guy like me with zero rhythm. Anyway, back to the beer.

Here is a quick breakdown of Mardi Gras Bock with information found on the Abita website. The brewery claims this beer is best described as a German Mai Bock. They use Pale, Pilsner, and Carmel malts and German Perle Hops. ABV is 6.5% with 25 IBUs. Nutrition information is also available if you are curious, but drink the beer instead.

I will be consuming my Mardi Gras Bock from a 12 ounce bottle poured into a trusty pint mug.

Appearance is copper with a snow-white head. The head quickly recedes.

Abita Mardi Gras GlassAromas are malty, quite clean, not much really there.

Tastes I detect are obviously from the malts. I pick up biscuity, rich flavors which are sweet and a bit metallic. Not a lot of contrast in the flavors: starts rich and malty and finishes in the same manner. Ahh, maybe a little spicy bitterness.

Mouth feel is a medium body (Abita describes it as full), medium carbonation, and a dry finish.

Overall this beer is not overly impressive. I think the slight metallic taste throws me off a little, though it does check the boxes you look for in a bock. Malt forward and quite rich which sets it apart from other lagers. This beer would hold its own against some of those New Orleans creole dishes and would be easy to suck down a few. Give it a try, especially on the streets of New Orleans if you are lucky enough to be there!

Other Abita beers that I have tried and would recommend over the Mardi Gras Bock would be their other bock beer, Andygator, and a brown ale named Turbo dog. Both are pretty delicious.

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Starr Hill Snow Blind Doppelbock Lager

Starr Snow Blind With the holiday season in full swing, I decided to take a look at a couple of winter seasonals before they get by me. Today I have selected a beer from in state (Virginia) brewery Starr Hill named Snow Blind. This is the first year Starr Hill has released this doppelbock lager which weighs in at 7.4% ABV and a mere 13 IBUs. I appreciate them going a less traveled winter route by choosing this style over the more common spiced up high ABV ales.

Originating in southern Germany, doppelbocks are defined by their complex malts, roasted flavors, and low bitterness. You may have noticed that many breweries choose to name their doppelbocks with a name ending with “ator”. Randy Mosher’s “Tasting Beer” explains this trend originated with Paulaner Brewery creating the first in 1629, named “Salvator”. This name was used generically to describe all doppelbocks (like in the US we use the brand Kleenex to describe a tissue) until the 20th century when Paulaner decided to protect their brand. German breweries kept the “ator” as we see in beers such as Ayinger Celebrator and Spaten Optimator. Furthermore, some American craft brewers pay homage in beers such as Troeg’s Troegenator and Bell’s Consecrator. After explaining all this you will note that Starr Hill did not follow the trend. Oh well, let’s drink.

Appearance is a deep mahogany brown with a light tan head.

Aromas I detect are chocolate, caramel, and a touch of roasted barley.

As I sip this beer, the malts are obviously dominating – no surprise there. I taste roasted flavors, sweet caramel, and then eventually boozy, coffee finish.Starr Snow Blind w Glass

The dominant sensory impact with this beer is the mouth feel. A very heavy carbonation dominates and slowly dissipates in the mouth leaving a syrupy lip smacking finish.

Overall, I like this beer and it grows on me as I sip and write. The roasted flavors are perfect for the winter weather and dominant malts make the beer quite smooth and easy drinking. The style is not for everyone, but if you like ambers or porters you may be attracted to the malty and roasted goodness. Hop Heads need not apply.

You can read more about Starr Hill and their beers (to include Snow Blind) at http://www.starrhill.com. Their beers can be found in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Personally I am a big fan of their Starr Pils and Grateful Pale Ale.

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