A Toast to the Red, White and Blue
This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Tuesday, which offers the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day the weekend before or the weekend after — or both. As you pick the beer to go with your fireworks and grilling, why not go red, white and brew?
Hands down, my favorite local red-themed beer is Bayou Teche’s Ragin Cajuns – a Kölsch-style ale brewed with barley, rice and multiple additions of German-grown, noble hops to produce a magnificent balance of hop bitterness, taste and aroma. A light and refreshing beer perfectly suited for the steamy Louisiana Summer, and what better brew to have on hand for your Patriotic Partying?
Fruit beers are too often synonymous with cloying, sweet beverages that taste more like a Smirnoff Ice flavor than a respectable beer. Thankfully, some of our nations top craft brewers have been remedying the situation by approaching fruit as an ingredient to amplify flavor, not just a tool for a dumbed-down, mass-appeal brew. So whether you’d normally turn your nose up at the idea of fruit invading your precious ales, or you’d love a fruit beer with real character and complexity, let’s look at a few to fill in our red category.
Saint Arnold Raspberry AF (a Berliner Weisse brewed with Raspberries); Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager (brewed with real Louisiana strawberry juice); Leinenkugel Watermelon Shandy (a light and refreshing brew); Covington Brewhouse’s Strawberry Ale (a strawberry cream ale). If you really want to up your game try Ommegang Rosetta (a delightfully tart Belgian Kriek) or Chimay Première (Red) (a Belgian dubbel).
A pale ale is an ale made with predominantly pale malt. The higher proportion of pale malts results in a lighter color. The term “pale ale” first appeared around 1703 for beers made from malts dried with coke (not the soda), which resulted in a lighter color than other beers popular at that time. Bayou Teche’s Bière Pâle is an interesting take on the style, which they call a Louisiana Pale Ale. It combines Belgian-style malts and an ample blend of East Kent Golding and Mosaic hops.
White ale, which is also known as witbier, is a great choice for a hot summer holiday. These refreshing wheat beers are traditionally flavored with coriander and orange peel, and occasionally other herbs or spices. The style nearly died out in Belgium, only to be resurrected by Pierre Celis in the 1960s as Hoegaarden, and later popularized by Coors’ Blue Moon Belgian White.
Wasatch brews White Label, a Belgian-style White ale – with flavors of orange zest and coriander that creates a beer that is perfectly balanced and refreshing. Other great white options include Clown Shoes Clementine White Ale, Wasatch GhostRider
(a White IPA) and Abita’s “The Boot” – a Louisiana exclusive German Kölsch brewed with Hallertau Blanc hops.
Over the years, a couple of breweries have used blue glass for their bottles, but the liquid inside remained beer-colored, thank goodness. But there are some appropriately blue-themed beers that will fit the holiday bill. Of course, Pabst Blue Ribbon is fitting although I would reiterate there are more flavorful choices. My top pick is Crying Eagle’s Calcasieu Common – a California Common/Steam Beer (an unusual hybrid Lager/Ale brewing process started during the Gold Rush) “Toastycarmelfruityhopness” is the uncommon word they use to describe this rich amber beer.
Other blue options to consider are Chimay Grande Réserve Blue (a Belgian Strong Dark Ale); Fuller’s ESB (an Extra-Special Bitter, a style of beer developed in England that once had a promising presence in America that’s making a comeback); Grayton’s Salt of the Gulf (A Sour Gose featuring a secret ingredient: salt harvested from the Gulf of Mexico by Gulf Coast Saltworks).
Craft Beer | June 30th, 2017