Monday, September 29, 2014

Greetings from New Orleans

Hey there. As most of my loyal readers know, I'm down in New Orleans for the National Beer Wholesalers Convention today and tomorrow. My expenses have been paid by the NBWA, which was the grand prize I received for winning the Best Beer Writing contest they sponsored earlier this year. (Thanks again to those who voted for me.)

Yesterday before the conference proper began, I tooled around the French Quarter for a bit, as one does, before hopping the St. Charles streetcar out to the Avenue Pub, which was featuring a tap event with Bayou Teche Brewing of Arnaudville. There I met up with Jenny Pfafflin of the Cicerone Certification Program and sampled four Bayou Teche brews: Miel Sauvage, a bourbon barrel aged honey beer; Coteau Rodaire, a French farmhouse ale aged in white wine barrels; Acadie, a biere de garde with French hops; and Teche Hombres, a wheat beer brewed with agave nectar and Spanish orange peels. For my money, the Coteau Rodaire was the best of the lot — crisp, dry, and understated. The Miel Sauvage was not overblown with bourbon flavors, which I consider a good thing. The Teche Hombres was too sweet for my liking, while the Acadie tasted soapy, which maybe is a French hop thing or maybe a not properly rinsed glass thing.

Today began bright and early with a 7:30 a.m. panel on "Draught Beer Quality: History, Economics and Best Practices for the Best Quality." The panelists included Matt Meadows of New Belgium, Rob Gerrity of Sierra Nevada, and Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. In the session, they handed out copies of the brand spankin' new "Draught Beer Quality for Retails" guide from the Brewers Association, which is a nice, concise, and less technical version of the full 80-page draught manual released in 2009. I grabbed several copies to share when I get back home.

On tap for tomorrow: "Beer Goggles and Bar Offerings: Helping On-Premise Accounts Do More with Less" by Mr. Cicerone himself, Ray Daniels, and "Recent Developments in Beer Franchise Law: Distributor Agreements, Terminations, Proposed Sales and Other Supplier/Distributor Disputes," which should help me understand more of the sausage-making side of the beer business.

As for right now, it's time to go find some amazing gumbo, kickass etouffee, or some killer jambalaya, not to mention some of dat good Looziana beer, which I am pleased to say does now exist.

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