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Monthly Archives: November 2014

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Beer of the month for November is Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.  Not only is it one of my favorite IPAs and no doubt one of the best in the land, but it also features a brook trout on the bottle and packaging – in that regard I like to think of it as the fly fisherman’s beer.  Sadly you won’t find Bell’s in Louisiana, which is something that I hope changes in the near future, but you can find it in Georgia, which is where I was able to find it last week. What Bell’s has to say about the Two Hearted Ale:

“Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.

Alcohol by Volume:  7.0%
Original Gravity:  1.064
Shelf Life:  6 months
Dates Available:  Year Round
Available Packages:  Bottle (6-packs), 16 oz. cans (4-pcks) and draft”

What the beer geeks have to say about Two Hearted Ale:

http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/287/1093/

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/bells-two-hearted-ale/1502/

http://draftmag.com/review/1075/

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In the past few years I have really grown to appreciate a good beer.  It is no coincidence that the rest of the US seems to feel the same way, as craft brewing in America is bigger than it has ever been.  These are exciting times for beer geeks, a little overwhelming at times, but exciting.  For once Louisiana is not being left behind either.  Several new breweries have come online in the past few years and, as a state, we’re slowly building quite a catalog of craft breweries.  I’m proud to say that my cousin Lindsay is now officially in that number.  Lindsay and her husband Scott have talked about opening up a brewery in New Orleans for a few years now and just recently they accomplished that goal with the grand opening of the Courtyard Brewery.  I happened to be working in the New Orleans area that week and was able to stop by to check the place out and grab a couple pints of deliciousness.

Their first day open was also the first day they were allowed to start brewing so they didn’t have any of their own beers available (not sure if that has changed yet, but I think a session IPA was going to be their first offer), but that really didn’t slow them down.  They operate a little differently than you’re standard brewery and offer 12 rotating guest taps with only top shelf craft brews.  They are fans of West Coast style beers so Lagunitas, Green Flash, New Belgium, Stone and North Coast were all represented.  The one local option that made the cut was the Korova Milk Porter from Gnarly Barley, and it was obvious why as it was damn good.  In fact I’m pretty sure it was the first to keg to tap out on the night.

The brewery itself is small, so small it is being dubbed a nano-brewery.  Their brewing equipment is slightly larger than what you would have at home, so don’t expect to find any of Courtyard’s beers at your local grocer.  Because of it’s size don’t expect a big brewery tour either – if you’ve taken one brewery tour though you know the process – beer is made the same everywhere, with the same 4 ingredients – water, yeast, malt and hops. The brewery felt more like a tasting room and I’m pretty sure that is the vibe they are putting out there.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the tap list was superb, I left just as the food truck started serving, but I’m pretty sure they will be doing that as much as possible.  All of the beers offered were $5-6 for a heavy 16 oz pour, a heck of a deal, so if you’re looking for a good place in New Orleans to get good beer at a good price, go check out Courtyard at 1020 Erato St.

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I have not had much time to sit down and write lately as I have been busy – busy with work, busy with family, busy with life in general.  That being said this blog has been nominated again this year in the YakAngler 2014 Kayak Angler Choice Awards.  I’m honored to receive a nomination because it shows that there are kayak anglers out there that appreciate and are entertained by this blog and for that I am very thankful.  I hope I can keep things fresh and promise I will eventually find time to write (and fish) again.  If you’d like to extend a vote my way I would be happy to accept it: YakAngler 2014 Kayak Angler Choice Awards

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If you don’t know whom else to vote for in each category I will offer some suggestions:

Angler of the Year – Hands down Steve Lessard.  I can’t think of a more deserving kayak angler out there than my friend Steve.  The man consistently whoops our behinds in BCKFC and IFA tournaments and he was up to the task on foreign soil in the Hobie Worlds.  He is an exceptional angler and a great guy – he is my AOY.

Kayak of the Year – I’m a Jackson guy so I may be a little biased  but I’m torn here between the Kraken and the Big Rig.  Each of these boats is a game changer in their own way.  I got to paddle a Kraken at the Dealer Summit and can tell you that this is one slick ride.  They don’t mention it much but guys like me can stand and fish from the Kraken and still have the fastest boat on the water.

Paddle of the Year –  The Manta Ray carbon and the Surge carbon from Aqua Bound have been my two favorite paddles I’ve ever owned.  Surprisingly the Surge carbon wasn’t on the nomination list, so the nod here goes to the Manta Ray. Compare it’s weight and blade size with other paddles that have been nominated – you won’t find another high angle paddle under 30oz.

Forum of the YearBayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club is my local club.  It’s a great group, no surprise they were nominated.

Outfitter of the Year – Another local favorite here – Pack & Paddle.  Why do I love Pack & Paddle?  Let me count the ways – huge kayak rigging section, local tackle and flies, a knowledgeable staff that fishes, great seminars and demo days, Beer & Gear, and one of the best kayak displays I’ve ever seen.

Location of the Year – Grand Isle, easy.  The site of the biggest kayak fishing tournament in the World in Ride the Bull.  This place is kayak fishing mecca and I have some converts from freshwater Alabama that may agree.

Video of the Year – Business as Usual by Team HookedonYak.  I love this video because its fun, original, it comes from regular guys like you and me, not some video professionals who want to blow you away with drones and forced fishing drama.  These are some South Louisiana boys going to work on some reds showcasing the incredible fishing we have to offer.  If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch below.