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Tag Archives: Craft Beer

After my trip to North Georgia in May I decided I needed to plan a return trip sometime in the near future.  I didn’t make time for any small stream fishing in May, but I had really been missing the blueline action so I needed to get back that way before it got too cold and the dry fly action shut down.  So a trip back was planned and Blake and I settled on a date in late September.

We made the drive up after work and stopped for supplies on the way.

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We gave ourselves three days to fish and day one was reserved for fishing at the cabin.  After an historic(at least in my life) flood over the winter, the script was flipped, and now North Georgia was dealing with drought-like conditions.  What that meant for us was that the water was low and clear pretty much everywhere we went and had the trout were pretty spooky.  That made for some pretty slow fishing.

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Around lunch time I finally stuck a good fish who absolutely hammered a Turk’s tarantula that I skated at the head of a nice pool.  It was an awesome strike and really surprised as we had only encountered sluggish fish until that point.

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After lunch we decided to head up the road to some smaller water and see how the little wild trout were doing.

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The blue line action was fast and furious.  Our dries were getting bumped in nearly every hole we tried.  That had me pretty excited for the creek we planned to fish the next day, which is one of my favorite small streams anywhere.  We ended the day with some excellent rabbit sauce piquante, courtesy of Blake, and life couldn’t have been any better.

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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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Starting this month I’m going to feature a different beer that I’m drinking, and liking, every month.  The idea was tossed to Catch on the Louisiana fly fishing site and I liked it so I’m going to run with it here.  I’m not going to give you a full blown review because honestly I couldn’t do each beer justice., but I do know what I like though and that is what I’ll share here.  I’ll try to link a review from an actual beer blog if you want to know a little more about each featured beer.

For August, I’m going to keep it easy and feature the Commotion Pale Ale from Great Raft Brewing.  The American pale ale has been my favorite style for awhile now and this one did not disappoint.  The Commotion is out of Shreveport and I was able to find it in Tonore’s Wine Cellar up in Monroe, LA.  The Pickle Barrel also has it if you want to sit at a bar and drink one.  Grab a sandwich too because they’re pretty good.  Distribution of Great Raft beer has been limited to North Louisiana but you can expect to see some of their beers in New Orleans next year.  Here’s what Great Raft has to say about the Commotion:

“This pale ale has a slightly fruity aroma, with an upfront hop bitterness of grapefruit and citrus. This complex but balanced dry-hopped ale is faintly sweet, but soft through the generous amounts of wheat.

Malts: Pale Wheat, 2-Row, Caravienne
Hops: Bravo, Cascade
Yeast: House Ale
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 49
Availability: Y ear-Round”
What really stands out about Commotion is the can design.  It really is quite exceptional – if you see this beer in a store on a shelf you are likely to buy it.  You’ll thank yourself later too because it is damn good. Oh Beautiful Beer had a great write-up (with pictures) on the background of Great Raft’s can design.
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If you’re a pale ale fan I highly recommend picking up some Commotion next time you’re up in North Louisiana.