Friday, June 19, 2009

Beer is our Canvass

Saturday evening we handed out samples of an incredibly hopped-up version of our usual LA 31 Biere Pale. The occasion for this special brew was my son’s art show at Salon NV in Lafayette during this month’s Second Saturday Art Walk

If you have never been to Lafayette’s art walk, make plans to go next month – you’ll meet a lot of fascinating people and see some amazing art.

And maybe get some free beer.

The beer we were pouring was a highly amped up IPA; we use a late hopping process which gives our beer a mellow bitterness, and an extremely intense hop flavor.

My son’s paintings were an eclectic mix of what I’d call Southern Pop art. Each of his paintings were on giant canvases, including his surprise for my brothers and me – a four by three foot interpretation of our LA 31 Biere label.

The owner of the salon had put out tasty bottles of red wine and some very nice cheeses and crackers.

Supporters of my son’s art brought iced pitchers of gin spiked juices and boxes of fruit punch for the kids.

The weather was very pleasant, so Jefferson Street was crowded with people strolling the art scene.

Nearly everyone who stopped by the show sampled a glass or two of our beer. As we handed them out we had a lot of great conversation with people wanting to know about real beer. We were somewhat surprised with all of the positive feedback, as this was an extremely hoppy and somewhat bitter beer – the largest amount of hops we have ever used in any of our recipes.

As we picked up afterwards, we noticed that every plastic beer cup was drank dry – the keg was drained as well. The very bitter beer was clearly a big hit.

As was my son’s paintings.

The first painting sold that night was that large image of the LA 31 label. A couple walked in, sampled some beer while admiring the painting. They purchased it before I could get a bid in (I was moving slow as I had consumed a bit of wine, beer and Gin & juice myself). That painting would have looked good in our office.

My son’s art reflects the commitment he has to his craft. He is passionate about his paintings, paintings that reflect his bold aesthetic, and his courageous sense of place and humor. They are audacious and larger than life, both dimensionally and artistically.

We learned a lot from our visit with Lafayette’s beer-drinking art lovers last Saturday night. It prods us to renew our commitment to our own craft. We will continue to tweak our flagship ale, LA 31 and perhaps introduce our own larger than life artwork, an over the top IPA.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Boudin Eggroll?

Wikipedia defines fusion cuisine as:

Fusion cuisine combines elements of various culinary traditions while not fitting specifically into any. The term generally refers to the innovations in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.

Louisianaians have been fusing cuisines since the 1760s.

French, Spanish, German and African foods and preperations have combined to give us the Cajun and Creole foods we enjoy today.

There is also the one Cajun who commingled the activities of cooking and drinking beer. After consuming probably way too much beer, he shoved a half-full beer can in a chicken's rear end cavity. Utilizing the chicken's legs and the beer can, he stood the whole thing up tripod style and barbecued the contraption.

Those of us who have tried a moist, tender and flavorful "tipsy chicken" know that by combining two activities - drinking beer and barbecuing chicken - the innovative cook yielded a fused product - a creation that became greater than the sum of its parts.

But a boudin eggroll?

My brother told me about his quest for the boudin eggroll at Janice's grocery in Sunset. They have it advertised on the menu, but every time he tried to buy one they were sold out.

Always sold out? I had to get one.

Janice's has some of the best boudin in Acadiana. They also have an extensive beer selection and a sign over the deli counter that says if you are talking on a cell phone they will not take your order or check you out.

I love shopping at Janice's.

It took me three trips but they finally had boudin eggrolls tempting me from under the heat lamp - you have to get there early, way before the lunch rush. I actually purchased the last two of them and also a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Drinking several bottles of a hoppy American interpretation of an English Pale Ale, and polishing off spicy Cajun sausages enclosed in Asian wrappers put me in a fusion cuisine fueled, multiculteral heaven.

The boudin was well seasoned with an abundance of cayenne pepper, and the eggroll wrapper solved some of the physical problems of eating boudin on the run. Pairing it with a pale ale was a near perfect match, though next time I may try a Pilsner Urquell to help calm the heat of all that seasoning.

I am sure my brothers were working hard on the brewery building the whole time I was doing research (eating rich boudin and drinking way too much beer) for this blog post. It's looking like they are nearly halfway done. I'll repay them with some ice cold beer and hot boudin eggrolls this coming weekend.

If I can find some.