Well, here it was... after so much anticipation and excitement, after an epic road trip, a festival in New Orleans, ridiculously great seafood meals, too many great beers, beautiful days on the beaches, and so many great people... it was the last date of the run. One more show, then a painfully long drive home, a little down time, and then more shows in a totally different part of the country.
It was Saturday night in Baton Rouge, and the final brewery of the run was Southern Craft. A nano-brewery located in a business park, it was the day before Easter, so the only sign of human activity was in this well hidden parking lot a few buildings off the the main road. A converted warehouse type setup, the brewery took up the main room, a small taproom was in a room off to the side, and two garage doors opened to a patio area. Outside were folks with their dogs, some backyard type games, and food trucks.
Southern Craft Brewing - Baton Rouge, LA
Outside of the taproom, Southern Craft beer is currently distributed to restaurants and finer drinking establishments in the Baton Rouge region.
A stage are for me to perform was inside the main brewing space, so my backdrop was brewing equipment, vats, etc.... which I like. Unfortunately I was by myself on this night, so I didn't get any photos, but trust me... playing music amongst big brewing vats is a pretty cool backdrop.
My first beer of the night was the Protagonist (6%), a Haze (New England Style) IPA. If was nice hazy yellow in color, with a medium-light body and a smooth drink, with refreshing pineapple tinged hoppiness. Very easy to drink, and a nice level of hops fruitiness without unwelcomed bitter or spice. A very nice haze IPA, for sure.
Hyla (6%), which was a seasonal for a IPA while and has recently joined the permanent lineup, was my next selection. Proud Pelican is their standard IPA, and Hyla is just a little more bold... a little more juice flavor, a little heavier body, and considerably more hoppy. It sports a rich aroma and rather thick head, thanks in part to the Appalachian wheat that also gives it a touch of breadiness.
I don't have the name in my notes, and I'm not finding in it on their website, so you'll have to just believe me or check it out for yourself, but they also had another version of Hyla with habanero infused, and it was definitely a peppery beer. I can say it had a nicely balanced taste, but I'm really not into hot peppered beers, so it wasn't that appealing to me, but if you like these sort of things check out. It definitely had a fair amount of pepper kick.
My last beer of the night was a coffee infused stout, and it packed a good punch, I think at 9%. Again, I have misplaced my notes, so I'm not sure what the name of this Coffee Stout was, but I can tell you that it was a nice dark, creamy yet crisp drink, with a strong coffee flavor and aroma thanks to the infusion of dark coffee beans provided a local coffee company based just a few doors down.
I think the punch of that coffee gave me a second wind, because at the end of the gig, after packing up and saying my goodbyes to the brewery staff I got in the van and drove. Originally the plan was so sleep after the gig and get up early to get in as much of the 13 hour drive home as I could, then cover the rest on Monday, probably putting me home Monday afternoon. Instead I somehow drove through the night, stopping at 7am for a two hour nap, then was back it again... and I made it home by 4pm on Sunday. Crazy!
Southern Craft was a lot of nice people and tasty beers, and I'm sure the business will continue to grow as long as they want to. The location was a little hidden, but that can be a good thing.... those of you in Baton Rouge need to search them out and enjoy the best kept secret while it lasts, as it could be over way sooner than you thought, and your favorite secret brewery spot becomes huge.
I headed home after this show, made record time, and then was exhausted for a few days. A few more days around the homefront, then it's a series of Midwest shows in May, and then the beach tour in June!
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