Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back Home: Sorta... Purity!!!

Well, I made it off the platform and have decided to stop in Lafayette while letting the Tropical Storm make its way north of I-10. No sense in driving in this mess if I don't have to. A little Googling reveals a chain of restaurants called Zea Rotisserie and Grill. Turns out they get their beer brewed out of the Heiner Brau brewery. It's not exactly a brewpub, but it's close e-damn-nough. I have some time before I'm going to see my cousin who works out of Lafayette, so I make my way to Zea.
The decor is nice, and it feels great getting out of the heat. The menu has four microbrewed beers available with suggestions for food pairings. I would like to take their advice, but screw that, I make up my own pairing lunch.
Zea Amber Lager
State: starving, haven't had a beer in over 2 weeks, ordered Hummus with Pita bread.
I figured hummus would go well with the amber lager, and I loved it. It could have been that I hadn't had a drink in over 2 weeks, but the beer was great. It served as an excellent foil with hummus, in that both the food and the beer tasted like the first bite/sip throughout the whole experience. They brought it out in a bottle with a frosted pilsner glass. It has a nice bready malt scent with a little caramel in there, almost syrupy when the head vanishes. Brown/red in color and clear. Light malt taste, medium body, and medium bready taste on the aftertaste. Low carbonation (excellent) yet I'll say moderately drinkable. The hummus is excellent. I was thinking this stuff tastes like purity law beer , and sure enough it is. Very well done. High 3 stars. It's the next day and I still want this one again.
When I say purity law, I am referring to the German law that beer can only have barely, yeast, water, and hops. Beer brewed in this style is typically very clean, very crisp, and very good pure beer. As much as I like the creativity of guys like Dogfish, Sam Adams, etc, there is something to be said for a brewery that puts all its energy in the four basic ingredients. It's great craft beer without the cloves, cinnamon sticks, raissonettes, rice, cane, ubu, watermelon, blood, chicken feathers, wine, candy sugar etc.
Category 5 American Pale Ale
The aptly named Pale Ale was something I was looking forward to since walking in. I order this with one of the signature Rotisserie chicken dishes (that says spicy on the menu). Another bottle with a frosted pilsner glass. Low head with my vigorous pour. Similar color as the last beer. There is a light maltiness on the nose (hmm no hops). I can taste the Cascade bite hops late, but it's kinda unbalanced. A little icky on the aftertaste as well. I don't know if they should have used Cascade by itself. The Rotis Chicken has arrived. The beer tastes a little better and balanced as it warms up a bit (figures). Near the end it got much better, but the chicken wasn't all the spicy, though very very good. Probably Munich specialty malt, which is what I think the other one had in it. It's basically like the amber lager, but with Cascade. At 45 degrees, it's a 3 star. At bone chilling cold, they can keep it.
The waitress convinced me to get the bread pudding for desert, and I ordered their...
Pontchartrain Porter
Another frosted glass. Not much of a smell, but I did notice that inside of the glass was COATED with bubbles. Means they did not rinse this glass thoroughly, and the soap residue probably killed the head on this one. It's dark brown and tastes like a dark Munich malt with low hops. Not much of a compliment to the bread pudding, which was very sweet. In fact, it was a bad idea to order any desert with this one. I won't give this one a rating just yet, as I had it with the bread pudding, and it just overwhelmed whatever flavor was in the Porter. Lord knows I'll be in Louisiana enough to try it again.
Overall, the place was fantastic. Food was great, beer was pretty good. I'm hope to try it again with some other food, and maybe they'll have some seasonals. Seems like Munich malt is their house specialty malt. Cool beans. I was a little miffed that they kept bringing out frosted glasses, but I can understand the marketing, as it is hot as balls out there, and cold beer is just what the doctor ordered.

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