Saturday marks one of my favorite days of the year. No, it’s not my birthday or any other traditional holiday.
Saturday is the annual Zapp’s International Beer Festival. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. at the LSU Rural Life Museum, and it is undoubtedly the premier beer festival in Baton Rouge.
This year marks the 14th edition of the festival. Although I haven’t made it to all of the past events, once I started making this annual pilgrimage a half-dozen years ago, I vowed I wouldn’t miss another. You’ll make a similar promise after your first visit, too.
All the usual suspects will be in attendance, ranging from national brands down to more than a dozen Louisiana breweries. Overall, you’ll be able to sample more than 200 different offerings. However, what makes Zapp’s special, outside of the beautiful setting and friendly atmosphere, is the home-brew offerings.
Three local home-brew clubs will be represented at this year’s event: Redstick Brewmasters, Bicycle Brew Club and Brasseurs a la Maison. Together, the clubs will serve more than 70 beers. You’ll be able to try different styles, too, like a triple IPA, a banana split dunkelweizen, a Belgian-style dark strong ale or a coffee-infused kölsch ale.
Also in attendance will be local home-brew shop LA Homebrew, where most of the home-brew clubs shop for their ingredients and supplies. Owner Keith Primeaux and the shop’s staff will bring 18 different beers to sample. Among them is a Citra IPA dry-hopped three times, a 12.4 percent alcohol by volume triple IPA and an English-style barley wine.
Also available from LA Homebrew are four different Berliner Weisse-style sour beers, each aged with different fruits: raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and one with all three berries.
Tickets to the Zapp's International Beer Fest are $35, $20 for designated drivers. Early entry tickets also are available for $100. For more information, visit lsu.edu/rurallife or call (225) 765-2437.
Rosé all day with Tin Roof’s new spring seasonal
Tin Roof Brewing has released a new spring seasonal beer, one that you can rosé all day with. River Rosé is a tart ale that’s brewed with beets, which give the beer its beautiful color. At only 4.5 percent ABV, you can drink this beer all day long, too.
While River Rosé is slightly tart, it’s not a puckering sour beer. There’s just enough tart character to make you want another sip. Then another. And another. Then before you know it, the glass is empty, and you’re popping open a new can.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the beautiful artwork on this can. It features a rosé-colored image of the Mississippi River in downtown Baton Rouge. Look for these cans at area specialty grocers and bottle shops throughout the spring.
Urban South Lime Cucumber Gose now available
Last summer, New Orleans’ Urban South Brewery found success with a taproom-only release of a lime and cucumber-infused gose, or German-style sour ale.
I know what you’re saying. “Cucumber in a beer? Gross.” Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The Lime Cucumber Gose is delicious. I enjoyed this beer last summer, grabbing cans of it on several trips to the brewery. I wasn’t the only one, as evidenced by this beer’s addition to the seasonal lineup.
This beer is cucumber forward, and that’s a good thing. There are no subtle flavors here. It’s cucumber and salt, with some lime acidity and citrusy notes. It's a great warm-weather beer, but don’t take my word for it. Grab a six-pack from your local retailer and judge for yourself. You can thank me later.