Tin Roof - Beer
by Marty Nopper, Tastemaker in Residence
Oh my gosh…pay to ride services are fantastic, right?!? Got to get somewhere and don’t want to drive (I may have a few pops…)? No worries! Need a lift to a friend’s? Hop in! For the most part, UBER and LYFT have been invaluable to the weekend warrior because they work. Until they don’t. Let me elucidate.
On a recent work trip to the Big Raggedy, I found myself perusing the YELP pages for a local brewery, something I am unaccustomed to. After locating one about 15 minutes away, I brought up the LYFT app and summoned a driver. Her name was Sheondralea, she was a young lady, drove a Plymouth Satellite and new to LYFT but from the area. “We’ll be there before you know it”, rolled off of her tongue and I found myself hurtling recklessly towards my acre of alcohol. 10 minutes went by. 15 minutes. 20 minutes. 25 minutes. ‘Ahh, it’s right up ahead’, I was assured and the tension in my head only slightly subsided. I ain’t got all night sistah! Unfortunately, this was around rush hour and traffic was snarled at a lot of the intersections. We managed to get through most of it and came to a long wait at the next light. She looked puzzled and I inquisitively asked, ‘what’s up?’ “I took a wrong turn”, she said. Great. I was halfway tempted to get out of the damn minivan as it was only a mile back in the other direction. I decided to stay put as she performed two poorly executed u-turns at the most inopportune times, garnering one finger salutes and some animated sayings about body parts. 38 minutes later and a newly found desire for anything with alcohol in it, I arrived.
Tin Roof Brewing Company, Baton Rouge’s largest craft brewery, is situated between downtown Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University. They produce a variety of delicious beers and serve them in a comfortable setting, including a spacious wooden bar with several high tops and a nice open, grassy space through the main doors, complete with wooden picnic tables and a stage area. This little out of the way brewery was all mine tonight as I entered and found 4 colleagues of carbonation inside. This warehouse spot offers several great gifts of grain, including IPAs, Pale Ales, Pale Lager, a Gose, a blackberry Berliner Weiss, and a Mexican Coffee Style Stout (you know where I’m going with this). As you all 6 know, my wheelhouse starts and ends with IPAs so I dive head first into their grand slam of growlers, Juke Joint IPA.
An American IPA with Mosaic and Amarillo hops that dominate the flavor of this smooth drinking neck oil. According to the head brewer, JJ’s ‘heavy dry-hopping results in berry, citrus, and tropical fruit aromas, with earthy and melon background notes. The combination of Pilsner, Munich, and Carafoam malts provide a restrained, but present malt character while still keeping the beer tasting crisp’.Sidebar 1:BrewYourOwn.com adds, “Pros and Cons of Dry Hopping due to the fact that no volatile oils are boiled off, the benefit to dry hopping is that the brewer can get as much flavor and aroma possible into the final beer. This can give your beer a floral hop essence and an intense flavor that is desirable in hoppy beer styles like pale ales and IPAs. Some commercial beers that are dry-hopped include Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale, Young’s Special Ale, Anchor Liberty, and Sam Adams Pale Ale. What dry hopping does not add to the beer is bitterness. Boiling is necessary to convert the alpha acids in the hops to iso-alpha acids to create bitterness. To maintain your desired bitterness, you still need to add the bittering hops to the boil”. Really, a smooth drinking 6% ABV libation where I notice a low IBU. Straw colored, this lower potency IPA is typical of American Ales that had a little of the berry or sweet smell and taste without heavy resin or pine. Wouldn’t say it’s fruity but not a ‘punch in the face’ IPA, either. Marty likey when out of town, especially since it’s hot as an oven and I’m wearing next to nothin’. Available in a 13-ounce pour, this is a go-to when visiting the Deep South. Pairs well with mudbugs.
Next up on the grain train tour is Manchado, a Mexican Coffee-style stout. This inky, viscous stout was inspired by chocolatl, which is an ancient Aztec spiced chocolate drink. Tin Roof brewers added cinnamon, orange peel, chocolate and kilned coffee malt to replicate this beverage. With a noticeably higher ABV than most stouts (7.5%), it sports the usually low 12 IBU so you obviously aren’t guzzling this for its hoppiness. I really enjoy a good, chocolatey stout and this one hints of it without going overboard. Not sure I’m getting the aforementioned Vitamin C but these 13 ounces of love juice sure hit the spot. Because I haven’t had any grub, the endorphins in my skull are telling me ‘just one more!’. Do I listen to them or do I go seek that traditional dinner of the bayou: crawfish! Ok. One more!
Back to the bar for the third stop on the frontal lobe field trip: Voodoo land. I’m in The Pelican State, right? What’s a little black magic when in town, no? Not on this brew. It’s not like I’m making little straw dolls and sticking pins in them (just one, actually…😊). Voodoo is a heavily dry-hopped American Pale Ale, which relies on flaked wheat and oats to enhance the tropical and fruit flavors provided by the hops. I was instructed to expect melon, passion fruit, tangelo, and pine flavors and aromas from the use of Citra and Simcoe hops. A naturally hazy beer, it is very light in color. Although this Pale Ale is only 5% ABV, it almost tastes like a soft drink. Cold, sortasweet but very flavorful. Like Juke Joint, it’s got some citrus but this is a little more tropical, making it a brew even my wife could enjoy. Cause she loves me. Ask her. Tomorrow. Anyway, it’s smoothness really sets the tone for this brew house and I’m starting to feel these guys thought of me when they decided which froths to ferment. Could make this my new favorite weekend beverage without letting Imbev know. Time to wind down this adventure as it’s getting late (did I tell you how I got here?).
Before I get to that, let me ask you something. Did anyone think of the New Wave band B-52’s when they saw the words Tin Roof? I’m am an 80’s rocker and New Wave enthusiast so naturally I thought of a line in one of the most iconic and well-known songs of the 80’s: Love Shack.
Sidebar 2: My girl Wiki explains, "Love Shack" is a 1989 single by new wave band The B-52's, from their album Cosmic Thing. It is considered the band's signature song, and has been a concert staple since its release. The song's inspiration was "a cabin around Athens, GA.", complete with tin roof, where the band conceived "Rock Lobster", a single from their first album in 1979; it is often said to have been located off the Atlanta Highway (US 78 Bus. and SR 10). B-52's singer Kate Pierson lived in the cabin in the 1970s, and the cabin existed until 2004 when it burned down’. When searching for an explanation of what the hell they were singing about, Wiki adds, ‘Cindy Wilson's line "tin roof rusted" was originally an outtake from a jamming session, where Wilson continued her line while the tape had stopped. The band added this section to the song, and the line has become erroneously associated with getting pregnant’. Love Shack YouTube.
If anyone reading this in the Bayou (or anyone visiting during this time), roam if you want to as The 52’s will be at the Saenger Theater in Baton Rouge, August 25. See ‘em. And tell ‘em El Martin sent ya..
Anyway, if you’re ever asked, ‘Where do I go from here to a better state than this’? Well, consider Louisianna. Definitely stop in to Tin Roof. It’s well worth the LYFT ride but I would suggest an UBER.