The WYES Private Beer Sampling and the WYES International Beer Tasting were held at Mardi Gras World June 13-14. The private beer sampling sold out, and the beer tasting almost did. Here are my notes:
Favorite beers: Highlights included the Chafunkta Kingfish Ale infused with boysenberries, the Covington Brewhouse collaboration stout (brewed with the Northshore homebrew club, Mystic Krewe of Brew) and Bayou Teche's Coteau Rodaire. Overall, though, Saint Arnold killed it. It had four special offerings on tap — Boiler Room Berliner Weise, 20th Anniversary Barleywine, Divine Reserve No. 14 and Bishop's Barrel No. 2 Old Ale aged with brettanomyces and wild cherries in chardonnay barrels. All of them were stellar. The Bishop's Barrel was probably my favorite beer of the night, and the only one of which I got seconds.
Best offering produced under a tight deadline: Gnarly Barley was too busy opening to brew something special, but its Uncommonly Ryeghteous, a dry-hopped blend of its two flagship beers (Catahoula Common and Radical Rye PA), was terrific.
Favorite homebrew: George's Brewing Violet Brewregard Imperial Green Tea Hefeweizen and Mystic Krewe of Brew's Oatmeal, Honey, and Apple pale ale brewed by Joey Newton.
The commercial offerings were ones easily found in the market, so I focused mostly on homebrew. I did enjoy 40 Arpent's new Red Beans and Rice Ale, though.
Favorite homebrew: I loved George's Brewing Raspberry Pecan Hefeweizen and the Sour Peach Farmhouse brewed by Blake Winchell with Brasseurs a la Maison, but my favorite was the Coconut Porter brewed by Mili Doskey.
Best beer I thought I would hate: Deepwater Horizon brewed with brackish saltwater, a dark gose style. Crescent City Homebrewers member Brian Smith told me he was hoping to surprise festivalgoers. Pretty tasty gose, if you were prepared for the saltiness typical of the style.
Most puzzling new rule being enforced: Brewers and distributors were unable to pour their own beers; they had to rely on volunteers.