Highland Black Mocha Stout

I am doing a special, celebratory tasting in honor of sticking with a diet long enough to lose 15 lbs. Hooray me! Hooray cupcakes and beer!

To highlight the diversity of beer flavors I decided to do a dessert tasting. I have paired Highland Brewing Co.‘s Mocha Stout with Sophie P. Cakes‘ Mint Chocolate Chip cupcake.

Sophie P. Cakes is a Lafayette cupcakery, and in my opinion, one of the best I have ever been to. The cakes are always fresh, and the flavors are unique without being nauseatingly saccharine. Mint and chocolate has to be one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time, so I was over-the-moon excited when they had this little guy the day I went to get my victory cupcake. The cake was very minty and bright green with dots of small chocolate chunks. The icing was a great compliment and the whole thing sang of wonder and joy.

Highland is the largest micro brewery out of Asheville, NC, America’s home-town of beer. During my recent visit I was able to take a walking tour of the brewery and taste a large portion of their beer labels. The Black Mocha Stout was one of my favorites. It is hearty and sweet in all the ways a classic stout ought to be.

Aroma: Hoppy with sweet caramel notes and a lot of oats. Very distinct coffee aroma- this by far is the strongest sent.

Flavor: Hops in the flavor add to the bitterness quality found in coffee, a lot of coffee flavor with some of the complex characteristics of caramel. Some chocolate, but mostly coffee.

Body/Mouthfeel: creamy and smooth with thick foam

Color: Dark brown, opaque in the glass

The rich coffee flavor and sweetness paired very well with the chocolate and aromatic mint of the cupcake. The heavier body of the stout also paired well with the cake texture. A very good combination. This stout makes a great dessert beer and I would love to try it in a beer float. Also, more cupcakes.

Photos courtesy of Mr. Andre LaFleur



Home Brew- a Lesson in Carbonation

Yay Beer Friday!

This will be another example of how much I do not know about home brewing. But it is cute because I’m trying. Right? I also really like the labels I made- printed design from Labeley onto sticker paper and stuck them to the bottle. Need to revamp this because the colors will run with condensation, but I like the design!

This is the adventure of opening your first bottle of homebrew. My imagination had led me to believe that my Christmas gift kit of Everyday IPA would be harmonious and wonderous. Cracking into the bottle no sooner than 14 days post bottling, I was heartbroken to find that I had created hoppy, brown water. Flat as could be. After reading my trusty brew book I figured it was due to some kind of carbonation. A month goes by and I decide to use the beer in a beer batter- it tasted good, it just had absolutely no carbonation. Then low and behold! FOAM! It had finished carbonating and I had a set of lovely foamy beers. Although, some were quite a bit foamier than others- extra foam is better than none at all.

Lesson: have patience with beer.

Also, sanitize.


Beer Fridays

So Fridays here at P-Cubed are for beer- that divinely-inspired sweet nectar of grains, hops, yeast, and love.

Here is where I must admit that I am a beer geek. That geeky kind of geek that isn’t “Big Bang Theory” chic, but just plain ‘ole lame. As in- go sit in a bar by myself with my geeky beer books and notebooks asking too many questions to the waitress who is just trying to make a ton of tips from the drunk brosephs at the other end of the bar. heh….

What can I say? There is everything to love about beer! It is the most complex beverage with such a huge variety of flavors, colors, aromas, and styles it would take a lifetime to try them all. There is a beer for every palate, for every person, and for every plate. Don’t say you don’t like beer- because I guarantee that you have just not found the right one yet. To me, beer drinking (and tasting) is like a wild adventure that can take you across continents, through time, beyond cultural barriers, and even into the very heart of humanity. Some argue that every major development of human history can be linked to developments of brewing, from the domestication of grains to the creation of refrigeration.

I am absolutely fascinated by everything beer and on these Friday features you will get a dose of history, tasting reviews, food pairings, my own homebrew experiments and hopefully some interviews with local brewmasters of Southern Louisiana. American microbreweries are exploding in popularity all over the country and it is so exciting to be able to travel around and taste the local brew offerings.