A New Orleans craft brewery found itself in the limelight this past weekend when Brad Pitt tossed one of its beers from his French Quarter balcony to Matthew McConaughey, who was hanging out on a balcony across the street.
This long distance beer sharing bro-ment was captured in pictures and on video by the gaggle of paparazzi and starwatchers who were milling below, and the name of the beer – NOLA Brewing’s Hopitoulas IPA – was mentioned on pop culture sites and blogs across the Internet. It’s the kind of publicity that money can’t buy, especially for an independent craft brewery.
NOLA Brewing’s CEO Kirk Coco says they are feeling the buzz, especially via social media.
“Everyone on Facebook and Twitter has been excited that the idea of grabbing a craft beer instead of traditional American lager has finally trickled up to the Hollywood A-listers,” Coco told TODAY.com. “It says something about how craft beer is starting to become the norm. I think it will become more and more commonplace to see celebrities drinking craft beers.”
There are attributes to Hopitoulas IPA that make it the perfect beer for tossing to a buddy on a hot afternoon; it’s hoppy and refreshing, at 6.5 percent ABV it’s not too boozy, and it comes in tallboy cans, which can withstand a little roughhousing without shattering like a bottle might.
“Cans are a very integral part to the party scene in New Orleans,” said Coco. “Bottles aren’t allowed out of bars or on the street at Mardi Gras, but cans are.” He also noted that cans are also great for enjoying good beer at Louisiana’s beaches and rivers, where bottles aren’t allowed.
But what if you live in an area where Hopitoulas IPA isn’t distributed? How are you going to have a bro-ment of your own this Memorial Day weekend? Never fear; here are some great IPAs that come in tallboy cans that are perfect for sharing with friends over the grill, on the patio or at the pool (or even across the street).
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA (7.2 percent ABV) is crafted using a “Hop Torpedo” which allows its brewers to add heaps of hop aroma and character to the beer without making overly bitter. The result is a delicious IPA that’s brimming with a mixture of citrus and pine hop notes that are nicely contrasted against its sweet caramel malts.
Oskar Blues Deviant Dales (8 percent ABV) is as perfectly balanced as its little brother Dale’s Pale Ale, but everything is turned up to 11. Along with an extra bit of booziness, you get a heartier malt backbone that supports a huge gush of hops, both citrus and pine. While artfully crafted, this beer has an edge to it and will grab your attention with every sip.
Surly Furious(6.2 percent ABV) offers a wonderful mix of grapefruit and pine hoppiness, but what really sets it apart is its malt profile. Unlike more traditional IPAs, Furious treats your taste buds to a big note of toffee, which imbues the brew with a delicious flair all its own. The only downside is you have to be in Minnesota or Chicagoland to get your hands on a can (unless you choose your airlines wisely).
Cigar City Jai Alia IPA (7.5 percent ABV) doesn’t came in tallboy cans, but just because its aluminum vessel holds four ounces less doesn’t mean this world-class IPA shouldn’t be in your plans. Tastes of mango, pineapple and citrus dominate its floral hop profile, with its sweet malt base acting as the biscuit upon which this tasty tropical jam is spread. Jai Alai tastes like someone crammed the tropics into a can, making it a perfect companion for a long weekend of warm weather merriment.
Perhaps the king of all the tallboy IPAs (or Double IPAs in this case) is The Alchemist’s Heady Topper(8 percent ABV), which currently sits atop the BeerAdvocate rankings as the best beer in the world. “Heady” is the right name for this ambrosia of sweet citrus and candied malts that manages to be pungently hopped, light and floral, and not overwhelmingly bitter all at the same time. Of course its limited availability – you can only score this beer near its Vermont brewery, and even then it’s hit-or-miss – makes this a beer that you carefully (perhaps even begrudgingly) hand to a friend, not one you toss from a balcony.