Some ideas form gradually, over time, like pearls. Layer after layer, they take shape until, one day, their value becomes apparent.
Other ideas come in a flash of inspiration. Boudin Ball Beer was one these epiphanies. What if, in the dry hopping phase of our American Pale Ale, we added not just Bavarian hops but Boudin Balls? The earthiness and minerality of the pork sausage could provide a nice counterpoint to the light maltiness of the ale.
Would it work? Was the idea too crazy?
(We’ve certainly had our share of crazy ideas, including but not limited to moving to Saigon, Vietnam, to found the country’s first craft brewery.)
For those of you not already addicted, Boudin Balls are a variation of “boudin blanc,” a white pork sausage. Rather than stuff the sausage in casings, Cajun chefs in Southeast Louisiana combine it with rice and roll the “dressing” into balls. Then, they batter the balls and deep-fry them. Paired with our own Beer Mustard dipping sauce, these Boudin balls make like Houdini and disappear. They have been a favorite at Elkmont Exchange from Day 1.
But back to the beer. We do love beer.
When Brewmaster Alex Violette first proposed Boudin Ball Beer to the other two founders, Bethany and Ryan, they were… um… skeptical.
Pork-and-jasmine-rice-sausage beer? Yeah, right. Sounds like a disaster in a glass.
But talk with Alex for five minutes, and you’ll realize that criticism bounces right off him. Kind of like Boudin Balls. He didn’t bring up BBB again but quietly tried his experiment anyway.
One Tuesday in February, at a team meeting, he pushed two pint glasses across the table to Bethany and Ryan. “Here’s something fun,” he said. “I’ll tell you what it is after you try it.”
Bethany and Ryan both sipped the new brew while the conversation jumped around. They were both three-quarters finished before Alex broke the news.
The rest is history. A complex Pale Ale with surprising notes of ground pork and frying oil and a rich, broth-like mouthfeel, Boudin Ball Beer now joins the ranks of our staples like Elkmont Table Beer and Baltic Porter. We have high hopes for this unusual ale at the World Beer Cup awards ceremony on May 3, 2018.
Swing by during Happy Hour between 5 and 7pm, Monday through Friday, to get $1 off pints.
Boudin Ball Beer… Why not? Welcome adventure.