From the Super Bowl to the Micro-Bowl
New Orleans, a city known for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Hand Grenades, open containers of Anheuser Busch products, a vibrant cultures and the Saints! Fine, craft-brewing is something New Orleans and even the state of Louisiana has lacked for, well, ever. Our friends over at Seattle Beer News posted an article in light of the Super Bowl. The article pinned the Louisiana beer scene against the Indiana beer scene. Due to the amazing beers produced in Indiana (Three Floyds) and the writer’s familiarity with that region of the country, the article was heavily focused on Indiana beers. Since we have a connection to New Orleans, we decided to take a turn and present to you, the beer history, past and present of Louisiana. SBN, thanks for the inspiration!
Dixie Brewing Company began production in 1907 in New Orleans and brewed a lager, a light lager, an amber ale and schwarzbier. Unfortunately, in 2005, among the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of the city, the brewery endured too much damage and was subject to looting. With all of the equipment gone and damage to the building, Dixie stopped production and has yet to re-open. We hope to see the return of this century old brewery.
In 1986, Abita Brewing Company, located in Abita Springs about 30 miles North of New Orleans opened their outfit. In its first year, the brewery produced 1,500 barrels of beer. Currently (t0 provide some perspective) Abita brews over 90,000 barrels of beer and 5,000 barrels of root beer.
Their line up includes, Purple Haze: a berry wheat beer; TurboDog: an English brown ale; Andygator: a dopplebock; Jockamo: an IPA; Restoration: a pale ale; Abita Light; Abita Golden; and Abita Amber; along with 5 seasonal brews. Abita is distributed throughout the country and is even available in Seattle. We have seen it at Pike Place Beer and Wine and Full Throttle Bottle Shop.
So that was it, two micro-brews in the entire state of Louisiana. Seriously. With a city like New Orleans, a city who thrives on celebrating with libations, HOW? HOW is that possible?
In 2009, two micro-breweries surfaced on the New Orleans beer scene, NOLA Brewing and Parish Brewing. NOLA Brewing, located on Tchoupitoulas Street (you know your from New Orleans if you know how to pronounce that) along the Mississippi River, has infiltrated several bars in New Orleans. During our latest visit in November 2009, we stopped by the brewery, a large warehouse with a shiny, bright brewing system. Dylan, one of the brewers gave us a tour, a beer and a taste of an unreleased stout. Thanks Dylan!
NOLA Brewing has done an amazing job of distributing their beer throughout the city, although their beers are currently only available on draft, several, if not all of the note worthy bars have more than one beer on tap. NOLA Hopitoulas IPA, NOLA Blonde and NOLA Brown are the current beers produced and distributed. However, In addition to their three year-round ales, NOLA Brewing will begin a seasonal rotation starting this March. Starting with a French Saison, called Hurricane Saison, along with a Lemon Basil Wheat in Summer 2010 and Irish Channel Stout in Fall of 2010.
The newest of all micro-breweries in Louisiana is Parish Brewing Company, located 140 miles North-West of New Orleans. Still in the first stages of establishing their business, this brewery is in the process of acquiring all of the necessary permits and submitting all the paperwork needed to be a fully functional brewery and tasting venue.
However, you can look forward to the following beers which are available all year round: Canebrake- a wheat beer brewed with Louisiana sugarcane; Biere Blanc- A beer geek’s light beer, as described on the website. Ingredients of a European pilsner, lagered like one too, but fermented with an ale yeast; Biere Amber- a silky smooth Amber ale; Envie APA- an American pale ale; and L’autre Femme- an IPA. Their seasonal beers include: Primo Pilsner (Summer); Pumpkin Patch (Fall); and Grand Reserve (Winter).
Before we wrap this up, for those beer lovers visiting New Orleans, here is a list of beer bars to visit: Bulldog; Cooter Browns; Turtle Bay and Avenue Pub. We have to give Avenue Pub love, as they have an amazing selection of beers ranging from local favorites to Brooklyn Brewery and Stone Brewing Co. with a menu that consists of bar food with a creative twist.
The Louisiana beer scene is growing. So, fellow beer lovers, do not fear, there is more to drink that your average stomach turner, neon green, sugar infused beverage.