One of the most trending topics in food and drink is the rise of local craft breweries. While Louisiana is known for its food and festivals, the state isn’t short on great craft beers, either. Say goodbye to buying a sixer of the brand name at the convenient store, and say hello to names you need to know in Louisiana beer.
6809 N. Peters St., Arabi
When asked what’s different about his beer, owner Michael Naquin says it’s him: “I’m one of the few owners that brews the beer.” His best seller is the New Basin Stout, a South Louisiana take on an Irish stout. Later this year, he’ll release Duckweed IPA. Naquin says a lack of job opportunities forced him to go into business for himself. Now, he’s in the beginning of an expansion and adding a tap room.
You should try: Red Bean and Rice ale, an Irish red ale with — you guessed it — a red bean flavor.
166 Barbee Road, Covington
Founded in 1986, Abita moved to a larger facility in 1994. Currently the state’s oldest running brewery, the tap room typically has all Abita flagships beers available, a current seasonal brew and one from the Select Series. From time to time, the tap room also offers experimental beers. The brewery has guided tours most hours. Starting in October, free self-guided tours will be available. These tours will include access to the mezzanine level that overlooks the brew house tanks.
You should try: Andygator, a Helles Doppelbock high-gravity brew.
Bayou Teche Brewing
1106 Bushville Highway, Arnaudville
Opened in 2009, the Knott brothers converted a discarded railroad car into a brewery with the intent of crafting beers to compliment South Louisiana cuisine. Co-owner Stephanie Knott says their best seller is LA 31 Biere Pale, but the Ragin’ Cajun ale is quickly catching up. Beer aficionado and world traveler, Doug Krzystowczyk says his favorite micro-brewed beer is their LA 31 Biere Noire. “I first had it at on tap at the New Orleans airport, waiting for a flight,” Krzystowczyk says. “[It was a] tough choice between having my third pint and catching the flight.”
You should try: Loup Garou, a barrel-aged Belgian stout.
Broken Wheel Brewery
109 Tunica Dr. East, Marksville
Central Louisiana’s supposed only brewery, Broken Wheel comes from the mind of Jonathan Knoll and Chris Pahl. The partners transitioned from restaurant to brewpub to creating beers, after realizing patrons had a thirst for craft beer. So far, the duo has created a Pachafa Pale Ale and Spring Bayou Blonde. The brewery regularly has three beers and a seasonal rotating beer.
You should try: Pachafa Pale Ale, named for a local boogeyman-type character that haunts Avoyelles Parish forests
206 Rayburn Street, Lafayette
Zeke Bossley has three titles at this new Lafayette brewery — owner, president and head dishwasher. After years of hard work, renovating a space off Bertrand Drive near Cajun Field, Bossley and a few of his friends began started filling its first kegs in mid September.
You should try: Kegs of Cajun Brewing’s first beer, Cajun Wit (a light, citrus-session beer), will be released in late October or early November
21449-2 Marino Lane, Mandeville
Co-owner Jamie Erickson says they’re so small they call themselves a “nanobrewery.” She and her husband, Josh, produced 8-16 kegs of draft their first two years. For the first year, the beers were only available on tap on the Northshore. “We started bottling last year with our cream ale Kingfish, which is our best seller,” says Erickson. She adds that their newest beer, Bayou Blaze, will soon be bottled. The Ericksons have four boys, and it’s not unusual for them to not hold tours on Friday night if their eldest is playing in the marching band. “We have to support him and his goals,” she adds. They are hoping to expand soon and build a tap room.
You should try: Kingfish, a cream ale with minimal hops, named after Huey P. Long.
226 E. Lockwood St., Covington
Brian Broussard, co-owner of the brewhouse and bass player for the band Cowboy Mouth, says he doesn’t have days off, doesn’t sleep and has to have clones of himself to get everything done. He says the brewery has been around for a decade. His best selling beer is the strawberry ale. Covington Brewhouse’s original beer, Kölsch, is a wheat ale that was enjoyed by Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula) and crew on the TV show “NCIS: New Orleans.”
You should try: Strawberry Ale, a classic cream ale with a hint of strawberry flavor and aroma.
Flying Heart Brewing
700 Barksdale Blvd., Bossier City
Carved out of an historic fire station, Flying Heart Brewing is a relatively new brewery, operated by three couples — Ben and Leah Hart, Ben and Elizabeth Pattillo, and Jason Lebleu and Jennifer Maxwell. Already, the brewery has six beers, ranging from a lighter Louisiana Amber to a complex Black Heart Ale.
You should try: Firehouse Blonde, the brewery’s take on a Kölsch-style ale
Gnarly Barley Brewing Company
1709 Corbin Road, Hammond
Zac and Cari Caramonta have two babies: their commercial brewery that turned one earlier this year and their daughter, Stevie Rose, who just turned one a few weeks ago. Cari says they got their LLC license in 2011 and started bringing beer to festivals. In May 2014, Gnarly Barley became a commercial brewery. “It’s been awesome, and Hammond has been so supportive,” Cari says. “People here are really excited about having a local brewery.” Catahoula Common, a cross between an ale and a lager, is their best seller.
You should try: Korova Milk Porter, a Baltic oatmeal milk porter with a smooth, sweet finish.
Great Raft Brewing
1251 Dalzell St., Shreveport
Great Raft Brewing sold its first beer on Oct. 15, 2013, becoming the first local brewery to sell beer in Shreveport since Prohibition. “We opened our tasting room to the public that December and are looking forward to our two-year anniversary in just a few weeks,” says co-founder Lindsay Nations. Here in Baton Rogue, the Commotion American Pale Ale is the fave, but Southern Drawl and Reasonably Corrupt are close behind. She added that her personal favorite is their spring seasonal, All My Tomorrows, “a hoppy saison that is earthy and fruity with intense aromatic of juicy citrus.”
You should try: Southern Drawl, a German-style pale lager.
1878 Highway 3185, Thibodaux
Opening December of last year, Mudbug Brewery is a new player in Louisiana craft brew game. According to Bayou Beer Fest organizer Joel Ohmer, Mudbug was the sponsor of last year’s festival in Houma, but couldn’t serve beer because of licensing red tape. That’s not the case this year: Mudbug will be serving, among other beers, their Café au Lait stout aged in bourbon barrels. Their beers are available in draft only, but there are plans for packaging later this year.
You should try: King Cake Ale, a spiced golden ale, recommended with cinnamon sugar on the rim of the glass.
3001 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans
NOLA had their first beer out in March 2009. Earlier this year, they opened a large tap room serving food from McClure’s barbecue. COO Dylan Lintern says his favorite beer is Piety, a sour ale that is aged in red wine barrels with cherries. “We’re the only brewery in Louisiana that’s started a full-on sour beer, which is becoming more popular throughout the country,” Lintern says.
You should try: Irish Channel Stout, a smooth dark beer with a strong espresso front and chocolate finish.
229 Jared Drive, Broussard
Andrew Godley sold his first beer in 2010. He says they’ll never compete with the Budweisers and Coors, but that those big companies can’t make really intense high-end craft beer like he can. “I use revolutionary techniques that would make old-school German brewers’ faces melt,” he says. Parish’s Ghost in the Machine, an obscenely hoppy double IPA that is the highest rated beer in the South on beeradvocate.com, has developed somewhat of a cult following. According to Jeff Nicklas of Lafayette, “it’s one of the top five most difficult beers to get in the U.S.”
You should try: Canebrake, a crisp wheat brew with notes of honey, spice and citrus.
Red River Brewing
1010 Marshal St., Shreveport
This North Louisiana craft brewery’s slogan is “Making our local water palatable since 2008.” Their beer isn’t available in South Louisiana, but Carrie Beazley, manager and bartender at the What’s on Tap? sports bar in Shreveport, says they have Red River Sessions on tap now, and it’s pretty popular. Red River’s summer beer, Hay Ryde, is her favorite. The brewery is currently moving into a larger space.
You should try: River Monster, a cross between an Imperial Red IPA and a barley wine.
Tin Roof Brewing
1624 Wyoming St., Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge’s only brewery was started in 2010 by two childhood friends, Charles Caldwell and William McGehee. Currently, Tin Roof’s best sellers are Blonde Ale and Turnrow Harvest Ale. The brewery recently released Gameday IPA, a fall beer they say is perfect for hours of tailgating. Marc Whitfield, a seasoned beer taster says, “My go-to Tin Roof beer is the Blonde. I tend to prefer pale ales which generally have a lighter color and taste.”
You should try: Parade Ground Coffee Porter, brewed with a special blend of New Orleans Coffee Co. mocha and French roast coffee.