These are heady times for beer lovers in Louisiana, and this week in particular is a chance to catch up on the growing number of local brewers and the greatly expanded variety of beers they’re now producing.
We are in the midst of Louisiana Craft Beer Week, a series of tasting events held at restaurants and bars across town where you can sample flagship brews and specialty one-off batches created especially for this week. There’s a lot going on, and we raise a pint to local beer writer Nora McGunnigle for assembling a comprehensive itinerary on Louisiana Craft Beer Week for the Gambit (find it at bestofneworleans.com).
Naturally, many highlights to the week revolve around the Avenue Pub (1732 St. Charles Ave., 504-586-9243). The local beer bastion has devoted more than 30 of its taps to Louisiana brews this week and it hosts special nights for Parish Brewing on Wednesday, NOLA Brewing on Thursday, Abita on Friday, Arabi’s new 40 Arpent Brewing on Saturday and Bayou Teche Brewing on Sunday, when the brewers will bring along Cajun meats and jambalaya as well. See the full schedule at theavenuepub.com.
Just down the street, the Irish House (1432 St. Charles Ave., 504-595-6755) has teamed with Louisiana food personality Jay Ducote, of the Bites & Booze brand, to host nine local breweries for a free-form tasting. Dubbed the Louisiana Brewers Bash, it’s on Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include samples of 18 local beers and Irish pub grub. For details, see biteandbooze.com.
From the Irish House we move to the Irish Channel on Friday, when from 4-6 p.m. NOLA Brewery (3001 Tchoupitoulas St.) hosts “Pour Decisions,” a tasting in its tap room with 18 beers created just for the evening, including such exotics as “Crab Boil Blonde” and a stout aged in rum barrels.
The food truck Food Drunk will be on hand for the pay-as-you-go event.
The week’s biggest beer event is on Saturday, when New Orleans On Tap convenes in the City Park Festival Grounds from 1-8 p.m. Though not part of Craft Brewers Week, this annual fundraiser for the Louisiana SCPA is a major draw for beer lovers, offering more than 200 varieties. Many are from Louisiana breweries and some are from home brewers. Admission is free, and sample-sized pours are sold individually. Appropriately enough, given the beneficiary, dogs are welcome. For more details, see neworleansontap.org.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.