These are heady times for beer lovers in Louisiana, with more entrepreneurs starting their own local breweries and a wide spectrum of craft beers and imports from across the globe available in stores, bars and restaurants like never before.
Next week, a pair of related beer tasting events produced by public broadcasting station WYES provide the largest annual opportunity to explore what’s new or newly available. Both events are at Mardi Gras World (1380 Port of New Orleans Place, (504) 361-7821; mardigrasworld.com) and each offers a different way to experience the offerings.
The weekend begins on June 13 with the WYES Private Beer Sampling, held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and aimed at those who want to focus on specialty craft beers. More than 90 brews will be available, including single-batch beers made for the tasting. Tickets to the Private Beer Sampling are $50 and include a keepsake tasting glass and food from Sun Ray Grill.
The following day, June 14, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., brings the 31st edition of the WYES International Beer Tasting, with more than 275 beers available. Tickets to the tasting are $40. The Chartres House restaurant provides free food, while more is available for purchase from the food trucks Foodie Call and Rue Chow and from Dat Dog and the pizzeria Mellow Mushroom.
There’s also a $15 “designated driver ticket” available (which includes food and nonalcoholic drinks), and WYES also is offering a north shore shuttle, which departs from Mandeville. For details and tickets, go to wyes.org/beer or call (504) 486-5511, ext. 200. Proceeds benefit WYES.
Taking a shine to sherry
Sherry is a deep tradition in its native Spain, though the fortified wine is less appreciated, and often misunderstood, on our shores. To help change that, a group of restaurants and wine and beverage professionals around the area who share an interest in sherry are hosting a weeklong series of events to show its potential.
“Like anything you share a passion for, you want to bring it to light and introduce it to more people, so that’s what we’re trying to do for sherry,” said John Mitchell, sommelier at the Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel. “Some sherries are great with food, others you just want to sip like a cognac; there’s a lot out there.”
Sherry Fest New Orleans is already underway and continues through the week. On Thursday, Cane & Table (1113 Decatur St., (504) 581-1112; caneandtablenola.com) hosts a sherry pig roast beginning at 6 p.m. for $17. On Friday, the Mid-City wine shop Pearl Wine Co. (3700 Orleans Ave., (504) 483-6314; pearlwineco.com) hosts a free sherry tasting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a more in-depth seminar from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. And on Saturday, the French Quarter restaurant Doris Metropolitan (620 Chartres St., (504) 267-3500; dorismetropolitan.com) will serve a five-course seafood and steak lunch with sherry pairings, beginning at 12:30 p.m., for $75.
At any of these events, ask about the Sherry Fest Membership Card, which for $20 entitles delivers discounts at the above happenings and other discounts or free pours of sherry at more than 20 participating restaurants, bars and stores around town. The discounts, Mitchell said, “are good for life.”