Observing the second annual Louisiana Craft Brewers Week (LaCBW) brings to mind how much Louisiana craft brewing has developed in the past year. Even though Louisiana only has 11 breweries, which ranks it 43rd in the country in number of breweries and 50th per capita, there is much positive growth to celebrate.
During last year's Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, there were seven breweries in the state: Abita Brewing Co., Bayou Teche Brewing, Chafunkta Brewing Co., Covington Brewhouse, NOLA Brewing, Parish Brewing Co. and Tin Roof Brewing Co. This year, four more have joined the fold: Great Raft Brewing Co. and Red River Brewing Co., both in Shreveport, 40 Arpent Brewing Co. in Arabi, and Gnarly Barley Brewing in Hammond.
Another measure of growth over the past year is the number of national craft brands that have come to the Louisiana market, such as The Bruery, Founders Brewing, and Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Current breweries have expanded their product lines over the past year. NOLA Brewing came out with Rebirth Pale Ale; Chafunkta released and started bottling Kingfish cream ale; Covington Brewhouse developed Anonymous IPA; Bayou Teche released Loup Garou imperial stout and Coteau Rodaire, a beer aged in French wine barrels; and Tin Roof released the new seasonal brew Turnrow, a wheat ale brewed with coriander. Parish Brewing released its highly acclaimed double IPA Ghost in the Machine, and Abita released several new beers, including the Bourbon Street barrel-aged series and Seersucker Summer Pils.
By this time in 2015, who knows how much will have changed. Several breweries are expected to open in the next year, including Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux and Courtyard Brewery in New Orleans. Others in planning stages are Cajun Fire, Second Line Brewing, Wayward Owl Brewing Co. and Urban South Brewing, all in New Orleans. Current breweries continue to innovate with sour and barrel programs.