It’s festival season, and there’s one festival in the state that is committed to supporting all local craft breweries: Lafayette’s annual Festival International de Louisiane, held this year April 23-27 in that city's downtown. It’s a free world music festival which also showcases the best of local food and drink. This includes the “Lus LA Craft Biergarten,” which will offer 20 beers from six Louisiana breweries - Abita, Bayou Teche, Covington, NOLA Brewing, Parish and Tin Roof.
Bayou Teche co-founder Karlos Knott says the Louisiana craft beer tent at the Festival, now in its third year, has been growing steadily. This year Knott plans to debut a special beer that commemorates the international focus of the event - Bayoust, a collaboration with a French brewer, La Bambelle. The name pays tribute to the bodies of water that border each brewery, the Bayou Teche in Louisiana and the river Oust in France.
Using Skype, the two breweries worked together on everything from the recipe to the bottle label art and graphics, and last fall Bayou Teche’s Louis Michot travelled to France to assist with brewing the first batch. Michot says he was struck by how the collaboration highlighted the cultural parallels between the two breweries, the way they work, and their connection to their respective communities. “It's just so typically French and (yet in) another way close to us, because we use so many local things, things that grow wild on our land, very local-centered,” he says. “There are just so many parallels.”
The beer is brewed using grain crops from each area: buckwheat (France) and corn (Louisiana). The beer was released in October in France at La Bambelle’s local festival, and Bayoust will make its American debut at Festival International.