Four Louisiana college sports programs now have licensed beers from small local breweries, including two debuting this season. I call call them booster beers.
Each is different, though all are aiming to be that “easy drinking” quencher to sip around the grill, at the tailgate or through four quarters of football on the sofa. Of course that means different things from different breweries and with different styles of beer.
Here's how they shake out:
Green Wave Beer from NOLA Brewing Co.
School affiliation: Tulane University
Beer type and strength: krystallweizen, 5.4 percent
Special notes: can and keg distribution slated to begin this week, including at Tulane's Yulman Stadium
Scouting report: based on the more familiar hefeweizen, this German style wheat ale has a burnished copper color and hints of spice. Refreshing, it's still a substantial beer with the character we expect from NOLA Brewing's small-run specialty tap room brews. It's also a solid notch stronger than the others on this list. Keep that mind lest you get caught in the "Angry Wave's" undertow.
Lion Up from Gnarly Barley Brewing Co.
School affiliation: Southeastern Louisiana University
Beer type and strength: American wheat ale, 4.5 percent
Special notes: available primarily around the north shore, and at SLU’s Strawberry Stadium during football games
Scouting report: it has a soft, hazy yellow hue like a lion's mane and a texture that that's as smooth on the palate as it looks. There's a floral aroma and a bit more hops flavor than most wheat ales. Hard to find outside Lions country, but a memorable beer for fans who can track it down.
Bayou Bengal from Tin Roof Brewing
School affiliation: LSU
Beer type and strength: lager, 4.5 percent
Special notes: available year-round in Baton Rouge, production and distribution expands during football season
Scouting report: while Tin Roof's beers have grown more charismatic lately, Bayou Bengal remains a utility player on its roster. Smooth and fizzy, it tastes fresher and cleaner than the big domestic brands and makes a good crossover craft brew. It would pair well with a carton of Cane's and your LSU visor.
Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale from Bayou Teche Brewing
School affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Beer type and strength: kölsch, 4.8 percent
Special notes: brewed with Louisiana-grown rice; available year round, and served at ULL's Cajun Field during football games
Scouting report: pay close attention, maybe squint while you sip if that helps, and you can pick out some sweet malty flavor and subtle citrus. Mostly though Ragin' Cajuns Ale is straightforward, dry and crisp, not just easy to drink but easy to keep drinking. See also: Bayou Teche makes a second affiliated beer for ULL, the Ragin’ Cajun Lager. Smooth and lighter tasting, it’s brewed with Louisiana honey and is available mostly around Lafayette.
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