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A visit to NOLA Brewing in Louisiana

October 19, 2011 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Travelin'

NOLA Brewing - beer tap handles

In New Orleans, you can take a cemetery tour, a swamp tour or even a voodoo tour. On Friday afternoons at 2, a large crowd gathers at 3001 Tchoupitoulas in the heart of New Orleans’ Irish Channel.  They’ve come to NOLA Brewing to learn about craft beer and drink some.

NOLABrewing - signKirk Coco, a New Orleans native, was working as a naval officer in the Northwest when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. Coco and his wife moved back home to help rebuild after the storm. He co-founded NOLA Brewing in 2008 with brewmaster Peter Cadoo after Coco discovered that New Orleans lacked great microbreweries like Portland and Seattle.

NOLA Brewing - entranceNOLA Blonde Ale was the brewery’s first ale. Originally released in March 2009, it’s NOLA’s most popular and widely distributed beer. In fact, NOLA will start canning the Blonde Ale this month as the brewery begins an  expansion.

NOLA Brewing - What's on tap The Brown Ale, a nice full-flavored English ale, was NOLA’s second flagship beer. The Hopitoulas IPA is also particularly good.

NOLA Brewing - pint glassesSo here’s the big draw about the NOLA Brewing tours… See these pint glasses? You grab one when you arrive and then fill it up with fresh NOLA beer as much as you want during the tour and then for quite awhile after. And the tours are free.

NOLABrewing - tour guideOur tour guide “Indy” has been Cellarman at NOLA since January 2010. He’s responsible for all packaging operations. NOLA distributes in Louisiana, Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

NOLA Brewing - brewing gearNOLA brews on a 20-barrel system it bought from Left Hand Brewing Company when Left Hand expanded to a 60-barrel system. Its fermentation tanks hold between 60 and 120 barrels. The brewery will make about 2,500 barrels of beer this year.

NOLA Brewing - smokehouseSmoky Mary, NOLA’s take on a German Rauchbier, has a nice subtle smokiness. The malts are smoked right here in this homemade malt smoker, with a small grill at the bottom.

NOLA Brewing - smokerHere’s a view of the smokestack at the top of the malt smoker. According to NOLA’s website, Smoky Mary was “named for the steam engine that ran on the second oldest railroad in the United States.”

NOLA Brewing - kegsNOLA Brewing’s kegs are made out of food-grade recycled plastic, which is “more green,” and the kegs weigh less, too.

Next week: Mardi Gras Dinner at Local Gastropub in Memphis

March 02, 2011 By: mike Category: Events, Memphis

Madi Gras Dinner at Local GastropubMemphis’ “Beer Guy” Steve Barzizza is hosting another beer dinner — this one on Fat Tuesday at Local Gastropub Downtown.

The Mardi Gras Dinner on March 8 will feature five courses, each paired with a beer from Louisiana’s Abita Brewery.

There will be a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Cost is $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  Call 901-473-9593 to make reservations.

Here’s the menu:

Abita S.O.S. (Save Our Shores) Pilsner, 7% ABV

BBQ Fried Oysters with creamy mascarpone grits, paired with Abita Andygator, 8% ABV

Creole Caesar salad with cornmeal grits and tasso ham with spicy Caesar dressing, paired with Abita Jockamo IPA, 6.5% ABV

Blackened 8 oz. filet with sweet potato hash, caramelized onion and crawfish demi-glaze, paired with Abita Amber, 4.5% ABV

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, paired with Abita Abbey Ale, 8% ABV