Craft breweries are popping up across Louisiana, and many offer tours and tastings.
Louisiana is a state known for rich culinary traditions and good times with festivals and parties that celebrate food, music, or both.
It was only a matter of time before Louisiana’s craft breweries heeded the call to make flavorful beers that complement the state’s food culture.
Abita Brewing Company paved the way for the current craft beer renaissance in the Pelican State. After opening for business in 1986, Abita is now the 14th-largest craft brewer in the U.S. Many Louisianians’ first taste of craft beer came from Abita.
Abita beer is a staple in many Louisiana recipes and has become a favorite of chefs and eaters alike.
Abita Amber, Turbodog, and Purple Haze make up three of the company’s flagship brands.
Tours of the brewery are available and begin in the tasting room, where samples of almost every beer Abita offers are available to enjoy.
Now, amidst the American craft beer boom, malt and hops are flourishing along the bayous of Louisiana. Seven craft breweries are open for business, each unique in their efforts, their people and their beers, yet similar in their quests to create flavorful beers that pay tribute to Louisiana’s culinary traditions.
In the heart of Acadiana, Parish Brewing Company and Bayou Teche Brewing represent the soul of Cajun heritage.
Parish Brewing Company concocts a beer made with Louisiana’s own Steen’s sugarcane syrup. Located in Broussard, right outside of Lafayette, the nanobrewery prides itself on creating “uncompromised, independent, craft biére” that includes Canebrake (Wheat Ale), Parish Envie (American Pale Ale), Grand Reserve (Barleywine Ale), and Farmhouse IPA (Belgium Style Ale).
Not far away on Highway 31 in the small town of Arnaudville, Bayou Teche Brewing was founded on a simple dream—to craft beers that compliment the unique cuisine and lifestyle of Acadiana. In a converted old rail car near the banks of the Bayou Teche, innovative ales are being crafted true to the brewers’ original intent—LA-31 Bière Pâle, LA-31 Boucanèe, LA-31 Bière Noire, and Passionné.
In Baton Rouge, Tin Roof Brewing Company plays a melody of hops that awaken the spirit of Louisiana’s capital city. For $5 you can tour the brewery Friday (doors open at 5:00 p.m.), receive a special edition souvenir glass, and three samples of their handcrafted ale.
There are three beers available year-round: Tin Roof Blonde Ale, Perfect Tin Amber Ale, and Voodoo Bengal Pale Ale. Tin Roof’s first summer seasonal beer, the Not Too Sweet Watermelon Wheat is brewed with fresh local watermelon to sweeten the brew pot.
To the east, a hotbed of brewing activity can be found on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore. Louisiana communities thrive as the towns of Covington, Mandeville, and Abita Springs house Covington Brewhouse, upstart Chafunkta Brewing Company, and Abita Brewing Company.
Located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Covington Brewhouse makes German-style beers with names like pilsner and bock. The brewery itself was founded as Heiner Brau by Henryk Orlik, a German immigrant and brewmaster. Now using the Covington moniker, the brews are still inspired by authentic German influences, and the Heiner Brau heritage remains.
Chafunkta Brewing Company started with two flagship beers, Voo Ka Ray IPA and Old 504 Coffee Porter.
Voo Ka Ray IPA uses a late-hopping brewing technique to draw out the flavors and aroma of the hops without excessive amounts of bitterness. It pairs well with the spicy food that can be found in Louisiana.
Old 504 is a robust coffee-infused vanilla porter that packs plenty of flavor with a dark body while remaining easy to drink. The porter complements many rich dishes but perhaps best accentuates local favorite desserts like bread pudding and bananas Foster.
And in the Big Easy, NOLA (New Orleans Lager and Ale) Brewing Company captures the essence of jazz, the heart of Mardi Gras, and the flavor of Louisiana life with names like Hopitoulas IPA, 7th Street Wheat, Hurricane Saison (Summer Seasonal Ale), and Smoky Mary (Fall Seasonal Ale).
Tours are available at the brewery Fridays from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. for $5.
When you come to Louisiana make sure you are hungry.
And now with the Louisiana Craft Beer Trail, come thirsty too!
Please Note: This is Part 13 of an on-going series on Louisiana Cuisine/Travel Ideas
He was a wise man who invented beer.