Louisiana Brewery Trail: Chafunkta Brewing Company

Husband-and-wife team Josh and Jamie Erickson have one serious thing in common: a passion for good beer.

Chafunkta keg

Chafunkta keg

The Chafunkta Brewing Company grew out of the love both have for delicious suds and a belief that creating and delivering quality beer in Louisiana is critical for the rich culture that surrounds them.

Several years went into planning the commercial brewery, and Josh made many batches of home brew to tweak the recipes. Finally, in April 2013, the first pints of Chafunkta were sold. Josh and Jamie were all smiles.

Their brewery is located in Mandeville, a vibrant city on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain that used to be a Native American settlement called Tchefuncte, or the easier-to-say Chafunkta. The brewery is run by the couple, and each beer sold is part of a very small batch. Love and attention are facets of every part of the process, providing consistency and quality to the drinker.

The camaraderie of craft brewers in Louisiana is evident when you visit the Chafunkta brewery. Josh brews on the same 55-gallon system that Andrew Godley built to start Parish Brewing Company in Broussard. Photos of the stainless steel drums wrapped in wood line the wall of the tasting room at Parish, but the real things are still in use at Chafunkta.

The Ericksons’ setup is much smaller than most craft breweries, and could be called a nanobrewery. To get a sense of the size differential, head just up the road to Abita Brewing Company, the 14th-largest craft brewer in the country.

Chafunkta Brewing vookarayChafunkta Brewing Company started with two flagship beers, Voo Ka Ray IPA and Old 504 Coffee Porter. Both beers have been a huge hit on Louisiana’s Northshore, where you can find them on tap at quite a few bars and restaurants.

Voo Ka Ray (aka Vieux Carre’) IPA uses a late-hopping brewing technique to draw out the flavors and aroma of the hops without excessive amounts of bitterness. You have to drink it to believe it!

Voo Ka Ray pairs well with the spicy food that can be found in Louisiana.

Old 504, named after the original Louisiana statewide Area Code, is a robust coffee-infused vanilla porter, brewed with real vanilla beans and New Orleans own, Orleans Coffee Exchange coffee. The porter is also unique in that it is a dark beer that is not “heavy”, making for a very flavorful but easy drinking beer.

Old 504 complement many rich dishes but perhaps best accentuates local favorite desserts like bread pudding and bananas Foster.

Right now, the best way to set up a tour of the brewery is to call ahead. While it is small, visitors will get an intimate look at the brewing process and will leave with a true understanding of how beer is made. Josh will personally show visitors around the setup and answer questions.

Chafunkta Brewing CompanyBased on the success of his first two brews, Chafunkta is sure to outgrow its current brewery soon, so see it while you can.

Please Note: This is Part 16 of an on-going series on Louisiana Cuisine/Travel Ideas

Details

Chafunkta Brewing Company

Address: 21449 Marion Lane, Suite 2, Mandeville, LA 70471

Phone: (985) 869-2349

Website: chafunktabrew.com

Worth Pondering…

Mother’s in the kitchen washing out the jugs,

Sister’s in the pantry bottling the suds,

Father’s in the cellar mixing up the hops,

Johnny’s on the front porch watching for the cops.
—Prohibition Song

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