Following Hurricane Katrina, Kirk Coco contemplated how to give back to the city he loved most. He realized that the city lacked breweries, which used to be numerous in New Orleans, and he wanted to bring at least a part of that back.
NOLA Brewing Company, standing for New Orleans Lagers and Ales, took shape in 2008 with the help of Peter Caddo, who formerly worked as a brewmaster at Dixie Beer. Knowing the long history of New Orleans as one of the brewing capitals of the South only further fueled the fire to bring craft beer back to the Crescent City.
NOLA began with its flagship Blonde Ale as well as their refreshing Brown Ale, a beer light enough in body to drink in the Louisiana heat but still dark in color with plenty of malt presence. NOLA Blonde Ale was the very first ale created by the NOLA Brewing team. Originally released in March 2009 this is the most popular and widely distributed beer. NOLA Blonde is a medium-bodied traditional American blonde ale, golden in color with floral and citrus hop aromas. Available on draft and in cans!
NOLA Brown Ale was one of our first two flagship ales. This brewery favorite is a light-bodied, full flavored English dark mild ale with notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel, and nuts. High malt flavor and low hops, this is a great session beer with a 4.0%ABV and smooth finish.
Before long the company added several more beers to their mix.
Hopitoulas is an IPA named after the famous New Orleans Street on which the brewery lives: Tchopitoulas.
Hopitoulas was the third addition to our year-round beer portfolio. This 6.5%ABV ale is a West Coast style India Pale Ale that combines six malts and six hops with additional dry hopping for three weeks. It takes about a month and a half to make each batch and we think it is worth the wait. Hints of pine and citrus with a powerful, yet balanced hoppy flavor, Hopitoulas packs a punch that you won’t forget. Available on draft and in 16 ounce cans.
Their summer seasonal, the Hurricane Saison, is of course named after Louisiana’s notorious hurricane season.
Hurricane Saison, NOLA’s Summer seasonal ale, gets its name from the Flemish word meaning “season”. Brewed with five different types of malts, including un-malted raw wheat, pilsner, and aromatic malts, Hurricane Saison also contains three types of hops: Sterling, Kent Goldings, and Styrian Goldings.
Hurricane Saison is only served during the Summer months. Look for it on tap between June and September wherever NOLA is sold.
Seventh Street Wheat, made with fresh lemon basil, gets its name from the Seventh Street Wharf right outside the brewery.
7th Street Wheat started out as a summer seasonal, but cue to its popularity has made its own place in our year round ales. Named in honor of the 7th Street wharf across the street from the brewery, this filtered wheat ale is light-bodied American style with pounds of fresh lemon-basil added after fermentation. The light citrus taste with a hint of spicy herb on the back goes well with almost any seafood dish, and from what we hear, is a favorite at bars as a stand alone refreshing beer.
Irish Channel Stout is an American style stout that has sweet malt flavors of caramel and chocolate, complimented by a crisp bitterness produced by roasted barley and American Hops. It was named after the neighborhood that the brewery is located in, the Irish Channel. The complex malt bill of pale and roasted malts result in this well balanced stout that is smooth, rich, dark, and delicious! And watch out – ABV 6.8%! Due to its extreme popularity, this brew has been moved from a winter seasonal to a year-round beer.
Another standout beer for NOLA is the Mechahopzilla, an Imperial IPA that Coco admittedly did not think would fly in the Bayou State. The brewery actually lost money on the first batches of the beer. NOLA brewed enough of the extremely hops-forward beer for what they thought would last six months, but three weeks later Coco and Caddo found themselves needing to brew a second batch. The Mechahopzilla had been unleashed, and Louisiana proved thirsty for more.
Smoky Mary is NOLA’s fall seasonal ale. Smoky Mary is named after the steam engine that ran on the second oldest railroad in the United States and it has been stopping people in their tracks since its release in early September 2011. We’ve stepped out of the boxcar and created our own take on a German Rauchbier (Smoke beer). Instead of using Beechwood, we have selected the indigenous pecan wood and smoked a munich malt in our homemade malt smoker.
Smoky Mary has a subtle smoked flavor that pairs well with barbeque and just about anything straight off the grill. She clocks in at 5.3% alcohol by volume, which makes it a nice sessionable smoked beer.
NOLA Brewing takes great responsibility in upholding the brewing traditions of New Orleans, as well as matching the culinary talents of the city.
Tourists flock to New Orleans from around the world to eat. Mardi Gras, festivals, and sporting events are only excuses to travel to the greatest culinary destination on the planet, so brewing beer to match the cuisine is not a challenge taken lightly. NOLA crafts each brew with the purpose of matching audacious flavor with consistency and greatness.
Currently, the brewing company is hoping to start bottling beers to allow for a greater distribution and an expanded market. NOLA can be found in cans and kegs throughout Louisiana, in Alabama from Montgomery to Mobile, and throughout the Florida panhandle.
Tours are available at the brewery Fridays from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. for $5.
A gift shop is located at the brewery, and merchandise can be purchased at nolabrewing.com (SEE link below).
Please Note: This is Part 19 of an on-going series on Louisiana Cuisine/Travel Ideas
NOLA Brewing Company
Address: 3001 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 896-9996
I recommend….bread, meat, vegetables, and beer.
—Sophocles (on a moderate diet)