Nora McGunnigle, Craft Beer Writer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mardi Gras!



So, Mardi Gras has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of awesome, as usual. Definitely some somber notes, but that's New Orleans life, partying through the pain.

I did a fun interview with Polly Watts about how things are at the Avenue Pub during Mardi Gras. (spoiler: pretty crazy).

And in Gambit news, I ran down a bunch of beers that were new in cans this Carnival, announced the new Bayou Teche-Dat Dog beer collaboration, and checked in to see how everything was going at the Snooty Cooter.

Otherwise, things are settling down after ALL THE SHENANIGANS that Carnival brings.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

RateBeer.com's Top 100 Breweries In the World

Beers we can get here, hooray!

Last week, a new best of list came out from RateBeer.com. While of course user rated boards have their own issues, I thought this was a pretty solid list in general. Polly Watts at the Avenue Pub also pointed out that the list was based on reviews only in 2014, so it could be considered more a "what's hot" list, which might explain the few head scratching inclusions (no comment) and exclusions (Cantillon!!!!!!!!)

But all in all, pretty good list. And like a third of it is available here, which is very cool, especially considering how sparse the selection was when I moved down here in 2010.

So, I wrote my Gambit column on it, analyzing the trend a little, but I also wanted to post the list of all the stuff that New Orleans gets, either regularly or occasionally. Some of these you'll only see at the Avenue Pub and Stein's a couple times a year, but we get them.

Here's the New Orleans/Southeast LA availability of the RateBeer.com list:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pre Holiday Catching Up!

A profile of me and my story in this month's Beer Advocate

Man, I have not updated my blog with my new articles and stuff for ages. Let's fix that, shall we?

First of all, just a reminder that I've started a Tumblr page, mostly to house links of my stories, but also to reblog stuff I think is cute/funny/interesting and post photos. If you Tumbl, check it out!

Beer Advocate's artistic imaging of Hattiesburg

The opening page of my Beer Advocate story on Hattiesburg


I have two big stories out this past month. One is a profile of Hattiesburg Mississippi as a "Beer Destination" for Beer Advocate Magazine, and the other is an analysis of the impact of craft beer in five cities in the five states that surround the Gulf here: Houston, New Orleans, Hattiesburg, Birmingham, and the Tampa Bay area. This was really interesting to write and, I hope, interesting to read.




My Gambit pieces this past month or so have been pretty varied:




I wrote two pieces for Alcohol Professor on my experiences at the NBWA conference and at GABF.

Man, that's a lot of catching up. I do try to post to my blog, but it often becomes a back burner thing - if you're interested in more up to the minute updates, definitely check out my Tumblr, Twitter (@noradeirdre), and Facebook pages.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Meet the next generation of local brewers: Grant Capone of Laughing Troll



New Orleans homebrewer Grant Capone has been dreaming about opening a brewery since 2011, when he received a Mr. Beer homebrew brewing kit from his wife, Megan. “I brewed two small batches and I was hooked.” After talking to several local brewers and homebrewers, Capone has developed a business plan for a three barrel system brewery and is actively searching for investors and a location. His hope is that the relative small size of the brewhouse will minimize startup costs while still leaving room for future growth.

The name of the brewery is Laughing Troll. Capone says that the name of the brewery as well as his beers - are drawn from pop culture, gaming, and other online sources. Blue Waffle Lemon Party (which I would recommend you NOT google, because what is seen cannot be unseen) is a wheat beer with blueberries and lemon rind, and his award-winning Demaciale is a Belgian dubbel. “I want the beer to be more than something to drink. I want to create an experience and connection through the names of my beers.”

“Nothing’s more relatable than humor,” Capone says. “Everyone likes to laugh. And that’s one way I plan to put my personality into the brewery.”

The Demaciale Belgian dubbel took the third place trophy at the recent BJCP-judged homebrew competition at the annual LASPCA fundraiser, New Orleans On Tap. Although his beer was honored, his perfectionist tendencies are already working to make the beer better by increasing its strength and spice characteristics.

Capone hopes to open in New Orleans, but the city’s red tape and regulations are discouraging to potential small business owners like Capone, who says that everyone he’s spoken to has advised him not to even try to open in Orleans Parish. He hopes that the city will start making the process for opening small local breweries easier, although he’s looking at locations like Elmwood as well. But Capone will try to work with the city at least, saying, “if people like me don’t try, then nothing will ever change.”

Keep an eye on Laughing Troll as Capone continues to pursue financing and get more word of mouth and marketing out in the scene by following Laughing Troll on Facebook.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The (New Orleans) Beer Writer's Annual Calendar

Beer: The Reason For The Season!

As pumpkin beer season fades and Thanksgiving beer pairing season looms, I was just thinking about how much repetition there is in the kinds of articles beer writers are called upon to produce. In New Orleans, especially there are some sacred cows of seasonality that cannot be messed around with.

January:  What Beer Pairs Best with King Cake; Winter Beers to Drink Now That It's Actually Pretty Cold Outside

February: Best Canned Beer For Mardi Gras; Where to Find Decent Beer on the Parade Route; Romantic Beers; Best Beers Paired With Chocolate or Despair

March: Strategies to Bring Enough Craft Beer to a Crawfish Boil All Season Long Without Going Broke; St. Patrick's Day Shenanigans; Beer to Drink to Forget That Football is Gone for Six Months

April: How To Smuggle Craft Beer Into Jazz Fest Because All the Beer There is Really, Really Terrible; Places in the French Quarter to Get Non-Abita Beer for French Quarter Fest

May: Kicking of Summer Beer Season Because Seriously, It's Hot Now; What Beers Go Best With Maternal Guilt and/or Brunch

June-August: Whatever Dudes, It's Really Freaking Hot Outside, Just Stay Hydrated, OK Buddy? All The Beer Dinners All Year Are Crammed Into The Summer Months Because Local Restaurant Business Is So Slow And They Figure It Can't Hurt To Try

September: Let's Bitch About Pumpkin Beers Because It's Still Really Hot and We're Kind Of Cranky About It; Where to Go For Craft Beer Now That Your Local Has Been Overrun With Returning College Kids; Something Something College Football; WHO DAT

October:  Begrudging Acceptance of Pumpkin Beers; How to Find the Craft Beer That Best Compliments Your Halloween Costume; YES, THE SAINTS WILL WIN THE SUPERBOWL THIS YEAR (If You Drink These Beers During Games)

November: Beers to Complement (or Counteract) Tryptophan; Best Beer To Make the Lions Thanksgiving Game Interesting; Writeups of All The Beer Events that Are Happening All At Once Because It's Nice Outside Finally but The Holidays Are Coming Up

December: Beers to Pair With Gumbo; Winter Beers for Weather That's Not That Cold; How To Match the Perfect Craft Beer to Everyone on Your Holiday Shopping List

And then it starts all over again!

Updated to add: hat tip to Brendon Day aka the Ale Runner, that reminded me of the stories "How Do I Make All The ACBW Events in May and then all the LCBW Events in September"


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Weekly beer roundup



All About Beer posted a roundup of beer writer and brewers, and other beer industry folks' takes on the New Yorker cover above. I'm one of the writers that's quoted, though with company like Sam Calagione, Greg Koch, Ray Daniels, and others, I don't know if anyone will notice! I don't mind though, it's an honor to be included in such a stellar lineup. Check it out though, it's a pretty interesting discussion.

In local news...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Courtyard's beer list for opening weekend

Got it! Starting in one hour, you will be able to enjoy these fine beers at the Courtyard Brewery:

NOTE: These will rotate throughout the weekend as kegs blow - they won't all be on at the same time. 

Blanche de Bruxelles
Saison Dupont Cuvee Dry Hopping
BFM 225 Sour Saison
Anchor Lager
Stillwater Stateside Saison
Gnarly Barley Brewing Korova Milk Porter
North Coast Old Rasputin
Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 14
New Belgium Le Terroir
Stone IPA
Stone Hibiscusicity
Green Flash Le Freak
Lagunitas IPA
Lagunitas lil Sumpin' Wild
Green Flash Hop Odyssey Cedar Plank
Founders Breakfast Stout

and last (but definitely not least) Great Raft Brewing's At Arms Length IPL.

See ya there!