Since I was out of town this past weekend and missed the rescheduled New Orleans on Tap (as well as the Outlaw Homebrew Festival in Hattiesburg, MI, which John from the Keg and Barrel had invited me to judge) I figured I'd discuss the recent, more low-key local brewery and cheese/charcuterie event held on October 24 at the St. James Cheese Co.
Peter Caddoo was there with a firkin of NOLA Brown ale, Gordon Biersch had something that was pretty unremarkable but fine. Gnarly Barley was there, and I hadn't met them yet. They had a very interesting rye beer, that was being called an IPA but didn't quite fit into that category, in my opinion. I think if they can call it something so that the IPA expectation isn't there, they'll have something. They also had a pretty decent coffee porter on tap.
Chafunkta Brewing was also in the house with its Voo Ka Ray IPA and the Old 504, a coffee infused vanilla porter, which I was actually pleasantly surprised by. I thought it would be super sweet and vanilla-y. but the finish was dry and it was pretty balanced.
Also hard at work was one of the new brewers from Crescent City Brewhouse. I tried his hoppy pilsner and probably one of my favorite Oktoberfest beers I've had all year and revised my previous opinion of CCB's beers. He invited me to come by next time we're in the Quarter, and I think I will take him up on it.
Bayou Teche was there, but didn't have anything I hadn't had before and was particularly looking to try again. They had their noir beer, the passionfruit beer, and their smoked beer. I like the noir, but with so many choices I can't actually get in stores, I didn't see the point of having any. It would have been nice to have something a little special. The marketing guy didn't have a lot of news about what Bayou Teche would be up to and my charm did not seem to work on him. This, of course, could be the fault of my charm, or lack thereof.
Hung out with the Tin Roof marketing dude who had cans of the Blonde and Perfect Tin. Was kind of bummed that they didn't have the new Parade Ground Coffee Porter, though. I enjoyed talking to the Tin Roof guy very much about beer culture in New Orleans and Louisiana- we had a great conversation that I look forward to continuing!
There was a homebrew guy who had a (I think) steam/California Common ale, a crazy fruity (guava? mango?) wheat beer, and something else I can't remember. (see, this is why people respect my beer reporting!) He was a lot of fun, kind of crazy, but aren't all homebrewers? (and by extension, brewers?)
Lazy Magnolia had also made an appearance with their new offering, their re-released Gulf Porter, a pretty tasty porter. Lots of porter offerings, between Lazy Magnolia, Chafunkta, and Gnarly.
The cheese/food portion of the evening was amazing as well. I got to talk with, of course, folks from St. James, but also Cam Boudreaux, one of the the creators and executive chefs of one of my favorite po-boy popups, Killer Poboys serving up in the kitchen of the Erin Rose on Conti. We talked about popups and poboys, and our mutual friend Rob who is doing the NOLA Food Podcast (and is the talent behind the NOLA Smokehouse kitchen.) I tried his Jameson grilled cheese, which is awesome, and his roast beef, which is also awesome, but I knew that already.
Also, look at the spread that St. James put out for us! Ooh.
After a few beers, I had an interesting conversation with the brewer from Gnarly Barley about the control you give up with making cask ales. This guy has been working for years to carefully create a consistent product; it totally freaked him out to think about throwing caution to the wind with playing with cask conditioning. It gave me an interesting insight about the varieties of brewers' personalities.
After drinking everyone's beer, giving everyone my card, and buying $60 of cheese, I went home a happy lady.
I hope that more and more craft brewers keep stepping up to the plate, I want to see dozens! Too bad we didn't get Parish, Mudbug, 40 Arpent, and Courtyard Brewing (who is a new player around and has been ruffling some feathers of other local brewers... we'll see how that works out.) And also, even though it's in Alabama, I wanna see Fairhope and if we're bringing in Magnolia, I want to see Gordon Creek and Lucky Town! Come on, let's find multiple ways to showcase all these emerging breweries...