Sunday, April 7, 2013

St. Arnold's Pub "Qrawl"

The "Q" in "Qrawl" stands for "Quarter" as in the French Quarter.

Yesterday was a fine day to wander about and drink beer. I don't hang out in the Quarter too often, so I thought this would be a nice opportunity to do something different and maybe see if there were any surprises for craft beer in the Quarter. It was an interesting day, for sure.

We biked to the FQ and went promptly to the first stop on the crawl, Finnegan's Easy on St. Peter between Royal and Bourbon.

Nice looking bar

Santo and Canebrake!

Dagger holding the Santo mascot
Finnegan's was a nice place: long wood bar, great natural light, a gorgeous courtyard in the back. The Saint Arnold they provided was Santo, a "black Kolsch" which is easy drinking and flavorful. They also had Canebrake, NOLA Blonde, Tin Roof Voodoo Bengal, Guinness, and Abita Amber. I'd definitely duck in here if I was looking for local craft in that area. The Santo was $4.25, the cheapest beer we had on the crawl.

Next up was Bayou Burger. This involved two of my least favorite things in New Orleans: walking on Bourbon Street and hanging out on Bourbon Street.  Seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how much I hate it. But I persevered and walked down two blocks of the damned to get to the burger place. It was alright, I guess. I wasn't thrilled about paying $6.30 for a Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower, and though they had a bunch of Lazy Magnolia and Tin Roof beers, the beer lineup wasn't particularly impressive.

We took the long way around on Royal to get to the next place- the Copper Monkey on Conti. Tiny place, with a dive bar feel with friendly bartenders and a couple local craft beers (Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower, Bayou Teche Biere Noir, Canebrake and Perfect Tin Voodoo Bengal) and a courtyard. Since it was the halfway point of our crawl, we ordered food - something simple, cheap, and easy to prepare- the chicken quesedilla. It was serviceable, cheesy, and provided protein and carbs for the second half of the crawl.

Speaking of the second half of the crawl, it was time to get to it. Originally it was supposed to be at a new place within the House of Blues on Decatur called Big Mamma's, but it wasn't ready to open in time for the event. Instead, we went to their Voodoo Garden courtyard bar where they served Santo and Icon Blue from a jockey box. So, I can't really speak to the beer selection at House of Blues, but the atmosphere of the courtyard/patio was nice. The two Saint Arnold beers were $5 each, and it was the first time I'd tried the Icon Blue, a new beer and new style for them. It was a Cascadian Ale/Black IPA, and had plenty of hop character, The dark roasty maltiness balanced the bitterness nicely as well.

Our last stop was the one I was most intrigued in going to from the start. Evangeline (warning: music plays upon loading) on Decatur (more or less across the street from the Bienville House) has been open for about a year and a half now and exclusively carries local and regional beers on draft from Covington, Tin Roof (2 beers), Bayou Teche (2 beers), Parish, Lazy Magnolia (2 beers), and of course Saint Arnold (3 beers).

The manager, Eddie, was extremely passionate about serving local beers with local food, and we had a great talk about the various area beers and we ended up agreeing on a bunch of stuff. So these folks at Evangeline really get it, I think. They are going to be expanding the number of taps soon, I believe I heard him say (bear in mind this was at the end of the pub crawl.) And the space is gorgeous - the interior, the bar, and especially the courtyard.


Lounging area at the end of the courtyard

Dim interior shot

Courtyard decoration

Eddie pouring beers for the pub crawlers
If I were to rank the pubs in order of preference, I'd probably say... Evangeline, Finnegan's Easy ('cause they were the only ones with NOLA Brewing beer), Copper Monkey, House of Blues' Voodoo Garden (because I don't know their beer list but the space was super nice), and then the Bayou Burger. (OMG I hate Bourbon Street so much.)

It was interesting to check out places in the Quarter. I'm glad I checked it out. It was a beautiful day, and I learned about new bars and tried a new beer (the Icon Blue). Nicole, the Saint Arnold sales and marketing rep here, will be leaving New Orleans for Colorado next month, so it was good to get a chance to hang out with her as well! This pub crawl was part of Saint Arnold's annual "New Orleans Super Weekend" and it's quite apparent that these folks have a lot of fun with the market out here.

Oh! And Tom and I went to The Erin Rose to have some post-pub crawl Killer Poboys, which were amaaaaaazing. Lamb sausage and Dark & Stormy pork. Highly, highly recommended. Beer list is nothing to write home about (I had a Pimms Cup) but those poboys more than make up for that deficiency.


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