Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Louisiana Six Pack Project



Several weeks ago I was contact by North Carolina blogger Bryan Roth, who has been working on what he calls "The Six Pack Project." The idea is to select six beers that are in bottles or cans to properly represent the craft brewing culture of the state of Louisiana.


Here are the rules:
  1. Pick a six-pack of beers that best represents your state and/or state’s beer culture.
  2. Beer must be made in your state, but “gypsy” brewers are acceptable, so long as that beer is brewed with an in-state brewery and sold in your state.
  3. Any size bottle or can is acceptable to include.Current seasonal offerings are fine, but try to keep selections to year-round brews as much as possible. No out-of-season brews preferred
The bottle/can situation made things a little tricky for me, since many of my local favorite beers are only available on draft, but I tried to take that challenge and use it to explore the state of beer and brewing here. I'm super pleased that I was asked to publish it this week, during Louisiana Craft Brewer Week.

Since at this time, Louisiana has only seven commercial breweries and three brewpubs. I have included six of the seven breweries below, omitting the newest brewery, Chafunkta Brewing, because it does not offer any beer in cans or bottles, only kegs.

Abita Brewing: Restoration Ale
Abita, the trailblazing brewery of Louisiana, created Restoration Pale Ale to help fund the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. It’s hopped with Cascade and is a great go-to beer. I personally love it on cask, as it’s reminiscent of a traditional British pale ale.

Bayou Teche Brewing: Biere Noire
Bayou Teche, a Cajun brewery that draws much inspiration from its French ancestry, also owes a debt to co-founder Karlos Knott’s stint in Germany while serving in the armed forces. Not only did Knott learn how important beer is to local culture while there, he brought back a German-inspired schwartzbier recipe that is one of the brewery’s most popular, while combining it with his Cajun French heritage by developing a flavor through the malts that evokes the coffee he would drink growing up.

Covington Brewhouse: Pilsner
Previously known as Heiner Brau, this Louisiana brewery rebranded itself in the wake of founding brewmaster Henryk Orlik departure in 2012. The new head brewer, Brian Broussard, took it upon himself to bring a better consistency to the beers. Although Broussard is looking to expand Covington’s offerings beyond the original German styles currently on tap, his work has paid off with the easy drinking, fresh, well-executed Pilsner.

NOLA Brewing: NOLA Brown
This was the second beer that New Orleans’ only commercial brewery, NOLA Brewing, released back in 2009, and the second one canned on NOLA’s canning line in 2012. It’s a flavorful English style mild and session ale that comes in at less than 4% ABV. It has a great malt backbone but is easy-drinking even during Louisiana's hot summers.. It’s a great beer to drink all day, during Mardi Gras, football games, St Patrick Day, random Tuesday nights...you get the idea.

Parish Brewing: Grand Reserve Barleywine
Parish Brewing’s flagship beer, Canebrake, as well as my personal favorite Envie, are only available in bottles in the Lafayette area, in the immediate vicinity of the brewery located in Broussard. However, the brewery’s 750-ml bottling line was christened last November with the release of their Grand Reserve Barleywine and Andrew Godley, Parish’s head brewer, has been focusing on releasing special bombers since then. The Grand Reserve is brewed and released every year for drinkers to enjoy different vintages. This is a very different approach to brewing and distributing beer here, one which I think deserves to be paid special attention to.

Tin Roof Brewing: Parade Ground Porter
Tin Roof’s seasonal releases over the past year have been wildly popular; so much so that they have decided to can them alongside their three flagship beers. Their fall seasonal, Parade Ground Porter, really made the local market sit up and take notice of what this Baton Rouge brewery was capable of. A much more complex beer than their easy-drinking, LSU-tailgating flagship styles, the porter is brewed with coffee and enjoyed by craft beer drinkers all over the state.

Be sure to check out the other folks that have participated in this project!

Thoughts? What might you have selected for this six pack?

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