Wednesday, February 26, 2014

No Glass

(Note: behold a post/rant from my blogger in crime, Tom. I also posted a little something about this in the Gambit this week. This month's new Where Y'At also has my more in depth article on this subject. - Nora) 


"It shall be unlawful for any person to carry or drink from any opened glass container in or on any public right-of-way, including any street, sidewalk, park or alley within one block of a Mardi Gras parade route, two hours before the published beginning time of the parade, during the parade, or within one block of the published disbanding area of the parade within two hours of the published or actual ending time of the parade, whichever occurs later."

Two weeks before the first parade, I wander the aisles of Breaux Mart on Magazine Street, a few blocks from the Uptown parade route. It's not the largest market in New Orleans. It's not even the largest market on Magazine Street, but it boasts a very nice selection of craft beer. It suddenly strikes me how much of it is available in canned form. This pleases me.

Glass bottles on the parade route piss me off. I don't care how careful you say you're going to be when sipping from a long neck as you watch the bands march past: accidents are going to happen. When you drop a can, the worst that can happen is loss of beer. Don't get me wrong, the loss of any beer is a tragedy that diminishes us all, but broken glass can lead to injuries, flared tempers, and another step towards the collapse of civilization as we know it. That's bad.

Excuses for ignoring the ban on glass vary from "I didn't know." and "I don't care." to "Wine doesn't come in a can" and "Canned beer is crap."

None of these hold an ounce of sparge water. A moment's sober reflection is all it takes to show the wisdom of not bringing deadly shards of glass near the parade route. The wine drinkers are on their own, but today's craft beer drinkers have no excuse for not being container-wise during carnival. I concede that your favorite may not be available in anything but a bottle, but I don't care. If you're not willing to modify your craft beer intake for the sake of an awesome parade, then stay home and drink your precious nectar out of the correct glassware. That way you get to enjoy your beer without me giving you the stink eye.

Tom’s Picks:

Sessionable for day parades: NOLA Brown
Breakfast beer for Mardi Gras day: Tin Roof Parade Ground Coffee Porter
Big Stout for night parades: NOLA Irish Channel Stout
Won't upset Miller Lite drinkers: Shiner Blonde
Classic for a reason: Sierra Nevada Pale

For The Locavore:
In order of increasing distance of brewery from a typical Uptown parade route, as calculated by Google Maps, here is a (probably incomplete) list of craft breweries who sell canned beer in New Orleans:

NOLA (0.8 miles)
Abita (43.6 miles)
Tin Roof (82 miles)
Southern Prohibition (114 miles)
Southern Star (352 miles)
Spoetzl (Shiner) (474 miles)
Stillwater (1124 miles)
Santa Fe (1143 miles)
Brooklyn (1313 miles)
New Belgium (1438 miles)
Boston Beer (Samuel Adams) (1526 miles)
Sierra Nevada (2319 miles)
Caldera (2457 miles)

Until the mad Scotsmen from Brew Dog come to town and brew on a float, you won't get a commercial beer brewed closer to an Uptown parade than one from NOLA Brewing on Tchoupitoulas. NOLA Blonde and NOLA Brown are in 12oz cans and are perfect for a long Saturday or Sunday on the neutral ground. Hopitoulas IPA, Mechahopzilla Double IPA, and Irish Channel Stout are in 16oz tall boys.

Abita, the big dog of Louisiana craft beer, and Tin Roof out of Baton Rouge are the other in-state beers available in cans. Jockamo IPA is probably the best of the Abita cans, although it's a long way from being my favorite IPA, or even my favorite IPA from Abita. The current Tin Roof Seasonal is Parade Ground Coffee Porter. It's my favorite Tin Roof beer, it's almost as dark as my soul, and it comes in a 12oz can, making it perfect for a night time parade.

Southern Prohibition brewing out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a new arrival in the New Orleans market, with a bunch of 16oz tall boys. My choice for a parade beer would be Devil's Harvest Extra Pale Ale, which hits my sweet spot between drinkability and hoppiness, but I wouldn't give you a hard time for hitting any of the others. Santa Fe brewing are also new in town, all the way from New Mexico. I've only had their Black IPA in cans and it was good. A touch roastier than a lot of other Black IPAs and all the better for it.

Southern Star are out of Texas. They have three year-round beers in cans, and rotating seasonals. My favorite is LeMort Vivant, a french farmhouse ale that releases in mid-November and keeps just fine for carnival season. If you like your farmhouse in a can, I've also very much enjoyed Stillwater's Classique, which I've seen at Stein's Deli.

Sam Adams and Brooklyn Brewery offer their flagship lagers in cans. If I'm going lager, then I would prefer New Belgium's "Shift". Sam Adams are also shipping a white ale called Cold Snap, which you should be able to offer to a Blue Moon drinker without provoking too much palate shock.

You can get Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 12oz cans and the beefier, hoppier, Torpedo Extra Pale in 16oz tall boys. I've never quite understood why breweries like to put their higher ABV beers in larger cans, but apparently that's a thing that happens and I just have to deal with it.

In conclusion: enjoy the parades, catch all the throws, enjoy your canned craft beer, and don't aggravate me by bringing glass onto the parade route. My stink eye is very stinky.

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