Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving!

THANKSGIVING!!!!

Man, I've been so busy writing stories about, like, pairing beer with turkey that I haven't even remembered to forget to update the blog.

Monday, November 2, 2015

World of Beer Giveaway Contest



In my Gambit column a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that World of Beer is doing a fall food menu with suggested beer pairings. They invited me in to taste it and I've gotta say, it's pretty good. I didn't pay for the food and drink they had me try, but I would definitely go back and pay for that cornbread and chili. Mmm, on this rainy day, both of those sound awesome.



But why should I be the only one to get free food from World of Beer? I have a $25 gift card to give away to someone who responds in the comments below their favorite food and beer pairing.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Oktoberfest at Press Street Station




Press Street Station is holding a Thursday night supper series this month, and the one on October 29 will be an Oktoberfest themed dinner with German food. The menu looks awesome (see below) and you can go here to make a reservation on the hour (5pm, 6pm, 7pm, and 8pm.)

The folks at Press Street originally wanted me to come try the food and make some recommendations that Press Street could make for people to bring with them - Press Street is still BYOB. It didn't work out to do that, but Patrick Hunter, resident beer geek at Brady's Wine Warehouse took a look at the menu and made some pretty spot on recommendations.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Louisiana Has TWENTY Breweries



On the heels of a laughably ridiculously ignorant article that appeared in The Advocate this week (I'll get a little more into detail with that later), my Facebook thread (on which I posted the link to the journalistic travesty) had a very interesting discussion about what counts as a brewery?

I realized that I've been segregating brewpubs from my number and I don't think that was right. I think that if you brew beer and legally sell it to people in Louisiana, that should be considered a Louisiana brewery. Therefore, we should count Crescent City Brewhouse, The Old Rail Brewing Company, and, yes, Gordon Biersch, which is a franchise chain but does brew every drop of beer it sells on site. Locally. In New Orleans. The brewers there are talented and work hard.

The lines are getting so blurred, more and more each day. Courtyard is a very unique beer business model for the area. Broken Wheel is a brewery added to an existing restaurant so it's now a brewpub (but wasn't one originally). These diverse breweries will continue to evolve. So let's stop leaving brewpubs out in the cold and welcome them into the fold. I know that's how the state law is broken down, microbreweries/production breweries or brewpubs and never the twain shall meet, but that legislation is being re-evaluated and will hopefully be changing in the near future.

(Hm, I haven't heard anything about that lately, anyone got a sitrep?)

So here's my up to date list of Louisiana breweries, as of October 7, 2015. (In order of their opening.)
  1. Abita Abita Springs, opened in 1986
  2. Crescent City Brewhouse (brewpub) New Orleans, opened in 1991
  3. Gordon Biersch (brewpub) (chain) New Orleans, opened in 2004
  4. Covington Brewhouse Covington, opened in 2005 (as Heiner Brau)
  5. NOLA Brewing New Orleans, opened in 2009
  6. Bayou Teche Arnaudville, opened in March 2010
  7. Parish Brewing Broussard, opened in July 2010
  8. Tin Roof Baton Rouge, opened in November 2010
  9. Chafunkta Mandeville, opened in March 2013
  10. Old Rail Brewing Company (brewpub) Mandeville, opened July 2013
  11. Great Raft Shreveport, opened December 2013
  12. Red River Shreveport, opened December 2013
  13. 40 Arpent Arabi, opened March 2014
  14. Gnarly Barley Hammond, opened May 2014
  15. Courtyard Brewery New Orleans, opened October 2014
  16. Mudbug Thibodaux, opened December 2014
  17. Broken Wheel Marksville (Central LA), opened January 2015
  18. Flying Heart Bossier, opened April 2015
  19. Second Line New Orleans, opened August 2015
  20. Cajun Brewing Lafayette, opened September 2015
I'm going to keep updating it, and I've added a new tab on this website's homepage with it so that SOMEONE has an actual, up-to-date list of brewery numbers and basic info. Because apparently it's too difficult for some writers to research? Because I guess just anyone can jump in and do beer writing, I mean, it's just beer, right? No complexity or sophistication or moving parts to good ole beer, no siree!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wayfare beer food pairing - The NORA MCGUNNIGLE OKTOBERFEST SPECIAL

Taps at the Wayfare

So, one of the things I'm lucky enough to do is experience a pretty wide variety of beer and food pairings with local and national craft breweries (and occasionally some international ones too). I think that this has honed my palate over the years to appreciate the interplay between different food flavor profiles and the diversity of flavors that comes from beer's malt, hops, alcohol content, and thousands of other chemical compounds and interactions.

It takes practice, and I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to practice a lot.

A specific opportunity recently came my way with the Wayfare restaurant on Freret, who reached out to me to pair a beer with one of their dishes. I chose Great Raft's Provisions and Traditions 3, an oak-aged Marzen style. It was a bit of a gimme, given that it was created in partnership with Chef Drake Leonards at Luke, and was therefore very food friendly.

I headed to the Wayfare and ordered an insane number of sandwiches (plus a salad and a side of mac & cheese) to see what worked. I ended up choosing the Wayfare's BL(fg)T, their BLT with additional fried green tomato. Now it's the recommended Nora McGunnigle Oktoberfest Special, running from October 19-25.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Keeping the Faith, Spreading the Word



I've been continuing my beer dinner shenanigans this month, and I don't really need to bore you with the details, but I've noticed an interesting trend the last couple dinners I went to, where I've sat with a table of people who I don't know and aren't in the beer world. I had a great time talking to new people not only about the beer we're drinking together but also the beer scene in New Orleans and Louisiana. It's like doing craft beer outreach on an individual level. I love it! It's like evangelizing, spreading the good news about something I really believe in.

Friday, September 11, 2015

It's that time of year...


As we stand on the edge of Louisiana Craft Brewers Week, let us think of the breweries that have joined the ranks since this time last year - Courtyard Brewery, Mudbug Brewing. Broken Wheel, Flying Heart, Second Line, and Cajun Brewing - and rejoice.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Beer Dinners and such

I've gone to two beer dinners this week - one was $30 and one was $100. (disclaimer: I did not pay for either.) As is obvious from the price point differential, the two dinners were on two sides of the cuisine and experience spectrum. Ale (the beer bar on Oak Street) hosted a Goose Island beer dinner on Tuesday. Since Goose Island is owned by AB-Inbev, that's a very good reason for the price of the dinner to be so inexpensive.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Placeholder and links and stuff

Hey, all - I didn't do my post of the week last week because I wasn't feeling well at all so things got a little FUBARed. However, one of the things I was working on was pulling the schedule together for Louisiana Craft Brewers Weekend, happening September 12-19, which will run in the Gambit next week. (In the meanwhile, you can peep the schedule here. Let me know if you know of any corrections, updates, or cancellations.)

In other news, my All About Beer Magazine piece got put up online, and Beer Advocate released the cover of this month's issue, and the cover story (Family Brewed) is my story!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Quit Whining About Seasonal Creep, AMIRITE?



(Subtitled: PUMPKIN BEERS, WHY GODS WHY)

So, it's July or August, and the Oktoberfest beers and pumpkin ales come out and it's ALL TOO MUCH. "Don't tell ME when summer is over!" you might scream to the heavens. "It's too damn hot for malt-forward lagers and pumpkin spice!"

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tweeting and Teaching

(Most of) the BBC15 Attendees
Photo courtesy of Ryan Jansen

First of all, thanks so much for everyone's support and encouragement for my renewed efforts to update my blog. I've gotten a lot of great feedback, and it helps knowing that people actually do read what I write here.

Today's post is the second of my contractually obligated posts in exchange for attending the Beer Blogger's and Writer's Conference for a deeply reduced rate. Last week, I discussed two breweries in Asheville that made a great impression on my during my visit. This week, I wanted to talk about two events that I was involved in during the conference itself.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Asheville Focus: Two Beers, Two Breweries

Earlier this month, I attended my third Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference in Asheville, NC. Asheville's been one of those places (along with Portland, OR) that I've been dying to get the opportunity to visit, and the BBC provided an excellent one.




Friday, July 24, 2015

New Plan!



So, my epiphany (of what I already pretty much knew) about keeping my blog updated has led to a vague plan to write something, anything every week and post it on Friday.

Since this plan came together in the aftermath of my road trip to Asheville, this first weekly post is gonna be a little on the skimpy side. Mostly... announcing my plan in order to keep myself accountable.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Oh, man

Hey, have you checked out Commander Palace's beer and BBQ prix fixe dinner yet? Only in July.


I'm here at the 2015 Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference in Asheville NC, listening to lots of people talk about how important it is to keep your blog updated with fresh content.

And my most recent post is from American Craft Beer Week in early May.

That's bad.

I guess I now think of my blog as secondary to my freelance work, but I shouldn't. This is where I can write whatever the hell I want, right? Maybe I've forgotten how to do that.

Is there anyone out there reading this anymore, I wonder? If so, what do you want to see here? I'd love to discuss more indepth some topics that editors tend to shy away from, like local zoning laws and how city and state regulation is hurting the brewing industry in Louisiana.

Or maybe I can just write a series of dreamy, fangirly love letters to Kim Jordan, CEO and co-founder of New Belgium? No? Creepy? Yeah.

I'll be writing about Asheville and the conference in the very near future, as I tend to do every year, but I guess I need to find the inspiration to find the next chapter in my blog life.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

American Craft Beer Week is a-comin'!



So, I've finished up my annual schedule of events for the Gambit. Hats off to all the breweries, bars, and distributors for getting all the requested info in to me in a timely manner - it gets easier every year!

Here's my article and schedule in the Gambit - and I'll be keeping an updated version on this website, as I have done for the past few years.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Oskar Blues is coming to town

Soul Rebels at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Colorado

Hey y'all - sorry to drop a press release on you and run, but I'm jammed with deadlines and the Brooklyn Mash happening this week. But the awesome thing is, can pioneer and Colorado brewery Oskar Blues is hitting town in April!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NOLA Brewing Funk Series bottles

Stopped by NOLA Brewing today to do some planning for the Brooklyn Mash panel discussion, The State of Craft Beer, that I'm introducing (check out my bio photo here, it's hilarious yet awesome.)

While there, I saw all four new bomber bottles for the NOLA Funk series for Lowerline, Sauvage, Arabella, and Piety.

[Update 3/12: My bad! The bottles at the brewery are the prototypes, and have not been filled yet. The first big batch of beer from the new sour facility, Lowerline, will be available in about 3-4 weeks. That will be followed by Sauvage, Piety, then Arabella. All should be out in bottles in the next few months. Sorry, there's still a little while to wait.]

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: