If you’re visiting Louisiana, the majority of your time will be spent eating and getting ready to eat again. But whether it’s a fresh gulf seafood po’ boy or a platter of spicy boiled crawfish, the meal just isn’t complete without a tasty beverage to wash it all down. Fortunately, Louisiana has plenty of local craft beers to choose from. In the past few years, Louisiana has made a name for itself in the craft beer world. Inspired by Louisiana products and culture, brewers throughout the state are proving that hand-crafted is the way to go.
Visiting Louisiana’s breweries is an excellent way to explore the culture and history of Louisiana towns while learning more about the state’s most refreshing entrepreneurial endeavors.
A great place to start is the capital city of Baton Rouge, which is home to the Tin Roof Brewing Company. With free tours on Friday evenings at 5 pm, it’s becoming a Baton Rouge attraction and a great place to learn more about craft beer. Located about a mile from LSU’s campus and downtown, Tin Roof offers brews that please all beer lovers, especially Tiger fans. Tin Roof’s first seasonal beer, Watermelon Wheat, is brewed with fresh local watermelon to sweeten the brew pot.
Further south in the heart of New Orleans is NOLA (New Orleans Lager and Ale) Brewing Company. NOLA’s beers are truly inspired by the city from which they come, with names like Hopitoulas, Hurricane Saison and Smoky Mary. NOLA also offers tours on Friday afternoons.
Across Lake Pontchartrain in Abita Springs is Louisiana’s most established brewery, Abita Brewing. Abita's brewery is open for tours four days a week and is a popular destination for both visitors and locals to sample craft beer. As one of the top 14 largest craft brewers in the country, you’ll find flagship brews such as Abita Amber, Purple Haze, Turbodog, and Andygator, as well as seasonal and specialty brews.
Nearby in Covington is the German influenced Covington Brewhouse. The brewery focuses on old world tastes with added Louisiana flavors such as their beer made with Ponchatoula strawberries. Located in a century-old building, the brewery-museum combination is a unique place to learn about German brewing history.
In Cajun country the Parish Brewing Company concocts a beer made with Louisiana’s own Steen’s sugarcane syrup. Located in Broussard, right outside of Lafayette , the nanobrewery prides itself on creating “uncompromised, independent, craft biére.” Like their counterparts in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Parish opens its doors to the public for tours on Friday afternoons.
Not too far away on Highway 31 in the small town of Arnaudville is Bayou Teche Brewing. Founded by three brothers, Bayou Teche delivers a glimpse into the Cajun culture on Bayou Teche as well as fine crafted beers that have won several national awards.
Mandeville husband and wife Josh and Jamie Erickson have a passion for good beer. They opened Chafunkta Brewing Company on the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain where they are creating quality small batch brews.
The Louisiana beer tour is a great way to explore Louisiana while tasting some of the state’s finest products made by residents who have a passion for not only craft beer, but also keeping the spirit of Louisiana alive. Other breweries to look out for in the future are Mudbug Brewing in Thibodaux, Cajun Fire Brewing in New Orleans, and Forty Arpent in Chalmette.
Jay D. Ducote is the author of the food and beverage blog Bite and Booze, host of the Bite and Booze Radio Show and co-host of Raise a Glass. You can find him online at biteandbooze.com.