Nola Craft Beer (Beer ala’ Louisiana, including NOLA Brewing)

Written by Christina Murphy, Amy Garner, Zach Yanowitz, Nicole Nolan, Sophie Unterman, Stephanie Chen, Sam Abramowitz and Jamie Norwood for

New Orleans’ relationship with beer

For a city so stereotypically associated with alcohol, New Orleans isn’t particularly known for its beer culture. In the 19th century, however, that was not the case. New Orleans was the beer capital of the South with more than 30 breweries. But during the last 200 years, New Orleans beer culture has dwindled. Dixie was the last remaining large-volume brewery within city limits, before it stopped production in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In a 2008 Brewers Association census, Louisiana was ranked 50 out of 51 U.S. states and territories in breweries per capita – a statistic that Jeremy Labadie, beer aficionado and author of the Beer Buddha blog, calls “staggering.”

Prohibition and the rise of huge national brands took a toll on New Orleans breweries. Only in recent history has craft beer resurrected the city’s beer heritage. Abita launched in 1986 and has dominated the Louisiana beer scene ever since. During the last few years, however, more and more craft beers have shown up on local taps. A married couple developed Lazy Magnolia beer in their Kiln, Miss. home in the early 2000s, and their Southern Pecan brew evolved into the unofficial craft beer of Mississippi. New Orleans Lagers and Ales, or NOLA Brewing Co., became the only brewery in New Orleans when the company was established in 2008, releasing its first beers in March 2009. Covington’s Heiner Brau microbrewery opened in 2005, and with NOLA Brewery’s founding, a trend began. In 2009, the Louisiana craft beer movement reached Cajun country with the creation of Parish Brewing in Lafayette and Bayou Teche in Arnaudville, La.

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One Reply to “Nola Craft Beer (Beer ala’ Louisiana, including NOLA Brewing)”

  1. I’ve met a number of the brewers from these different breweries, like Melanie Knepp at NOLA. Their dedication to the craft is incredible. Melanie brought a fresh hop beer to the Emerald Coast Beer Festival the weekend after Labor Day, and when her tap didn’t work right she dribbled it into glass after glass for over an hour. She made a special beer for Big Bob’s Barley Wine Bash with a tale about dinosaurs. It’s hard to keep the attention of a room full of folks full of high grav beer, but she did quite well. Her dedication to the craft tis incredible.

    Tin Roof’s Todd Hicks dionates beer every year, no matter where he is brewing. e’s the life of the party. Todd: I still have the lampshade you left behind… and your clothes. Maybe you can get Donna to join in the nude dance for us guys? Kidding!

    Abita is often there, and the Andygator bites us all. There was a time when all there was was Abita: the grandfather of all craft beer down there, and McGuires in Pensacola would be the father. Not sure I’d want to have been there during conception, but the children have been fun.

    I must admit I haven’t been to Crescent in years, and the last time it was extract, or at least seemed so. But that was quite a while ago. Sometime I’d like to give it another try.

    Yes, the children have come, some have gone like Laughing in Slidell, LA. That’s the ebb and flow of the brew biz. Nice to see there’s a new crop now.

    May they live and satisfy thirsty souls forever.

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