Brewsday Tuesday: The beer year in review

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"Passports" and beer samples were everywhere on Freret Street during Gambit's November beer event, FestivALEs. - NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • "Passports" and beer samples were everywhere on Freret Street during Gambit's November beer event, FestivALEs.
In 2013, both supply and demand for craft beer in Louisiana made huge strides. Three new breweries — Chafunkta in Mandeville, and Great Raft Brewing and Red River Brewing, both in Shreveport — opened, along with one new brewpub, The Old Rail, in Mandeville. Now Louisiana has nine breweries and two independent brewpubs.

Parish Brewing, NOLA Brewing and Great Raft Brewing opened tap rooms in their breweries, which enables them to sell up to 10 percent of their production directly to the public. New local beer bars opened this year as well: the German-focused Aline Street Beer Garden on Prytania Street, and Evangeline in the French Quarter, which serves only local beer on draft, and has been expanding that selection steadily throughout the year.

Local breweries experimented and released many new beers this year. Bayou Teche Brewing, under the direction of new head brewer Gar Hatcher, released a series of seasonal beers such as the springtime Saison D'écrevisses, bourbon barrel aged Biere Joi, tripel IPA Cocodrie, honey beer Miel Sauvage, and imperial stout Loup Garou. Parish released its Farmhouse IPA and Dr. Hoptagon black IPA, and NOLA Brewing released a collaboration with New Belgium called Swamp Grape Escape made with local muscadine grapes.

Tin Roof Beer released a double black IPA called Rougarou, and Abita released more than a half a dozen select and seasonal beers this year, including French Connection, Mahawk, Macchiato Espresso Stout, Spring IPA and Grapefruit IPA. Covington Brewhouse underwent an ownership change and released a new flagship beer, Anonymous IPA.

All this activity was rewarded by the Louisiana State Legislature, which passed a resolution last summer establishing “Louisiana Craft Brewers Week” during the last week of September. The state’s travel and tourism bureau also created an online “Louisiana Brewery Trail” to help visitors find the ever-increasing number of breweries in the state. 

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