Prairie, New Belgium, Stone, Samuel Smith, and Sierra Nevada: just five of more than 30 world class breweries available in New Orleans.
When RateBeer.com recently published its list of 100 Best Brewers In the World
, some local craft beer fans griped about beers not available in the New Orleans area. But five years ago, there were no local spots to find Stillwater Artisanal Ales' Stateside Saison, Lagunitas IPA or Saison Rue from the Bruery. Today, New Belgium Fat Tire, Sweetwater Brewing Company's 420, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Founders Brewing's All Day IPA grace tap handles all over town.
Area supermarkets carry beers by those brewers as well as from Stone Brewing, Rogue, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Mikkeller, Clown Shoes and many more. Smaller breweries like 8 Wired Brewing Company, Against the Grain Brewery, Upright Brewing, Westbrook Brewing Company and Prairie Artisan Ales pop up on a regular basis in specialty shops like Stein’s Market & Deli
(2207 Magazine St., 504-527-0771).
All of the breweries mentioned above made RateBeer.com's list.
Some local beer enthusiasts thirst for American craft brewers such as Oskar Blues Brewery, Bell’s Brewery and Crooked Stave and overlook beers from foreign brewers, such as To Øl out of Copenhagen, Magic Rock Brewing from the U.K. and Norway’s HaandBryggeriet.
“Most of the import brands on that list we owe to Shelton Brothers and 12 Percent [Imports],” says Polly Wood, owner of The Avenue Pub
(1732 St. Charles Ave., 504-586-9243).
“Breweries like Emelisse, De Struise and Amager Bryghus are so small that they need to sell in places where the staff really understands these beers,” Watts says. Those small breweries, along with gypsy brewer Evil Twin and Belgian beers make up a quarter of Watts’ annual sales. The reason Louisiana has access to beer from such small-scale breweries, as opposed to neighboring states like Texas, she says, it the relatively low costs of fees and licensing is concerned.
Here is my list of the RateBeer.com top breweries available locally:
8 Wired, New Zealand
Against the Grain, Kentucky
Amager Bryghus, Denmark
Anchorage Brewing Company
Beer Here, Denmark
Brauerei Aying (Ayinger), Germany
Brouwerij de Molen, The Netherlands
Brouwerij Emelisse, The Netherlands
Clown Shoes, Massachusetts
De Struise Brouwers, Belgium
Dieu de Ciel, Canada
Evil Twin, gypsy/New York
Le Trou du Diable, Canada
Magic Rock, UK
New Belgium, Colorado
Samuel Smith, U.K.
Sierra Nevada, California
Southern Tier, New York
St. Bernardus Brouwerij , Belgium
Stillwater Artisanal, gypsy/Maryland
The Bruery, California
To Øl, Denmark
Upright Brewing, Oregon
Westbrook Brewing, South Carolina