Port Orleans Brewing Company (4124 Tchoupitoulas St.; www.portorleansbrewingco.com) has filled all of the brewery's fermenters, and the taproom's soft opening is May 9. The taproom kitchen also opens May 9 and features a beer-focused menu created by chef Phillip Mariano (formerly of Domenica and Josephine Estelle) and Jeremy Wolgamott (formerly of High Hat Cafe). There will be a grand opening event later in May.
Head brewer Brian Allen will offer three beers to start: Riverfront Lager, Storyville IPA and Slackwater Brown Ale.
• The Freret Beer Room (5018 Freret St., 504-298-7468; www.freretbeerroom.com) has added lunch and brunch service. Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the menu will change seasonally. The first brunch menu includes a chicken biscuit, boudin Benedict, and grillades and grits. During brunch, select beers are half price, and bloody marys, mimosas and screwdrivers cost $5.
Freret Beer Room's lunch menu is the same as the dinner menu, and service is offered beginning at 11:30 a.m. through dinner on Mondays and Wednesdays through Fridays. The restaurant serves French Truck coffee and offers free Wi-Fi.
• Two upcoming beer and home-brew festivals have been announced. The sixth annual Larry Hartzog's Twisted Beer Fest (www.mellowbrewfest.com/registration) is June 24 and has moved indoors at the Castine Center in Mandeville's Pelican Park. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds support the St. Tammany Humane Society.
The second Nottoway Beer Fest: Toast Under the Oaks (www.nottowaybeerfest.com) beer festival and home-brewing competition is July 8. The event is on the grounds of Nottoway Plantation and Resort in White Castle. Festival proceeds benefit the Gateway Transition Center, which supports people with autism.