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Oct 27, 201611:09 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Beer, Bratwurst and Veterans

This weekend I will be a judge at the We Heart Veterans Beer and Brat Off competition. There was a time when I would agree to do pretty much anything food-related. As I’ve grown older, and as I have accumulated children, I have learned how to say “no.”

But when I was approached for this event, I didn’t hesitate beyond making sure my calendar was clear. Almost everyone talks about gratitude for veterans. Even folks who oppose the missions on which our troops are sent generally support the troops themselves. I guess that’s because most people recognize that our security is only guaranteed by the sacrifices of young men and women who serve our country.

Two of the greatest lawyers I’ve ever encountered – and I’ve encountered a lot of great lawyers – were Dick and Bill Christovich. I met them as a child, in the 1970s, and I got to know them when I started practicing law in 1994. I had the privilege of watching Dick Christovich argue a number of cases and the privilege of assisting Bill in trial. They were smart, generous and tenacious advocates for their clients. They both epitomized what lawyers should be and were widely and rightly recognized for it. They were also both veterans of World War II.

Dick flew 35 missions in Europe as a navigator in B-17 bombers. He was a lieutenant in the 100th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, the “Bloody 100th.” He had a model B-17 in his office but otherwise didn’t talk about his experiences in the war. He preferred to discuss “war” stories from his legal practice.

Bill served as a radioman on board the USS Wingfield DE 194. Other than my father, I think Bill likely had the most influence on me as a lawyer. For years I began every argument before a Judge by saying, “If your Honor please…” as Bill would invariably, and it took me quite a while to realize I wasn’t pulling it off as Bill would, invariably.

I miss both of them a great deal.

So when I was asked to be a judge at a competition where I will eat bratwurst sausage and drink beer and the whole thing is to honor aging veterans? That is what we call a “no-brainer.”

So apart from the fact that we’ll be honoring veterans, what’s on tap? Well, the event takes place at Shelter No. 10 in Audubon Park, this Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $30, and you can purchase them in advance by following this link.


Nine “Fire Teams” are going to be competing, and there are some pretty heavy hitters in the mix; the brewer/chef pairings are:

Chafunkta Brewery and Chef Ryan Haigler

Old Rail Brewery and Chef Brett Monteleone

Abita Brewery and Chef Jeremy Wolgamott

Covington Brewery and Chef Robert Vasquez

Bayou Teche LA 31 Brewery and Chef Jeff Mattia

40 Arpent Brewery and Chef David Raines

NOLA Brewery and Chef Neil McClure 

Chappapeela Farms Brewery and Chef Tim Bordes

Mudbugs Brewery and Chef Brian Mottola


There are four categories: best pairing, best beer, best brat and a People’s Choice award. As I understand it, judging will begin fairly early, and the winners will be announced by 2 p.m. I could be mistaken about that, and even if that’s the plan, things can go pear-shaped, but regardless, I doubt they’ll run out of either beer or bratwurst before 5 p.m.

So if you are looking for an excuse to get out and start Oktober-festing things up, in a family-friendly setting (I swear to GOD I’ll behave myself), then this is a good bet, a good time and for a good cause.

A final note: I am aware that my great physical beauty combined with my eloquence and savoir faire can be intimidating. But you should not be intimidated by any of that; I mean, you should, but please come say hello to me anyway if you attend the event.



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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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