The local nonprofit Broad Community Connections wants to see more on Broad Street – more businesses, more renovated properties, more community resources and overall more people. At its annual Brewhaha this weekend, the group is using the appeal of a good New Orleans block party and the resurgent brewing tradition here to bringing all of that together.
Now in its third year, the Brewhaha, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will take over a stretch of Bayou Road just off of Broad. The “brew” in the name is a reference to two types of beverages that are big in New Orleans: beer and coffee.
The group points to the proximity of the old Dixie and Falstaff breweries off Broad Street as a sign of the area’s brewing heritage. And while it’s been a while since beer was produced at either of those iconic buildings, the Brewhaha will showcase the next generation of brewers who are making local and regional brands increasingly available around these parts.
Abita Brewing Co., by far the largest Louisiana brewery today, will be well represented at the event, as will NOLA Brewing, which returned commercial brewing to New Orleans proper when it opened in the Irish Channel in 2009.
Some newer and lesser-known breweries will be introducing themselves to folks at the Brewhaha too – namely Pelican Brewing Co., a new operation begun this year in Mandeville, and Mudbug Brewery of Thibodaux.
Tin Roof Brewing Co. of Baton Rouge will be pouring its products, as will Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. of nearby Kiln, Miss., just over the state line. That brings the number of confirmed breweries for the Brewhaha to eight and sets up a healthy sampling of the local commercial beer revival in one spot.
On the coffee side of the equation, the event honors the city’s long history as a hub for coffee bean imports and processing. The Brewhaha will feature local coffee shops, roasters and representatives from the Society of New Orleans Baristas, a group akin to a bartenders’ guild.
The 2500 block of Bayou Road will be closed to traffic and filled with booths and tables for food and drink, along with information on community resources and business opportunities. Musical performers scheduled for the day include the gospel-reggae-soul-funk fusion of Zion Trinity, jazz vocalist Sharon Martin and the J.D. Hill Blues Band. Between bands, the Bayou Road retailer Domino Sound Record Shack (2557 Bayou Road, 504-309-0871) will spin some rare vinyl on the turntables.
Look for food from restaurants along Bayou Road, Broad Street and elsewhere in Mid-City, including the Jamaican café Coco Hut (2515 Bayou Rd., 945-8788), McHardy's Fried Chicken & Fixin’s (1458 N. Broad St., 949-0000), the Buttermilk Drop Café & Bakery (1781 N. Dorgenois St., 252-4538) and Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. (4400 Banks St., 482-2426).
The Bayou Road site is a new location for the Brewhaha, which was previously held on the rooftop parking lot above a vacant supermarket property. That was a novel venue for the party, though it didn’t give it the best visibility to passersby. And passersby are something Broad Street does have in abundance, to the tune of between 25,000 and 30,000 motorists a day cruising this street that connects so many different parts of the city. That’s a potential Broad Community Connections is striving to tap to help make the corridor a place where more people go rather than just go through. This Saturday, the group is brewing up an appealing reason to stop and take a look around.
Nov. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
2500 Bayou Rd.