Wild Night of (Halloween) Hops
Louisiana breweries perfect for Halloween night
We are not going out on a limb here, but it’s safe to say that Halloween in New Orleans is not like the celebration anywhere else. We take this date seriously.
The surface frivolity that other places commemorate All Hallows’ Eve does not begin to describe the commitment to celebration and creative personal statements as done in New Orleans. On this night, maybe more so than other nights, you want to be here.
Sure, we will take the kiddos around the ‘hood for free sugar treats but then when their high wears off, in comes a babysitter and out go us. Many of us travel in ever-expanding concentric circles. First, we hit the neighborhood watering holes to lay a base, then out to a few bars in the area, and finally destinations in the French Quarter, the Faubourg Marigny or Oak Street. We will end up in places where there are lots of places.
Halloween brings out the best in New Orleanians. We love to party with a purpose, love to costume, and like to be around like-minded people who are having a good time with lowered inhibitions.
The celebration of Halloween pre-dates the arrival of Christianity for the Celts and Gaelic tribes. Originally, the festivities marked the end of the Harvest Season, but with the arrival of the Catholic Church, which tried to damp-down the debauchery, the opposite took hold. Tough to talk the Irish out of a big party.
So, off we go into the night, dressed in some level of who we would like to be, who we want to depict, or just something thrown together so we can rightfully take a place in the reveling. At this time, fitting in means outrageous.
Halloween is not a night for multi-ingredient cocktails, fine wines or dainty aperitifs. It’s a night just perfect for beer. Chill the stuff down. Open the can. Drink up. Simple and to the point. Easily portable. Not going to worry about tomorrow, we all say, even though we know it is coming quickly.
The joy of this simplistic drinking approach is that we are blessed with a whole truckload of locally produced beers and ales. Back in the good old days of beer production in our town, which occurred in the late 19th century and stayed vibrant all the way to Prohibition, there were no less than 30 breweries in New Orleans.
Most of those were of German heritage but backgrounds of founders and the resulting brewing recipes were pretty well spread across the international board.
Prohibition was not kind to the New Orleans beer industry and by the time our local breweries recovered larger breweries from bigger markets were off and running with well-funded marketing schemes and better distribution.
That “lock” on our market from large out of town companies was finally broken, somewhat, with an update of Louisiana laws and also thanks to locals subsequently willing to make investments into this industry. Even Shreveport, once known as the “Milwaukee of the South,” jumped back into beer production in a big way.
Today, craft beers and brands in general distribution regionally are carrying the flag of New Orleans and Louisiana origins, and we can enjoy a wide range of fine products that have not traveled far.
A special hug and thanks to Nora McGunnigle, The Journey Well Written, for this up to date list of Louisiana breweries. You will note that Dixie Brewing is not on the list because they are not officially home yet. January 2020 is the target date for the new brewery to begin full operation and we will be proud to once again have Dixie on the list of Louisiana home-brewed beers.
Abita, Abita Springs, opened in 1986
Crescent City Brewhouse (brewpub), New Orleans, opened in 1991
Gordon Biersch (brewpub) (chain), New Orleans, opened in 2004
NOLA Brewing, New Orleans, opened in 2009
Bayou Teche, Arnaudville, opened in March 2010
Parish Brewing, Broussard, opened in July 2010
Tin Roof, Baton Rouge, opened in November 2010
Chafunkta, Mandeville, opened in March 2013
Old Rail Brewing Company (brewpub), Mandeville, opened July 2013
Red River, Shreveport, opened September 2013
Great Raft, Shreveport, opened October 2013
Gnarly Barley, Hammond, opened May 2014
Courtyard Brewery, New Orleans, opened October 2014
Mudbug, Thibodaux, opened December 2014
Broken Wheel, Marksville (Central LA), opened January 2015
Flying Heart, Bossier, opened April 2015
Second Line, New Orleans, opened August 2015
Ouachita Brewing Company, West Monroe, opened December 2015
Urban South Brewing, New Orleans, opened March 2016
Southern Craft Brewing Co., Baton Rouge, opened April 2016
Crying Eagle Brewing Co., Lake Charles, opened May 2016
Flying Tiger Brewery, Monroe, opened October 2016
Spigots Brewpub, Houma, opened February 2017
Brieux Carre, New Orleans, opened March 2017
Low Road Brewing, Hammond, opened March 2017
Parleaux Beer Lab, New Orleans, opened March 2017
Royal Brewery, New Orleans, opened March 2017
Port Orleans Brewing Co., New Orleans, opened March 2017
Broad Street Cider & Ale, New Orleans, opened July 2017 (not technically a brewery, it’s a cidery, but I’ll allow it on the list.)
Utility Brewing, Ruston, opened November 2017
Twenty 8 West Brewing, Alexandria, opened February 2018
Huckleberry Brewing Company, Alexandria, opened June 2018
Miel Brewery and Taproom, New Orleans, opened October 2018
Cane River Brewing, Natchitoches, opened November 2018
Pidgin Town Brewing at Ale on Oak, New Orleans, opened January 2019
Zony Mash Beer Project, New Orleans, opened September 2019
Gilla Brewing Company, Gonzales, opened October 2019
So, make it easy on yourself this Halloween and going forward. Reach for a can or a frosty mug of draft of something straightforward with hops and grain, and local.
Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com on Thursdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.