Monday, May 31, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The city of New Orleans is known for a lot of things. Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street and the beignet. One thing New Orleans isn't really known for is its breweries. In fact, there is only one brewery in the city of New Orleans, my old employer NOLA Brewing. For a town known for its drinking this is staggering. In fact Louisiana ranks 50th out of 51(they counted D.C.)in breweries per capita according to the Brewers Association in its 2008 census.
It wasn't always that way here in the Crescent City though. At one time New Orleans had over 30 breweries and was known as the beer capital of the entire South. Here is a brief history of the brewing tradition we once had in New Orleans.
New Orleans Brewing: The Beginning
Louis Fasnacht arrived in New Orleans in 1846 from Switzerland and started a catering business. He noticed with the large influx of German immigrants that peoples drinking patterns changed to favoring beer. So in 1852 he partnered with his brother Samuel to produce New Orleans first brewery located on Poeyfarre St. where The Cotton Mill apartments now stands. He sold the Brewery in 1865 to Erath and Company Brewery. I couldn't find any information on Erath and Company Brewery.
George Merz Brewery
In 1869 George Merz imports a small machine from inventor Charles Tellier and erects it in his plant. This machine produces cold dry air and allows the making of ales and lagers without using ice. It is the 1st installation of a refrigerating machine in the US.
Breweries After the Civil War
Goerge Merz Brewery*
Pioneer Merz Brewery*
Southern Brewing Company*
Crescent City Brewing*
New Orleans Brewing Company
George Auer Brewing
* These breweries combined to form New Orleans Brewing Company
Prohibition: The Death of local breweries
Then in 1920 that wonderful "noble experiment" known as Prohibition began and we entered into a 13 year period during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption were banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This destroyed most of the breweries in the country and also in New Orleans. Some got by making "near beer" or malt based products but it signified the end for many especially the smaller, regional breweries. The ones to survive Prohibition here in New Orleans were the most notable and larger breweries like Dixie and Jax. National Brewing Company which was located on Gravier St survived but was purchased by Falstaff in 1936.
Here are some brief facts and time-lines for those 3 breweries:
Everybody knows where Jax Brewery is located. Jax Brewery is no longer a brewery but rather a shopping center. Something cool to note though is if you visit the top floor they still have a section with a beautiful stained glass Jax Brewery window with some cool Jax Brewery memorabilia on display. The name Jax was actually owned by a brewery in Jacksonville, Florida but in 1956 Jackson Brewery bought the copyright to Jax Beer. Here is a brief time-line for Jax:
1890- Jackson Brewery founded and named after Jackson Square and its namesake Andrew Jackson.
It was at one time the largest independent brewery in the South and 10th largest single plant brewery in the country.
1956- Jackson Brewery buys Jax Beer copyright from Jax Brewery in Jacksonvlle, Florida.
1974- another victim of the beer wars Jax is purchased by Pearl Brewing in Texas and closed.
Unless you live in a bubble you know of the Falstaff Brewery here in New Orleans. How could you not see the huge tower on top of the building. That tower was a 125 ft weather forecasting marvel. Added in 1952 it would spell out the word "Falstaff" and the ball on top would change different colors depending on the weather. Even the Falstaff letters could tell you what was going on with the weather. If they lit from bottom to top the temperature was rising. If they lit from top to bottom the temperature was falling. Pretty cool huh? The building is currently apartments but you can still see King Gambrinus on top and they've restored the Falstaff sign as well. As per a source the weather beacon is due to receive a makeover and will be functioning again. Here is a brief time-line for Falstaff:
1936- Falstaff purchases National Brewing Co. for $543,700.
1937- Falstaff sends barges of beer to New Orleans and sells it below cost to create market for Falstaff.
1945- Due to huge sales Falstaff needs to expand. They add a new bottle shop, office, stock house and two new warehouses.
1947- Falstaff cannot keep up with demand so they add an eight story addition which contains two extra bottling lines, storage space and additional cooling filtration and aging equipment.
1978- after lengthy strike Falstaff closes in December. They are one of the many losers in the beer wars of the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Today- The Falstaff Brewery is now being turned into an apartment complex.
1907- Founded by Valentine Merz
During Prohibition they became Dixie Beverage Company
Dixie produced beer for stores such as Fischers, Krewes, K & B, Schwegmanns and Time Saver
1975- demand for Dixie fell when fumes from a chemical being used to clean the floors taints beer.
1990- Blackened Voodoo helps revive Dixie Brewery
2005- Hurricane Katrina hits. Dixie is now being contract brewed by Minhas Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin with plans to return to New Orleans unknown.
Beer Wars 1947-1973
Considered the 2nd wave of beer wars the time period of 1947-1973 saw most regional breweries disappear and the “super” regional breweries and large breweries like Pabst, Schlitz and Budweiser dominated. TV advertising played the biggest part in terms of who “won” the beer wars during this time period. Those with the most money had the most advertising which equaled the most sales. Jax closes in 1974 and
Falstaff closes in 1978. Dixie however remains open until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Beer wars are still going on to this day with the big three Bud, Miller and Coors dominating the landscape. For example Anheuser Busch’s ad budget for 2005 was $370.2 million.
New Orleans Breweries Today
Once a city with a rich brewing tradition New Orleans is now home to one actual brewery, NOLA Brewing Company. Current laws in place here in Louisiana make it very difficult to open a brewery. Dixie is being contract brewed in Wisconsin. As of today there is no date as to when it will return home. New Orleans does have two brewpubs which are only allowed to sell their beer on premise. They are Crescent City Brewhouse and Gordon Biersch which is a chain brewpub.
The Beer Buddha
Thursday, May 20, 2010
As you know, or should know, American Craft Beer Week is going on throughout the nation. I previously posted the events taking place in New Orleans and just want to send out a reminder. If you are going to any event this week it is my recommendation that you DO NOT miss the Saturday event at Avenue Pub. Here are some details I think you'll enjoy:
Where: Avenue Pub
When: May 22nd starts at 1pm
What: American Craft Beer Week
How Much: $20
Details: For $20 you get 12 4oz pours! If you bring a receipt from another ACBW event in the city you will get an extra 4oz pour of your choice.(Limit 3 receipts and Avenue Pub will be keeping those receipts so don't get attached)
What's to Drink:
CASK CONDITIONED BEERS
Rogue English Bitter
He'Brew Lenny RIPA aged in Sazerac barrels
Bayou Teche Bouchanee(Smoked Hefe)
Lazy Magnolia Vanilla Bean Stout
NOLA Hurricane Saison
* indicates beer is making its Louisiana premiere
+ indicates beer is making its draft premiere (previously only available in bottles in this state)
*Harpoon Leviathan Series Big Bohemian Pilsner
*Rogue Double Mocha Porter
*Rogue John John Juniper Pale Ale aged in Gin Barrels
*Rogue Mogul Madness
+Northcoast Blue Star Wheat
+Northcoast Scrimshaw Pilsner
+Rogue Brutal IPA
+Unibroue Chambly Noire Black Belgian Ale
+Unibroue La Terrible Barley Wine
+Unibroue Trois Pistoles Strong Belgian Ale
Abita Select Imperial Pilsner
Bayou Teche LA 31
Bear Republic Racer 5
Coney Island White Albino Python (with Ginger)
Gordon Biersch Marzen or Czech Pilsner
Gordon Biersch Summerbrau or Heffe
Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Sweet Potato Stout on Nitro
Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan
Northcoast Red Seal
Rogue Shakespeare Stout on Nitro
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
Stone Smoked Porter
Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA
Unibroue Apple Éphémère
Unibroue Blanc De Chambly
Ok, so you can pick your jaw up off the floor now. Now you see why I recommend this event! Hopefully I'll see you there. I'll only be there for an hour since I'm celebrating my anniversary that night with the wife!
The Beer Buddha
***EDIT*** This just in from Avenue Pub!
Additonal Specialty beers on tap or cask for Craft beer Day! ( full bottle, draft & cask list attached)
Abita Has Kegged just 1 keg of their Bottle only Summer Seasonal Satsuma Wit. The recipe has been tweaked and it will be available ONLY on Saturday. We have promised Abita to Stop serving it after the event closes. The bottle roll out on this beer will be in early June.
Rogue Chipolte Ale( on tap now)
Rogue I2pa( will replace Rogue Brutal Bitter when it blows)
Rogue American Amber ( will replace Mogul Madness when it blows)
Northcoast Old Stock Ale
We are experimenting with infusions now. On the balcony you will be able to try Abita Satsuma and NOLA BLonde that has been infused at the bar with Citra Hops.
Back on Tap for Saturday's event:
Brooklyner Weiss, Brooklyn Summer, Brooklyn EIPA, Brooklyn Blast, Rogue John John Juniper Pale Ale in gin barrells, Rogue Double Mocha Porter, Rogue Mogul Madness, Coney Island White Albino Python( I call it poor man's Hitochino), Rogue Brutal Bitter, 7 cask conditioned ales will be tapped throughout the day.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Once again the fine folks over at WYES will be throwing 2 days worth of beer bacchanalia. On Friday June 4th you get the 2nd annual and extremely popular Private Beer Sampling which will again be held at NOLA Brewing. If you missed this last year my recommendation would be to buy tickets right now. No, seriously, take a break from reading this and go buy tickets. Last I heard they've already sold 50 tickets and only have 250 tickets total. It was an incredible event that should not be missed.
On June 5th you get another day to experience more beer. Yes, I did say two days worth of events. Last year was wild and based on the meeting I attended I think this year will be even better! Once again the event will be held at the Lakefront Arena. See below for the ticket giveaway.
BONUS NEWS: Both events will be 3 hours long!!! This mean you have 3 hours to sample so take your time and actually sample not get hammered.
Here is the actual press release:
WYES PRESENTS TWO DAYS OF BEER, BEER AND MORE BEER!
New Orleans, LA - May 13, 2010 - Join WYES along with local and national beer distributors for a weekend of beer tasting. On Friday, June 4, 2010 from 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at NOLA Brewing, 3001 Tchoupitoulas Street, enjoy a relaxed evening of beer tasting with a limited number of guests during the WYES PRIVATE BEER SAMPLING. In honor of the craft of American and European brewers, this event will feature the hardest to find craft brewed beers, specially made cask and home brewed beers, as well as special one-off beers from local breweries. Guests will be able to talk one-on-one with brewers, home brewers, and other beer industry members, as well as talk amongst fellow beer connoisseurs. Tasting tickets are $50 which also includes lip-smacking food by Crescent Pie and Sausage. Also, the President and staff of NOLA Brewing will be available to meet and greet, as well as answer any questions guests may have. Tickets to Friday’s event can only be purchased by calling (504) 486-5511.
If you’re thirsty for cold beer and plenty of it, then don’t miss the 27th annual WYES INTERNATIONAL BEER TASTING Saturday, June 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - YES, we’ve extended the event a whole hour - at the Lakefront Arena. Enjoy over 200 beers, ales, lagers, home brews and more from Brewstock, Crescent Crown, Crescent City Brew House, Deutsches Haus, Glazer's, Heiner Brau, Hoppy Homebrewers of South MS, LA Lagers Homebrewing Club, Mystic Krewe of Brew, Perdido Vineyards Farm Cider and Ale, Redstick Brewmasters, Lazy Magnolia and Tin Roof Brewing Company. For a list of all brews you’ll be tasting, visit wyes.org. While sampling beer, attendees can nibble on some tasty food - Saints burgers by Thompson Packers, Inc., Saundus Sauce and Zapp’s Potato Chips. Also, enjoy performances by Rocky’s Hot Fox Trot Orchestra, the New Orleans Ragtime & Dixieland Band and the Kilts of Many Colours Bagpipe Band.
All attendees must be at least 21-years-old. WYES encourages everyone to please drink responsibly. Let United Cab get you to and from our beer events. Reserve a cab today by calling (504) 522-9771 or (504) 524-9606.
All proceeds from the WYES PRIVATE BEER SAMPLING and the WYES INT’L BEER TASTING benefit WYES. We appreciate your support!
WYES SALUTES THE 2010 BEER SPONSORS: NOLA.COM, COX Media, Mudbug Media, Zapp's Potato Chips and ARTS New Orleans
And on that note it's time for something never done on The Beer Buddha. I will be giving away two tickets to the Saturday June 5th event. That's right two tickets(valued at $70) courtesy of WYES. Here are the rules:
1) Obviously you must be 21. Don't be a dumb ass.
2) You must be a Beer Buddha subscriber via email or follower of The Beer Beer via Google Friend connect. Both of these you can sign up for on The Beer Buddha page. Comment on this blog post when you have signed up for one or the other.
3) You must attend one event during American Craft Beer Week 2010 and provide proof such as a receipt or something. Hell, a cell phone pic of you at the event is fine. Here is a list of events. I recommend the Saturday the 22nd event at Avenue Pub but that's just me. Any of the listed events will do. Proof will need to be provided at Avenue Pub on the night of the ticket giveaway.
4) You must write a minimum of one paragraph giving me a good reason why I should give you the two tickets. The more creative the story the better chance of winning. I tend to like funny and off the wall stuff. Just a hint. Email your entry to email@example.com.
5) The tickets will be given away at The Avenue Pub on Friday May 28th at 8:00 pm(CST). In order to get the free tickets you must be at Avenue Pub on that day and at that time. If you are not there to accept the tickets they will go to someone else.
6) IMPORTANT EDIT!!! All entries must be in by no later than Thursday May 27th 11:59pm CST.
THE DISCLAIMER: This contest is for two tickets to the Saturday June 5th, 2010 WYES International Beer Tasting which will be held from 6pm-9pm. The winner is responsible for finding their own transportation to and from the event. The winner understands that The Beer Buddha(aka Jeremy Labadie) is not responsible for their dumb ass if they get drunk and choke on their own vomit, drink or drive, get arrested etc. The winner is solely responsible once they accept the tickets. The Beer Buddha always recommends that you be responsible when drinking any alcoholic beverage and always get a designated driver when drinking. And if you aren't 21 you aren't getting the tickets! The Beer Buddha reserves the right to add anything to the contest if he feels like it. It's his website so of course he can.
The Beer Buddha
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Ok, so I have to confess something here on this blog. I have a dirty little secret. I occasionally enjoy American-style lagers. There I said it. Let's see how long it takes for people to stop reading The Beer Buddha. That's ok though because from the very beginning my goal was to take the snobbery out of beer.
There are many times(especially when I'm low on cash)you'll see me drinking a PBR or some other cheap macro lager and I'm honestly not embarrassed. There is always a time and place for every beer. Sometimes when you're out grilling or have the ribs on the BBQ(there is a difference between grilling and BBQ)it's so hot outside you want a beer that is light, crisp, clean and refreshing. Sorry to all you beer snobs but a double IPA just isn't gonna cut it for me. And come on if you're throwing a party with 50+ of your closest friends you want something tasty yet relatively cheap right? An $18 6 pack just isn't going to work. This is where the America-style lager comes in to play. You know what I'm talking about: Budweiser, Miller, Coors, PBR, etc. The following is my top 5 list of best American-style lagers available on the market:
1) PBR- Yeah I know all the hipsters love it but it really isn't that bad. It has a nice maltiness to it with a slight grassiness from the very little hops added. Very crisp, clean and refreshing beer.
2) Miller High Life- Again this one is a crisp, clean and refreshing brew with sweet maltiness and actually almost zero hop taste present. I would avoid the 6 packs and try cans or 12 packs since this bottle comes in the clear bottle.
3) Pacifico- Not only do these guys have a cool surfer vibe marketing campaign going on but Pacifico in my book is the best Mexican offering available. And yes I know this isn't an American beer. Remember I said American-style lager. Seriously though try it.
4) Red Stripe- HOORAY BEER! I love these guys marketing as well but the beer is great too. This Jamaican classic has a nice sweet maltiness with a slight citrus hop flavor. And how can you not love the little stubby bottles they come in.
5) Lone Star- Started by Adolphus Busch(yes, that Adolphus Busch) and some San Antonio business men Lone Star has been around and kicking since 1884. I prefer this one out of the can but like all the others on this list it is a crisp, clean and refreshing brew. Oh and a buddy of mine picked up a 6 pack of 16oz cans for me in Texas for $5.59. Not bad.
Hope you enjoyed the list and if you have any beers to add please feel free to let me know via the comment section!
The Beer Buddha
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Behind every beer fanatical husband and dad is a woman who has to deal with all the crap. This Mother's Day I want to thank my wife who is the mother to my little girl, Evangeline. Without my wife The Beer Buddha wouldn't be possible. Here is a list of the top 10 beer related things my wife puts up with on a regular basis:
1) Me always on Beeradvocate.com.
2) Me always messing around on www.thebeerbuddha.com.
3) Me always saying, "Honey, I have to get that beer so I can review it on my website."
4) Me always planning beer trips for our vacation. I can always find something beer related no matter where we go. And also letting me buy tons of beer to bring back home.
5) Me always spending my Friday nights down at Avenue Pub. And she never complains.
6) Always letting me go to Beeradvocate events. And helping out when she is there.
7) Being my designated driver. ALL the time. She doesn't drink so of course she'll always be the DD.
8) Allowing me to follow my dream even when it changes or I get laid off or it doesn't pay a lot.
9) Allowing me to buy 5 different beer magazines in order for me to do "research". Let's see there is Beer Magazine(my personal favorite), Beeradvocate Magazine, Draft Magazine, All About Beer Magazine and Zymurgy Magazine.
10) Always trying every beer that I try even though she doesn't like the taste of beer.
So there you have it people. Make sure this Mother's Day you are thanking the mother of your child who is letting you get your beer on. Oh and of course I can't forget to say Happy Mother's Day to my mom. Without her giving birth to me The Beer Buddha wouldn't even be alive. So Mom, thanks for getting drunk and conceiving me.
The Beer Buddha
PS I really don't think my mom was drunk but she could have been.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I spent a lot of my beginning beer drinking years imbibing in a local Irish bar here in New Orleans called O'Flaherty's Irish Pub. To me there was nothing better than knocking back some Guinness and Bushmills. In fact, I remember my then girlfriend and now wife first told me that she loved me while I was drinking a pint and enjoying some Irish tunes right there at O'Flaherty's. How could I not marry her. I told you, my life has always been about the beer.
Anyways, O'Flaherty's is no longer around and I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a pint of Guinness or consumed any Irish beer for that matter. Until last Friday. I received an email a couple weeks earlier from a Brian Smith who represents Irish based brewer Strangford Lough Brewing Co here in the Southeast. He wanted me to sample them and write up a little review for them so of course I jumped at the chance. It's free beer, who wouldn't. So after a first attempt at trying that resulted in us receiving bad samples a bunch of us were able to sample them again this past Friday night.
The beers we sampled that night were Legbiter and St. Patricks Best Ale. I have to admit they were pretty good. Very sessionable and flavorful beers. The way the company operates is a bit unique. They create the wort there in Ireland and then pull out the water to create a malt extract which they then ship here into the US. From there they have US breweries which take the concentrate and ferment it resulting in their beer. Don't ask me that was just what I gathered from the conversation that we had at the pub that night with Brian. What I did understand was that they can avoid alcohol taxes by shipping the malt extract which contains no alcohol. Pretty smart.
Anyways, be on the lookout for these beers in your local bars and stores. Rumor has it that they are looking for a brewery here locally in Louisiana in order to brew(ferment?) the beers for them!
The Beer Buddha
PS I have no link to the Strangford Lough website because it wasn't working.