Beer 101: How to Ditch Basic Beer and Drink Local

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9 Louisiana Beers to Expand your Palate

By Matt Marsiglia, NOLA Brew Bus Founder
Updated, October 2, 2017

In case you have been living under a rock a lately, the New Orleans craft beer scene is burgeoning to new heights. This article is for anyone drinking the following beers:

  • Michelob Ultra
  • Bud Light, Miller Light, etc.
  • Yuengling
  • PBR
  • Miller High Life
  • I think you get the point

Local Craft Beer at Cooter Brown’s

I get it, a case of Keystone Light is cheap AF and hell, it tastes good too, right? But, the good news:

With just a slight upgrade in the budget, we’ll have your palate upgraded in no time. Don’t worry, there are no juicy hops or heavy stouts in this post. All light and refreshing.

For many Louisiana craft beer fans, some of the beers in this post are the ones that expanded his or her palate which helped create our awesome beer scene today. And, if you need an idea where to procure these delicious local beers, check out our Top 7 Places to Purchase Craft Beer in New Orleans.

Without further ado, here are nine Louisiana beers that are easy drinking, crisp, refreshing and pack way more flavor than your corporate big name Budweiser brands.

The List

Abita Brewing’s The Boot
4.8% ABV

Abita the boot a Louisiana Exclusive

Despite distribution to 46 states, Abita dubbed this beer a Louisiana Exclusive, and it has proven to be wildly popular. Released in late 2016, The Boot was a hit for its first Mardi Gras. Pickup a 6-pack for $7.99 at almost any local grocer or convenient store; a 12-pack in cans can be purchased for less than $15 in participating stores.

This beer is the perfect all-day drinker.

Wayward Owl Brewing’s The Grind
5.1% ABV

A post shared by NOLA Brew Bus (@nolabrewbus) on

The Grind is a delicious Oatmeal Coffee Brown Ale sitting at 5.1% ABV. Pictured here is actually the Barrel-Aged version with Coconut added which is one of the best beers I have tried. Pick this beer up at the source only and enjoy the subtle coffee hints in this easy drinking brown beer.

Urban South Brewery Charming Wit
4.9% ABV

urban south brewery

One of the hottest breweries in the state can do no wrong lately including one of their flagship beers, Charming Wit. This White Ale brewed in coriander and orange peel makes for the perfect crisp, after run beer. It’s light, refreshing and a great start to a hot weekend morning.

To really expand your palate, Costco in Mid-City has a 24-pack of Urban South beer for only $30.59. 8 Charming Wits, 8 Holy Roller IPAs, and 8 Coop’d Up Tart Ales. That’s a solid deal.

Courtyard Brewing’s See You in Mexico
4.4% ABV

see you in mexico NimbleBJak untappd (2)

Photo Credit: untapped user NimbleBJak

Aptly named as a light beer you would drink on vacation in Mexico, this year-round Wheat delivers. Courtyard also sells Plastic 32-ounce Growlers to-go–perfect for legally drinking your craft beer on the streets.

This is one of three beers on the list not available in 6-packs, but it’s worthy of a mention as this was an initial Courtyard flagship beer in 2014. Courtyard helped break the distribution barrier in the New Orleans market, and this light beer is still pouring strongly at the source.

NOLA Brewing’s Brown Ale
3.9% ABV

Nola Brewing's brown English mild ale New Orleans

One of the more underrated beers in the market is NOLA’s Brown English Mild Ale. This beer pours dark at 3.9% ABV and is full of flavor. From the website:

“This brewery favorite is a light-bodied, full flavored English dark mild ale with notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel and nuts. High malt flavor and low hops, this is a great session beer with a 3.9% ABV and smooth finish.”

We agree, this beer is tasty and has been around since 2008. Pick this one up at the source for only $8 for a 6-pack. Also available at your local grocer.

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Parish Brewing’s Canebrake
5% ABV

Parish Brewing's canebrake

In the fall of 2012, I was introduced to Canebrake, and I never looked back on craft beer.

This is an awesome introductory wheat beer for all new craft drinkers. This beer along with some super juicy IPAs has launched Parish into the 2nd most distributed brewery in the state behind Abita.

Available all over Louisiana and in almost every gas station for $8.99 a 6-pack. Pro-tip, try the Strawberry Canebrake for a slightly sweeter version but without the overwhelming taste of strawberry.

Brieux Carré Old Square
4.8% ABV

This strong bitter is a Brieux Carre classic and consistently on the taplines. Brieux Carre is one of the newer breweries to hit the city, and the first brewery to open in the Marigny neighborhood.

It’s tough to find a solid Strong Bitter beer style in the city, but Brieux Carre hit the nail on the head with this easy drinker.

If anything, it’s worthy of a visit just for the Frenchmen St. experience when the sun goes down.

Great Raft Brewing’s Southern Drawl
5% ABV

nola brew bus fridge

The new recipe of Southern Drawl in the Brew Bus Fridge

This year round beer was just given an overhaul by the Great Raft team from a Pale Lager to a Dry-Hopped Pilsner, and it came out great. From their press release, Putting the “Southern” in Southern Drawl:

“We don’t have a big marketing department telling us about trends and what beers we need to brew,” Nations muses. “I get to make decisions about what tastes good first. We know that the Pilsner will be an improvement, and we think the current Southern Drawl loyalists will enjoy the Pilsner even more.”

Pick-up your 6-pack for $8.99 almost anywhere in New Orleans.

Bayou Teche Brewing’s Ragin Cajun
5% ABV

Bayou Teche Brewing is one of the more mature breweries in the state opening in 2010, just the 6th brewery to open in Louisiana. This light Kolsch is great for a summer wind down. Bayou Teche agrees:

“Ragin’ CajunsTM Genuine Louisiana Ale embraces locally grown grain in its recipe for a flavorful lighter-bodied, dry, crisp, and snappy craft ale. It’s fermented and then aged at low temperatures for several weeks to help you quench the heat and humidity of South Louisiana.

This Kölsch-style ale is brewed with barley, rice and multiple additions of German-grown, noble hops to produce a magnificent balance of hop bitterness, taste and aroma.”

This one is available year round and at your local grocer.

Conclusion

As of August 2017, 35 breweries are now open in the state of Louisiana, and there’s plenty of phenomenal beer to try. Don’t get stuck at your next party with bad beer. Spend a couple of extra bucks and let your palate soar to new heights. Cheers!

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