Louisiana Hops among Nation’s Finest

Louisiana IPAs

19 Louisiana Hoppy Beers You Will Love

By Matt Marsiglia, NOLA Brew Bus Founder
August 8, 2017

“Doesn’t anyone have jobs around here?” joked Matt Naquin while broadcasting live on Parish Brewing’s Instagram account.

The crowd of 150+ laughed while they all waiting patiently for the latest DIPA release from the elusive brewery tucked away in Broussard, LA nestled 2.5 hours east of New Orleans. That Friday at 1:30 pm the beer sold out in less than 2 hours!

Parish Brewing started the Louisiana IPA craze back in 2014 with the release of their famous Double Indian Pale Ale (DIPA) Ghost in the Machine.

At that point in time, Louisiana was home to only 17 breweries.

Even more hard to believe: New Orleans, the drinking capital of America offered only one local brewery NOLA Brewing. Now, somehow, with just a mere fraction of total breweries per capita, we are still brewing some of the best hoppy beers in the entire country.

Check out the insane state below:

states brewery by population

Louisiana ranks next to dead last in breweries per person. While Louisiana alone is slacking, New Orleans jumpstarted the craft brew buzz with 6 breweries opening between December 2016 and June 2017.

The emergence of these new breweries coupled with more mature breweries tinkering already awesome recipes developed a unique underrated beer scene in south Louisiana.

Fast forward to 2017, and suddenly, New Orleans and Louisiana are starting to brew IPAs like the rest of America.

Did you know that 34.3% of all craft beer brewed in 2016 were hoppy beers (IPA & Pale Ale category)?

craft beer share by style

That’s right, and now, South Louisiana alone has seen the release of some phenomenal IPAs in addition to the already great ones released.

Louisiana is known for its passionate citizens (LSU football & Saints fans particularly), but this also stands true to the craft beer scene that has developed in the Big Easy.

Louisiana Ranked 14th Best State for IPAs

Despite being a bottom-tier producer of craft beer from a volume perspective, that has not stopped Louisiana from brewing with the elites of American craft beer.

Here’s the data to from BeerAdvocate ratings:

Our friends Matthew W. and Fabian D. from the Louisiana Facebook Group Church of the Sacred Brew took the top 10 IPAs from every state, then multiplied each IPA out weighting the top beer with a 10x multiple and down the line.

For example, Beer Advocate ranks the beers on a scale of 1 to 5. The number one ranked beer in Louisiana is Parish Ghost in the Machine which received a score of 4.46.

Now multiply the score by 10 and for a final score of 44.6 The second highest rated beer is Parish Double Dry Hopped Envie at 4.45. That number two ranked beer would be multipled by 9 to give it a final score of 40.05. And, so on.

Once the top 10 beers were compiled, they were added up to develop a final ranking.

This ensures that the states with the most elite beers were ranked higher than states with just a handful of above average beers. Here’s how the top 15 played out:

  • Massachusettes
  • Vermont
  • New York
  • Iowa
  • California
  • Virginia
  • Maine
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Connecticut
  • Oregon
  • Pennslyvania
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina

Now, ratings are always subjective. We get it. So, we threw some common sense into the mix and ranked the top 10 breweries in the country based on the largest category of craft beer sales (hoppy beers). But, this blog post is all about Louisiana, so let’s get back to the subject matter at hand.

Without further ado, here’s our recommendation of must-try IPAs in Louisiana.

The List

Parish Brewing

Broussard, LA
Parish Brewing IPAs

This is what it looks like after the annual Parish Grand Reserve Day

Parish Brewing has firmly established itself as the best brewery in Louisiana arguably in the entire Gulf Coast. They single-handedly started the #hazy IPA scene in Louisiana.

Check out this list of hazy east coast juice bombs that Parish consistently releases:

  • Ghost in the Machine
  • Envie
  • Double Dry Hopped Envie (multiple hop variations)
  • Opus Vert
  • Double Dry Hopped Opus Vert
  • 4XDHH
  • Bloom

You can’t really go wrong with drinking any IPA these guys brew.

For the sake of simplicity, we will include just 3 Parish IPAs in our list of must-trys even though all of them are worthy.

Ghost in the Machine
Style: Double IPA

Arguably one of the most sought after beers in the South. Ranking in an elite 98 score on Beer Advocate, beer lovers from all across the country are trying to find this one in a bottle. The long line at the remotely located brewery we described earlier has already happened three times in 2017 for this beer.

Luckily for the craft beer lover or one curious what all this hype is about, Parish announced last month that 2017 would be the “Summer of Ghost.”

And, they were not lying. What was a brewery-only-sold-out-in-2-hours release this spring, almost every grocery store in south Louisiana has a few cases of Ghost laying around.

Take advantage of the situation and grab a 4-pack! In the meantime, here’s how the #brewbusdog, Ginga, feels about the beer:

Bloom
Style: American IPA

7 months after last year’s batch at the annual Parish Grand Reserve Day in November 2016, we finally tasted the Bloom. This American IPA retained an awesome nose and bursted with floral hops. This beer is a seasonal release so keep this one on your radar.

Envie
Style: Pale Ale

Technically, it’s Envie 3.0, meaning it’s the third recipe that Parish owner Andrew Godley tinkered with before finalizing the beer. It was well worth the tinkering.

This everyday drinker is loaded with hops and drinks more like an IPA than it does a Pale Ale. This beer is a staple among most Louisiana craft beer lovers’ fridge.

NOLA Brewing

New Orleans, LA

NOLA Brewing in New Orleans, LA

New Orleans longest standing brewery opened in 2008 and held a monopoly until 2014 when Courtyard opened their doors. NOLA Hopitoulas was the only IPA you could drink in New Orleans for years along with Abita’s Jockimo.

In 2017, NOLA got creative with their IPAs by releasing the “00 series”, and they have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

001 – 007 IPA Series
Style: American IPA

Thus far, NOLA has released 7 batches of the 00 Series beer in which all 7 have been great. Our favorites were batch 004 and the current 007 batch brewed with Mosaic & Citra hops.

These beers are brewery only releases, but we recommend ordering a Crowler To-Go when these go on tap. They usually sellout of the beer with more demand still on the table.

NOLA Syncopation
Style: American IPA


What we thought would be a culmination of all the 00 series efforts turned into the opposite: a really solid West Coast IPA with Batch 001. The 00 series focus was citra hops with a more New England style beer, whereas, the Syncopation’s strong hop profile, color, and well-balanced malt backbone suggest West Coast all day.

However, Batch 002 proved to be better than the original Syncopation after it was double dry hopped with Galaxy Hops. We will see how this recipe evolves over time, but it’s worth a purchase.

We hear the second IPA release may be more of the 00 series which is expected to be called Hoppyright Infringement, pending FDA approval. Either way, the 00 series is going to continue to expand as well as future IPA cannings from NOLA.

Great Raft Brewing

Shreveport, LA

Thrillist ranked every state’s best brewery, and Great Raft won that award. In addition to some great hops, Great Raft also brews excellent sours as they swept the Sour Category in our Louisiana 2016 Best of Craft Beer blog post. Alas, let’s check out these hops.

Grace & Grit
Style: Double IPA

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Great Raft has been putting out this beer for over 4 years now. A seasonal release, the recipe has been tweaked over time and has generated enough credibility to be considered a top tier Louisiana beer regardless of style.

This beer is full of citra hop flavor and is extremely well-balanced with a strong flavorful nose. Based on Great’s Raft’s latest release, the recipe is still being slightly tweaked. From Co-Owner Lindsay Nations:

“Historically, Grace and Grit has been a Citra-dominated beer. While we still use plenty of Citra, over 2lbs per bbl in fact, we wanted to layer in Amarillo to provide a depth of bitterness and aroma and not just a straight citrus bomb. The result is one of the most complex IPAs we have ever brewed and are pumped to share it with everyone.” 

Pickup this 4-pack every 3 to 6 months at your local grocer.

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Where to Purchase Craft Beer in New Orleans

Double Dry-Hopped Commotion
Style: Pale Ale

Great Raft Commotion

Commotion is a great pool beer.

Commotion was Great Raft’s OG hoppy beer released in early 2013. This everyday drinker is phenomenal and can be purchased in 6-packs year around. The beer is canned so it’s perfect for a New Orleans stroll in the heat or lounging poolside.

However, even tastier is the Double Dry Hopped version. For the first time this summer, this beer was canned and available in draft.

Commotion is also a mainstay in many dive bars in New Orleans.

Urban South Brewery

New Orleans, LA

Urban South has the perfect brewery starter kit: large warehouse space, picnic tables, cornhole, crowler machine, bearded bartenders, and of course, great beer. They opened just over a year ago in March of 2016 with just two beers: Charming Wit & Holy Roller IPA.

Holy Roller has quietly become the most distributed craft beer in the entire city and now Urban South has just hit the untapped Baton Rouge market.

This has made Urban South one of the hottest breweries in Louisiana right now. Our bachelor parties love it when we take them here.

NOLA Brew Bus Brewery Tour at Urban South Brewery

A NOLA Brew Bus Bachelor Party Tour at Urban South

As far as IPAs are concerned, they have got you covered across the board. Let’s take a deep-dive.

Grapefruit IPA
Style: American IPA

The Grapefruit IPA is the better rendition of the brewery’s flagship beer, Holy Roller. The Holy Roller recipe itself has been slightly tweaked over time and is drinking as good as ever today.

This version of the beer is loaded with hints of grapefruit without any of the bitterness that comes with a grapefruit. It’s delicious.

Modillion
Style: Double Dry Hopped American IPA

Modillion is part of Urban South’s newest Architect Series, one IPA flavor per quarter to highlight more powerful flavors in their beer. And, Modillion lives up to the hype.

From Urban South, “Modillion Double Dry Hopped IPA is packed with some of the juiciest and most popular hops in the world – Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Simcoe. The malt bill is simple, designed to allow the hops to really shine.”

We agree this hazy juicy IPA is an awesome edition to the Architect Series which also includes Finial Double IPA & Quatrefoil, a unique sour IPA that has more tartness than hops but still packs in the flavor.

Gnarly Barley Brewing

Hammond, LA

Located one-hour north of New Orleans, Gnarley Barley is making waves as the next top brewery in the state.

The local south Louisiana Facebook group, Church of the Sacred Brew (currently with over 1,800 members), ranked Gnarly Barley as the third best brewery in Louisiana behind Parish #1 and Great Raft #2.

The Peanut Butter Korova Porter is a #brewbus favorite, but their IPA game was taken to the next level with their rendition of a New England style Hazy IPA, Jucifer.

Jucifer
Style: American IPA

jucifer gnarly barley

Jucifer on tap at 13 off Frenchmen St.

Jucifer was released in the spring of 2017 with much hype. And the beer certainly delivered. As far as hazy NE style IPAs are concerned, this hits the nail on the head on everything you expect including our favorite part of the beer: the occasional yeast strains at the bottom of the glass.

The best part is this beer will be made with year-round availability. With this announcement, did Jucifer change the paradigm of Hazy IPAs in Louisiana?

In most states, the elite IPAs are long waits and make for expensive trade bait. In some cases, one may pay as much in shipping the beer as they did for the actual beer itself. Parish Brewing just went through three sold-out brewery only releases of Ghost while they stockpiled Strawberry Canebrake & Canebrake, another top seller for the brand.

As soon as Jucifer went with year-round availability, the demand for the beer far exceeded supply, and they quickly ran out. Since that time, they have not only added a new fermenter, but Parish also released Ghost in mass production. Never in the history of Ghost has it been available on the shelf counter space in multiple grocery stores for more than 1 or 2 days at a time.

Most of the time, this beer is a behind the counter, 1-pack limit type. Time will tell, but the Hop scene in Louisiana is certainly underrated at this time with all the amazing beer just sitting on the shelf.

Brightside IPA
Style: American IPA

Brightside IPA by Gnarly Barley in Hammond, LA

Brightside IPA was released pre-Jucifer and also sold-out almost immediately from all south Louisiana grocery stores. Now that Jucifer has taken over all the hype, Brightside can be found on shelves for more than just a couple of days. This hazy IPA is bright and full of citra hops including cascade, citra, amarillo, & galaxy.

For your beer education, check out Wikipedia’s list of hop varieties and descriptions.

Courtyard Brewing

New Orleans, LA

Scott Wood, owner of Courtyard, broke all barriers in the legal Louisiana game by opening the first Microbrewery in New Orleans in the fall of 2014. All the laws were stacked up against Scott.

Previously, Louisiana law dictated that 90% of a breweries revenues must come through distribution channels. The distributors still control the Louisiana beer market and were able to hold onto this law for entirely too long before.

Finally, with Courtyard, New Orleans was able to see its first autonomous brewery in the city.

Today, Microbreweries can exist as taprooms, and Courtyard’s taplist and their own brewed beers are an IPA heaven. Almost every beer mentioned above has most likely been tapped at some point by Courtyard. Of course, they brew some tasty ones themselves too.

Here’s what we recommend:

Preach!
Style: Double IPA


Preach! is one of the best-brewed IPAs in Louisiana. Another hazy dream, this beer packs in the punch at 8.2% ABV. This one is at the brewery routinely so be sure to check for a fresh batch.

Baby IPA
Style: Session IPA

Sitting at just 4.7 ABV, this IPA is aptly named for an all-day beer. This year round treat is delicious and is the perfect Mardi Gras parade or all-day drinker. It’s light, crisp and has a hop profile that many session beers lack.

Sonic Youth in 1983
Style: Session IPA

Courtyard Brewery Sonic Youth in 1983

English yeast, American and New Zealand hops, and continental and Canadian malt combine for a cacophony of flavors in this traditional New England haze forward east coast IPA. Also, look for this beer in a double dry hopped version for enhanced flavor.

Gordon Biersch

New Orleans, LA

Gordon Biersch, a large national chain brewpub, has unexpectedly made the cut of best local IPAs. While their national brews don’t typically compare to the local craft scene, GB has a local brewer doing some great IPA recipes.

All The Things Double IPA
Style: Double  IPA

 

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This IPA is everything that you look forward to drinking in a cloudy, hazy New England hop bomb. This beer is juicy and full of flavor.

On Tuesday’s, you can grab this beer for only $3 for a 21-ounce. $6 plus tip out the door, and you’ll need to Uber home.

Bayou Teche Brewing

Arnaudville, LA

Bayou Teche is one of the oldest breweries in Louisiana opening in 2010, just the 6th to open in the state. This brewery distributes the entire state of Louisiana, and they also are available in every major city in Texas (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, & Austin).

Bayou Teche was also the first brewery in America to have an officially licensed college beer: The Ragin’ Cajun Kolsch for the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

Techeticles
Style: Triple  IPA

Bayou Teche Techeticles Triple IPA untappd user TigerCSC

Our only Triple IPA on the list phenomenal. This IPA was also double dry hopped twice to create a full flavored 12% hop bomb. This newly released  IPA comes in a unique 2-pack and has been hit thus far in the local craft beer community.

Also, the beer was specially made for a good cause. Read more about the feel good story: Enjoy ‘Techeticles’ for a good cause.

Brieux Carre & Wayward Owl Collab

New Orleans, LA

Two of the newest breweries to hit New Orleans are both doing great things for the market. Wayward Owl opened December 2016 while Brieux Carre just opened in April of this year.

Regardless, they will be adding many IPAs to the list as the years move forward.

Brieux Carre Wayward Owl collab Je M Appelle Hop Double IPA

Je M’Appelle Hop
Style: Double IPA

This collab created a very well-balanced hop bomb and was a favorite among our Tour Groups. This beer has only been brewed one time, but we expect this beer to be even better on the next go-round.

Second Line Brewing

New Orleans, LA

Mid-City’s first and only brewery opened in July 2015, and this place is packed with locals. Mark & Karen Logan have an affinity for local business and ingredients and it shows with this brewery.

They are family and dog-friendly, plus they make a killer West Coast Double IPA.

Alryte Alryte Alryte
Style: Double IPA

Home to the coolest bottle design in New Orleans, this balanced IPA packs a ton of hop flavor into this 22-ounce Bomber and Brewery only release.

Conclusion

Louisiana may rank dead last in some of the categories you want to rank high in, but beer is not one of them. If you are ready to check out an untapped beer scene, New Orleans needs to be next on your vacation list. In the meantime, stay tuned with NOLA Brew Bus as we report on the latest brews crafting our unique Beer Scene.

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