WoW, it has been an entire week since my last post! I've just been super busy and I couldn't find any time to do it. Let me back up a bit and tell you why. Last Thursday, Amy comes bopping in all excited and says, "Do you want to go to New Orleans?", and I said "NO", at first. I started to think about all the other things I had to do, I was going to Mobile on Tuesday (Yesterday) for a work thing and I was also saving money for our BIG California trip in a couple of months. But after a couple of minutes of twisting my arm, I gave. We went to New Orleans.
I have never been to New Orleans to hang out. Of course, everybody has been to New Orleans and has their favorite places and wants you to go to those places and no where else. When we first got there, I was a little bit sceptical. I was in a big city I have never been to and I was a little nervous. We checked into our hotel, which was Hotel Monteleone, and we headed off into the city. We ate dinner at a little dive bar/restaurant called Port of Call. It had great burgers, but the beer selection was a little skimpy. They had a drink called the Monsoon, which was a heavy rum drink made with local fruit punch. After the great burger, Amy showed me Bourbon Street and I must say, I didn't like it. Every bar we passed, there was a band. Not just playing music, but they were playing it as loud as they could. So, all I could hear was one big loud noise from all the different bands clashing. I probably would have enjoyed it more when I was 21,but now I'm just an old fart. I was interested in the beer community, not the loud bands. I am familiar with one brewery in the New Orleans area, but I didn't know where to find their beers.
As we walked down Bourbon St. I poked my head into a bunch of bars to look at their tap handles. I was in search of NOLA. NOLA, meaning New Orleans Lager & Ales is pretty much New Orlean's only brewery after Katrina. They have three year-round beers and one seasonal out right now and I wanted to taste them. As we walked through Bourbon Street, I could not find any NOLA. Similar to Charleston, it is disappointing to find that the areas largest tourist areas do not carry their local products. I would think that would be the first place you would find local stuff. Any time I go somewhere, I try to forget about what's going on at home and enjoy that place's culture. Eat the local foods, the local drink and dance the local dance(I don't dance, but I did the rest). So, what did I do? I found a local and I asked. Who else would I ask, but The Beer Buddha? Having lived in New Orleans for several years, if not decades, and actually working for NOLA for a bit, I knew he would know where to find some NOLA brews.
He sent us to The Avenue Pub and I must admit it is an awesome place. They have 31 taps that are always rotating and always finding ways to get new beers on tap. I was able to find all of NOLA's beers and a few more. NOLA just introduced an IPA called Hopitoulas which is named after one of New Orleans streets Tchoupitoulas and it is off the charts. By far the best beer NOLA makes.
I was also able to taste their Saison, which is a spring seasonal and it is a solid light Saison. Talking briefly with Polly (owner Ave.Pub), she gets into the beer scene. She was interested in creating a better beer community in the area and was also interested in getting other local places interested in buying better beer, just to benefit the cause. Seems very non-selfish, I like that.
There is also a restaurant within the pub called Janita's. I first met Kimmie and Craig (owners of Janita's) and talked with them a little about their business. They have a great menu full of soups and sammiches. They also have an appetizer named after The Buddha called Buddha's Temptation. It is dried apricots stuffed with Bleu cheese wrapped with bacon and deep fried to perfection. A must try, especially with some beers.
We totally were not in New Orleans long. Definitely not long enough to see all the great beer places, but that is why there is always the next trip, right?
Also, the new Bullet is out on shelves and there is a little article in there (written by me) about the best beer places in the area. Please give it a read and then go to those places, because without those places there won't be any other places. Get It?
Last on the agenda, we are doing a little tasting Friday night, but it is not going to be at Wine World. If you are interested in attending, shoot me an email and I will give you directions. We have some good beers planned.
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