Hurricane Katrina

Good Beer Comes to The Big Easy

The tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has inspired a spate of stories about New Orleans’ revival. One story, by Nora McGunnigle, describes how her hometown has finally developed a taste for craft beer.

There are multiple theories as to why craft beer got off to such a slow start, including stringent zoning restrictions, inconsistent state regulations, and, especially, the perception that beer was just a thirst-quencher. What reversed that trend was food, which Louisiana is famous for. People have discovered that good beer not only has flavor, but also pairs well with the local cuisine.

In the ten years since the storm, breweries have opened across southern Louisiana. NOLA Brewing was the first production brewery to open in New Orleans proper after the storm. The second, Courtyard Brewing, opened last year. Meanwhile, the city’s beer bars have discovered that there’s a demand for good beer, and its restaurants have started to offer beer-friendly menus.

Five Years After Katrina

Several recent programs on the news reminded us of the destruction New Orleans suffered from Hurricane Katrina, and how painstaking the rebuilding process has been.

One small part of that process is the return of brewing to the Crescent City. recently interviewed the people behind NOLA, New Orleans Lager & Ale.

After Katrina, Kirk Coco, a former New Orleanean, felt the urge to come home and help get the city back on its feet. Coco got together with Peter Caddoo, a former Dixie Beer brewmaster, through a homebrew club in New Orleans. One thing led to another, and the two–along with head brewer Melanie Knepp–assembled a brewery in an abandoned warehouse.

NOLA, which started selling beer last March, brews three year-rounders including the wonderfully named Hopitoulas, a West Coast-style India pale ale. If you live in Louisiana or along the Gulf Coast of Alabama or Florida, you might be able to find some.

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