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.

The Friday Mash (Very Endangered Species Edition)

On this day in 1844, the last two known great auks were killed. These large flightless penguin-like birds, which lived in the North Atlantic, were hunted to extinction because their down was in high demand in Europe.

And on that auk-ward note…The Mash!

We begin in China, where designer Li Rongjun has built an office out of 8,500 empty beer bottles. Rongjun has a degree in construction from the Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology.

Lagunitas Brewing Company will build a third brewery in Asuza, California. The new plant, with a projected capacity of more than 400,000 barrels a year, is expected to open in early 2017.

Molson’s Beer Fridge will make an appearance at this month’s Pan-American Games in Toronto. The latest edition will dispense a free Molson to those who say “I Am Canadian” in any of 40 languages.

Anita Brown, an artist in Los Angeles, has designed beers for each of the books in the Harry Potter series. They include Pilsner of Azkaban, Amber of Secrets, and Deathly Hops (h/t Jay Brooks).

Queen is the latest rock group to release its own beer. It’s a pilsner that will be called—what else?—Bohemian Rhapsody. The bottle’s design features a crest designed by Freddie Mercury himself while he was in college.

5 Rabbit Cerveceria has pulled a custom-brewed batch of ale from Chicago’s Trump Tower in protest of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexico. 5 Rabbit’s founder, is a native of Costa Rica.

Finally, New Orleans is rarely associated with German culture, but Tchoupitoulas Beer Garden, a year-round, Oktoberfest-inspired beer hall, will open this summer in the city’s Warehouse District.

Beers for the BCS

Leave it to the guys at The Bleacher Report to think of this. Josh Greller has come up with head-to-head beer battles to match the football games in this year’s Bowl Championship Series.

Ludwig tips his hat to Greller, who’s obviously done his homework. But he has to wonder how long it will take for someone from Baton Rouge–the home of the #1-ranked LSU Tigers–to point out that there’s a local brewery in town: the Tin Roof Brewing Company.

The Friday Mash (May Two-Four Edition)

Monday, May 24, is Queen Victoria’s birthday, a holiday that marks the unofficial start of summer in Canada. For obvious reasons, Canadians refer to the Victoria Day long weekend as “May two-four,” Canadian slang for a case of beer.

In the Queen’s honor, we lead off the Mash with a couple of items from north of the border:

There was an upset winner at the Ontario Brewing Awards: Lawn Chair Classic Weisse, a product of the Hop City Brewing Company, which is owned by Moosehead.

And on the West Coast, the first-ever B.C. Beer Awards were handed out during Vancouver Beer Week.

There’s more…

Asheville, North Carolina, holds the early lead in Beer City USA voting. Portland, Oregon, and San Diego round out the top three.

Jesse Hughey, who blogs at the Dallas Observer, names breweries whose best-known beer is their least interesting.

The “world’s most potent beer” title once again belongs to Franconia Schorschbock, which checks in at 43.38% ABV.

Don Russell, a/k/a Joe Sixpack, offers five places to drink beer before you die. Wrigley Field is on his list. We think that all of Wrigleyville belongs on that list. The way the Cubs have been playing, fans require a post-game pint or two.

Martyn Cornell, The Zythophile, draws this musical analogy: cask ale is to live music what bottled beer is to CDs. Hmm.

Finally, from the Later Rather Than Sooner Department: Oklahoma has finally legalized homebrewing. The fight now moves to Louisiana, where it’s still against the law to brew your own.

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