New Orleans

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.

The Friday Mash (NASCAR Edition)

Sixty-six years ago today, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was formed in Daytona Beach, Florida. Today, NASCAR is second only to the National Football League in television ratings and has more Fortune 500 corporate sponsors than any other sport.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in western North Carolina, where the new Sierra Nevada brewery has started brewing IPA. It will start shipping to distributors this spring, and open to the public in August.

It looks like a stout, but Morning Beer by a Sacramento roaster is actually a nitrogenated coffee. It’s alcohol-free, so you can enjoy it on your way to work.

Think you’re the ultimate beer geek? If so, send a video to the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The lucky winner will get four VIP tickets to the sold-out Invitational Beer Festival.

The All-American Food Truck & Craft Beer Rally took place in Huntsville, Alabama, on Wednesday. Food trucks are showing up at more and more festivals on our calendar.

Your purchase of Flying Dog Ales’ Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout helps fund the brewery’s effort to plant oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Flying Dog expects to plant two million this year.

It’s almost Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. If you’re going, local writer Nora McGunnigle tells where you can find good beer in the Crescent City.

Finally, we recently told you about beer concentrate. Now the folks at have tried it straight, and say it “bombards your taste buds with a rotting symphony of flavors not meant for consumption.”

The Friday Mash (Bitter Cold Edition)

On this day in 1947, the coldest-ever temperature in North America–81 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit–was recorded in Snag, a village in Canada’s Yukon. That kind of cold creates serious problems, but keeping beer cold isn’t one of them.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Leominster, England, where Andre Marsh claims to own the world’s smallest off-license. It measures only 11 square meters (397 square feet).

If you’re going to New Orleans, here’s some good news: it’s okay to carry canned beer at Carnival. Abita Brewing will release its version next Monday, just in time for the parades.

The Boston Beer Company is rolling out a new seasonal, Alpine Spring. Sam Adams Noble Pils, last year’s spring seasonal, is being promoted to the year-round lineup.

Ginger Johnson, the owner of Women Enjoying Beer, has some advice for breweries: “Make the assumption that all women like flavor, and dash the notion that there’s beer for women.”

Hoping to avoid rush-hour chaos during this summer’s Olympic games, London officials are asking commuters to have an after-work beer before heading home.

As New Belgium Brewing Company hones in on a sites for its Eastern brewery, Lew Bryson makes the case for Philadelphia.

Finally, Pete and Debbie Gibson, pub landlords in Royton, England, had their establishment shut down New Year’s Eve by the Samuel Smith brewery. Their offense? Selling pints that were too full of beer.

The Friday Mash (Cats Edition)

On this day in 1982, Cats, a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, made its Broadway debut. It was the second longest-running play in Broadway history, behind Phantom of the Opera. Ludwig has a standing offer of a pint for cast member Marlene Danielle, who appeared in all 7,485 performances.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in North Dakota, where the Fargo Brewing Company dipped into pop culture to name its first beer. Wood Chipper, an India pale ale, was inspired by–you guessed it–the famous prop from the Coen brothers’ 1996 film Fargo.

Human males aren’t the only species to suffer “mating failure” when beer is involved. Two Australian biologists discovered that male beetles mistake beer bottles for potential mates. Worse yet, some of the beetles get dragged off by predatory ants.

Minnesota’s Surly Brewing Company is planning to build a $20 million brewery and tasting room, and dozens of Minneapolis-St.Paul-are communities have rolled out the welcome mat, hoping to land the facility and the jobs that come with it.

Did you know that the taste of English ale drinkers differs by region? Northerners like their beer smooth with a tight head and a creamy finish, while southerners prefer a clean, crisp, hoppier finish and a looser, frothier head.

Fittingly for a party town, New Orleans has a rich brewing history. It was once the brewing capital of the South. Sadly, however, the last big brewery closed in 2005.

Do your taste buds–or your tasting notes–need a lift? Let Linnea Covington introduce you to nine unusual beers made with guava, turnips, bacon, and other exotic ingredients.

Finally, if you’re a very patient person, there’s a beer for you. New Zealand’s Moa Brewery just released a bottled lambic which, it says, should be ready to enjoy in about ten years. That’s eight years less than “Cats” ran on Broadway.

The Friday Mash (Float Like a Butterfly Edition)

On this day in 1964, 22-year-old boxer Cassius Clay scored a victory by TKO over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Clay, who later that year changed his name to Muhammad Ali, became one of the greatest legends in the history of sports–and one of the few to be recognized the world over.

Being a devout Muslim, Ali abstains from alcohol. However, Ludwig has granted you permission to toast “The Greatest” with a brew.

And now…The Mash!

We begin in Boulder, Colorado, where the local school district offers a course in beer appreciation. It’s led by a veteran of Colorado’s craft beer industry.

Spring training is around the corner, and writer Charlie Vascellaro tells you where to find good beer near Cactus League ballparks. He also explains why baseball is responsible for Bell’s beer’s availabIlity in the Grand Canyon State.

The Harp, a pub located in Covent Garden, London, was named CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year.

Lights, camera, action! Draft magazine chooses ten actors who could play leading brewers.

Green beer? Not the kind served on St. Patrick’s Day, but the kind made in eco-friendly breweries in Calgary, Alberta.

Now that craft beer is making inroads in Ireland, can proper beer festivals be far behind? The Dublin-based Beer Nut reports on the inaugural Winter & Cask Ale Festival, held earlier this month in Cork.

Finally, if you’re going to Mardi Gras, Jeremy Labadie of has a long list of establishments that serve good beer in the Crescent City.

Sunday Travel Section

It’s back, by popular demand.

Adrian Tierney-Jones treated himself to a beer tour of Vermont. His itinerary included Magic Hat, the Vermont Brewers Festival, and the von Trapp family lodge, which now brews fine European-style lager.

Pete Brown describes his visit to a Manhattan “dive bar”. It’s not what you think. A New York City dive is a cozy place that doesn’t cater to tourists and is steeped in nostalgia. Now if only the locals can help Pete understand baseball.

Finally, beer is yet another incentive to visit New Orleans. A columnist for the Pensacola News-Journal calls the city a beer lover’s diamond in the rough.

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