Ah, New Orleans. The Crescent City. A warm weather destination filled with sprawling patios, debauchery, rich history — and loose liquor laws. Before Prohibition washed through the U.S. in 1920, NOLA was the busiest brewing hub in the South; and today, the city is more alive than ever with the sights and smells of beer. In the past year alone, five new craft breweries have opened up their doors in New Orleans, pushing the total number of breweries in the city past ten and inspiring a new generation of beer-inspired entrepreneurs looking to put NOLA on the craft beer map. So skip the Hurricanes and the Sazeracs, and head out to explore The Big Easy’s booming craft beer scene this year.


Go Here, Drink This

Like most good stories, it’s best to start at the beginning, and in the case of the New Orleans craft beer scene, that means starting at NOLA Brewing Company — the brewery that really put the city on the modern day craft beer map. The opening of NOLA (New Orleans Lager and Ale) Brewery came at time when the city needed beer. The year was 2008, just three years after Hurricane Katrina spread devastation and havoc throughout the city, forcing the only brewery in town at the time to move production outside of New Orleans. That lapse in locally-made beer inspired founder Kirk Coco to bring beer back to New Orleans — which he did when he began brewing and pouring beer in a quirky little joint in the Irish Channel neighborhood. The brewery has since expanded its taproom, teamed up with a local BBQ restaurant, and added a game room and plenty of TVs to catch the Saints play. For the most part, you can’t go wrong here. From the easy-drinking Brown Ale to anything in the brewery’s popular Funk Series of tasty wild ales, there’s a great variety of styles to choose from — each one worthy of seeking out a taste of. Now that you have an idea of what started it all, head over to the Parleaux Beer Lab to see how far the local craft beer industry has come. Located in a converted auto garage in the Bywater community, Parleaux’s namesake is a play on the words ‘by’ and ‘water’ and this new brewery local craft beer scene is creating some funky beers that mirror the creative and exciting spirit of the city. At Parleaux, beer drinkers can try everything from a big-bodied Rye IPA, to a “Grassy Kölsch” made with lemongrass plucked from the brewery’s garden. Choose from plenty of low-ABV, refreshing beers to quench your thirst while you soak up the hot Louisiana sun on the brewery’s bright and spacious patio. From there, follow the Mississippi River as it snakes south for stops at Brieux Carré Brewing Co., the Courtyard Brewery and Urban South Brewery. All three are earning high praise from the New Orleans craft beer community. At Brieux, though small and just barely on the heels of celebrating one year in business, the brewery has already become a destination for craft beer drinkers — thanks to a menu of clean and tasty beers that run the gamut. On tap, you’ll find a few selections of saisons, a healthy offering of hopped-up styles and a handful of darker brews. But if IPAs are your jam, this is the place for you. Brieux is making some big, bold hoppy beers, and craft beer drinkers can’t get enough of them. Down the road at the Courtyard Brewery, you’ll find a rustic taproom full of color and a wide selection of draft beer. Choose from 30 different rotating taps featuring a pretty even mix of house-made brews as well as guest taps from some of the best breweries in the country. Finally, make your way to Urban South — a fast-growing brewery specializing in lagers and IPAs. The draft list here is composed of every kind of beer that you crave when it’s blazing hot outside. Order up a pint and post up in the sprawling dog and kid-friendly warehouse-style taproom complete with arcade games and food trucks. But before your craft beer journey is over, be sure to save time for a visit to Mid-City to check out Second Line Brewing. Aside from killer beers on tap, Second Line has all kind of fun energy and events going on throughout the week, like live jazz music and N’awlins style crawfish boils in the taproom.

Getting Around Town

With a big boom in craft breweries taking place in New Orleans, so too has the growth in beer tourism. Craft beer drinkers can book a ride with The NOLA Brew Bus, which offers a handful of public and private tours on an eccentric party bus that includes stops at multiple breweries throughout the city. A ticket to ride on the 3+ hour public tour will run you $65 and includes stops at three locations and a total of six beers. Tours are available seven days a week. Or reserve your spot on the New Orleans Brews Cruise — a similar operation with stops at three different NOLA breweries. Tickets are $60 per person and include multiple tasters at each stop, snacks and water for the ride, and cold storage for any beer purchases that you’ll inevitably want to make as you explore delicious and exciting craft beer taking over the city of New Orleans.



Man this year has flown by fast. It’s hard to believe that the best eating holidays are just around the corner and it’s once again time to get serious about planning out the perfect pairings for your holiday table, because nothing pairs better with the holiday season than beer. And we’re not just talking any old beer. Some of the best breweries in the country are making some spectacular holiday-inspired brews, and they’re just the thing you need to elevate your big feast. From traditional classically spiced ales to hop-forward offerings, check out these ten holiday beers to stock up on this season and start planning out this year’s holiday menu.



Sierra Nevada Celebration IPA

Sierra Nevada’s beloved holiday ale boasts roots that date back to 1981 when the American-style IPA was first brewed. For a beer that celebrates tradition, it’s anything but traditional. Made with fresh hops, this holiday ale is citrusy and piney and pairs nicely with some of the main dishes on your holiday table, proving that holiday-inspired beers are not strictly dark and spicy.

ABV: 6.8 percent
Pair it With: With that beautiful and slightly fatty roasted turkey on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.

Ninkasi Brewing Company Sleigh’r

Winning at the game of naming beers, Sleigh’r is Oregon-based Ninkasi Brewing Company’s take on a holiday-inspired brew. Anchored with deep toasted flavors from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate malts, this Winter Ale achieves some serious balance with the addition of Nugget hops that add a pleasant bitterness to the crisp ale.

ABV: 7.2 percent
Pair it With: Sweet potatoes or rich chocolate desserts.

Port Brewing Company Santa’s Little Helper

One sip of Port Brewing Company’s Santa’s Little Helper, and you’ll have cheeks that rival Santa’s rosy glow. At 10 percent ABV, this Imperial Stout is a whopper. Brimming with warming boozy notes and a combination of rich dark cocoa and roasty coffee flavors, this holiday brew can be counted on to get the conversation started at the dinner table.

ABV: 10 percent
Pair it With: Sugar cookies and uncomfortable family dinners.

Boulevard Brewing Company Nutcracker Winter Warmer Ale

The Nutcracker Winter Warmer is a hearty beer that can hold up to hearty dishes, like rich mashed potatoes, wild game entrees and thick caramel or chocolate treats. With a spice-forward profile rounded out with floral notes, the Winter Warmer’s big flavors will cut through and complement a good number of dishes on your festive holiday table.

ABV: 7.8 percent
Pair it With: Carmel dishes, rich chocolate dessert, wild game.

Upslope Brewing Company Christmas Ale

Cracking open a can of Upslope’s Christmas Ale is like cracking open a can of Christmas morning, thanks to a pungent spicy aroma created from an Abbey Ale Yeast that wafts up to meet your nose upon opening. A rich malty sweetness and subtle notes of dried fruit balance out the spicy notes in this beer, making it an excellent, highly pairable beer for your dinner table.

ABV: 8.2 percent
Pair it With: Chestnuts on an open fire and Christmas morning activities.

Southern Tier Brewing Company Salted Caramel Stout

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “this beer is too sweet for me,” Souther Tier’s Salted Caramel Stout might not be for you, and that’s okay, because that means there’s more for me. This Imperial Milk Stout is the epitome of a dessert beer with it’s bold sweet caramel and toffee flavors softened slightly by the addition of Himalayan pink salt. Don’t bother baking this year. Just serve this beer instead.

ABV: 10 percent
Pair it With: A rich figgy pudding or serve it on its own.

Deschutes Brewery Jubelale

It just isn’t the holidays until someone breaks open a six pack of Deschutes Brewery’s Jubelale. This craft beer is synonymous with the holiday season for craft beer lovers, and rightfully so. This winter ale is oozing with warm spice notes, hints of toffee and cocoa and dried fruit crafted from a combination of Bravo, Cascade, Delta, US Tettnang, and East Kent Goldings hops.

ABV: 6.7 percent
Pair it With: A sweet fruit-forward dessert, outdoor winter activities, and that sweet itchy sweater your mom bought you.

Rogue Ales & Spirits Santa’s Private Reserve Ale

Forget the delicate blend of spices and roasted malts, Rogue doesn’t have time for that. Instead, they’ve created the mother of all holiday beers in true Rogue fashion — by brewing up a Belgian Strong Ale that even the real Santa has endorsed. What makes this complex beer a lovely option for the holiday table is the beautiful cherries and raspberries that combine with sweet Belgian candi sugar to create a delicious slightly sweet, slightly tart, full-flavored beer.

ABV: 7.8 percent
Pair it With: Those healthy brussel sprouts that you loaded up with chunks of crispy bacon.

Alaskan Brewing Co. Winter Ale

When it comes to holiday beers, it doesn’t get more classic than Alaskan Brewing Company’s Winter Ale. This beer has been a staple during the holidays since 2000. An English Olde Ale, Alaskan’s Winter Ale is malt-forward and made with spruce tips which gives this traditional holiday ale nice crisp warming flavors to enjoy around the table.

ABV: 6.4 percent
Pair it With: Your main dish if it’s a roasted turkey, lamb or goose, or serve it alongside a warm apple pie.

New Belgium Accumulation

If heavy porters and Imperial Stouts aren’t quite your thing, grab a sixer of New Belgium’s Accumulation White IPA. At 55 IBUs, the strong blend of Centennial, Nugget, Mosaic and Amarillo hops in this bitter IPA is rounded out with a bright and fruity ale yeast and wheat malts. This light-bodied flavorful brew is a great option if your holiday table is filled with hop-heads.

ABV: 6.2 percent
Pair it With: Oysters. Pairing this beer with briny seafood is like squeezing fresh lemon to bring out the full flavors in the dish.