New Orleans Beer Glow Up

I have a love affair with New Orleans. I’ve been going to NOLA for around five years – and now I try to get back yearly, when possible. Many people know about the Bourbon Street party culture side of the Crescent City, but there is so much more to this town!


Sure, Abita has been around since 1986, and by 2008-NOLA brewing (New Orleans Lagers & Ales) was founded…but that was pretty much it for many years. When I brought my husband and friends to town in March 2015, Courtyard Brewing had just opened up (“Nola’s first nanobrewery”) on a 3 barrel brewing system. Then updates to the city’s zoning ordinance in 2015 made it easier for breweries to open in non-industrial areas….and in May 2018 Beer Advocate named Parleaux Beer Lab and Brieux Carre to its 50 Best New Breweries list.



Parleaux opened up in the not so often visited by tourists neighborhood of Bywater. Their “beer lab” concept means that beers are often not brewed twice, and obviously not seen outside the taproom as such. The main area of the brewery is the outdoor space with a shipping container, large homemade swing, citrus trees, a small garden, even some hops! 


About two miles away in the Marigny neighborhood, Brieux Carre has a similar, taproom-only operation, again mainly due to size. The narrow wooden bar ends in tanks– the 400sq ft brewing area – with a 7 barrel brewing system squeezed in it. They made 65 beers in 2017, 20 different styles. On my visit I was smitten with the Imperial French Saison with Lavendar. Slightly floral, malty, and balanced- I sent two friends to try it within days.



At the end of a muggy summer night I headed to the Mid-City neighborhood to visit Second Line Brewing. Despite the temperatures, they had on an Imperial Stout and a Brown Ale that were my clear favorites. 


I also trekked across the S Broad Ave overpass with barely a walkway to get to Wayward Owl Brewing– located in the old Gem theater, an old one-screen African American theater on the National Register of Historic places located in the Central City neighborhood. They renovated the theater and put a 15 barrel brewing system in, opening in Dec 2016. I enjoyed a delicious Clean Slate IPA with glitter while chatting with Brewer & Founder, Justin Boswell.


There is even a Craft Beer Cellar in the gorgeous Garden District, just a few short blocks from the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world, the St. Charles streetcar. There is now a lot of excellent independent craft beers being made in the city (& state- we see you Great Raft!), with many of them making crisp and refreshing lagers to help beat the heat, like a Port Orleans Riverfront Lager or Urban South‘s Paradise Park Lager. You can get them all at this store, one of our 33, that is helping to push craft beer forward in New Orleans, and Louisiana, and we could not be more proud! We think the South is really coming into its craft beer heyday….If you love beer, retail, people, hi-fives, and working hard for yourself and are thinking of taking that leap, check out our franchise information and fill out the application!

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