10 microbreweries revitalizing the New Orleans beer scene
Cheers to these New Orleans breweries — Photo courtesy of iStock / dusanpetkovic
The city’s first brewery opened in 1852, and by 1890 there were at least 30 breweries throughout the city. As times and tastes changed, most of the breweries closed or merged, until Dixie, the “last major independent brewer in the South,” was shut down by Hurricane Katrina.
In the almost 14 years since Katrina wreaked havoc on the city of New Orleans, microbreweries have been popping up as part of the revitalization of the city.
While exploring this historic destination, consider stopping in at one of New Orleans’ ten microbreweries.
Port Orleans Brewing Company
4124 Tchoupitoulas Street
Port Orleans Brewing Company, only a short walk from the Garden District, is far enough away that you’re likely to be one of the only tourists – but this is just all the more reason to go. Here you’ll find a friendly staff, plenty of seating and a community of locals eager to welcome you into their city.
The beer selection is plentiful, but if you’re looking for something that will really offer the local experience, give the I.P.A. a try. While most know I.P.A. to be an India Pale Ale, at Port Orleans it has been rebranded as “Interference on Pass Attempt,” a clever nod towards the heartbreaking end of the New Orleans Saints’ 2018 season.
Parleaux Beer Lab
634 Lesseps Street
New Orleans’ Bywater area is a short walk from the French Quarter. This neighborhood full of colorful street art, hip cafes and quirky shops has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance since Katrina but is still often overlooked by visitors.
One of Bywater’s many hidden gems is Parleaux Beer Lab, a funky little brewery offering a variety of small batch lagers, pale ales, saisons and more – all inspired by the innovative and fun-loving spirit that makes both New Orleans and Bywater so unique. If you’re stopping by in the spring, try the Inspector Boots, a “dry hop of New Zealand Taiheke hops.” The hints of “fervent lime, lemon, and grapefruit aroma” are sure to help “shake off those winter doldrums.”
Brieux Carre Brewing Company
2115 Decatur Street
Frenchmen Street is known by locals as the go-to spot for local art and fantastic jazz, but when you’re ready for something a little quieter or to get off your feet, head over to Brieux Carre Brewing Company.
While they’ll always have a few traditional options on tap for the average beer drinker, the goal here is “for the brews to be as weird and interesting as the city” they call home. You’re bound to find some more unusual options like the recent Waffle Stomp, a Pastry Belgian Strong Ale brewed with homemade Belgian waffles and maple syrup.
Broad Street Cider & Ale
2723 S. Broad Street
Jon Moore and Diana Powell, owners of Broad Street Cider, are passionate about craft beer and cider. Before opening their cidery, they spent ten months traveling the world and taste-testing all the best beers and ciders they could. So, you know what you’ll get here is the absolute best.
Visitors can find a rotating variety of unique wines, ciders and beers in the taproom, ranging from cranberry juice cider to chai Viscount, “masala chai spices combined with a boozy caramel apple cider.” The atmosphere at the tasting room is not as casual as your typical brewery but is still comfortable. Be sure to check out their events calendar for upcoming trivia and movie nights.
Miel Brewery and Taproom
405 6th Street
While any brewery should be able to brew a good beer, Miel Brewery and Taproom offers more than just that. Housed in a bright and simplistic warehouse with casual references to nerd culture, science and ’90s nostalgia, Miel offers one-of-a-kind brews.
For example, try the Elderweiss, a “German wheat beer brewed with elderberries,” and Good Grief, “an imperial porter packed with peanut butter and chocolate flavors.” If you want to go for something really funky, perhaps you might enjoy an AK41, an “American Cream Ale brewed with Airheads Extremes.”
And while you’re there, try your hand at Mario Kart on the N64 or get competitive with one of the many board games they keep on hand.
1020 Erato Street
If you’re looking for a chill spot to enjoy great beer and leave feeling like a local, head over to Courtyard Brewery. In lieu of a traditional courtyard, customers cozy up on repurposed, mismatched furniture on the patio or hang out on the loading dock by the food trucks.
Courtyard is known for their IPAs and saisons but also offers a nice variety of guest brews from breweries all across the country. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Truth and Beauty, a double stout mashed and brewed with fresh donuts and District King Cake, a delicious combination made possible through a collaboration with local District Donuts.
Crescent City Brewhouse
527 Decatur Street
The only microbrewery located in the historic French Quarter, Crescent City Brewhouse is most popular with tourists. Housed in a historic building that was home to many prominent New Orleans families over the years, Crescent City Brewhouse opened as the city’s first brewpub in 1991, beginning the city’s brewing industry renaissance.
The brewhouse offers a full service restaurant and live jazz every night, while their founder and German brewmaster, Wolfram Koehler, continues brewing award-winning lagers.
Urban South Brewery
1645 Tchoupitoulas Street
The team at Urban South Brewery is dedicated to bringing the quality and “heritage of European beer making” to New Orleans. Their casual taproom and brewery are situated in a large, open warehouse where both children and pets are welcome to come and run free. The corner of the warehouse even houses games and a bouncy house.
Urban South offers at least five brews year-round, while rotating seasonal selections like winter Caphe, “a luscious Vietnamese-style coffee stout,” and spring/summer favorite, Lime Cucumber Gose, “an unfiltered wheat beer made even more thirst quenching with the addition of key lime and juice from locally grown cucumbers.”
And don’t miss the award-winning 2nd Set Pilsner, “a full bodied, unfiltered Bohemian Pilsner brewed exclusively with German hops and malts.” 2nd Set won the gold medal in the 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championships.
NOLA Brewing Company
3001 Tchoupitoulas Street
NOLA Brewing Company has its roots in community. Shortly after Katrina, Kirk Coco, founder of NOLA Brewing Company, discovered that the catastrophe had run the last local commercial brewing company out of town. Discouraged by this news, he set out to bring local brewing back to New Orleans.
Since then, the NOLA Brewing team has built a brand known for serving and engaging with the community by hosting yoga classes in the warehouse, organizing trash clean-up days in the neighborhood and creating a Mardi Gras beer, Muses, to support the philanthropic work of an all-female Mardi Gras krewe.
If you’re looking to try an award-winning beer, check out Hoppyright Infringement, which won a gold medal at the 2019 Best of Craft Beer Awards.
Second Line Brewing
433 N Bernadotte Street
Second Line Brewing Company, just like the parades they’re named after, is all about celebrating the people and traditions of New Orleans. Located a few blocks from City Park, Second Line’s brewery and taproom is far enough removed from the French Quarter and Bourbon Street to offer a relaxed environment where neighbors come to catch up with friends and let their kids (and dogs) play.
In addition to a regular rotation of food trucks, Second Line also hosts many live music events, movie nights and Bingo games. There’s a nice variety of beers on tap, and, if you like, try a flight.
If you’re looking for something to connect back to your travels, consider trying Saison Named Desire. This classic saison “brewed with orange zest and Moro blood orange” is inspired by Tennessee William’s classic play, A Streetcar Named Desire, set in 1940’s New Orleans.