The Courtyard Brewery, New Orleans

11/9/14

Courtyard (a nanobrewery) just opened up on Erato St. in the LGD (close to Barrel Proof) and we are so happy to have a new place to drink craft beer in NOLA!  Scott, the owner & brewer, is a native San Diegan so he knows a thing or two about great beer. Right now he is just starting to brew his own beers so the taps are filled with guest taps. His current 12 tap selection is impressive and reasonably priced. Once his beers are available he expects his tap selection to increase to 20 or so. The space is spartan but his hand -finished reclaimed wood bar and sign and very impressive. If you like to sit, bring a chair since the space is standing room only at the moment. Scott plans to have his beers up in December and the one time we tasted them (2 years ago!) they were great, especially his Belgian style Tripel brewed with figs. Oh, and he does growler fills for those of you that are interested in taking beers home. Courtyard is currently open Thursday – Sunday and it is cash only at the moment. The nearest ATM is a bit of a hike, so bring the green.

*Check his twitter feed for any food trucks that might be at the brewery* Cheers!

Signage and draft list

Signage and draft list

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Posted in Fall & Winter 2014 - Beer in the South | Tagged | Leave a comment

40 Arpent Brewing Co – Arabi, Louisiana

10/26/14

Arabi is located in St. Bernard Parish, just between the Bywater and Chalmette and although that sounds far way, it is a mere 15 minute drive from downtown New Orleans. We met Michael and Sean of 40 Arpent Brewing at their Oktoberfest beer release at Ale last week and they told us that the brewery is open, for free beer and mini tours, on Fridays from 5-7pm. 40 Arpent just opened in March so they are very new and there is not much of a following yet for this free beer Friday, which is a good thing!

There is no doubt that Friday nights will be packed soon as people find out about the quality beers that 40 Arpent is brewing. We enjoyed our time at the brewery and we discovered their ‘big’ beer, an Belgian style pale ale called Delacroix, which is delicious. We also enjoyed their solid signature beer, the milk stout, as well as their red bean ale which is a little sweet and tasty. The two other beers available were the so-so Copasaw, dunkelweizen and their solid Octoberfest. The brewery itself is on a truck route right near the Domino Sugar factory – 18 wheelers drive by at a pretty consistent rate. We were lucky to enjoy a gorgeous sunset last Friday night and the views of the city from the levee were amazing! Oh and what is an arpent?  Well, it is a unit of length or area of 180 French feet and of course it exists in Louisiana compliments of the French. Cheers!

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New Republic Brewing Co. – College Station, TX

10/19/14

If you find yourself in College Station, Texas, you might be asking yourself why you are there. You might be there to visit Texas A&M or the George HW Bush library or in our case, we were there for a wedding. Of course our first stop when we drove into town was to head to New Republic Brewing Co to try the only local craft beer brewed in the area. We were there in August so it was blazing hot outside! The brewery is located in the middle of a residential area in a light industrial area, which is not out of the norm. We greatly enjoyed the Dammit Jim amber as well as the Whipsaw Double IPA. They even let us try their kolsch which was still in secondary fermentation. The brewery also has live music and they put their calendar on the draft list board. And just in case you want a break from beer, you can wander over to Rio Brazos distillery, a few doors down to try some whiskey for the full Texas experience!

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Craft Beer in Mississippi

10/5/14

Mississippi usually ends up dead last on any list that ranks states by their craft beer. That is probably a fair assessment, however, there a small beer scene in Mississippi. The main players brewing in MS are Crooked Letter , best know for their Mystery Romp porter and Southern Prohibition, know for Fire Ant Red, Barely Legal etc. Yes, Lazy Magnolia is also brewed in MS but I equate them to Abita.  We drove just over an hour out of New Orleans to go to Hattiesburg. Our first stop was the Mahogany Bar which is a pretty bar and courtyard with a very respectable beer list. Not to mention when we mentioned to the bar staff that we were from New Orleans and the we were regulars at Avenue Pub in NOLA they treated us very well. They have great love for Avenue Pub! Mississippi gets Yazoo beers out of Nashville which we don’t have access to in Louisiana so we tried what we could. We were also introduced to a local gin from Cathead called Bristow. We went to several liquor stores to buy Bristow but we could only find Cathead vodka….we will keep trying!

After Mahogany Bar we stopped in to the Golden Growler. They have five taps and a nice selection of beer to go, including Schafly beer out of St Louis (another brand we can’t get in Louisiana!). We talked to the gentleman running the store and he told us that they had been open for a couple of months and that it was his son’s business. He was working to protect his investment! They did brisk business when we stopped in, so best of luck to them. You can get a quick taste of the draft beers but the store is really for to-go beer.

Our last stop in Hattiesburg was to Southern Prohibition AKA So Pro. You can get So Pro beers in Louisiana and they are pretty popular since they can. Cans area always best for Mardi Gras and other outdoor events! You can tour So Pro but we just decided to head to the brewpub to try a few beers and then we hit the road. They have a ton of options on draft and they are not all So Pro. All of these places are on the same street, so next time you find yourself in Hattiesburg, check them all out.

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Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery – San Francisco

9/28/14

When you visit San Francisco there are so many options of where to go to drink great craft beer. Magnolia is one place, in my opinion, that tends to get over looked. Why go to Magnolia? They have five cask beers which is hard to come by and an extensive beer selection. They have a great meat and cheese plate and they are located on the corner of Haight Ashbury. I will say that they used to carry a lot more guest taps, but it appears now they are focusing on their own brews. If you want to make a beer crawl in the Haight, then you can walk 25 minutes to the lower Haight to check out Toronado.   Toronado SF is a cool, punk rock place that has not changed in years. It is absolutely worth checking out and it is the polar opposite of Magnolia which makes it a great beer crawl.

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Outside of Toronado

Next month the blog will focus on beers in the South, specifically Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas etc. Yes, there are actually some decent beers here!

Posted in September - Northern California | Tagged | Leave a comment

Capitol Beer & Tap Room – Sacramento

9/21/14

There has been a bit of buzz lately about the craft beer scene in California’s capitol city. We were there last month and spent some time checking out the local microbreweries of Rubicon and Hoppy Brewing which to be honest are nothing to write home about. The real standout place in Sacramento is Capitol Beer and Tap Room. This beer bar and bottle shop is located in a pretty run of the mill strip mall but don’t let that deter you from visiting. When we were there I had Avery – Collaboration not Litigation on draft which is one of my all-time favorite beers and it is always hard to come by. I just checked out the draft list today and they have highly coveted Alpine Duet on draft which is a fabulous IPA made just outside of San Diego. Capitol also has a great bottle selection. We left with a sour from Almanac Brewing out of SF as well as a Prairie Hop from Prairie Artisan Ales out of OK. They do not carry the elusive beers from Rare Barrel out of Berkeley; seems you have to visit them to try their sours. For those of you Pliny fans, they do sometimes have it in stock which they cleverly wrote on their info board. There is no doubt that Capitol is the best place to find Craft beer in Sacramento.

The info board - pretty funny

The info board – pretty funny

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Alvarado Street Brewing – Monterey

9/14/14

My Mom lives in the  Monterey Bay area which is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the great state of California. You go to Monterey for the coastline, the amazing aquarium, the seafood but not really the beer. However, the craft beer scene is not that bad in Monterey. On our most recent visit we tried the relatively new Alvarado Street Brewing in downtown Monterey. Alvarado brews their own beer and they also have a solid guest tap list. The Duane’s World IPA brewed in-house was the standout Alvarado beer and it was also the highest ABV beer that they carried at the time we visited. We tried the tasting paddle and we enjoyed the beers with a pretty solid plate of poutine. If you visit the brewery on a Wednesday evening you will also be there for the local farmer’s market.

Other tips – if you visit the aquarium you must stop in for a beer at Cannery Row Brewing.  They have over 50 taps and some great beers. I had Allagash Curieux the last time we were there.

Also, you can take a short walk from Alvarado Brewing to hit up Peter B’s Brewery at the Portola Hotel & Spa. The beer is solid but it is more of a sports bar so it is not very photogenic inside.

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