Last Saturday, I went to a NOLA Brewing beer brunch at Crescent Pie & Sausage
(4400 Banks St., 504-482-2426). The three-course menu began by pairing a Hurricane Saison “beer-mosa” (NOLA Brewing’s summer seasonal with a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice) with a local watermelon and arugula salad with avocado, house-cured bacon and deviled egg. The next course was pain perdu
with local blueberries and honey, perfectly paired with a special version of NOLA Brown brewed specially for the brunch with cinnamon and maple. The final course was a grits and grillades plate complete with two head-on fried shrimp; the clean flavors of the accompanying 7th Street Wheat provided a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish.
All the beers were elevated by the accompanying course, and vice versa. That’s the beauty of a beer pairing meal — exploring the complex flavor profiles of beer alongside dishes that will complement, contrast, and provide full appreciation for the food and drink. In New Orleans, where wine culture is fully embedded, the appreciation of beer alongside fine food has been slow to catch on, but more and more restaurants recognize consumer demand and just enjoy the process of working with beer. As a result, there is an increasingly steady stream of beer dinners and brunches all over the Greater New Orleans area. Here are a few coming up soon.
’s Magazine Street location (3336 Magazine St., 504-324-2226) will be hosting the first local New Belgium beer pairing dinner since the brewery’s Louisiana release. The six-course menu next Tuesday (July 23, 7:30 pm), will begin by pairing Shift lager with the “Sea Dog,” a fried fish sandwich, followed by Ranger IPA with a specialty crawfish sausage, then Fat Tire amber ale with a brat boiled in Fat Tire and grilled. The fourth course pairs Rampant Imperial IPA paired with “The Bacon Werewolf.” a smoked Slovenian sausage topped with bacon, dill relish, grilled onions, tomatoes and Creole mustard; following that will be a Guinness Dog served with housemade andouille paired with 1554 Enlightened Black Ale. The final course is a decadent-sounding “Duck Dog”: duck sausage topped with bacon, barbecue sauce, blackberry preserves and mustard, paired with Sunshine Wheat. The event also has a Facebook
page. All menu items also will be offered as an a la carte, full-size pairing the night of the event for a discounted price. The beer dinner will take place in the courtyard, with acoustic musical entertainment provided by David Fera. The cost is $30 ($35 at the door) and tickets can be purchased at the Magazine Street location with either cash or credit cards, or call Dat Dog for will-call tickets.
Several restaurants on the Northshore are getting in on the action as well. On July 18 at 7:00 p.m., The Scotts’ Coffee and Tapas Bar
(201 Carroll St., Mandeville, 985-231-7632) will be offering six pairings for $45: citrus barbecue shrimp on an avocado blini paired with Saint Arnold’s Summer Pils; beef medallion with bleu cheese on a bacon waffle paired with Bayou Teche’s smoked beer, Boucanee; a chicken cutlet marinated in lime with creme fraiche with New Belgium Fat Tire; Louisiana crawfish-ginger brulee with shiitake mushrooms paired with Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar; chipotle espresso pork with goat cheese grits and pecans paired with Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout; and finally, a coconut-banana flapjack with honeycomb glazed citrus segments paired with another Lazy Magnolia beer, the new Backwoods Belgian Ale. Scotts’, in Old Mandeville, is a standard coffee shop for much of the week, but on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner, Chef Robert Vasquez creates a unique menu of tapas based on local produce and meat. Find out more on Facebook
or buy tickets here
There are several other Northshore beer dinners in the works: Jacmel Inn
(903 E. Morris St., Hammond, 985-542-0043) will be hosting a six-course New Belgium beer dinner (Aug. 8, 6:30 p.m.); the Dakota Restaurant
(629 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, 985-892-3712) will be pairing Stillwater Cellar Door, Ommegang Rare Vos, New Belgium 1554, Orval, Liefmans Cuvee Brut, and Parish Farmhouse IPA with a special menu (Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m.); The Chimes in Covington
(19130 Rogers Lane, Covington, 985-892-5396) will be hosting a New Belgium beer brunch (Aug. 17, 10:00 a.m.); and Palmetto’s on the Bayou
(1901 Bayou Lane, Slidell, 985-643-0050) is planning a beer dinner featuring a variety of local Louisiana beers, as well as a Tin Roof Watermelon Wheat beer cocktail to start (menu TBD; Aug. 22, 6:00 p.m.).
There are all sorts of opportunities out there, at different price points and levels of formality, to have fun pairing beer with food. I learn so much, even about beer I’ve had before, when I put myself in the hands of chefs who understand the diverse and complex flavor profiles of beer.
Are there any beer dinners/brunches coming up that I missed? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Nora McGunnigle is a freelance writer, blogger, craft beer aficionado, event planner, and regular columnist for Gambit and Southern Brew News. You can follow her blog at www.nolabeerblog.com and read her column every Tuesday on Blog of New Orleans. Please let her know what you think or suggest topics for future columns in the comment section.