New Year’s Eve may be Champagne Night, but this year New Orleans is full of great beer choices. Local beer mecca Avenue Pub is hosting a “Beer Geek Starter Party” beginning at 5 p.m., which will feature Cantillon Mamouche, a Belgian lambic made with elderflower, as well as bottle pours of six different newly distributed beers from The Bruery and several other sours, imperial stouts, and rare selections.
Owner Polly Watts says, “We don't try to compete for the real New Year's Eve craziness. It's just not the kind of bar we are.” However, she adds, “We do have quite a few folks that stay with us all night. .. But many probably didn't intend that when they came.”
If you stay home or go out to a party, there are several beers that capture the celebratory nature of the night. These beers are all available in local grocery stores or specialty wine and beer shops.
Watts recommends Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde. “Honestly, it doesn't get any better than this beer. I think it's likely the most underappreciated Belgian style beer that's imported into the U.S.” It’s a yeast-forward, well balanced tripel with effervescent carbonation reminiscent of sparkling wine.
Dan Stein, owner of Stein’s Deli, which has one of the best retail beer selections in the city, recommends Mikkeller’s Nelson Sauvin Brut, another Bière de Champagne, which he calls “super expensive ($22.49 for a 750 ml bottle), but super awesome.”
Both Stein and Watts also recommended Deus Brut des Flandres by Brouwerij Bosteels, which is a strong ale brewed in Belgium with Champagne yeast and then sent to the Champagne region of France to be bottle conditioned in the méthode champenoise.
Other selections for toasting the New Year are North Coast’s Grand Cru, a strong ale brewed with agave and Belgian yeast and aged in oak barrels; Brooklyn Brewing’s Local 1, a strong saison; and Saison du Pont.
Happy New Year!