Larry Hartzog looked forward to retirement. He plotted with friends in the Northshore’s Mystic Krewe of Brew (MKOB) home brewers club to spend his time brewing off-the-wall beers in the custom-built brewhouse on his property. He died unexpectedly less than a month after he retired, leaving friends and family to turn to his greatest passions — jazz and home brewing — to honor him.
In 2012, his fellow home brewers paid tribute to him by throwing the first Larry Hartzog Twisted Beer Fest as a fundraiser at the Mellow Mushroom in Covington to benefit his favorite cause, supporting WWOZ, New Orleans’ community radio station. MKOB club members brought home-brewed beers, toasted Larry’s memory and held a home brew competition. In 2013, the event grew and judging became more official. This year, 35 home brews were submitted from Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas, and the judging is Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned.
Sal Mortillaro II, vice president of the MKOB and one of the BJCP-certified judges, says there are some very “twisted” beers in the competition this year. All beers had to incorporate a vegetable, herb and/or spice, and a few examples are chai braggot, carrot cake beer, butternut squash spiced ale and lemon-lemongrass IPA.
For a $15 donation, attendees can sample 35 home-brewed beers at the festival, which begins at 4 p.m. May 10 at the Mellow Mushroom (1645 Highway 190, suite 100, Covington, 985-327-5407). Red Wolf Brass Band and Guitar Slim Jr. will perform.
Larry’s daughter Elizabeth Hartzog says of the connection between her father, homebrew and jazz, “Anyone who brewed with Larry knew he believed that the first thing you do, before you brew, is turn the radio to 90.7 FM. He was an annual Jazz Fest attendee, longtime member of WWOZ and loved all the music.”