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Beer buzz: Wayward Owl and Freret Beer Room to open 

click to enlarge freret_beer_room.jpg

Photo By Nora McGunnigle

Wayward Owl (3940 Thalia St., 504-827-1646; www.waywardowlbrewing.com) officially is the city's fourth production brewery and is close to opening to the public. Construction on the brewery's taproom is in the final stages and the business is licensed to brew. The first beer to christen the tanks is founder and head brewer Justin Boswell's signature IPA, a recipe he's been tweaking since 2008.

  According to Boswell, the first beers to be released will be the IPA, an English-style ESB, and the little-seen Kristallweizen, which is brewed with wheat like a cloudy-looking hefeweizen, but uses a highly flocculant yeast strain, which results in a clarified beer.

• The Freret Beer Room (5018 Freret St., 504-298-7468) is expected to be open this week. Owner Eli Gay says the beer-focused casual restaurant serves beer in a dining environment and will focus on beer education and beer pairing experimentation.

  Charles Vincent, co-founder and former owner of Charleston, South Carolina restaurant The Glass Onion will be the head chef at the Freret Beer Room, offering dishes like Gulf fish collar, chicken confit and a meatball sandwich. He his experience in the kitchen includes stints at Emeril's Delmonico and La Petite Grocery, but it's his first venture into pairing beer and food on this level.

  "It's been eye-opening," Vincent says, noting that his audition for the job was preparing a beer pairing dinner. "I'm excited about how diverse pairing food and beer can be."

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