It's festival season, and there's one festival in the state that is committed to supporting all local craft breweries: Lafayette's annual Festival International de Louisiane, April 23-27. It's a free music festival that also showcases local foods and drinks. This includes the "Lus LA Craft Biergarten," which will offer 20 beers from six Louisiana breweries — Abita (www.abita.com), Bayou Teche (www.bayoutechebrewing.com), Covington (www.covingtonbrewhouse.com), NOLA Brewing (www.nolabrewing.com), Parish (www.parishbeer.com) and Tin Roof (www.tinroofbeer.com).
Bayou Teche co-founder Karlos Knott says it's the third year for the Louisiana craft beer tent at Festival International. This year Knott plans to debut a special beer that commemorates the international focus of the event. Bayoust is a collaboration with French brewer La Bambelle. The name pays tribute to the bodies of water that border each brewery — the Bayou Teche in Louisiana and the Oust river in France.
Using Skype, the two breweries collaborated on everything from the recipe to the bottle label art and graphics, and last fall Bayou Teche's Louis Michot traveled to France to assist with brewing the first batch.
Michot says he was struck by how the collaboration highlighted the cultural parallels between the two breweries, how they work and their connection to their respective communities. "It's just so typically French and (yet in) another way close to us, because we use so many local things, things that grow wild on our land, very local-centered," he says. "There are just so many parallels."
The beer is brewed using grain crops from each area: buckwheat (France) and corn (Louisiana). The beer was released at La Bambelle's local festival in France in October 2013, and Bayoust will make its American debut at Festival International. — NORA McGUNNIGLE