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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Brewsday Tuesday: NOLA Beer Tours is a tasty history lesson about New Orleans brew

Posted By on Tue, May 27, 2014 at 9:15 AM

click to enlarge Eric Stockwell of NOLA Beer Tours gives a little history at the bar inside Tujague's. - NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • Eric Stockwell of NOLA Beer Tours gives a little history at the bar inside Tujague's.
Standing in the Place d’Armes, NOLA Beer Tours guide Eric Stockwell recited New Orleans’ Regal Brewery’s catchphrase from its heyday in the mid-1900s: “Red beans and rice, and Regal on ice.”

He paused, then said, “That stuff sold like crack, you guys.”

NOLA Beer Tours was founded in 2013 and aims to combine the history of beer in New Orleans with a tour of the French Quarter, while highlighting local beers at a variety of bars. Stockwell says that for the most part, the tours are made up of people with a genuine interest in craft beer. My tour group had a diverse mix of folks from Slidell, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Texas and Oklahoma.

The tour I went on earlier this month met at Tujague’s for the first stop. Although I was initially skeptical of the location, the restaurant’s historic significance combined with two iconic Louisiana beers on tap - NOLA Blonde and Abita Amber - and a snack of its house specialty brisket soon changed my mind.

Stockwell told us the history of both NOLA Brewing and Abita as we sipped our beer. Then the group moved from Tujague’s to Jackson Square before heading to Crescent City Brewhouse. Guided by Stockwell, we tried several of the offerings there. After that, it was off to Evangeline on Decatur Street, where we were permitted to choose two local beers to sample from the many the bar had on tap.

Heading up to Bourbon Street, I couldn’t imagine any place there that would be worthy of a beer tour. However, we went to Beer Fest, which is under new management and has a nice selection of beer and a bartender who seemed to know her stuff. I enjoyed my LA-31 Bière Noire and Tin Roof’s Perfect Tin while drinking in the excitement of my fellow beer tourists. They loved learning about beer in the context of New Orleans’ rich history, and I have to admit, I did too.

— For more information about NOLA Beer Tours, visit the company's website.

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