Best Beer in NO?
I'll be in NO for 4 days next week. I know there are a few craft brewers in the region. I love IPAs, ESBs, best bitters, and ales in general. What should I be sure to try? Also, I know that Abita beers will be widely available but is there somewhere (in the French Quarter) that's especially good for local beer?
If you like IPAs, the Abita Jockamo is one of my faves. Crescent City Brewhouse on Decatur Street makes some credible beers on site. If you're in town on a Friday, go up to the NOLA Brewery on Tchoupitoulas Street for their "tour." They only do it Fridays at 2pm. Arrive early, stand in line inside the the taps where they serve the special beers, get one, go the back of the line as you drink it, get the front, try another, you get the idea. The acoustics are horrible, so just about the only thing you'll hear is the word "beer," but since that's what you're there fore, I suspect you'll have a good time.
Go to the Avenue Pub on St. Charles in the lower garden district. Best beer bar in the city, one of the best in the world.
Local beers- nola brewing has a wide variety. Right now they have the Mecha Hopzilla, a double Ipa out in addition to their regular Hopitoulas Ipa. Their current seasonal is the Irish channel stout, which is excellent.
I don't love Abita, but their Restoration Pale or Jackimo Ipa is ok. Bayou teche pale ale or bier noir are also good. Tin Roof is another localish brewery.
As far as places in the quarter to find a decent beer selection, a lot of places will have nola blonde or brown (or others) on tap or in cans.
Restaurants with decent beer lists in the FQ and CBD: John Besh restaurants, Root, Capdeville, St. Lawrence, SoBou, Sylvain.
Dba on Frenchmen is good for beer and I think Maison on Frenchmen and Three Muses are also good in that area.
The Nola brewery tour has been somewhat upgraded with the addition of their tap / tasting room and other renovations (connected to expansion and post - Isaac reconstruction.
Crescent City Brewhouse is currently the only local brewpub in New Orleans, and Nola Brewing is the only commercial brewery in New Orleans. There's a Gordon Biersch by the casino, but that's a chain.
In addition to what others have said (and I heartily second the Avenue Pub rec) -- the R Bar in the Marigny usually has a handful of local brews on tap (and Guinness) if you're in that neighborhood.
Thanks to all of you. I went to Avenue Pub on Friday night and enjoyed myself very much. I had a Hopitoulas and a West Coast IPA(?). I must admit, when I first walked in I was dismayed: I had forgotten that you could still smoke in a bar in North America. But then I discovered the upstairs bar for non-smokers. Otherwise the smoke would have been a deal-breaker.
I also went to Crystal City Brewery and had a decent IPA (which was, I think, a special and not part of their regular tap rotation.) It was good but not as good as Hopitoulas. I also tried the Abita IPA and their Golden Ale (they had it at a reception at my conference).
BTW, I also went to the rum distillery, which was pretty cool and I really liked the ginger drink they make there. I think it could be a tad less sweet, but it isn't very sweet for that kind of drink.
So thanks again for all your suggestions. I had a great time in NOLA.
Yeah, it's a relief that the upstairs is nonsmoking. The Avenue is many bars in one- service industry/third shift haven, beer bar, Mardi Gras hotspot, and tourist place. Its 24 hour nature lends itself to multiple personalities! Glad you enjoyed it.
Crystal City - do you mean Crescent City Brewhouse?
I also love the Old New Orleans Rum tour. Fun!