In case you missed it, Louisiana is not known for its homegrown beer diversity. Outside of the state, the only brewery anyone can name is Abita. Even within our borders, most casual drinkers probably couldn't identify 5 Louisiana breweries. (For the record, we have: Abita, NOLA, Tin Roof, Bayou Teche, Covington/Heiner Brau, Chafunkta... plus more on the way, like Courtyard and Great Raft.) Oh, and I can't forget the reason I'm writing today: the talented folks at Parish Brewing.
The reason I'm focusing on these guys is simple: they're doing something different. Sure, they have their obligatory mass appeal brew, a tasty little wheat-and-cane-syrup number called Canebrake, that gets their name on tap handles all over the city. But they've also pushed some boundaries with their limited edition Grand Reserve, a full-on 11% barleywine, sold in 750ml bottles (a couple of which are resting comfortably in my beer closet), that challenged the unsuspecting drinker and immediately pushed them into the realm of "serious" craft brewer... or whatever you want to call it. In other words, they decided that stepping outside the more traditional styles was worth a risk. That brings us to tomorrow, May 1st, when Parish releases their next big thing: Farmhouse IPA.
Some people might ask, "What the hell is that?"... others might cringe at labeling anything slightly Belgian an IPA... yet I have found that blending some extra hops into a nice, complex farmhouse ale can make for a splendid concoction if done with skill and care. So I will most certainly acquire a few of these on Wednesday and partake with a smile. Of course, it will help if the beer is really, really good (like the Grand Reserve) but I will be happy just knowing that a local brewer is putting in the extra effort and expanding the portfolio of Louisiana brews.
Because, in the end, we all just want a variety of good, fresh beer to enjoy... right here at home.
So grab a few for yourself, or the beer geek in your life, and let me know what you think!