NOLA Brewing Company Tap Room – New Orleans, LA
Tours Offered: Yes (weekly)
Food Service: No
A Brief History
You would assume “NOLA” stood for New Orleans Louisiana, but the official name of the brewery is actually New Orleans Lagers and Ales.
The NOLA Brewing Company facility is located in an industrial district, at the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Seventh Streets, in the Irish Channel neighborhood.
After Hurricane Katrina, Kirk Coco decided it was time to re-build the depleted brewing industry in New Orleans. He teamed up with Peter Caddo, a former brewmaster at the now closed Dixie Brewing Company.
Together they opened NOLA Brewing Company in 2008, becoming the only commercial brewery operated in New Orleans. Since its founding, the mission of NOLA Brewing Company has been very straight-forward:
“Bringing the history and tradition of beer back to New Orleans with fine craft-brewed beer.“
NOLA Brewing Company’s first offerings were Blonde Ale and Brown Ale, followed by Hopitoulas IPA, Hurricane Saison, Seventh Street Wheat, and Irish Channel Stout. They currently have about seven brews in year-round production.
Their beer is only available in cans, which speaks to NOLA’s dedication to sustainability in their brewing practices:
- Can holders are made of recycled plastic
- Spent grain is donated to a local cattle farm
- Utilize locally grown ingredients (when available)
NOLA Brewing Company is distributed regionally throughout all of Louisiana, and parts of the Southeast United States.
More Pictures from NOLA Brewing Company
Our Visit to NOLA Brewing Company
We traveled to New Orleans a few weeks ago for the 49ers vs Saints game, and decided to hit up NOLA Brewing Company Tap Room before heading to the airport.
For those visiting from out of town, we would recommend taking a taxi to the brewery, which is what we did from our hotel in the French Quarter. The ride was no more than 10-15 minutes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also get there by streetcar, followed by a mile long walk. Take the St. Charles line to Washington Avenue in the famed Garden District, then hoof it down to Tchoupitoulas Street.
Here’s the Google Maps directions.
Once we arrived, there was a smaller office looking building we thought was the tap room room, adjoining the main brewing warehouse. But in the window, there was a handwritten sign “← tap room” pointing left.
We took the arrow literally, and cut left through the warehouse, and immediately started to feel a bit lost, not to mention being the only people in the facility. So we just kept creepin’ through…
Past the brewing tanks and palettes of canned beer in storage, we made it to another section of warehouse. Here we were greeted by a Drew Brees Fathead wall decal and the Dragons of New Orleans, next to a door with a sign above it for “Tap Room.”
After walking around later, what the sign in the window meant was head left across the parking lot, until you reach the front entrance to the Tap Room. We were not the only ones confused by this, since we pointed some other thirsty people in the right direction on our way out.
Once inside, the NOLA Brewing Company Tap Room featured belly-up seating to the tasting bar, along with about 5 or 6 wooden tables. The walls were decorated with music-themed modern art, while Sports Center played on a few flatscreen TVs.
The NOLA Tap Room was on the rustic side, almost like a country bar. Although we ended up at a table, the bar seating was a cool feature to see in a tasting room, since most California establishments are too crowded to offer a seat at the counter like that.
In the far left corner of the bar was their beer menu, and a section of wall for merchandise. They sold hats, leather koozies, and most notable was a Fleur-de-lis made out of barely and hops printed on a tee shirt.
As for the beer menu, NOLA Brewing offered their year round line-up, with an impressive (almost double in size) list of Tap Room exclusives and one-offs. You can see the menu in the picture gallery below.
We also loved that they wrote out a description next to each beer on the menu. Some breweries do this, but not enough in our opinion. When faced with difficult tasting choices, those little blurbs can really help your decision making process.
A flight of 4 tasters was $8, and served in a handmade, wooden glass caddy. Between the 3 of us, we spread the tasting menu out fairly well in our round of samplers. Those were followed up with a full-sized glass, based on everyone’s recommendations.
Besides their novelty Donut Coffee Stout, saisons / farmhouse ales seemed to be NOLA Brewing’s best efforts. Looking back on it, we probably should have treated ourselves to a beer float for $7, — your choice of beer and ice cream.
If you’re a craft beer drinker visiting New Orleans, be sure to carve out some time to visit NOLA Brewing Company Tap Room. The beer was tasty, and a welcomed change of pace to experience the craft beer scene in another US city.
Exclusives on Tap
Their regular line-up, and taproom exclusive brews available on tap during our visit:
- Hopitoulas IPA: 3/5
American IPA dry-hopped with Simcoe and Amarillo. A play on words / cleverly named after Tchoupitoulas Street, where the brewery is located.
- Hurricane Saison: 3.5/5
Saison with fresh whole peppercorn and cumin along with three different hop varieties. It was juicy and flowery, with a hint of spice.
- A.L.S. IPA: 3.5/5
Farmhouse IPA made with a special hop blend for Ales for A.L.S. Piney and floral, we all agreed it was one of their better ales.
- Zing Birth: 3.5/5
Their Rebirth Pale Ale with addition of Citra hops and lemon juice. Definitely a zing in the finish from Citra and citrus.
- Girl Scout Cookie Stout: 3/5
Irish Stout with lactose, fresh mint, and cacao. Another special edition of their stout, with subtle mint in the finish.
- Donut Coffee Stout: 4/5
Irish Channel Stout with vanilla, lactose, and coffee. On the lighter side, but really did taste like donut glaze and coffee.