Hop[p]in’ Good Eats

We’re bubbling over with breweries! From taprooms to microbreweries and brewpubs, at last New Orleans has it all. Though swillin’ brews – and other boozy beverages – may be one our city’s favorite pastimes, enjoying good food frequently competes for the top slot. As one might expect, many breweries are focused solely on their beers, leaving food options for pop-ups and trucks, but there are some brewpubs crafting tasty grub as well. For clarification, with prices the way they are these days, having a craft brew with lunch is bound to go over a $20 budget, but maybe we can bubble over a little?

When Bywater Brew Pub opened nearly three years ago on the corner of Royal and Montegut streets, Chef Anh Luu was behind the wheel offering Viet-Cajun fare with a flare. Though Luu has gone forth to explore new culinary adventures, the brewery bubbles on and while not quite as fanciful, the grub is still good. Budgeting in at least one brew, like a pint of their “snappy” Stimulus Czech pilsner, you can still swing a giant, soft-baked Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese, or cut it close with a grilled sausage sando served with fries. Speaking of fries, “My Wife’s Salad” also comes in close, with fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes topped with a hefty helping of crispy battered French fries and shredded cheddar cheese.

Image courtesy of Bywater Brew Pub

Located on Decatur Street, the Crescent City Brewhouse has been the French Quarter’s sole microbrewery for the past 32 years. The Brewhouse’s distinctive lagers and award-winning house brews – Pilsner, Red Stallion, Weiss Beer, and Black Forest – are more than flight-worthy. Pair a pint with an order of fried alligator with remoulade for dipping, a pub burger on a pretzel bun, or Wolf’s German Sausage Plate featuring steamed pork sausages, sauerkraut and Creole mustard.

The restaurant scene in the bougie South Market District has been bouncing since it debuted, but then something really hoppy happened with the recent launch of Brewery Saint X, the sister establishment to the equally new ‘cue spot nearby, Devil Moon BBQ. Naturally, the brewery is taking advantage of the Devil next door with dishes like smoked chicken wings and pulled pork sandwiches on brioche. Add a 16 oz can of “Swarm” Czech dark lager or “Time Goes” pilsner and you can stay under budget, but you can only have one. If you don’t need to limit your funds, what are you reading this for? The world is your lager!

Image courtesy of Calliope Beer Works

Calliope Beer Works is the shiniest of suds on the New Orleans brewery scene, as it just opened a few months ago in July. Owner and brew master Richard Szydlo launched his brewpub inside the former Cowbell spot at the river end of Oak Street with the intention of offering “food-friendly, flavorful beers” and it seems he has delivered. Szydlo’s initial Calliope creations have just become ready for the tap – an IPA, rye pale ale, Belgian blonde, and an ESB (English bitter amber) – but the menu has been in swing since day one, offering “fried fungi fingers” made with portabella mushrooms and queso for dipping, hot honey-drizzled chicken and waffle sandwiches, and crab and watermelon salad.

Port Orleans Brewing Co. on Tchoupitoulas Street has been sporting New York-based Avo Taco as a permanent kitchen installment since 2020. This came after hosting a bevvy of successful pop-ups for years prior. Featuring a “fun, fast-casual” environment, Avo Taco offers a large menu, with everything from carnitas nachos and street corn with cotija and Tajin, to quesadillas, burgers and (yes) tacos. A couple of “Cowboy” tacos with BBQ-braised pork and crispy onions, and 10 oz Dorada Mexican-style lager should see you well-satiated and under the mark.

Image courtesy of Urban South Brewery

Finally, yet another Tchoupitoulas denizen Urban South Brewery will be celebrating it’s 8th year in business this March, just after Mardi Gras. Led by Jacob Landry, the brightly-branded brews have have been pleasing so many palates and winning all the awards, they were able to launch a second location in Houston. After a year-long stint in Europe, Landry wanted to “share the gospel of good beer” back in his hometown. Urban South’s Americanized European-style brews tend to be fruity and light, from their Grapefruit Holy Roller hazy juicy IPA to the fresh Paradise Park American lager. But back to the food! At their New Orleans location on the LGD end of Tchoupitoulas Street, Urban South has a semi-permanent Urban Smash food truck offering plates of Noni’s Chicken Sandwich – buttermilk battered and fried chicken breast topped with a tangy red cabbage slaw, LCG Beer Pickles, and Noni’s pepper jelly; BBQ Bacon Burger with smoked gouda; and cheeseburger egg rolls with Tchoup sauce. While you can add a can of brew to several of the sandwiches offered and still make it under budget, Urban Smash also offers one heck of a lunch deal during the week. Just order an Urban Smash burger with a side of fries, and you get a pint of one of their core brews for free.

*Lead image taken at Brewery Saint X by Randy Schmidt

**Article originally published in the 2023 Halloween Issue of Where Y’at Magazine

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