A Beer Lover's Guide to New Orleans

A taste of Crescent City breweries and craft-beer bars.

With the old Jax Brewery on the banks of the Mississippi River in the middle of the French Quarter and Dixie signs stenciled on exterior walls throughout the city, New Orleans’ pre-Prohibition status as the beer capital of the South can be seen in corners and remnants of the past. Over the past five years or so, however, the Crescent City has begun to reassert itself with locally brewed beer created with a special joie de vivre that’s different from anywhere else in the country. 

We’ve mapped out 20 of the city’s best breweries and beer bars, from Bywater to the Riverbend, including Northshore venues worth going the distance for. Welcome to craft beer—Louisiana style.


French Quarter

Crescent City Brewhouse

In the shadow of Jax Brewery, Wolfram Koehler’s brewhouse produces primarily German-style beers, and serves both German and New Orleans food staples. Enjoy a sample of beers while scoping out the copper brewhouse, which consists of equipment and ingredients on all four floors of the building. 527 Decatur St., New Orleans, 504.522.0571

Crescent City Brewhouse

Evangeline

This elegant-but-casual spot focuses on local beers, and has a killer courtyard in which to sip them. Immerse yourself in the cool, laid-back environment, and enjoy lots of cold beer on draft from all around the state—from New Orleans to Covington to Shreveport. 329 Decatur St., New Orleans, 504.373.4852

Ole Saint Kitchen & Tap

Enjoy 53 drafts of craft beer, which can be purchased two-for-one weekdays, 3-7 pm. The Southern cuisine underscores this hotel bar/restaurant’s commitment to regional products, and that includes its beer list. Although you’ll find selections from larger breweries out of the Northeast and California, the majority of beer on tap is from Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Georgia. 132 Royal St., New Orleans, 504.309.4797

Deuce McAllister's Ole Saint Kitchen & Tap.


Bywater

Junction
Located in the hip Bywater neighborhood, Junction serves up beer and burgers, both done perfectly. The management brings in local brewers to talk about their beers once a month or so. That knowledge is reflected in Junction’s beer menu, which is designed for novices and experts alike. The space has a funky feel and one of the most interesting jukeboxes in town. 3021 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, 504.272.0205


Warehouse District

Gordon Biersch

Although a national franchise, all beer served at Gordon Biersch is brewed on premises by the local brewmaster, who also has license to brew and serve recipes of his own. This augments the core German-style beer lineup with Belgian styles as well as hoppy IPAs and other American craft beer styles. 200 Poydras St., New Orleans, 505.552.2739

World of Beer

This recently opened local outpost of the national chain offers 40 beers on tap, nearly 500 in bottles or cans and a full menu for lunch, dinner and late night. Grab a cold one, order from the beer-inspired food menu and enjoy conversation, trivia on Thursday nights or live local music on weekends. 324 Julia St., New Orleans, 504.299.3599
 

World of Beer


Lower Garden District

Avenue Pub

The region’s preeminent beer bar, with a wide and carefully chosen variety of local and national craft beer, along with imports from Belgium, the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. The staff is well educated, the beers are poured perfectly into proper glassware, the draft system is spotless and freshness dates of all IPAs are printed on the menu. “Crafty Hour” runs Monday through Friday, 4-6 pm; take $2 off any pint of American craft beer. 1732 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, 504.586.9243

Courtyard Brewery

At this beer bar/nano-brewery, brewer/owner Scott Wood serves his small-batch beers alongside a selection of his favorite crafts. The city’s top food trucks pull up Thursday through Sunday evenings, and the converted commercial space transforms into a communal experience with beer lovers sitting in folding chairs around cable-spindle tables, surrounded by patrons’ dogs and the occasional pet pig (her name is Lily.) 1020 Erato St., New Orleans, no phone

Barrel Proof

A whiskey- and beer-focused bar that always has Schlitz on draft, along with several local beers. The bottled and canned options rival its whiskey list, which is to say both are very deep. 1201 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504.299.1888
 

Barrel Proof (©Shawn Fink)


Uptown/Riverbend

NOLA Brewing

Since 2009 NOLA Brewing has been providing the city with a wide variety of tasty beers available on draft and in cans. Its new tap room is a multilevel facility with 24 taps, including several dedicated to the brewery’s line of sour and wild ales. Live music is common, there’s a game room (ping-pong, old-school Nintendo) in the back and local pit master Neil McClure serves his delicious barbecue out of the kitchen. Open daily, 11 am-11 pm. 3001 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, 504.613.7727

The Bulldog, Uptown

Lots of taps, a great courtyard, dog friendly and in the middle of the Magazine Street hustle and bustle. It’s a lively spot where groups congregate over pitchers of craft beer, and conversation goes late into the night. 3236 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504.891.1516

The Bulldog (©The Bulldog)

Cooter Brown’s/The Snooty Cooter
While its tap list has always been extensive, this venerable Riverbend sports bar and oyster joint took a turn after nearly 40 years into a more dedicated craft business with its high-end beer bar-within-a bar, the Snooty Cooter. It’s the best of both worlds: The history and ambience of a decades-old neighborhood joint and a speakeasy-esque back bar with 46 drafts of some of the best beer in town. 509 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, 504.866.9104

Ale on Oak

Ale has a strong selection of beers on draft, and constantly seeks out the best offerings for its clientele. Daily happy hour specials and a fantastic bar-food menu make this a must for beer enthusiasts. Ale shares a courtyard (and ownership) with the neighboring Oak wine bar, so it’s the perfect middle ground for beer geeks and wine lovers. 8124 Oak St., New Orleans, 504.324.6558
 

Ale on Oak (©Shawn Fink)


Mid-City

Second Line Brewing

Just off the Canal streetcar line, this new production brewery is open for business, and the public can enjoy its beer garden Fridays and Saturdays, from 4 to 10 pm. Roving food trucks help curb any food cravings, plus the brewery is within walking distance of the popular burger shack Bud’s Broiler as well as the Vietnamese-flavored MoPho (which also has its own stellar beer list.) 433 N. Bernadotte St., New Orleans, 504.248.8979

The Bulldog, Mid-City

A gorgeous beer garden just off Canal Street with an extensive tap list, this is an ideal spot in which to relax, catch up with friends, dog watch and grab a great local, regional or national craft beer. 5135 Canal Blvd., New Orleans, 504.488.4191

Map: New Orleans Beer and Breweries


Northshore

Hop on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the world’s longest bridge over water, and 23.83 miles later you’ll arrive in St. Tammany Parish. Better known locally as the Northshore, the area counts a number of great beer bars and breweries of its own.

Old Rail Brewing Company

This brewpub has an on-site state-of-the-art brewing system, providing a wide variety of core and seasonal beers. From the award-winning Echo Tango Sierra ESB to a blood orange black IPA collaboration with Terrapin Brewing in Georgia, the beers are perfect for sipping on their own or pairing with the beer-friendly food menu. 639 Girod St., Mandeville, 985.612.1828

Old Rail Brewing Company

Barley Oak Old World Draught House

Overlooking Lake Pontchartrain, this the perfect place to try local craft, rare beer and imports. One of the first beer destinations on the Northshore, Barley Oak offers great views and outdoor seating, as well as comfy leather chairs by a huge stone fireplace. Order the German sausage plate or a cheese platter for a great beer-pairing experience. 2101 Lakeshore Dr., Mandeville, 985.727.7420

Chafunkta Brewing
This tiny brewery offers tours and samples from 6 to 7 pm on Fridays. Although the majority of its beer is brewed at Mississippi’s Lazy Magnolia brewery, this is where all the inspiration, testing and—most important— tasting happens. 21449 Marion Lane, Mandeville, 985.869.0716

Chafunkta Brewing

Covington Brewhouse

Musician and head brewer Brian Broussard brings his rock ’n’ roll attitude to brewing, making Covington’s core lineup harmonize perfectly with its new seasonal beer offerings. The brewery's new tap room is open to the public on weekends (Fridays, 5-9 pm; Saturdays, 11am-8 pm; and Sundays 2-8 pm); free tours are conducted every Saturday (11:30 am, 1 and 2:30 pm). 226 E Lockwood St., Covington, 985.893.2884

Abita Brewing Company

The pioneer of modern-day Louisiana brewing, Abita has a new visitors center and offers free tours of its impressive operation (Wed.-Sat.). Enjoy samples of all of Abita’s current offerings—from its flagships Amber or Turbodog to its newer seasonals, such as Seersucker Pilsner or Grapefruit IPA, to its new Bourbon Street bourbon-barrel series, which barrel-ages stouts, porters and brown ales for a complex flavor profile. 166 Barbee Rd., Covington, 985.893.3143

Abita Brewery (©Abita Brewery)

Map: Northshore Beer and Breweries