My first experiences with beer as a kid involved seeing the signature red, white and blue cans of Budweiser lining the shelf of my family’s refrigerator and occasionally sneaking a sip when my father was looking the other way. Even when I finally reached the magical age of 21, although I gladly imbibed in a cocktail or two, the appeal of beer still escaped me. It wasn’t until a few years ago when spending a bit more time eating in restaurants with friends and writing on Savory Exposure that tried a few craft beers and I was hooked. I learned later that most of the beers I’d had until that point were lagers, and there was an entire world of beers that to this day can be hard to find in the beer fridges at the gas station and grocery stores.
Fast forward to today, on recent trips to San Diego and Nashville, I sought out breweries ahead of time and planned my eating and sightseeing around them and try local beers on menus. Louisiana and other tourism entities are getting wise to this and making it easier for travelers to plan their itineraries. Louisiana is well known destination for food lovers across the globe and this week announced their brewery trail to sit alongside their featured culinary trails that wind through the state. I’ve only been familiar with Abita Brewing Company – their Amber, Turbodog and Purple Haze have been favorites and they have featured seasonals showcasing local produce (strawberry, satsuma and pecan) throughout the year. I met the fellow pictured above from Bayou Teche Brewing this summer and tried a number of intriguing beers, all with French names. They’re slowly getting the word out on their beers and can be found in Georgia, Alabama, New York in addition to their native Louisiana. If you’re in one of those states, definitely try their funky smoked wheat beer LA 31 Boucanee and the Passionee, infused with passion fruit grown on the grounds near the brewery in Arnaudville. Of course, if you’re not in the area, definitely take a trip to Louisiana and check out the breweries in person. Head on over to the Louisiana Craft Brewery Trail website for more info on these and other breweries in the state.