Gulf Brew has more than 200 beers to sample. Tempting though it may be, it’s not recommended to try them all.
Instead, go in with a plan. The tried and true pilsners and lagers are always a safe bet, but Gulf Brew, the sudsy annual fundraiser for Acadiana Center for the Arts, gives you the chance to taste something novel and surprising and offers the occasional sneak peek at brews that aren’t even on the market. Look for specialty brews that are special features at Gulf Brew, suggests Dane Melancon of Schilling Distributing.
This year it’s all about the haze. Juicy IPAs, sometimes called hazy IPAs, are the obvious trend across Gulf Brew’s offerings. The fruity, bitter, potent brews are great summer options for hops lovers.
“A number of beers featured have a juicy description, which basically entails tons of hops, but tend to lean toward the more fruit-forward or tropical flavors rather than just bitter,” Melancon says. “Also known as the ‘haze craze’ because of their appearance, these beers are taking over, and we have some amazing Louisiana brewers creating some of the country’s best versions.”
Louisiana’s Haze Craze
Gnarly Barley out of Hammond will have two fruity IPAs. First stop is the Pineapple Mango Milkshake IPA. A milkshake IPA starts as an already abundantly hopped juicy IPA with tropical fruits — pineapple and mango — then finishes with a touch of lactose sugar to give it a creamy milkshake feel. If you’re into dreamsicles, this may be the perfect summer beverage. Gnarly’s second wildly popular IPA is Jucifer. If you’re not familiar, Jucifer is a dry-hopped beer with heavy hops and layers of tropical papaya, mango and grapefruit.
Tin Roof Brewing out of Baton Rouge will offer the Haze Melee, a juicy DIPA (IPA on steroids) and a featured brew, the Voodoo Pale Ale, a heavily dry-hopped American pale ale. Sips can expect flavors of melon, passion fruit, tangelo and pine for a naturally hazy beer.
Crying Eagle Brewing out of Lake Charles will serve its Hop Blooded IPA, a hazy IPA with juicy tropical notes of candied pineapple, orange, mango and stone fruit. Check out the Panorama Pale Ale while at the booth as well. It’s a blend of hops that offer notes of bubble gum, tropical fruits and pine.
Urban South Brewery out of New Orleans will have a limited release of Peels on the Bus, a blood orange IPA. This IPA is the result of a collaboration with NOLA Brew Bus. Another juicy IPA, this one is brewed with sweet orange peel in the kettle and then aged on blood orange puree. Super citrus, a touch of blood orange and bitter hops round out the brew. While at the NOLA booth, also be sure to try the NOLA Revivalists Pale Ale, a citrusy pale with notes of caramel.
Parish Brewing will have three super-juicy IPAs on tap. The Derivative, a DIPA made with Viognier grapes, is a super bitter, hazy IPA.
New to Gulf Brew
Gulf Brew serves as a birthing floor for new local breweries to spread their wings. There are two new breweries making their debut at Gulf Brew this year, and patrons can be the first in the area to give them a try.
Delta Sunshine Brewing Company out of Mississippi is a new brewery that takes inspiration from the delta blues and gives back to local children’s programs. This new brewery, helmd by brewmaster Allison Higi, will have three beers to taste, the Highway 61 Pilsner, Toll Booth Amber and Room 414 Pale Ale.
Another new kid in town is Second Line Brewing Company of New Orleans. Second Line is located in Mid-City, just off of City Park. The new brewery takes an eco-friendly approach to its work, selling the by-product of its spent grain to Local Cooling Farms, an organic farm outside of New Orleans. Local Cooling Farms extracts the nutrient value from the grain for farming operations, redcucing waste for both businesses. Check out the three options from Second Line: Saison Named Desire, Queen of New England (another hazy, double IPA) and Batture Blonde.