Tag Archives: craft beer

finding NA beer in new orleans – an update

in my fridge right now!

if you’ve been following my adventures in #NAcraftbeer over the past few months, you’ll know my biggest complaint is how hard it is to find any of this stuff locally here in new orleans. total wine is pretty much it right now, in terms of buying any of the smaller craft NA breweries, though the more commercial craft and macro NA options are getting easier to find. (i.e. sam adams just the haze, brooklyn brewery special effects and lagunitas IPNA are regularly carried in local grocery stores now, next to all the heineken 0.0, bud zero, coors edge, odoul’s, sharps, buckler, etc. and heineken 0.0 and lagunitas IPNA are starting to pop up on restaurant menus and bar beer lists too. so if you like any of those, then i guess it is getting easier to find NAs. but i’m a craft beer snob and want the good stuff from the smaller indie craft breweries, so i won’t be happy until NA beers from breweries like athletic, wellbeing, bravus, rightside and ceria can be found readily around town.)

i’ve been reaching out via email and fb messenger to a bunch of the local craft breweries to find out if anyone has an NA in the pipeline. most haven’t responded to me but the few who have did indicate they are aware of the trend/buzz in the industry and are intrigued by the idea but due to equipment costs and other additional costs of brewing an NA, don’t have one scheduled anytime soon. but it was at least nice to hear it’s on their radar. (zony mash and faubourg were the two who have responded to me so far; nothing from the rest of them. as i start to make my way back out into the world, now that i’m vaccinated, i will try to stop by places in person and ask.)

earlier today i sent emails to pelican craft brands and crescent crown, two of the biggest craft beer distributors in the city. i’m not alcoholic beverage industry savvy, though, so if there are other local beer distributors i should be reaching out to, please let me know in the comments. (as far as i can tell, glazers only does wine & spirits here in new orleans, but correct me if i’m wrong.) i don’t really know any other ways to lobby those in the industry here to make more good craft NAs available to consumers, and i don’t have any clout whatsoever – i’m just a random NA beer drinker who writes a blog that no one reads – but i’m doing what i can. maybe if we all start requesting our favorites everywhere we go, we’ll make some headway.

i have however been pleasantly surprised since i started writing about NA beer how many friends and social media contacts have reached out privately or commented publicly that they too are refraining from or cutting down on alcohol and are either interested in or are already drinking NA beer! i really thought i was alone in this when i first started and i just decided to write about it to document my journey mostly for me. but i was also hoping it might be helpful to others – and maybe it has! definitely gives me a little inspiration to keep going.

but, come on y’all, do chime in and tell me what YOU are drinking? what NAs are YOU enjoying?

beer talk

i’ve had a lifelong love of beer, with craft beer being my alcohol of choice for most of my adult life. (in high school it was all mickey’s, bass ale and wine coolers; by college rolling rock and miller high life were my go-to beers. but i was lucky enough to move to new orleans post-college, where abita beer was already a thing. it was my first introduction to craft beer and their brews are still some of my favorites. i’ve probably drunk more abita amber than any other beer in my lifetime.)

in recent years, however, i started to notice my body REALLY not liking alcohol anymore. so i reduced the amount of beer i was drinking, usually no more than 1 or 2 at a time and only on the weekends, because of how awful it made me feel the next day. alcohol is very much a way of life here in new orleans, though, so it was still very much a part of my social life, even at a reduced amount. i just tried to get smarter about choosing lighter beers, drinking only with food, interspersing water with beers, and stopping at 2 in a night. but even with all that, it was still affecting me adversely.

about a month before my brain surgery (around september of last year), i stopped drinking alcohol entirely, wanting to go into surgery feeling as good as i possibly could. post surgery, i have not felt like i am ready yet to return to alcohol; i’m wanting to give my body and brain some more time to heal without the inflammation and toxicity that alcohol brings. i’ve dropped and kept off 10 pounds or so, and all my pants are loose, which feels good. given all that, around mid-november, ahead of the holiday season and some anticipated socially-distanced social gatherings, i began investigating non-alcoholic beer as a possible option.

much to my surprise, i’ve found a burgeoning and exciting NA craft beer scene taking root in the US. (NA beer has already been a much bigger thing in europe and other parts of the world, but as usual, the US lags behind.) i started sampling various brands and breweries, mostly ordering online because it’s so hard to find locally, and joined a few facebook groups dedicated to non-alcoholic beer appreciation as a way to learn more. i now find myself reading a lot of articles online and listening to several podcasts about NA beer and its makers. i’m a little obsessed!

so i am making a category here on this blog to easily catalog all my reviews of various NA brews and other thoughts on the trend/industry as it develops. not that i’m any kind of expert, just documenting mostly for myself what i’m learning – and if it can help anyone else, great! i am hopeful that the craft brewing scene here in new orleans will eventually catch on and some of our successful local breweries will take on the challenge of making delicious NA brews of their own.