I’ve been to a lot of breweries in my day, and I’ve been to a lot of pool parties. Until moving to Louisiana, I had not considered the possibility that the two were not mutually exclusive, that they could combine their forces to create a beautiful thing greater than the sum of their parts (which are already pretty great). When I was seeking out new breweries to visit and fun unique experiences to try in the New Orleans area, I knew Gnarly Barley was putting out some really good beer. Jucifer was one of those love at first taste beers, solidifying the legitimacy of the brewery. I had quite the interest in making the drive up to Hammond to visit the brewery, and then I saw this:
My previous “interest” instantly became a “MUST DO!’ My friend / new roommate and I drove to Hammond Saturday morning, and I admired my first drive on the swamp highway called I-55. There was a good crowd when we arrived at the brewery, and I was greeted by the father-in-law of the head brewer who kindly checked my ID. The open warehouse was an inviting atmosphere, and I was ready to dive head first into the po…. I mean beer. The blow up pools were far too shallow for safe diving. It is at this point that I’ll say that I regret not taking any photos of the pool or the swimsuits worn by my friend and me. My photos sadly consisted of strictly beer, so that’s all you’re getting here. Speaking of beer and photos, I had to start my day off with Brightside IPA,
Very juicy and slammable in 90+ degree humid heat, I can see why Gnarly Barley thought it appropriate to throw a pool party for its release. I’m drinking a Brightside as we speak, and I now have double the proof that this is a phenomenal regional IPA. I wish I could always have it in my fridge. With the party’s namesake under my belt, I returned to the tried and true Jucifer. This IPA can hold its own with any of the NE big boys. It has insane grapefruit flavor along with a melange of other citrus. The body is cloudy with a smooth milky texture. I also wish I could have this beer in my fridge year round. Because I’m a responsible adult, I had to make sure that I had a photo of Catahoula Common riding its faithful inflatable pink flamingo steed.
This is Gnarly Barley’s most accessible beer. A California Common style lager, it is exactly the beer you’d want to slam back far too many of while seeking to relieve yourself from the heat. Having satiated my easy drinking beer desires, I decided to finish up with the non-summer friendly Maple Coffee Korova. Bursting with sweet coffee flavor, I found it none too offensive on the sweltering day. By my own judgement, I had made an excellent choice with my final brewery beer.
Not one to leave a brewery without getting some background info, I had a conversation with the lead brewer and co-founder Zac Caramonta. He and his wife started the brewery 3 years ago, and their independent craft beer has gained ubiquity amongst south LA bar taps. I dropped the not so subtle hint that my H Town friends would love some Jucifer, but it seems that Zac is content at the moment to ensure he can continually supply LA with his tasty suds. I admired the ingenuity of throwing a brewery pool party, and I will definitely attend another in the future. Hopefully the idea will catch on. Gnarly Barley sure did a good job of introducing me to and winning me over with the concept.