I am a man who obviously loves beer of all shapes, sizes, IBUs, funkiness, ABV, and most other metrics you can think of. That being said, if I had to drink one beer for the rest of my life (or one beer period, death row style), I’m going for an IPA. I’m an admitted unabashed hophead, and I love IPAs of all varieties. When one of my favorite breweries located two blocks from my home throws a festival celebrating all things hoppy, I’m going to be there fully ready to drown myself in IPAs. To my slight dismay, there was not a dunking booth or pool full of beer where I could literally swim in dirty hop water.
This was the second year that Courtyard has thrown the Louisiana Hop Festival, and they ensured it was going to be a special occasion. ~25 different breweries were represented by >50 different beers, most of which were IPAs. After a scare from Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control threatened to cancel the event, Courtyard diverted charitable donations from the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild to solely give to the non-profit C4C who partnerships with individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life in southeast Louisiana. With the event good to go, I made my way over early in the afternoon.
I arrived to a scene that was indeed quite the party. Erato St had been closed between Constance and Magazine, making for a block long street fair. Food trucks, trinket stands, and booths with info on various organizations lined the streets. And there was beer. Lots of hoppy delicious beer. Multiple tents were selling suds which could be bought with $3 tickets whose proceeds 100% went to C4C. I happily dropped $30 to try out some tasters of the incredibly bright and juicy 4XDH Brightside from Gnarly Barley and the sour and fruity SIPS: Crystal City collab between Courtyard and Parish.
With a further cash/credit courtyard beer station and the bar inside, there were plenty of options to satiate your hop thirst. Courtyard went all out on the collaborations, featuring beers brewed with their friends throughout the New Orleans area and even across the country. Local collabs included the aforementioned Crystal City, 17 + 12 = 29 with Old Rail, NOLA Spiritual Advisor Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, ande a surprise collab with Gordon Biersch, Marshmallows are for Stouts. Not so local collabs saw Pure Project from San Diego bringing over Murk Mobile and the locally brewed 4th Best Bodysurfer in the World with Aslin Brewing, Virginia based purveyors of awesome NEIPAs. I was delighted to see that A) Great Notion sent over their Ripe IPA for the event and B) Louisiana alcohol laws are lax enough to allow for these one offs. Occasionally the government in Louisiana can work in our benefit.
In addition to awesome collabs, you know Courtyard brought some heat from their own brilliant minds. Preach! was taken to the next level with DDH Preach!, a fabulously hazy and juicy take on one of their staple IPAs. Courtyard even stepped up this step up a further notch with Super DDH Preach! which was randaled through hops to achieve a next level dankness. Without Recklessness turned my day towards recklessness while Color Of Money was thankfully not a St Patty’s themed brew. By the time I drank On A Spaceship Somewhere, my mind was floating in outer space, observing my drunken body in its foolish state.
By the accounts of myself and everyone else who I’ve talked to, Louisiana Hop Festival was a great success. Tons of awesome beer raising money for a worthy charity is a strong basis for a party, and Courtyard delivered excellently on all the logistics. This is another New Orleans beer event that I’ll add to my yearly calendar as Must Attend.