Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cajun Brews: A Trip To Bayou Teche Brewing

My wife and I were recently invited by the wonderful folks of Bayou Teche Brewing to attend an invite only dinner that takes place at the brewery on the 31st of every month(that has 31 days).  Bayou Teche is located in Arnaudville, Louisiana and brews their flagship brew LA-31 Biere Pale as well as some other amazing beers such as Boucanèe, Passionné, Saison D’Écrevisses and Cocodrie. The drive into Breaux Bridge where we stayed is a quick, scenic two hour trip from New Orleans.

We stayed at the Bayou Cabins Bed and Breakfast which sits right along the winding Bayou Teche. The Bed and Breakfast is made up of 13 cozy cabins and 1 main cabin.  Our cabin was cabin 13, the Cypress Hideaway, which is a one room cabin with kitchen, bathroom, queen size bed and beautiful, 100 year old cypress wood floors.

We arrived about noon and since the dinner didn't start until that evening the wife and I took a trip into town.  Breaux Bridge is a small town of about 8000 people in St. Martin Parish and is not only designated "The Crawfish Capital of the World" but is home to former NFL Quarterback Jake Delhomme.

We had a quick lunch of oversized, tasty burgers and hand cut fries from Angelle's Old Fashion Burgers and took to walking around town which was made up largely of antique shops and restaurants. There were however some other highlights which were the statue of Scholastique Picou Breaux, the female Acadian who founded the town, and Joie de Vivre Coffee and Cultural Cafe which displays local artwork and has Cajun jam sessions on Saturdays starting at 11am.

After our jaunt through town we headed back to our cabin to freshen up and head out to the brewery. The excursion to the brewery in Arnaudville is a short 20 minute drive from Breaux Bridge.  The brewery appears out of place nestled amongst the fields of sugarcane, soybeans and old oak trees.  We felt like we were going the wrong way when snaking along the back roads which were lined with quaint tin roof homes.

Just as we were ready to turn around thinking we were in fact lost the brewery appeared!  A large, red metal structure the brewery sits on a large tract of land across the street from a sugarcane field. We later found out from Brewmaster Karlos Knott that the brewery sits on land which has been in the family since the 1790s.

Inside the taproom we met some wonderful folks from around the community as well as the Knott brothers mother and father.  I had the opportunity to listen to Papa Knott discuss crawfish farming while sipping on the taproom exclusive Hopilousas which is the breweries Tripel IPA Cocodrie but with additional dry hopping of Styrian hops from Alscae, France as well as a longer cold conditioning period. The dinner was catered by Peppers Catering and was an amazing red beans and rice with corn muffins which paired perfectly with the Acadie which is a Bière de Garde.

Karlos took us on a tour of the brewery where we had the chance to see a variety of beers being aged in Jack Daniel barrels and also had the opportunity to sample Miel Sauvage from the bright tank.  This new brew is a honey ale that uses honey from local Bernard Apiaries and is inspired by the Bière de Miel of France and will be released this month.  The label is inspired by Napoleon's Three Bee Flag of Elba and the beer is aged in Jack Daniel barrels for 100 days to represent Napoleon's exile to Elba.

The brewery tour continued on into the back field where Bayou Teche has teamed with ULL Research Scientists Whitney Broussard to create an artificial wetland to rid of their waste water.  They pump the waste water into one of three ponds in the field and by utilizing cattails and cypress trees they are able clean up the water.  And one of those ponds is a crawfish pond!

The next morning we met up with Dorsey Knott and his wife Laurin for breakfast.  Dorsey is the sales manager for Bayou Teche.  Laurin, my wife, and I had the eggs, toast and boudin while Dorsey had the Cajun sampler which also had hogs head cheese and cracklins.  The food was absolutely amazing and supplied us with much needed nourishment for the next part of our adventure.

We then drove out to McGees Landing for an Atchafalaya Basin swamp tour.  The Basin is about 20 miles in width and 150 miles in length which makes it the largest existing wetland in the United States.   Not a place I would want to get lost at night.  Armed with an ice cold bucket full of LA-31 we took off into the bayou.   There really is nothing more serene than a boat on the bayou with an ice cold beer.  It creates a tranquility you can't find in the city.

Our tour guide was supplied well in both humor and knowledge and didn't bat an eye as an Asian Carp flew out of the water and committed suicide on the front of the boat.  The trip took about 2 hours and we were lucky enough to catch some baby alligators living along the bank with mama gator sitting close by.

After the tour we took a quick trip to Crawfish Town USA for some crawfish boulettes and some other fried goodies and then headed home to New Orleans.  An amazing trip all around and just two hours outside the hustle and bustle of New Orleans and an hour outside Baton Rouge.  Such an easy trip for an amazing experience.


The Beer Buddha


Travis said...

Cafe Des Amis. Best food in the area. It's a small place with live music on Wednesday nights, brunch on the weekends, and maybe a band on Sunday as well.

Ian Kramar said...

This looks like an awesome getaway.

dctravel said...

Great review! I loved Bayou Teche a few years ago when I visited. I look forward to trying them again when I come back down in January. This time I also hope to hit NOLA for a Friday tour too!