I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you, I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.- Mr Rogers
One of the greatest things about local craft breweries is that they are part of the community. It's not some large sprawling behemoth pumping out beer after beer with thousands of employees no one knows. In a lot of places across the country, especially here in New Orleans these small breweries are your neighbors. Literally. Not the kind of neighbor you can borrow the lawnmower from but better. They brew beer. This is the kind of neighbor Mr. Rogers was talking about.
This past weekend my friend Chris Sickmen from back in my Virginia days came to visit our great city. He was my neighbor and friend back when I lived in Stafford. I wanted to show him the New Orleans I know not some touristy version of it.
Like me he is into drinking craft beers so I wanted to make a point of hitting a local brewery while he was here. I was due for a visit to 40 Arpent Brewing so I got in touch with owner Michael Naquin and we headed over there Saturday afternoon.
The brewery is nestled right along the Mississippi River in Arabi, Louisiana which is a suburb of New Orleans about ten minutes outside the city limits. It has a spectacular view of the river and the Steamboat Natchez(which carries 40 Arpent beer) passes the brewery and blares its horn as if a nod every time it passes the brewery. Kind of a "what's up homie" moment 2 or 3 times a day.
When we arrived they had some folks setting up for a party and we felt like we were intruding. It turned out that it was some friends of Baton Rouge homebrewer Blake Winchell and thanks to his generosity we just became part of the group.
We met some folks from down in Houma who were cooking up the crawfish and man did they do an amazing job. They were throwing cans of asparagus, artichokes and all sorts of other stuff I hadn't seen before. Even talked about using pickles and pineapples. Need me some of that!
Crawfish, oysters and the most amazing pimento cheese deviled eggs I've ever had coupled with great Louisiana beer and a spectacular view made for such a unique and awesome experience. It's things like this that make New Orleans a great city. The randomness, the spontaneity and the community. What an amazing day!
The Beer Buddha