Starting June 12, NOLA Brewing will have a whole new place to party.
The brewery is moving out of its smaller tap room, in operation since September 2013, to the building next door on the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Eighth Street. The original tap room will serve as a private function space, tap room manager Nikki Turry says, which means that the new tap room will not have to close its doors to the public during events.
Accessibility was a big part of why the leadership at NOLA Brewing wanted to expand into the building next door.
“You get people from downtown coming all the way here, and then we have to turn them away [because of a private event],” COO Dylan Lintern says. “It’s definitely not ideal, and not something we want to do. So [now] we’ll be able to have both of them open, and it shouldn’t be an issue.”
Beer + Barbecue
Another improvement is the addition of a kitchen to serve food on the premises, provided by local barbecue pit master Neil McClure, of McClure’s Barbecue on Magazine Street.
“Most people come in, have a beer or two, and then want to go eat. After you drink a few beers, you start to get hungry,” CEO Kirk Coco says. “I do, for sure.”
“We’d enjoyed his food for a long time up at his place,” Coco says. “We thought the food fit well, and we liked him as a person.” Coco also points out that McClure could use his own restaurant for food prep, due to the tiny kitchen space at the tap room.
“I couldn’t imagine a better option. He was our first choice. There wasn’t, like, a second or third choice, he was it, and we got him right off the bat.”
McClure is excited about the potential he has to branch out from traditional barbecue at the newest outpost of his namesake restaurant, although there certainly will be plenty of smoked meat. He’ll also be offering hand-cut fries, thin-cut onion rings, burgers, wings, and Kirk Coco’s one and only menu request: poutine.
“We’ll have the hand-cut fries, a pulled pork gravy, and cheddar curds from Wisconsin,” McClure says. “We’re going to keep it fun here.”
McClure has started a garden behind the brewery and is growing tomatoes and hot peppers for salsas and sauces as well as cucumbers for pickling. The jalapeños and habaneros may also make an appearance in some of the brewery’s tap room-only beers.
McClure plans on continuing his “Taco Tuesday” tradition with smoked pork, chicken, and brisket tacos, nachos, and quesadillas served with Sriracha aioli. Look for smoked prime rib and redfish on the half shell specials on Friday nights. And fortunately for the tap room guests, McClure also plans to practice his pig roasting so that he can enter in the “Whole Hog” category at local barbecue fundraiser Hogs for the Cause. Later in the summer (“Probably in July,” McClure says) the McClure’s barbecue brunch will be back in action with dishes like pulled pork Benedict, smoked brisket hash, and riblets over grits.
A Balcony, TVs, and Updated Tours
The layout of the new tap room, aside from its kitchen, consists of a large downstairs area with booths and stools and the majority of taps, including six taps only for the brewery’s “Funk” series of sour beers. Upstairs will have a half dozen taps and the full lineup of cans and bottles.
There will be plenty of TVs for football season, and best of all, an outdoor balcony patio overlooking the Mississippi River. The back portion of the building is still yet to be completely finished, but will serve as an air-conditioned music space for the grand opening as well as other events.
The tap room will also provide patrons with more opportunities for touring the brewery. Although there won’t be a tour on the day of the grand opening (June 12), tours will continue the following week on Fridays from 2-3 p.m., but the format will be changed. Not to worry, there will still be free beer involved, although it will go from unlimited pours to two beers included with the tour. Weekend tours (without free beer) will start in July.
The grand opening celebration starts at 5 p.m., with NICK and the Ovoralls with special guest Ed Williams from the Revivalists on stage at 6:30 p.m., and the Colin Lake Band playing at 8:30 p.m.
Tap room hours will be 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. every day.