Over the past seven years, local beer festival NOLA On Tap has raised more than $1 million for the Louisiana SPCA. While doing so, it’s grown into the largest beer event in the region. It attracts visitors from all over the country as well as Europe (France and the United Kingdom), Australia, and the Dominican Republic. There’s even a couple from Scotland who arranged their honeymoon to coincide with the event.
Dean Howard, the Development Director for the LA/SPCA, has been around from the beginning. “When I started the festival 8 years ago, I was honestly surprised New Orleans embraced it as quickly as they did. The beer industry had been exploding around the country but it was great to see it finally hit the NOLA market and for so many of those companies ask to be a part of the event,” Howard says.
In addition to the 400-plus beers served by home brewers and professional breweries, NOLA On Tap offers music from Miss Mojo, The Breton Sound, and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes as well as Mardi Gras dance groups.
Howard adds, “I’m excited to see how we’ve become known for our music lineup. After working for a music, non-profit prior to coming on board with the LA/SPCA, I wanted to feature acts that I saw on the verge of growing so that we could highlight them even more.”
For the Pups
NOLA On Tap has always been dog-friendly. It is after all organized by the LASPCA and the pup-friendly pub, The Bulldog. This year, dog amenities go to the next level with Barktoberfest, a collaboration with local doggie daycare Canine Connection. There will be a separate puppy wonderland with water, shade, costumes, and “Pupular Speed Dating” for five-minute sniff sessions with pairs of dogs (and their humans).
About the brews
This year, one of the newest breweries in the city, Port Orleans Brewing Company, is the presenting sponsor for NOLA On Tap. Their brew will be available along, with other new breweries, like Royal Brewery.
In addition, attendees will find nearly every beer available in New Orleans at the event, including local breweries and brewpubs: NOLA Brewing, Great Raft, Urban South, Bayou Teche, Chafunkta, Covington Brewhouse, Tin Roof, Parish, 40 Arpent, Mudbug, Second Line, Abita, Old Rail Brewing Company, Crescent City Brewhouse, and Gordon Biersch. There will be specialty beers in the VIP area, which is a $25 ticket in advance/$30 after September 17, and includes a separate area and early admission.
The Beer Gurus of 504 Craft Beer Reserve will be on hand for all your beer-related questions. “With the combination of those larger groups and the smaller homebrewers, the event has not only become a kick off to NOLA’s fall festival/fundraiser lineup, but also a great networking opportunity for people in the industry,” Howard says.
One of the unique and most exciting aspects of NOLA On Tap is the large number of home brewers pouring beer and participating in Beer Judge Certification Program-sanctioned home brew competition.
Local favorites Half-Hearted Brewer, Sticky Foot Brew Co., and the Crescent City Homebrew Club will pour beers, and festival attendees have the opportunity to vote for three beers for the People’s Choice. This year, all the home brewers will be in the same area, under one tent, sponsored by Craft Kettle, a local brew tank design and manufacturing company.
Beer bus tour company NOLA Brews Cruise will be on hand serving their homebrew while talking to festival goers about the tours they offer.
What you need to know:
- NOLA On Tap is on Saturday, September 23. VIP admission begins at 11 a.m., general admission begins at noon. The festival ends at 7 p.m.
- NOLA on Tap happens at City Park Festival Grounds and is accessible from the Canal Street/City Park streetcar. We recommend public transportation, taxi, or ride-sharing options.
- General admission is $5 (kids 12 and under are free) and VIP admission is $25. Admission doesn’t include drink tickets, which can be purchased at the event or online ahead of time. Tickets are $1 each, with a $10/10 ticket minimum. Packages (including VIP admission) are available as well. (Pro tip: if you’re interested in VIP or Brewmaster packages, purchase before September 17 for the best prices.)
- Food is available for purchase with cash or credit card.
- Beer samples are between $1-3 and food averages between $5 – $10.
- Bring sunscreen and blankets/chairs.
- Be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water.