Content originally from the BRBR's 2018 Official Visitors Guide to Greater Baton Rouge. Download your welcome guide today for more inspiration for your trip to Baton Rouge!
BATON ROUGE’S EVOLVING CULINARY SCENE INCLUDES DELICIOUS LOCAL CRAFT BEER AND UNIQUE HOMEGROWN DISTILLERIES.
BY MAGGIE HEYN RICHARDSON (2018)
IN THE last few years, south Louisiana has seen the opening of a flurry of new craft breweries and micro-distilleries, finally matching its longstanding indigenous food culture with locally made beverages. Enjoying beer, wine and spirits has always been part of the regional gastronomic experience, but never have you been able to wash down your fare with so many homegrown options. What’s exciting about these breweries and distilleries is their commitment to detail, right down to the local ingredients they use to impart subtle flavor notes. Enjoy visiting these local beverage makers and sampling their products!
Launched by childhood friends who were tired of the corporate grind, Baton Rouge’s first and largest craft brewery turns out a tidy selection of flagship and seasonal selections, like its wildly popular Blonde Ale, Juke JointIPA and Bayou Bengal Lager. The brewery and tap room, where you can find special small-batch selections, are situated in a funky warehouse located between downtown Baton Rouge and LSU. The engaging spot holds regular evening events like trivia night and weekly group yoga, which is held on the grounds outside the patio.
Don’t miss: Gose with the Flow, Tin Roof’s riff on a traditional German gose, and Turnrow Harvest Ale with hints of ground coriander.
THREE ROLL ESTATE (PREVIOUSLY) CANE LAND DISTILLING
One of the country’s only estate bottled producers of spirits and rhum agricole, Three Roll Estate (previously Cane Land Distilling) in downtown Baton Rouge produces estate rum from sugarcane grown and processed by Alma Plantation sugar mill, which has been owned by Three Roll founder Walter Tharp’s family since the 19th century.
Three Roll’s sleek tasting room is the perfect backdrop to sample the distillery’s impressive lineup, which includes estate rums and rhum agricole, an old school spirit with roots in the Caribbean made from just-pressed sugarcane. Because of the perishability of fresh cane, only distilleries with direct access to a sugar mill can produce it. The distillery holds regular “Boozie Brunches” with live music and pop-up dinners featuring the rum-inspired menus of local culinary talent.
Don’t miss: Cane Land’s notable Parade Single Estate Spiced Rum. Recently featured in Garden and Gun, it has notes of Seville orange, vanilla and raw sugar and an elegant finish.
Back when they were homebrewers, Baton Rouge engineers Joseph Picou and Wes Hedges took second place among 7,000 contestants at the 2011 National Homebrew Competition in San Diego. The win gave them confidence to set in motion plans for a formal business, which they launched officially in 2015. Southern Craft Brewery’s shtick is to incorporate different indigenous Southern ingredients to enhance the flavor of each of its beers. Red Stick Rye, the brewery’s first release, includes rye malt grown for more than 200 years in North Carolina, and its second, Pompous Pelican Double IPA, uses Louisiana raw cane sugar processed by one of the state’s oldest sugar mills. The quaint but lively tap room offers a changing lineup of new brews. Find Southern Craft beers on tap in some of Baton Rouge’s most popular bars as well.
Don’t miss: Swamp Sting, Southern Craft’s light American ale, a versatile sipper with a hint of sweetness from local honey harvested in Denham Springs, Louisiana.
BATON ROUGE DISTILLING
Husband and wife team Ricci Hull and Natacha Krzesaj converted a passion for international food and drink to a project making their own complex fruit-based brandies. Inspired by the Calvados and other similar spirits from Krzesaj’s native France, the team learned the trade from grassroots up, interviewing producers and learning the science. They launched Baton Rouge Distilling in 2016. Their first release was a strawberry brandy made with fruit grown near Ponchatoula, Louisiana’s strawberry capital. The couple is also producing a flagship bourbon and rye whiskey, which will take a few years to mature. Meanwhile, visitors can pick up the strawberry brandy at local grocery stores and visit the distillery for tours by appointment.
Don’t miss: Tours give a detailed explanation of spirit-making, samples of strawberry brandy and suggestions on how to enjoy it straight, as a cocktail mixer or as a culinary ingredient.
ON THE HORIZON FOR BATON ROUGE BREWING:
CYPRESS COAST BREWING
Brewers Caleb Schlamp and Justin Meyers have been making the rounds at regional beer festivals where they have showcased signature brews like Réveil Coffee Porter, Overcast IPA and cucumber saison. The team anticipates their Cypress Coast Brewery will open summer 2018 in Mid City Baton Rouge. For more information, facebook.com/cypresscoastbrewingco/.
RALLY CAP BREWING
Founded by Kevin Whalen, Rally Cap Brewing’s 15-barrel production facility, outdoor patio and 2,000-square-foot sports-themed taproom should open in Baton Rouge in summer 2018. In the works for the last several years, the brewery will feature plenty of hoppy beers, like IPAs, along with several other options. Rally Cap will be located at 11212 Pennywood Ave. For more information, facebook.com/RallyCapBrewing/.