Raising Glasses and Raising Funds
NOLA on Tap brings beer and animal lovers together
As with most vices, people feel particular about their beer. Some folks swear that pale yellow American lager is perfect not only for tailgating, but also at a fine restaurant. Others wouldn’t dare drink anything that wasn’t micro or craft brewed. Regardless of where you fall when it comes to suds, if you want to experience an event that has more types of beer than there are days in a year, head to NOLA on Tap Saturday, Sept. 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
NOLA on Tap, located at City Park’s Festival Grounds on Friedrichs Avenue, is presented by The Bulldog and the Louisiana SPCA (LASPCA). The annual beer festival serves as the largest fundraiser for the LASPCA, and is also the largest beer festival in the region. More than 400 beer varieties will be sampled by more than 25,000 attendees. The 2017 iteration is on track to top the previous year’s numbers.
“Since its inception eight years ago, we’ve seen the event grow just like the beer industry in New Orleans,” said Dean Howard, director of development at LASPCA. “I’m thrilled to see the for-profit and nonprofit partnerships that have been created over time through the festival (that) positively impacts so many in our community.”
For beer lovers visiting New Orleans, Howard said the festival is a must-do event. People from the East Coast, and even Europe and Australia, buy tickets each year.
“With NOLA on Tap being the largest beer fest in the region and including a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) award for home brewers, we have visitors coming from all around the tri-state region and beyond to enjoy the huge variety of beers,” explained Howard. “Tourists get to taste what NOLA has to offer on the horizon — from beer to food —before they go nationwide, and, of course, see our great music lineup.”
Food-wise, 15 vendors will be at the festival with some of the best food you can pair with beer — bratwurst, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, yakamein and grilled cheese sandwiches will be available, with many other options as well.
But let’s talk beer. Something this festival does especially well, beyond the sheer variety of beers, is the availability of sample pours. One 3-ounce sample pour will cost between $1 and $3 (equivalent to 1 to 3 drink tickets), allowing you to affordably and responsibly sample many beers without overindulging. Do pay attention to those alcohol percentages though.
The following are the brews on my dance card: Abita Bourbon Street Whiskey Sour; Bells Oarsman and Bells Two Hearted (my favorite beer ever); Gnarly Barley Korova Milk Porter; Guinness 200th Anniversary Export Stout; Ballast Point Sea Rose; Parish Ghost in the Machine (believe the hype); Parish Grand Reserve (tapped at 12:00 and will run out fast); Great Raft Reasonably Corrupt; and NOLA Seasonal – Darkest Before Dawn. Thirty ounces of beer over the course of seven hours is responsible if I don’t drive home and drink water in between, right?
To that end, don’t drive to this festival. Public transportation, cabs and car services are available, as well as a Bike Easy-sponsored bicycle parking area.
General admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free. Drink tickets are $1 each, with a minimum purchase of ten. Food sales are cash or credit card only. VIP tickets may also still be available the day of the event. The more you spend, the more animals you help!