Mutts and Mugs
NOLA on Tap returns with our two best friends – dogs and beer
There are few joys in life that can surpass sipping a cold beer on a warm day under a live oak with your dog. Add live music and a variety of food vendors within steps from the tree, and you’ll find yourself at the NOLA on Tap beer festival, a fundraising event for the Louisiana SPCA.
This Saturday, Sept. 22 from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds, more than 25,000 people will convene to pass a good time and do it all for the love of beer and Fido.
“NOLA on Tap is our largest fundraiser of the year and allows us an opportunity to connect with an extremely diverse group of people all for a great cause,” said Ana Zorrilla, CEO of Louisiana SPCA. “With expected attendance around 25,000 people, it’s a chance to share our mission and make a difference for the 59,000 animals that we serve each year.”
This year marks nine for the beer festival. The team at Louisiana SPCA and their crew of volunteers have worked to improve the event with each iteration.
“What started off as 100 beers nine years ago has grown to more than 400 beers with so much more added to the festival,” said Dean Howard, director of development of Louisiana SPCA. “NOLA on Tap has truly become the largest dog-friendly beer fest in the region, impacting not only our mission but the local economy, as we have thousands of visitors from around the world purchasing pre-sale tickets online.”
Howard sees NOLA on Tap as a unique experience you can’t find anywhere else, much like visiting New Orleans itself.
“Whether you’re walking through the rows of beer trucks or through the crowd, you’ll immediately notice that this festival looks and feels different,” said Howard. “The beer is flowing, great music is playing and there are dogs everywhere! While there are tons of amazing festivals throughout New Orleans, where else can you enjoy great music, beer, hang out with your dog and give back to the local community for just $5? NOLA on Tap is the only one of its kind.”
Giving back to the community is a key aspect of the festival. The fundraising goal this year is $300,000 for the homeless animals the Louisiana SPCA has in its care.
“For the team at the Louisiana SPCA, our favorite part [of the festival] is seeing the outpouring of support from the community that we serve. Caring for homeless animals is a community effort and it really shows at NOLA on Tap,” explained Zorrilla.
The festival takes pride in its laid back and fun environment. Zorrilla said the one consistent review they get from event goers is how much they love being able to bring their entire family to NOLA on Tap, both those on two legs and those on four.
For the beer aficionados, more than 70 breweries are participating with both newer craft beers and centuries-old brews like Guinness and Chimay. There is a strong showing of regional craft beers from Louisiana and Mississippi, and more than 100 homebrewed beers will compete for the Best Homebrew and People’s Choice awards.
If beer isn’t your thing but you still want to imbibe, boutique wines by Neat Wines will be available, as well as Tito’s Vodka cocktails and Velvet Cactus margaritas. What I call “gross fake beer” and others call “kombucha,” will be on offer from Big Easy Bucha, and of course water and soft drinks round out the liquid refreshments.
Eleven food vendors will be on hand to help soak up your libations with food that the whole family will enjoy. Hot dogs, pizza, grilled cheese… you’ll feel like you’re back in college and/or a four-year-old!
No New Orleans event would be complete without our live, local music and NOLA on Tap brings it with Cha Wa at 1 p.m., Sexual Thunder at 3 p.m. and Givers closing out at 5:30 p.m.
Online pre-sale tickets are no longer available but tickets can be purchased at the gate for $5. Children 12 and under are free. Admission does not include drink tickets, which need to be purchased separately. Food and merchandise can be purchased with cash and credit. VIP passes are also available for $30 and include access to the VIP Tent for those age 21 and over, as well as a koozie and early entry to the festival at 11 a.m.