06.14.16 / 10BEST.COM
By Beth D'Addono
New Orleans Local Expert
New Orleans was once the brewing capital of the South. From the time the first brewery opened in 1852, founded by Swiss immigrant Louis Fasnacht where the Cotton Mill apartments now stand until 1890, the number of breweries grew to 30, mostly fueled by German immigrants seeing a taste of home. Beers like Falstaff, Dixie, Jax and Regal - made popular by its jingle, “Red beans and rice and Regal on ice" - dominated the local market. Mirroring what happened in other cities around the country, including Philly and St. Louis, breweries closed as conglomerates dominated the market. The old Jax Brewery on Decatur Street was turned into a shopping and dining complex in the 1980s. The Dixie facility flooded during Katrina, and is now made in Wisconsin.
But just as craft cocktails are dominating the scene, craft small batch beer, made locally and regionally as well as across America, is back in the spotlight. Beer brewing has returned to south Louisiana through microbrewers like Abita, NOLA Brewing and Heiner Brau. And there are plenty of pubs that showcase the best of the best, often along with elevated pub grub and a strong helping of neighborhood cheer. Try one, or all of these pubs for great brews and good times.
This railroad-themed pub is yet another in the crop of eateries popping up like mushrooms along St. Claude Avenue. From the Molly's at the Market folks, the place is spare and casual, with the emphasis on grass-fed beef burgers with interesting toppings - like the spicy New Mexico Rail Runner burger is topped with green chiles, cheddar and a four-alarm chipotle aioli. Other pub fare includes chicken wings, pickled eggs and even a few salads. Beer lovers will high five over the 40 draft beers on tap, which span Louisiana, Mississippi and elsewhere around the United States. There is usually an Irish import on draft as well as an impressive number of craft bottles and cans. (504-272-0205)