Welcome Back Dixie Beer!
Mary Ann Fitzmorris January 24, 2020 11:05 Anxiously Awaited
Last night we went to the opening of the new Dixie Brewery in New Orleans East. The place is stunning, spacious and gleaming. It is a little challenging to get to, even confusing to our GPS, but well worth the effort.
Driving up, the first thing you see is an expansive lawn with red, white, and green Adirondack lawn chairs. Fun already. Inside, the first thing that greets you is a white brick wall sporting the original old neon-lettered sign from the brewery. You walk a bit farther and there is the bar. Walking farther still is the Tap Room, a large space for on-site dining with a kitchen. Inside the kitchen last night was a team from Fete Au Fete, which was last seen in these pages when I gushed about their “buffin”, a biscuit so large and overflowing it is also a muffin.
Now I can gush about some of their other food. Mini crabcakes with spicy aioli, Crostini with shrimp remoulade, a salad that was eye-poppingly gorgeous but tasted only delicious, roast pork au jus that was perfect, and crawfish poutine that was more amusing than good, though it did have a great crawfish flavor.
Upstairs near the beer museum and the auditorium where Peggy Scott Laborde’s excellent documentary about Dixie was playing, there was a table with the lightest beignets we’ve seen or tasted, and a bread pudding that Tom poo-pooed, But in the elevator downstairs a woman exclaimed that she loved it but never eats bread pudding. Maybe that was the key.
Anyway, Fete Au Fete seems to be expanding their menu items. Right now they are only seen at the markets: St. Roch, Auction House, and Pythian, but will be the official providers of New Orleans eats from the Tap Room and Beer Garden.
The party was underway when we arrived. Gayle Benson was giving her speech, followed by Kendra Bruno, who along with her husband Joe resurrected Dixie the first time back in 1985. Kendra’s family brought Barq’s Root Beer to Louisiana, so those iconic local connections run deep. Kendra’s emotional and sweet speech was followed by an amusing one by brewery General ManagerJim Burch, who read a funny letter from Texas thanking us for the millions in economic windfall Texas has experience from beer drinkers in Louisiana who, absent their own brewery, have been drinking the iconic brands of Texas for many years. The response letter was equally amusing. The whole bit was Jim’s work, and it was great fun.
At some point in the evening, we took a tour of the brewery, which was so new, white and bright it actually gleamed. Between the fermentation room and packaging plant is a hallway lined with signs from all the local beers who are now just memories, like Regal. Dudley, our enthusiastic tour guide answered the most often asked question. Yes, New Orleans tap water is used, and it’s treated for each of the different brews anyway. 150 cans or bottles are filled per minute, but not both at the same time.
It was a typical brewery tour, made more interesting by the historical context. Oh, and the beers...The regular classic Dixie Lager is back better than ever. But now there will be six beers on tap at the brewery, three that were served last night. The Blackened Voodoo dark lager was quite good, and Crimson Voodoo, a raspberry white ale, was even better.
After a great night of good New Orleans food and Dixie Beer, we left this wonderful new locals attraction (that will welcome tourists too) with a very generous gift; A first-run six-pack of Dixie, a local treasure.
Visit the brewery, taproom and beer garden starting tomorrow, January 25th, 2020. Welcome back, Dixie Beer.
3501 Jourdan Rd New Orleans