All eyes will be turned to New Orleans and Louisiana this Tuesday for Mardi Gras. Cajun food such as gumbos and etouffes will be bubbling away on stovetops and in cauldrons outdoors. Now there are beers to go with it and the wild revelry.
Rachel Wharton, a food writer usually published in The New York Daily News switches to the New York Times Food section this week to write about an exciting entry into the drinking world : Cajun beer.She travelled to Arnaudville, Louisiana, the heart of Cajun country where French is the primary language and the laws still follow the Napoleonic Code.Karlos, Byron and Dorsey Knott, whose ancestors came from Quebec in the 1780's started the brewery to go with the spicy, flavorful foods they grew up on.Bayou Teche Brewery, named for the famed waterway that connects southern Louisiana, goes back to the French or Belgian tradition of French and Belgian farmhouse brewing traditions.Unlike other beers that stand along, these biers are meant to be served as part of the meal. There are different types, one made with the fruity tasting French yeast.This is the Saison D'Ecrivisses or crawfish beer that goes well with the Cajun staple, seafood.Many of the ingredients incorporate Southern Louisiana ingredrients such as raw local sugar , rice and hot peppers. There was even a beer called Shrimp and Grits that actually included hominy grits and shrimp!.according to Karlos, The drink tasted fantastic but the aroma was none too great.It smelled like old shrimp - not a big selling point.
How did a Lousianian get involved in brewng? Blame Karlos' time in Seattle. He and his wife, Stephanie , moved there and that's where he got caught up in home brewing.He also went on tours of such craft breweries as Redhook and Pyramid. Karlos returned back home in 1998 where he and his brothers home bewed their beers to go with the spicy gumbos and boils. Unfotunately their hoppiness and maltiness competed with the intense flavors.of Cajun cooking.Recipes were tweaked and revised so that they went better with the brews. The Knott brother's turning point came in 2009 when six kegs of their traditional Belgian pale ale was served at a beer festival in Lafayette. Local distributors went wild for it. Now the brewery has over twenty different types from a peppery strawberry to a citrussy one called Swamp Thing brewed with the classic Cajun ingrdient - rice.Included in the article is a recipe for Crawfish Etoufee, the spicy stew made with crawfish tails and poblano chiles. Bayou Teche is only sold in Lousiiana and Texas right now. Hopefully theyll branch out nationwide soon. so everyone can enjoy their delicious brews.
Cajun beers are not just a niche beer.Soon hipsters and Cajun food afectionadoes will enjoy these spicy and unusual brews. Bayou Teche will be up there with Sam Adams,