NOLA Brewing Tour, Taproom, and Mechahopzilla Cans

As I’m off of work because of the holidays, Rhea and I decided to go to the NOLA Brewing tour on Friday. We’ve been a few times before, but decided to go check out their new tap room and maybe actually hear the tour this time.

Usually there’s too many people standing around drinking free beer and talking to even hear the tour itself, but they’ve since expanded over to the warehouse next door, where the new tap room is located. This time around, we got to actually hear the tour and it was great!

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The new tap room is pretty nice. They’ve got all the currently released beers on tap. You can also go to the old section of the brewery and pour your own beer like you used to be able to, only there’s a smaller selection of beers there. We were told that they plan to obtain a license to keep the taproom open during the week for people to grab beers on more than just Friday’s at 2pm.

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They’ve moved the merchandise store to that side of the brewery, right by the taproom. You can buy shirts, and coasters, and hats, and glassware there. We talked to one of the brewery workers in there because Rhea wanted to buy a Mechahopzilla tap handle, but he explained to us that the beer is selling so well, they need the tap handles for their distributer to give to bars and restaurants, so it’ll probably be a while before they’re on sale for the general public.

That same brewery worker suggested that I take the half-a-pint of Irish Channel Stout I had left and go get the server to top it off with Mechahopzilla. I did, and it’s amazing. I recommend it if you have the chance. Irish Channel Stout is probably my favorite stout and when mixed with the double IPA that is Mechahopzilla, you get a nice hoppy front to it. Really awesome.

Brewery president Kirk Coco gave the tour. In the grain milling room, he expressed the greatness that is homebrewing. He recommended everyone get into homebrewing, not just because it’s fun, but it’s a great way to learn about beer. Throughout his presentation, he compared their process to how one would brew beer at home. I really liked this.

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Excuse the crappy photos. I used my cellphone and the digital zoom is awful. Kirk also showed us their miller and explained how it works, by just dumping the grains into it and the mill cracks the grains open for them.

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After the grain room, we went into the warehouse where Kirk explained the rest of the process and answered some questions.

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Kirk’s tour was extremely entertaining. It was informative, but funny too. He explained how they name their beers, most of which happen by looking outside: Irish Channel, Seventh Street, Tchoupitoulas. Mechahopzilla is named after Peter, their brewmaster. His nickname is Hopzilla, but a few other breweries already have a beer called Hopzilla, so they went with Mechahopzilla, which Kirk was sure to explain is because of Peter’s name and has nothing at all to do with the Toho Co., Ltd. lizard-like creature with a similar-sounding name. Speaking of Mechahopzilla, Kirk let it slip that they’ll be canning Mechahopzilla in March.

Kirk, when answering a question about their distribution, said that they only distribute to the Gulf South and will never expand from that. His reason is that in order to ship beer longer distances, the beer needs to be pasteurized, which kills a lot of the aromas and flavors in the beer, something he’s not willing to do. I can definitely respect that decision.

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The tour was a lot of fun, and pretty educational, and of course, there’s free beer. I highly recommend going to explore the brewery and tasting some fantastic local beers.

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