Two weekends ago, I attended the first ever BREWSIANA Beer + Music Festival at the House of Blues in New Orleans.
When I first heard that this was taking place, I was a little skeptical. How can you have a quote unquote festival at such a small venue? Sounds like its going to be a cluster and a half. But, I got free tickets from a friend of mine who was in one of the bands playing that night, I had a solid group of friends going, and I can’t resist anything with a great play-on-words.
So, on Saturday afternoon we headed to NOLA for the event at 7. Although there were some pros and cons to the event, overall I was pleasantly surprised.
This beer and music festival advertised 8 Louisiana breweries would be there so attendees could enjoy samples of 23 varieties of craft beer, along with food vendors with Louisiana food dishes. But it turns out that your “ticket” to the event only gets you through the door. To sample the beer varieties, you could purchase a $15 ticket for 7 samples of your choice, or a $35 ticket for 21 samples (the much better deal). I decided to just buy normal-sized beers from the bar after noticing how long the lines were at the sample tables, and because I’m funny about my beer being anything less than ice-cold.
This was an indoor/outdoor event, with 1 stage inside and 1 stage outside in the “Voodoo Garden”. And in typical Louisiana fashion, every time you walked outside you were greeted by a wall of stifling humidity. It is the hottest month of the year after all. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the venue was packed, with people walking in every direction towards food, or beer samples, or the bar, or 1 of the stages.
Sure, there were obviously some negatives. But as I said, I ended up having a great time. All of the craft beers I ordered at the bar were fantastic (my favorite being the Watermelon Wheat from Tin Roof Brewing Co.) and in general, the bands were great. I may be a bit biased but my friend’s band The Wooden Wings absolutely killed it, and Lafayette-based band Brass Bed was a highlight of the night as well. The last hour of the festival was my favorite, when the venue got less and less crowded and I got more and more libated.
If BREWSIANA turns in to an annual thing, I would definitely go again. If you decide that you want to go, know that:
1. You better like beer. Because if you’re drinking something other than beer you’ll just look out of place.
2. You’d be better off not paying for the “sample” deals and just ordering beer by the glass.
3. You WILL sweat. So be prepared.
4. You’ll have a great Saturday night in a great venue in Downtown New Orleans listening to great bands and drinking great local beer and having an all around great time with great people