Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Navigating the Bayou Teche

A bayou is a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area. It may refer to an extremely slow-moving stream, river (often with a poorly defined shoreline), marshy lake, wetland, or creek.

The Bayou Teche is the most famous bayou in The Pelican State, curling for miles through south central Louisiana, west of the Atchafalaya Swamp.  This bayou runs through multiple parishes and there are several notable towns that were built along the Bayou Teche such as Breaux Bridge (the crawfish capital), St. Martinville (of Evangeline fame), New Iberia (home to rice, sugar cane and TABASCO), Charenton (the site of the Chitimacha Indian reservation, noted for its exquisite double-walled cane baskets), Patterson (Louisiana Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Museum) and Morgan City (home to the first submersible oil drilling rig, the Mr. Charlie).  And let's not forget Arnaudville, the home of Bayou Teche Brewing.

The brewery was founded in 2009 by brothers Karlos, Byron and Dorsey Knott within a converted old rail car near the banks of the Bayou Teche. Their goal is to brew beers that complement the unique foods and lifestyles of South Louisiana. This includes offering brewery tours in French and English and naming most of the beers in Cajun French in an effort to help preserve and promote the native language. These beers include LA 31 Acadie, name in memory of their Acadian homeland in Eastern Canada; LA-31 Bière Pâle, brewed to pair with dishes savored in South Louisiana (boudin, crab and shrimp gumbo, fried catfish, sauce piquant); and LA 31 Cocodrie DDH IPA, where Cocodrie is Cajun-French for alligator. Many of these beers are prefaced with LA-31 which honors part of the Bayou Teche National Scenic Byway which shadows the Bayou Teche from Arnaudville to Morgan City.

On our visit I paired a delicious pizza with a flight containing the LA-31 Bière Pâle, LA-31 Swamp Thing IPA, Ragin' Cajuns Kölsch, and a Zwickelbier. I love the Pale Ale, the brewery's flagship, brewed with pilsner and oats, slightly hazy, and with a decent supply of Mosaic and Citra hops. The Swamp Thing is a very clean and drinkable "Louisiana-style" IPA brewed with Mosaic, Citra and Chinook hops. How could I not try the Kölsch - one of my favorite styles and this one "made to represent the culture and heritage of Acadiana and the University of Louisiana: ça va mieux avec des amis - It's better with Friends." Finally the Zwick or Kellerbier is a very refreshing unfiltered lager brewed for German Fest. 

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