365 NOLA Adventures

Taking a Break from Justin Trudeau to Talk About Beer, Puppies and Fried Chicken!

Wahwooweewah! Nobody wants to talk about the New York Mets (who are only 3.5 games out of the wild card, by the way), but the second you mention Canadians and blackface, everyone has an opinion!

But, seriously, the conversation on my personal Facebook page has been interesting. So check it out if you have a minute to get passionate.

It’s Friday, however, so if you don’t feel like getting passionate, then…you’re at the wrong blog! Because we get passionate about everything over here. And, today, we’re getting amped about fried chicken, puppies and beer!

Why?

Because this weekend in New Orleans we’ve got the National Fried Chicken Festival and NOLA on Tap!

The Fried Chicken Fest will have dozens of chicken options from more than 30 restaurants representing eight states. And NOLA on Tap is going to have more than 400+ beers. So what should you get?

As far as the chicken goes, I haven’t tried them all, but here are three I’m especially excited about.

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OH MY GOD!!!!

First — and this is probably the best fried chicken sandwich I have ever eaten (sorry, Popeyes, though I’m still amazed by your marketing team) — you HAVE to eat the fried chicken sandwich from Southerns. I’ve had it three times now, and those are the three best fried chicken sandwiches I have ever eaten.

They come in three possible spice levels of sauce — and I go with the medium “Spicy” level, called “Otis Redding.” It’s not that the “Rick James” is too spicy — though it’s labeled “Super Freakin’ Hot” — I just happen to think the Otis Redding is a little tastier.

But no matter which flavor you get, the chicken is going to be moist, and it’s going to be surrounded by a fry that is — to my tastes — the perfect amount of crispy. I’ve brought a few picky friends to Southerns, and everyone has loved it.

Otherwise, I’m excited to re-try the Blue Oak BBQ chicken sandwich immediately after the one from Southerns to get a good comparison. And District Donuts is doing a Nashville hot version of their regular chicken sandwich on a honey butter french toast biscuit. So…that’s probably all I’ll be able to eat this afternoon.

On the NOLA on Tap side of things — it takes place, tomorrow (Saturday), and I wrote a guide for Very Local New Orleans. It’s the largest beer festival in the State, as well as a big fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA. There’ll be 400+ beers and a million+ puppies, so be a good boy and get over there.

But even the most accomplished drinker will need to make some choices when there are that many beers. I talked to some brewers while writing the guide, but because the guide was too long (because I struggle with being succinct) Very Local New Orleans took the quotes and it made it a separate “Here’s What the Experts Say” piece.

Even some of that got cut, so here’s what — based on what the brewers are saying — I think are some pretty good picks for beers to try at NOLA on Tap:

  1. Go to the Homebrew section first. There are dozens (maybe more than a hundred?) homebrewers, and it seems to be EVERYONE’S favorite part of the fest. Homebrewers obviously can’t make/bring as much as the commercial brewers, and — since people in the know (like us) head their first — they’re going to run out. Get over there!
  2. Specifically, the New Orleans Chapter of the Pink Boots Society seems to be a homebrew favorite. A lot of the commercial brewers I spoke with were singing their praises. And the society is made up of women from the Louisiana craft beer scene — so that’s worth supporting! They’re bringing beers with funny names like the Muffin Tops Kettle Sour, the Roseship Saison, and the Haze Bras Pale Ale.
  3. Mitch Grittman started out as a homebrewer, and won a bunch of awards in previous years’ NOLA on Tap competitions. But now he’s the owner/founder of the newest brewery in New Orleans. His Zony Mash Beer Project took over the abandoned Wayward Owl Brewery near South Broad Street, and his beers seem like some of the most anticipated at the fest.
  4. Royal Brewery is operating out of New Orleans East, and they have a new beer they want you to try! “Attendees should definitely try our Thor’s Hammered!” says co-founder, Mandy Pumilia. “It’s our first seasonal and limited edition beer, and there’s nothing locally in the market that’s comparable. It’s a real craft beer fan favorite and something we’ll consider packaging in the future. Thor’s Hammered is a Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale finished with house-made Beglian candy sugar!” 
  5. I’m kind of a big Hattiesburg fan, and Southern Prohibition’s Paradise Lost DDH IPA was just named “One of the Hottest IPAs in the Country” by Thrillist. So check it out! 
  6. Urban South — from New Orleans — is bringing a version of their beloved Holy Roller IPA with grapefruit. Should be very refreshing on what looks like *suprise* another super hot day.
  7. Dylan Lintern, President and COO of NOLA Brewing says you should try their “Blood for the Brood” specialty IPA. “It’s a blood orange IPA featuring Citra, Rakau and Wakatu hops. Rakau and Wakatu are two hops from New Zealand we’ve been playing with and are really loving.”

Now, please excuse me, but I’m about to go on a jog…to the *air horn, air horn, air horn* NATIONAL FRIED CHICKEN FESTIVAL. Farewell!

Planning on going to either of these festivals? Anything you’re excited about? Or, after you go, let me know if I was right about that Southerns Fried Chicken sandwich. If not…well…you have no taste.

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