Earlier this spring, I had the chance to visit my parents in Lafayette, Louisiana. My father and I drove out towards Breax Bridge (a small city in St. Martin Parish known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World”) to visit some friends at the Bayou Teche Brewing Company. On the way, we stopped to get some lunch at Poché’s Cajun Restaurant and Market.
I should start by saying that whenever the topic of lunch comes up in the Acadiana region of Louisiana, you inevitably end up yapping about boudin. Cajun boudin sausage, if you’re not familiar with this wonder, is a blend of pork, rice, and spices that is stuffed into a natural pork casing and then boiled. It’s served at various locations, from fine restaurants to truck stops, and everyone has their own recipe. There’s no shortage of websites devoted to grading different boudin from around Cajun country, but, as with most food, it tends to come down to personal preference. Pouche’s boudin comes out with the perfect amount of spice for my taste, dropping a decent kick on the back end that begs to be followed up with a good beer . . . and so it was.
Just down the road a bit is the Bayou Teche Brewing Company, so named because the property borders the banks of the Bayou Teche, a 125 mile waterway that twists and turns its way through southern Louisiana. On St. Patrick’s Day in 2009, Karlos Knott and his two brothers, Byron and Dorsey, decided to convert an old railroad car on the property into a brewery. Their goal was to make beers to specifically compliment Cajun and Creole cuisine. The company has grown so much over the past few years that it opened a new brewery next to the old boxcar. When we arrived, my dad and I were met by Stephanie Knott with her daughter, Michelle, and Laurin Knott. Stephanie and Laurin work the business side of things and have been instrumental in the expansion of the brewery.
The LA31 Biere Pale is the brothers’ take on a pale ale and it can now be found as far north as New York City. Although it’s a light beer, there’s a noticeable hoppiness to it and an ever-so-slightly bitter finish. The punch of the hops and that finish make it the perfect match for the unique spice of Cajun foods. It was an honor and a pleasure to get to hang out with the owners, eating boudin and drinking great Louisiana beer.