The newly opened Barrel Proof has been wowing the booze community with its whiskey list. But what about the beer half of the equation? General Manager Liam Deegan says that the whiskey and beer concept reflects the way that he and partners Sean McCusker, Robert Leblanc, and Patrick Finney like to drink. With 60+ beers available, (with even more on the horizon) the beer and the folks bringing it to you is an important part of Barrel Proof's story.
Today, we focus on three things you may not know about the beer program at Barrel Proof and its beer expert Deegan.
1) Liam Deegan is a certified beer badass
Deegan's love of beer began in college, and he started thinking about how he could work with it professionally.He's a certified Cicerone, which is the beer equivalent of a certified wine sommelier (which he has also attained the first level of.) He decided to pursue the professional certification, which involves a written test on beer styles as well as a tasting portion to test one's palate, because it seemed like "a challenge and a fun thing to do." For several years, he was the only certified Cicerone in the state. Now there are three in the state, and after the last round of testing, he says, "hopefully Louisiana will catch up with the rest of the country."
2) Barrel Proof is at home in the Lower Garden District
Deegan says that he moved to the LGD years ago due to the proximity to both the Avenue Pub and Stein's Deli. "Beer and sandwiches - that's why I live here." When he first moved to the area, he freaked his roommates out by buying a case of beer from Stein's every week so he could try new and different beers. "There was no space in the fridge for food," he laughs. And with Courtyard Brewing's tap room opening around the corner, Barrel Proof is firmly anchored in the middle of the LGD beer scene.
3) Schlitz on tap is a permanent fixture for a reason
'It's actually really awesome on tap," Deegan says. "But also, one of my partners here, Sean [McCusker] is from Milwaukee. His grandfather worked for Schlitz for 30-40 years." The Schlitz will stay on tap to honor that history, with the other taps dedicated to Louisiana beer to honor the present.