Although the second floor Balcony Bar at the Avenue Pub is rented out for private parties for the most high profile parades, this weekend, not only is it open to the public, but there will be amazing beers debuted by Louisiana breweries to boot.
On Saturday, January 30, NOLA Brewing's sour beer will be flowing - sour beers are great for marathon drinking, because they're refreshing and low ABV. New ones on tap are: Desire, a raspberry sour aged in white wine barrels; Out Tequila, a sour with kafir lime leaves, pineapple, and coconut aged in tequila barrels; and although not new, it's been tough to find on tap - NOLA and 7eventh Sun's sour collaboration, House of the Rising, which uses mayhaw and strawberries. There will also be several other sour and non-sour offerings on hand.
The balcony opens at 11 a.m., the first parade (Pontchartrain) kicks off uptown at 1pm, and should arrive at the pub by 2 p.m. or so. Other parades following in the afternoon are Choctaw and Freret, with Sparta and Pygmalion kicking off later on, around 6pm.
Sunday's event not only debuts Great Raft's first mixed fermentation beer (brewed with Brettanomyces) called Mixed Feelings, but it's also a collaboration with the DC brewery Bluejacket. Great Raft and Bluejacket have collaborated twice before, but those beer shad only been available in the DC market. For this collaboration release, Bluejacket will join the folks from Great Raft at the Avenue, and also will bring FIVE of their beers not normally available down here for one day only.
The Bluejacket beers on tap for Sunday are: Forbidden Planet, a dry-hopped Kolsch; Kelsey & Greg's Wedding Ale, a sour blond ale with peaches and nectarines; Fields of Friendly Strife, a saison fermented with a blend of farmhouse ale yeasts and Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, then aged on 40 pounds of locally grown apricots; LagerFarm, collaboration farmhouse lager with German brewery Freigeist, hopped with Perle and Hersbrucker, open-fermented with a blend of saison and lager yeast, and lagered for 6 weeks; and Little Golden Gem, a bright and tangy winter's gose with citrus notes and a dusting of spice, lightly hopped with Jarrylo, seasoned with coriander, spiked with sea salt, soured with Lactobacillus, and finished with 100 lbs of kumquats.
Great Raft will release the aforementioned Mixed Feelings, a mixed fermentation saison with a French ale strain and blend of various Brettanomyces strains with whirlpool addition of Nelson Sauvin hops. In addition, the brewery's newest (and final) collaboration with the John Besh Foundation will be on tap, a rye saison brewed with caraway. Great Raft's flagships, Southern Drawl lager and Commotion pale ale will also be on hand.
The balcony opens at noon, and the first parade, Carollton, will kick off at noon, getting to the Pub at around 1pm or so; followed by King Arthur & Merlin, Alla, and Femme Fatale.
Actual balcony access is limited to customers buying Great Raft or Bluejacket beer until the balcony hits capacity.