Local beer geeks: It’s time to ditch the brewery t-shirts and play dress-up for Nuit Belge, now in its third year, at Generations Hall on March 9. The upscale tasting event, which inspires all sorts of elegant wardrobe choices* (jackets, ties, long dresses, corsets, high heels), pairs well-regarded and hard-to-find Belgian and Belgian-style beers with dishes from top, local chefs, making it the beer nerd prom New Orleans deserves.
The brainchild of Nashville’s Rhizome Productions booze-focused event planning company, there’s a sister event in Nashville this June.
Nashville chefs Jessica Benefield and Trey Burnette will serve as “culinary ambassadors” in New Orleans, bringing with them dishes from Two-Ten Jack’s Japanese-inspired pub/ramen house/izakaya. Likewise, Isaac Toups will serve as the Nashville ambassador.
How it works
Each chef gets a bottle of two of complex Belgian or Belgian-style beers and creates unique dishes to pair with each of them. (These beers are fantastic to pair with food, especially those from Belgian breweries like De Ranke, Cantillon, Brassie de Blaugies, Saint Bernadus, Westmalle, and De La Senne). Local breweries will also be represented, like NOLA Brewing and Great Raft, as well as Jester King out of Austin, Creature Comforts from Athens, GA, and Blackberry Farm from Tennessee.
Participating chefs include Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus (Coquette), Donald Link (Cochon Butcher), Alex Harrell (Angeline), Jason Goodenough (Carrollton Market), and Michael Gulotta (MoPho), among others.
Plus, several new chefs and restaurants have joined the roster, like Turkey and the Wolf’s Mason Hereford, Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney from Marjie’s Grill, and Saffron’s Vikhu family.
Look out for: Pepper-rubbed lamb ribs with celery mint sauce and Creature Comforts Subtle Alchemy from Marjie’s Grill paired with Petrus Oude Bruin; seafood sausage with mushroom duxelle and Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze with baked mussels with aioli and pickled chilies paired with St. Feuillien Grand Cru from Ryan Prewitt of Peche; nduja (spicy, spreadable pork salumi) with ricotta and green olives and Cantillon Fou’ Foune apricot with pickled Louisiana shrimp with pineapple and cabbage slaw paired with Blackberry Farm classic saison from Isaac Toups.
There will also be a Murder Point raw oyster bar, a selection of St. James Cheese Company-curated cheeses, and chocolate and other confections from Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Company out of Nashville.
Other Nuit Belge “Beer Week” Events
Pre-Nuit Belge events pop up all over town in the days leading up to the main attraction. (It could be called “Nuit Belge week.”)
Blackberry Farm Brewery is sponsoring an exclusive (only 40 tickets available) pre-event pairing of the brewery’s limited edition Belgian saison-style beer and the restaurant’s superb food. The VIP ticket is 50 bucks ($139) more than the regular session ticket ($89), and it’s worth every penny of it, especially for saison-lovers, and includes admission to Nuit Belge.
Also check out the Creature Comforts Brewing team at Bouree on Wednesday (3/7), as well as a tasting at St. James Cheese Company downtown (with the opportunity to win a pair of tickets); a Thursday night (3/8) welcome event at the Avenue Pub featuring special beers from Blackberry Farm, Jester King, Creature Comforts, and NOLA Brewing; a “warm-up” on Friday (3/9) before the big event at Cochon Butcher, right across the street from Generations Hall; and a Hangover Brunch at the Avenue Pub on Saturday morning/afternoon. Keep an eye on Nuit Belge’s Facebook page for more details.
So bust out your tux and/or party dress for Nuit Belge and plan to drink, eat, laugh, dance, and then drink and eat some more, because it’s the best and tastiest damn gathering of and for beer nerds in the entire state.
*Note: dressing up is not mandatory, it’s just fun. (No jeans or flip-flops, though!)
Nuit Belge: Friday, March 9, 2018 at Generations Hall (310 Andrew Higgins Blvd, New Orleans). VIP entry and event at 5:45pm, general admission: 7-10pm. Tickets available at nuitbelge.com