Most people do not think about German heritage when they think about Louisiana. They may remember the state’s French, Spanish or even Italian ties, but seldom do they recall the German influence. However, Germans settled in Louisiana as well, which is why there is a community named Des Allemands (meaning “of the Germans” in French). They also brought charcuterie to the state, helping establish boucheries (communal hog butcherings) and sausage-making. Of course, the Germans know a thing or two about making beer as well. In the 19th century, German immigrants in New Orleans created what at one time was known as the brewing capital of the South. The Crescent City had many breweries and its beer culture thrived. With Prohibition came the end of the brewing boom in Louisiana—until now.
Covington Brewhouse is located in a historic downtown building that used to be home to Alexius Hardware. The building gives the brewery a lot of character, something that is translated into their beer. Located in the southeast Louisiana town of Covington on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, the brewery makes German-style beers with names like pilsner and bock. The brewery itself was founded as Heiner Brau by Henryk Orlik, a German immigrant and brewmaster. Now using the Covington moniker, the brews are still inspired by authentic German influences, and the Heiner Brau heritage remains.
Brian Broussard, the brewmaster at Covington, along with Robert Mingo and others, has taken the brewery to a new level. Covington Brewhouse offers three collections of brews. The Covington Collection comprises Pontchartrain Pilsner, Bayou Bock and Strawberry Ale. The Legendary Collection, a tribute to Henryk and his authentic German beers, is made up of Kölsch and Maerzen. The Seasonal Collection includes Festbier Oktoberfest from September to November. More brews are in the works as Covington transitions from the tradition-rich German-style brewery to a modern American craft brewery.
Strawberry Ale is perhaps the best example of what is to come from Covington. The year-round beer uses Louisiana strawberry purée with classic cream ale to deliver a smooth and refreshing beer. The strawberry flavor is an excellent complement to many Louisiana dishes or just simply to beat the bayou heat. It is refreshing with generous sweetness, but it is still noticeably a beer.
Visitors can take a tour of the brewhouse on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until noon. The Covington Brewhouse website lists all events the brewery is involved with, including festivals, fundraisers and pint nights. Merchandise is available online and at the brewhouse for purchase.