Royal Brewery

Calling all beer-loving entomologists: Royal Brewery is perhaps the only brewery in the nation that was inspired by insects.

How, exactly? According to founder Raymond Pumilia, the idea to make beer with bug-themed names came about a few years ago while he was brewing on his back porch. Batting away mosquitos mid-brew, he explains, “I thought: we have this incredible variety of insects, so why not use them?”

It’s quite a unique origin story. Fast forward to 2017, and Pumilia’s brewery, located on Lake Pontchartrain in the neighborhood of New Orleans East, has insect portraits displayed throughout the taproom. The beers on tap include the flagship Culicidae Ale — a medium-bodied American pale ale christened with the scientific name for mosquitos — and other craft brews named for termites and giant grasshoppers that are called “devil’s horses” in Cajun Country.

Pumilia, who has been brewing since the 1990s, teamed up with his wife Mandy and former Abita® head brewer Michael Ogden to found Royal Brewery. Pumilia comes up with recipes, he and Ogden make small batches, and if they meet the team’s quality standards, they’ll scale up and do a larger run. It’s a pretty informal process, and that’s part of Royal Brewery’s charm.