By Bob Thames
There are few things that go together as well as crawfish and beer. Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of awesome spots to grab a tray of bugs and a Great Raft Beer. Before I get into to my favorite crawfish and beer spots, I want to touch on they beauty of the pairing.
For me there is no perfect “crawfish beer” because so many beers work with the complex flavors. With any good batch of bugs, you’ll get heat right off the bat, but it’s the hints of citrus, onion, sweetness and overall depth that keeps you standing at the table peeling tails all night long. The complexity of flavor and spiciness makes it easy to find a beer that works.
My current go-to at a boil is our 318 Golden Ale. The citrusy sweetness kills the heat just enough to make you want to go right back to the tray for more bugs. The fact that it’s full of flavor, but also low ABV and super crushable make the pairing that much better.
A lot of folks steer away from Reasonably Corrupt when eating crawfish because they don’t see a dark beer as a great pairing for seafood. Well, these people are just missing out. Reasonably Corrupt is a light-bodied beer and is perfect for any weather all year long. The rich, malty flavors of this black lager are a perfect balance for spicy foods – especially seafood. (Pro tip: if you haven’t had Reasonably Corrupt with raw oysters yet, go ahead and check that out.)
If your underwhelmed with the cook’s effort and your crawfish need a little boost in the heat department, reach for a Commotion American Pale Ale or Southern Drawl dry hopped Pilsner. Hop bitterness will accentuate the heat rather than diminish it. Commotion has some nice citrusy character that will pair nicely with the crawfish as well.
Now that we’re through the pairing portion of this post we can concentrate on a few of my favorite places in Shreveport for crawfish.
It’s not a coincidence that my fiancé and I moved within walking distance from Marilynn’s Place. When they fire up the pot, I can smell it from my back porch. Boz and the folks at MP do crawfish about once a week during crawfish season. Follow them on Facebook or just hang out on my back porch to figure out when they are rocking and rolling.
Beau and Peanut at Beauxjax Craft House just opened their brick and mortar location this past year, but they are seasoned veterans of the crawfish game. When I first started as the tasting room manager at GRB these guys were my saving grace. Any time a big event popped up or I needed a food truck in a hurry, they were right there for me. They helped us out with our first few crawfish boils and really laid the groundwork for some of our more successful events. Check ‘em out Facebook or join us for pint night tonight (2/25) to check out their space.
For anyone that knows me it should come as no surprise that Fatty Arbuckle’s lands on this list. If there is anything I drink more than beer, it’s bourbon – and Chase has plenty of the good stuff to go around. Chase added taps this past summer and does a great job of keeping seasonal/specialty kegs on tap. They’ll be boiling crawfish out on the patio during the weekends for the next few months.
I’d be remiss to not mention our buddy Larry Prestenbach. Larry P’s Boiling Pot is set up at Ellis Pottery in Shreveport for crawfish season, but we’re lucky enough to have him set up at the brewery a few times throughout the year. Not only do they have some of the best crawfish, but they feature all sorts of other seafood also. At our most recent boil earlier this month, Larry and his crew served up over 1,000 pounds of delicious crawfish. No worries if you didn’t make it to that one, Larry P’s will be back at the brewery on March 16th for another boil.
One of my favorite events of the year just so happens to be crawfish related. Crawfest on March 22nd and 23rd is just in it’s 3rd year, but is by far one of the best events that Shreveport has to offer. They expanded to 2 days this year and feature not only some great bugs but a ton awesome live music and Great Raft Beer. Be sure to check out the 3.18 mile run on Friday night this year. There will be live music along the route, a free pint of 318 Golden Ale waiting for you at the finish line, as well as awesome bands and mudbugs well into the evening.
This crawfish season, do yourself a favor. Drink real beer. You deserve it.