Brewing Beer dates back more than five thousand years, and humans can’t seem to get enough. A relatively young brewery in Broussard is making its mark on Louisiana culture.
We took a trip to the Parish Brewing Company in Broussard. Andrew Godley realized there was a market for craft beer in Louisiana, but he didn’t take the traditional path that most brewers choose.
"Most people who start breweries they like to tell some romantic story. I went in about it a little differently, I was a chemical engineer and I worked at a manufacturing facility here in Lafayette, making catalysts for the petroleum refining industry. I was becoming an expert in chemical manufacturing." Says Godley.
"So you turned your chemical engineering knowledge into beer! did you already have a love for beer? Oh yes of course, I was drinking beer everywhere I went, I was traveling all over the world. We had a manufacturing plant in Luxembourg between France and Germany and Belgium in the heart of where beer was born. There was a market here in Louisiana and all we needed to do was create products that people would like and we would have a viable business it was purely entrepreneurial I started home brewing after I decided to open a brewery."
Canebrake was born right here in Lafayette, and it’s a huge hit all over the state.
"Places like New Orleans, our largest market in New Orleans that’s a bottomless pit of beer consumption if you make a good product you can sell a ton of beer in New Orleans and it’ll never be enough."
Ryan Speyrer is the head brewer. And he’s been brewing for about 7 years, including home brew. After an exchange of emails and a tour, he signed on. "I jumped from 5 gallons to 930 gallons per batch, so learning how to use the new equipment was a learning curve there." Is he ready to take over the world? "Well not through any nefarious means, we’re going to do it by convincing people one at a time that our beer is the best!"
It starts with raw materials, some of those are local. "The sugar cane syrup is a big one as a local ingredient." The mash tun is where it begins. the ingredients are mixed with hot water for sugar conversion. "We’re going to take a sample to see how sweet it is. Sweet, it’s a lot sweeter than I thought it would be, but it does kind of taste like cereal. So that’s what ends up becoming beer. We’ll add hops and sugar can syrup and anything else you want to add to beer. It’s just like cooking. You take your pot, and you make your gumbo, you put all the ingredients in, and they cook together and the flavors marry."
It eventually gets sent to the fermenter, and after a while, it becomes beer. They bottle their beer right on site. "When you’re done with the day and you close shop how many beers have you bottled? Let me get out my calculator." It ended up being near 20,000 bottles! It’s all done at extreme pressure. "If we were looking from the back side it would look like we’re filling it with water, but as soon as it releases if just foams up immediately. We have to fill the bottles with a CO2 head on it. So the CO, that’s the SHHH when you open it? That’s right"
And one for me right off the line. "Should we sell it? MMM no I’m going to keep this one! Finally, finally, the last step is called beer whispering. How do you feel about the beer. Beer whispering? How do you feel now that the beer has gone down? Are you comfortable, are you mad? I’m very comfortable with this beer! Well cheers, it’s easy going, well there you go!"
Parish Brewing Company does three tours on Saturday’s at Noon, 1:00 and 2:00. Every day except Sunday, you can visit the Tap Room and have a fresh beer from the line!