Heart of Louisiana: Bayou Teche Brewery

Updated: Mar. 14, 2017 at 8:15 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - Kicking back on a Saturday afternoon, having a couple of beers and listening to music is a tradition in Cajun country.

"We have food every Saturday, just like a little mini festival every weekend," said Karlos Knott.

Karlos and his two brothers own Bayou Teche brewing in the town of Arnaudville. The beer-making started eight years ago in an old railroad car, and has now expanded its brand to all of Louisiana, Texas and Quebec, Canada. Karlos' interest in regional beers started when he was in the military, stationed in Germany.

"The breweries there are centuries old, the food is centuries old, and they just kind of evolved together," Karlos said.

At this brewery, the focus is on matching beers to the spicy flavors of Cajun cuisine.

"For instance, we do a beer that's designed to go with boiled crawfish called Saison D'Ecrevisses," Karlos said. "It's a rye season, so rye spicy. It does to beer what it does to bread. It'd make kind of a spicy, woodsy flavor. And we use a Belgian yeast that throws these kind of spice and citrus flavors into the beer, as well."

Bayou Teche makes its La-31 beers in six flavors year-round. In addition, there are seasonal brews. And one of the most popular beers is Ragin' Cajun, a partnership with the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

"A nice portion of the proceeds goes to both the academic and the sports over there at the school," Karlos said. "And we were the first brewery, the first college in America to have an official beer of a college."

Karlos said from start to finish, it takes an average of two to three weeks  to make a bottle of beer, but some beers take a lot longer - the ones that are aged in wooden whiskey and wine barrels.

"We will taste them weekly because we encourage drinking on the job here," Karlos said.

The Knott brothers' 82-year-old dad, Floyd, leads tours through the brewery.

"Now you hear that bubbling? That's because the yeast is converting sugar starches to alcohol," Floyd said.

And standing under a religious statue, Floyd treats his guests to a taste of Cajun humor. Boudreaux and Thibodaux worked in the brewery, and Boudreaux had to break the sad news to Thibodaux's wife that her husband is dead.

"Well, you know what? I can't tell you about the suffering, but it sure took a long time," Floyd said. "You see, we were on top of one of those fermenters, and he fell in. And he had to crawl out of that fermenter three different times to go pee pee before he finally drowned."

It's a fun glimpse into a family business that takes its beer seriously, trying to find the perfect flavor for a Cajun meal.

The Bayou Teche brewery has live music, food, tours and lots of locally-brewed beers every Saturday afternoon. Click here for more information.

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