Tag Archives: lake pontchartrain

Abita Brewing Company Tour

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After my first stop at Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, and a brief stop in Pontchatoula, I jumped back into my car and made my way east, above the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain to Abita Springs, LA to visit and hopefully take the Abita Brewery tour.

Abita Brewing Company Tasting Room & Tour
166 Barbee Rd.
Abita Springs, LA
1-985-893-3143

The Abita Brewing Company Visitor’s center was opened in 2008, the old brewery now houses the Abita Brew Pub. They even have their own cookbook called Abita Beer: Cooking Louisiana True

Upon arriving at the brewery I quickly pulled into a parking spot, and hustled up to the front of the visitor’s center:


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From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

I bellied up to the end of a group which was just entering and noticed that everyone was wearing wrist bands, so I stepped back and approached the guy at the door clutching a $20 bill in my hand.

“How much is the tour?” I asked.

“$20 bucks” he replied “You’ve got just enough!” then put his hand out. As I reached to hand him my dough he broke out into a wild cackle that would have made a Hyena blush, then slapped me on the back. Crack!

“This is free man!! You’re just in time! Here’s a wristband and a cup, have a good time!” Another friendly slap on the back and off I went, entering the Abita Brewery visitors center tasting room which wins the 2011 NOLA CUISINE award for Best Place to get Drunk for Free! Not a really a real award, mind you, but if I had one, Abita would win it, hands down!

By the way, don’t be a stooge like me and go here alone, I could only sample as I had to drive into New Orleans. Best to find some other stooge to drive you so that you can truly partake in this excellent, rare, FREE beer drinking opportunity!

Also, please forgive me for the less than crisp photography on this post, but please note: All photos were taken while holding an ice cold cup of Abita beer…I know my priorities. :)

The visitors center is wonderfully decorated with art work on the walls representing many of your favorite or soon to be favorite Abita beers, Purple Haze:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

My old standby Abita Amber:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

One of my new favorites Jockamo IPA:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

Now, I’m not going to lie, the artwork wasn’t the first thing that I noticed upon entering the tasting room, it was the line of fellow guests lining up behind the Mahogany bar to fill up their cups from one of 15 tappers of different Abita Beers. As much as they wanted, as many different kinds as they would like to try…all for free. In essence, a beer drinker’s bliss.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

The atmosphere is ultra relaxed, everyone just hanging out meeting some new people, drinking some great beer, playing a game of ring toss:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After about 15-20 minutes of hanging out sampling the wares, the tour begins with a video. The crowd mostly ignores the video, then the tappers are cut off to focus attention onto the tour into the brewery which is about 10 minutes long.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

It is quite loud in the cellar, and folks tended to keep talking while our tour guide was talking, which made it very hard to hear. Understandable I guess, free beer tends to make people chatter. I only caught snippets of the dialogue as I was standing in the back, fortunately for those of us that were interested, the information is available online here.

Here are some pics from inside the Cellar:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

Booties must be worn if wearing open toed shoes:

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

After the tour, the group returned to the tasting room for you guessed it, more free beer. More hanging out, relaxing, enjoying.

From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana
From Abita Brewery – Abita Springs, Louisiana

My visit finished early as I had to drive, and was looking forward to a long afternoon, and even longer evening in New Orleans. I jumped in my rental and made my way for the Ponchartrain causeway, which is 23.83 miles directly across Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans!

Next up Radosta’s for an excellent cup of Gumbo and a Roast Beef Po Boy.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on Nola Cuisine!

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Baby Back Ribs with Turbo dog Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

Well I’m back. I know, I know…it’s been a long stretch between posts, but a recent visit to New Orleans and some out lying areas of Louisiana, has me re-inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the daunting task of posting all of the terrific content I have compiled on that four day journey, I also have some new recipes to share as well. So here we go…it sincerely feels great to be back at this! I hope you enjoy!

Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant
30160 Highway 51
Akers, LA 70421
1-985-386-6666

Long on my Louisiana bucket list of places to dine has been Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant, about 45 miles away from New Orleans, Akers, Louisiana to be exact, on Highway 51, between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It’s a scenic drive from the airport, I-10 provides great views of Bayou Piquant and Lake Pontchartrain, and elevated Highway 51 snakes through the Maurepas Swamp, providing visitors with excellent views of the Cypress swamps, complete with spanish moss. I’m a sap and I love Louisiana, so every time I see those picturesque views after I’ve been away for a spell, it gives me a nice warm glow.


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Josie and Louis Middendorf opened Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant on July 4, 1934 during the great depression. The restaurant was passed down through two generations of the family. The Lamonte family who owned the restaurant for 40 years, sold it and passed the torch to Horst & Karen Pfeifer in 2006 after the couple lost their New Orleans restaurant Bella Luna during Hurricane Katrina.

The original Middendorf’s restaurant is still standing across the parking lot from the new restaurant and deck where I enjoyed my meal.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

I only made it into the main restaurant to say hello to the hostess with the beautiful smile, and to tell her that I would like to go eat on the deck, she directed me and off I went!

It was dog hot on the day I visited, but the deck provided a shaded atmosphere with misters running along the openings to keep it cool…an awesome view to boot:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

It was totally comfortable out there, perfect. In fact, I wish I was on that deck right now, ordering up some of the best fried seafood known to man and a cold beer. I would be on that deck all the time if I were a local. The deck is complete with boat parking:

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the good stuff…

Middendorf’s is the Mecca of fried Catfish, specifically, thin fried catfish. Understand, I’ve been reading about this place for years and years, well before the current owners took the reins, so there is cause for concern about building a pyramid up in one’s mind.

At the deck at Middendorf’s you order at the bar and pickup at the bar (although everything was delivered to me, along with smiles and nice conversation.) The beers available are generic, miller lite, bud, corona, etc.., no Abita, no fancyfied beers, which tells me this place is all local, love it!

I ordered the thin fried catfish, which is the legendary house specialty, and I also read great things about Middendorf’s Barbecued Oysters, so I ordered them as an appetizer with a cup of Turtle Soup.

I expected the Barbecue Oysters to be along the lines of Barbecue Shrimp, but they were totally different, in a good way, more along the lines of an Oysters Roffignac. Cleanly shucked with a wonderful red topping, a great first taste for my first meal in Louisiana! To be quite honest, I didn’t take notes, I don’t remember what flavors were going on there, just that they were wonderful and like no other Oyster dish I’ve had previous! Delicious!

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The Turtle Soup left me a little flat, not terrible by any means, just didn’t blow me away.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

On to the star of the show, Thin Fried Catfish, probably the most perfectly fried fish I’ve had. Crispy, clean flavor, not a bit greasy. The stuff dreams are made of.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

The hush puppies are very good, as well as the coleslaw.

From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant
From Middendorf's Seafood Restaurant

After making my taste buds happy at Middendorf’s I was back on the road to my next destination, with a brief stop off in Ponchatoula, the berry capital. Did a little exploring then moved on to Abita Springs for my next stop (as well as my next post), the Abita Brewery Tour!

Check out my friend Tim’s post on Middendorf’s at his blog RouxBDoo’s Cajun and Creole Food Blog!

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes, which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!