The most invigorating beer discoveries happen during road trips. When you finally reach your destination and get to escape from seeing a car-sign-nothing-sign-sign-nothing-car in lala land, you end up stepping onto unfamiliar terrain. Even the air feels different, but by reassuring yourself that these are the curious steps of a new venture, you are able to stay cool. However, road trips tend to incorporate the following default categories:
1) I…UH…GOT TO GO…UM…PLEASE.
3) CAN I HAVE SOMETHING TO DRINK?
4) LET’S HAVE SOME FUNNNNN!
My recent road trip adventure, thanks to the wonderful Rock family, was to Louisiana. NOLA!!! (Since I learned that stands for New Orleans Louisiana, I keep using the abbreviation).
Back to the four common parts of a road trip:
1) No one likes talking about it…but unless you’re a camel, everyone has to make a
pit stop. It was a 15 hour drive and two cars of nine people who set out onthis adventure, so the go-whenever-we-stop method was an effective way to take care of business. This eliminated the awkwardness of having to be the one who uses the uneasy I…UH…GOT TO GO…UM…PLEASE line.
Since Mardi Gras was happening, the bathroom situation when we arrived at the French Quarter and Bourbon Street was…chaotic. Thankfully, Momma Rock grew up in Louisiana and knows about all the local ways (note: Always travel with someone native to where you’re going…being lost in Austria was no Sound of Music). I’m not going to give away all the secrets to conquer the bathroom dilemma, but we shared a fast-food receipt to prove we were customers, sort of like a VI-PEE pass. Looking back on the scenario, it would have made a grand promo for an upcoming MTV reality show. I’d watch it!
2) No one ever wants to sound like a fatty but everyone needs food. Sometimes those exit signs and billboards can really summon your appetite. Usually, it takes one person’s roaring stomach to bring out a car-full of hunger. The Rocks have been going back to visit Louisiana for years, so they had an efficient food plan to stop at specific locations. It was like every time I thought of FOOD, it was time to get FOOD.
People say that you haven’t had clam chowder until you eat it New England, that’s the right philosophy for tasting authentic Louisiana cuisine— jambalaya, gumbo, Po’boys—everything was scrumptious. I would eat that Po-boy with shrimp. I would eat that Po-boy with roast beef. I would eat it dressed (lettuce, tomato, mayo). I would eat it undressed. Green eggs and ham is a weak snack compared to the yum of an authentic Po-boy. My inner fat kid was break-dancing the entire time, so it’s a good thing I wore leggings. Don’t get me started on the King Cakes…pictures online do not do these carnival treats justice. Deliciousnesssss!
3) What goes well with food? Drinks! According to survival shows and wilderness handbooks, it is important to stay hydrated. As refreshing as water can be on the car-ride part of the journey, it’s kind of like a game of roulette. You never know what sip may be the drop that brings you back to number one. I meant number one on this list but yippee to scoring that play-on-words. Thankfully when you’re prepared with a water supply, it’s rare to hear: CAN I HAVE SOMETHING TO DRINK? Plus, even if you do run out of water, no one wants to announce it during hour three of the caravan especially since it’s one of those phrases that a toddler would use to ask for their sippy cup. This would be almost as embarrassing as watching most of Dr. Oz’s demonstrations.
On the other hand, there’s something magical about ordering a nice beer with any variation of the line, “CAN I HAVE A _____ TO DRINK?”
The King Cake of beers was the glorious wheat ale, Canebrake.
Canebrake was featured on tap at Brady’s in Hammond, LA, which was one of Momma Rock’s favorite hangout spots. This was probably my favorite place that we visited; I’m a sucker for the cool and comforting pub atmosphere. Most of us ordered a glass of the Canebrake and I’m convinced we all made the satisfied sighing sound at the same time. It felt like I had taken just one sip but when I looked down, my beer was halfway gone. I enjoy beers that are served in frosty glasses, it just adds to that freshness.
My sister immediately turned to me and said, “You should write about this one.”
“I was just thinking that!”
Everyone else agreed and gave a group-effort description of the local brew:
-like Oktoberfest beer experience but not quite
-I’m going to get another one
Mr. Rock found a poster in the pub that had a great explanation: “On Tap: Parish Canebrake brewed with beaucoup local sugarcane syrup. This is a refreshing and smooth wheat brew with notes of honey, spice and citrus on the finish. There’s nothing else like it.”
We were pretty close with that group-effort!
The Parish Brewing Company takes pride in being local and independent, and Canebrake was “the first commercial beer in the world brewed with locally-made Steen's sugarcane syrup.” Steen’s uses 100% pure cane syrup, which is a part of the state's history. After looking up what Steen’s syrup containers look like, I realized that I’ve seen them before since my grandma’s friend from New Orleans brings some when she visits. I couldn’t remember the label from memory (I Googled it) but my grandma has shown me the label before emphasizing how good natural products are—she’s too cute when she gets excited about that kind of thing.“Nothing added. Nothing Extracted. Open Kettle. Pure and Natural.”
If I had brought a case of Canebreak back, I know it would have disappeared in minutes. I’m thinking about sending Dr. Oz a sample so maybe he can help me convince the world that it can be a water replacement, because I know I could easily drink eight glasses a day. It’s definitely a tasty thirst quencher.
4) The most essential part of a road trip is the fun factor, which includes every aspect of the trip, even experiencing the operation-bathroom-runs. The idea of LET’S HAVE SOME FUN is what pumps everyone up from the beginning to the end of the adventure and creates the memories. In this Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) extravaganza, I had a carnival of fun!
You know how snow globes, no matter the location inside, take you away to a mini-party inside a ball? Some beers have a similar effect and can embody a specific celebration; Canebreak has the sensation of Mardi Gras.
Catch you later,
Author Script…Leila graduated from East Carolina University. She’s a part of the what-do-I –do-now club, but becoming a journalist seems to be the favorite option...who knows with her spontaneous nature. She believes traveling anywhere and everywhere is the best type of adventure. Rambling is her favorite activity, especially about Pink Floyd and penguins. Don’t get her started on her half Egyptian background, she’ll start going on and on about her personal curses of the Nile.