A local Thibodaux brewery unopened to the public for some time, opened its doors for what was intended to be a small tasting; instead, was surprised by the large turnout.
The taproom of Mudbug Brewery was packed with revelry as around 200 guests arrived to try the beverages. The head brewer, Nick Daisy, said this was not a reopening since the brewery would be doing an overhaul of the equipment; rather, it was a testing of a few batches so that he could continue to refine the recipe.
"It's basically just today, we're just doing a one time thing," said Daisy. "We're just getting some feelers out there of what people think."
Mudbug Brewery opened its doors in 2011, and while never fully halting operations, it quietly shut its doors to the public for over a year.
Plagued by setbacks, such as last year a truck running over the water meter, adaptation and determination have kept the site opperational.
Fermenters have remained bubbling away as the brewery has been producing beers for a company out of Mandeville, Chafunkta Brewery, because, "that's where the moneys at," as Daisy put it.
Shortly before guests arrived, Daisy and Lisa Porche, a bartender and shop assistant, were busy prepping for the crowd. Standing near the bar, with a pile of assorted brewing magazines behind him, Daisy, the sole brewer, described his workweek as lonesome.
"That's the toughest part with this job, you can ask her, man," said Daisy motioning to Porche. "I drive an hour out here, I spend all day messing with this and then I drive an hour back home, and not a word is spoken."
"I listen to the radio here, I do my work, and then I drive all the way back by myself. Man, when I get home, I don't shut up," said Daisy, which Porche chuckled in acknowledgment, nodding her head. "I have no one to bounce ideas off - no one to collaborate with..."
Started on the topic of beer creation, excitement poured from Daisy as quickly and freely as his beer which flowed from the tap.
Porche smiled as she watched him mingle with the guests. She rushed to keep up with demand, and said she didn't want to pull him from getting feedback. Eventually, a notebook was passed around and Daisy was filling glasses right alongside her.
On promotion were 3 beers: Irish Red, La Petite Blonde, and Porter.
The Irish Red was inspired by the beer which got Daisy interested in brewing the first place. At his cousin's wedding, close to 10 years prior, Daisy saw a woman with a pilsner glass of a red beverage. She let him try it, an Irish Red, and he became interested in making craft beers.
The Blonde, he said, is intended to draw drinkers who have never tried a craft drink: "Even though every other craft brewery does a blonde, there's a reason for that,' said Daisy. It's meant to be similar to common American beers, but he said by purchasing a smaller quantity of grain, he thinks he has a better control of the quality of grain.
The Porter, began as Mudbug's Stout. After some criticism about it not being dark enough for a Stout, Daisy decided to reign the recipe in. Instead of trying to be a Stout, he embraced the idea of it being a Porter. This allowed him to draw out more of the grain's flavors.
Two guests, Ken and Angela Deroche were some of the first guests to arrive. Ken had the Irish Red to start, and said it was his favorite on offer after sampling all the rest.
"It's easy drinking, the abv is low but for an Irish Red, I think it's a drinkable beer," said Ken. His normal beer of choice is Corona.
Ken retired from the oilfield, he previously worked in marketing, and he said he always liked Mudbug's advertising. With their free time now, one of the couple's hobbies has become travelling to try out craft beers.
Angela said her husband got the idea from an article he read by a couple close to their age who did the same.
"Last weekend we visited a couple of small breweries in Layayette, and I think they compare," said Ken. "Just my humble opinion."
"However humble it may be," said Angela teasing while the two laughed.
Over the course of the event, many orders were taken, and the Irish Red was the first keg to run dry and need replacing, indicating Ken wasn't the only guest enjoying the Red.
Daisy was excited about the potential the future held for the brewery, and said he thought the overhaul of the equipment would be complete by February. This new setup would ease his workload, which he used an analogy to describe.
"It's like growing up shooting squirrel with a pellet gun," he said. "I can shoot my limit in a day with a pellet gun, but I just went bought a shotgun and now it's going to be easy."
While confident about the brewery's future, Daisy had no predictions about a reopening.
"We don't predict it," said Daisy. "It's too much unknown."