Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tossing tortillas

            Waco, Texas, owns a lovely suspension bridge in the heart of downtown, next to giant outdoor sculptures of cowboys and longhorns. The 1870 bridge was the first across the Brazos River and once part of the Chisholm Trail.
             Walk out toward the middle of the bridge and you’ll find an old concrete pillar off to the side, situated in the water. It’s just close enough to be a challenge for bridge pedestrians to throw something on top.
             And that’s exactly what Baylor students do — as well as others who want to join in on the tortilla tossing fun. People stand on the side of the bridge and try to toss tortillas on to the concrete pillar. Which isn’t easy. There’s a definite art to flinging tortillas — apparently it doesn't matter if they're flour or corn — through the air and having them land in just the right spot, kinda like tossing a Frisbee. Once these Wacoan tortilla tossers have exhausted their supply, they tie the plastic bag that the tortillas came in on to the spokes of the bridge.
             Some say that if a Baylor student manages to plant a tortilla on to the concrete marker, they will graduate from Baylor in four years.
             Like so many college traditions, it’s all in fun, although many don’t favor tossing tortillas into the Brazos River, nor defacing an historic bridge with plastic bags. You can read more about the tortilla tossing in the Baylor Lariat here.
            One thing’s for sure, the grackles sure love having the tortillas thrown their way. On the day we visited, there was a group of these birds enjoying a feast.
             Want to learn about other Baylor weird traditions? Click here.



Cheré Dastugue Coen is a food and travel writer living in South Louisiana. She is also the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Weird Southern Beer Names

Like a little weirdness with your brews? Here are a few Southern beers you should try.

Fairhope Brewing Company, Fairhope, Alabama
Because it’s Alabama, there’s a S’Wheat Home, and because it’s Fairhope close to Gulf beaches, there’s Beach Day IPA. Judge Roy Bean coffee stout is our favorite, a beer brewed with coffee from the Fairhope Roasting Company (which serves up delicious coffee at The Warehouse, a hip new eatery.) The name is a nod to a former Alabama Eastern Shore landmark.

Bayou Teche Brewing of Arnaudville, Louisiana
This craft brewery located outside Lafayette, Louisiana, embraces its Cajun and Creole heritage with beers named Cocodrie (French for Alligator) Passionné for the passion fruit that grows in South Louisiana and Saison D'Ecrevisses, a beer to complement crawfish season. Visit on weekends and there’s everything from live Cajun music to yoga at the brewery.

Mississippi
Southern Prohibition Brewing in Hattiesburg takes the prize for the best names in Mississippi beers. Look for Jack the Sipper, Mississippi Fire Ant and Sinister Minister. We actually sampled the Freemason Golden Ale of Chandeleur Island Brewing Company of Gulfport, and even though the name’s not that romantic, it went oh so well with the fish tacos at The Blind Tiger in Bay St. Louis (pictured at right).

Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta, Georgia
It’s a Deep South brewery, which is why you’ll see names such as Hop Dang Dippity, Redneck Christmas Stout Ale and Fixin’ To India pale ale. One of our favorites has a story to tell. Cooter Brown, naturally a brown ale, is named after a Civil War-era man who stayed drunk during the length of the war so he wouldn’t have to fight. Man after our own heart.

Audacity Brew House of Denton, Texas
Be careful who you mess with in Texas for its an open carry gun state. Maybe that’s why Audacity named one of its beers Bulletproof. The Texas Pale Ale is brewed with Texas craft malts and Texas-grown grapefruit. Other beers include the Repercussion German amber ale and the Black Widow Imperial Chocolate Stout. Again, I would tread lightly with these guys.

Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport, Louisiana
Like a Belgian dark ale? How about the Awkward Uncle from Great Raft Brewing? This malty ale is “Big and boozy, just like the best and worst family gatherings,” is how the owners describe it. Other funny names include Southern Drawl, All My Tomorrows and Mixed Feelings. Our favorite is the Reasonably Corrupt black German lager that goes down smooth. And Great Raft has a fabulous tasting room (at right).

Creature Comforts of Athens, Georgia
Bibo pilsner, Tropicalia American IPA, Koko Buni and Cosmik Debris are some of the beers you’ll find at Creature Comforts, a spacious Athens hangout with the brewery in full view. Some seasonal brews to enjoy, according to their website, are variations on Athena Paradiso, including tart cherry, guava and passion fruit and cherry, raspberry and cranberry.


Cheré Dastugue Coen is an international food and travel writer living in South Louisiana. She is also the author of several Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire and the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.