Beer and Bocce

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by Victoria Sherwood

Upon walking into the new local bar, Fondren Public, your thoughts immediately turn to beer. Whether it’s the dark, rich browns of the wood bar, or the incredible smell of pulled pork cooking in the kitchen, everything about that first step inside makes you want to relax with a large, comforting beer.

Fondren Public, which opened week began on Sept. 2, distinguishes itself from other local hot spots by focusing on craft beer. With 24 craft beers on tap, general manager Andrew Kehoe says their main goal is to help people drink beer they haven’t been able to get yet.

Only a couple years ago, cracking open a bottle of beer with alcohol content over 5 percent was little more than a dream to most Mississippians. Other than possibly smuggling higher-alcohol beer over the state lines (which, for the record was illegal) most people settled for what was stocked at the nearest grocery store or gas station. That was until Governor Phil Bryant passed the craft beer bill that allows the sale of beer with up to 8 percent alcohol by weight, or 10 percent by volume. By July 1, 2012, Mississippi welcomed the first craft beer sales.

What makes craft beer different from a college student’s favorite, Natty Light? Craft beers have an annual production of six million barrels or less, and craft brewers are generally small brewing companies. Basically, when you are sipping on a craft beer (not shot-gunning in a parking lot) you are guaranteed it is going to taste a whole lot better than the closer to water Natty Light (no offense to those Natty lovers, drink on).

photo by Victoria Sherwood

Fondren Public offers a variety of craft beers for bar goers to experience. Out of their 24 beers on tap, 10 to 12 of those will be seasonal lines, allowing for new and exciting beer experiences all year around.

“We designed our bar for craft beer,” Kehoe says. This focus on the beer can be seen in the 24- tap line that is pretty hard to miss when walking in. Fondren Public also offers a growler, a 64-ounce glass jug, which can be filled with your choice of beer, sealed and sent home for only $5. The growler jug is what inspired the bars popular tagline “follow the jug.” Abita, Bayou Teche, Chimay, Diamond Bear, Lazy Magnolia, Magic Hat, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Southern Prohibition and Yazoo are just a few names you can expect upon visiting the bar.

They also offer a fun and relaxing atmosphere with plenty of places to sit and two bocce ball courts. Can someone teach me how to play?

As always remember to drink responsibly, 21 and older only, please.

Instagram: @fondrenpublic