The Barley Oak
My early encounters with beer were probably a lot like those of most Americans… in the form of pale-colored, watered-down, mass-brewed American light lagers. Although these ice-cold beers were somewhat refreshing, I was not as satisfied with them as my friends seemed to be. However, I continued to consume these goliaths of the brewing industry for I was ignorant to the broader world of beer. This did not last long.
In my second year of college, my friends and I decided to try out a local restaurant we had heard good things about. Upon arrival, the atmosphere was the first thing to grab my interest. The mix of hardwood and brick was visually stimulating for me. There was a buzz that resonated from the stoic décor that stirred a sense of excitement within me that I had felt from other drinking establishments. When the hostess seated us, I slid to the end of the booth where a large, leather menu labeled “Beer” awaited.
Unknown at the time, this was where my life would change forever. Opening the menu, I was greeted by pages of, what I would call at the time, “just” beer.
Perusing their selections, I discovered beers came in different styles and were brewed in other countries as well. When it was time to give our drink orders, without hesitation, I closed my eyes and pointed to a German pilsner. The beer was delivered to me in the standard American pint glass. It was slightly darker than the beers I was accustomed to, and it had a moderate white head that deepened my curiosity.
The first sip, which is still my favorite sip of any properly poured beer, was pure magic. As I drew the glass to my lips, the aroma overwhelmed my senses. The foam entered my mouth followed by the beer where they mixed and danced along my tongue and palate. This beer introduced new characteristics to my taste buds I never knew existed.
That night, I ordered several other beers of similar style, but none of them were the same. Each had its own subtle differences. Soon after, I bought my first book about beer and began to educate myself on the different beer styles, the major brewing countries, and the history of this fascinating beverage.
I moved from drinking pilsners to other lagers, then to styles in the ale category. As I read more about beer and added to my beer tasting repertoire, the complexity of this under-rated craft became evident.
Today, my passion for beer still burns. My library of beer literature has significantly grown, and I have tried hundreds of different brews from around the country and around the world. Now, my desire is to share my passion with you!
Even before I discovered the intriguing beer culture, I have always dreamt of opening my own bar. Although the concept of my ideal establishment has changed over the years, the vision has remained the same, and here it is: The Barley Oak. The place where I have unleashed my passion and set my dreams free, and I open the doors to you.
This concept is inspired by German biergartens, English pubs, and my admiration for the beer craft. It is a place where new friends are made and old friends reunite. The Barley Oak is the perfect neighborhood retreat, where one can leave their troubles at the door and enjoy the warmth that the atmosphere and staff strive to provide. It’s always a beautiful day at The Barley Oak, so come join us for a pint.
-Nick Powers, Owner2101 Lakeshore Dr
Mandeville, LA 70448