“Old Rail is where people come together for respite, hearty fare, and handcrafted beers. Together, a Chef and a Brewmaster from different parts of the country create an unforgettable culinary experience with southern flavors and fresh ingredients that will fill ya up and get ya on your way, so you enjoy everything each day has to offer.” – Brett
To brew something remarkable, know your ingredients, know your processes, and know your styles, and then just let the craft happen. Brewing is an art wrapped in the science of flavor and experience. At Old Rail, we focus on every single aspect of the process… careful selection, careful attention, results in amazing beers.
Our beers tend to be complex, having multiple layers of flavors to enjoy. From the first taste on through to the finish, various flavors unfold making you feel like you’re on a sensory rollercoaster.
Beers like our Barrel Aged Dark Territory Imperial Stout, our Pumpkin Express, or our Coalescence IPA, for example, all have a depth… a level of complexity unique to each beer that changes over the course the taste. We create beers to be an experience… an adventure ride from one to the next, each varying in intensity, complexity, flavor, and character. You don’t want to miss this train!
While Chef creatively pairs food elements with our beer selection to produce an amazing culinary experience, the brew master explains the ingredients, process and inspiration that went into crafting the beers. It’s our way to showcase how the complex flavors of our beers complement our delicious southern fare. Check our calendar and get some friends together for the next unique Brew Master Dinner Experience at Old Rail.
Greatness isn’t born. It’s honed from passion, desire, curiosity, and hard work… Our Brew Master, Matt, was born in Dearborn, Michigan and grew up in the country just west of Detroit, spending much of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm around horses, cows, and chickens. He started home brewing in early 2000 while finishing up his Landscape Architecture degree at Michigan State University. Fermentation was in his family going back to his great grandfather’s recipes for Dandelion Wine, plum wine, and others. His dad had worked for Stroh’s Brewing in Detroit back in the early 70’s, and his brother picked up home brewing and wine making in the mid 80’s. Dad started home brewing in the early 90’s, but passed on his equipment to Matt in1999. That was the spark Matt needed, and he began by reading everything he could find at the time using the book, “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing,” as a guide.
In 2003, he moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue Landscape Architecture, and was befriended by a group of home brewers. He preferred beers with a full, rounded, and rich flavor, and the methods he developed with his brewing equipment, tweaking recipe formulation, time and temperature, was the foundation for the unique character of his beers. Since water is crucial to beer quality, he began filtering with an ultra-fine carbon filter and making mineral adjustments to emphasize various characteristics.
To learn more about beer styles, he studied to become a Certified Beer Judge, which taught him about off-flavors, what judges look/taste for, and how to describe and recognize various characteristics. Eventually, he gave up on landscape design and was hired on at Abita Brewing, later moving on to brew for Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, Georgia. The experience Matt gained was invaluable, and when word came of the Old Rail brewing position, he was too excited about the challenge and the opportunity to personally direct beer brewing on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain to pass it up.
In the beers brewed here at Old Rail, you’ll discover the concepts, creativity and processes used in Matt’s early days as a home brewer. His experience with water chemistry, his personal sense of time, speed and temperature are employed to give our beers their unique character and flavor. These are the traits that make each brewer different. How they react during the brewing process and how they perceive the process at each stage creates a product unique to the individual brew master. Matt thinks this is the beautiful thing about this craft…. It truly is an art.
All work and no play makes Matt a dull brewer! So, when he’s not brewing award-winning beers for Old Rail, he’s usually traveling or immersed in a project like making homemade lip balm, beard balm, woodworking, or baking artisanal bread. Guess you can say he hasn’t strayed far from his grandparents’ farm! In our brewery, the trains are running on Matt’s time, so… Cheers and great beers!
Passion, practice, experimentation and collaboration are the building blocks on which Old Rail Brewing Company was founded, and Head Chef, Brett Monteleone, adds flavor and depth to the Old Rail experience with his personal style of southern cooking. Brett, a Louisiana native, applies his curiosity and creativity to the menu by incorporating Old Rail’s hand-crafted beers into his delicious creations to create a true culinary experience for our guests. Everything on our menu is made from scratch, from the beer to the sauces, so you can taste the homemade flavor in every bite.
Indulge in an Old Rail Burger topped with Malt Mayo and a side of Beer Battered Onion Rings, or feast on gulf shrimp with homemade cream cheese grits. Whether it’s our savory Jerk Market Fish smothered in Beer BBQ sauce, or something from your childhood like the Sauce Piquant, Old Rail offers a dining experience like no other. Come for lunch, bring the family for brunch, or join us for dinner… you’re gonna enjoy the intoxicating union of handcrafted beer and decadent Southern food at Old Rail Brewing Company!
Chef Brett creatively pairs food elements with Brewer Matt’s beer selection to produce an amazing and unique culinary experience you don’t want to miss. Collaboration and seasonal elements make every Brew Master’s Dinner experience different. While the brew master explains the ingredients, process and inspiration that went into crafting the beers, you’ll sample creatively prepared food pairings. It’s our way to showcase how the complex flavors of our beers complement our delicious southern fare. Check our calendar and get some friends together for the next unique Brew Master Dinner Experience at Old Rail.
No stranger to decadent and flavorful southern cuisine, Chef Brett derives inspiration from his humble beginnings cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen. A Louisiana native, Brett found any excuse to be in the kitchen, often to help his grandparents prepare and cook the fresh locally-sourced ingredients they used in their meals. His childhood favorites were etouffee, potato stew, and red sauce with meatballs. Now, he is the mastermind behind Old Rail’s menu, but it was a long trail to get here.
His childhood aspirations to become a great chef landed him his first job in the kitchen as a dishwasher at Jacmel Inn in Hammond, Louisiana. He watched and learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business over ten years there, and moved up through the ranks to become a line cook. As he honed his passion and proved himself, the head Chef of the Inn took him under his wing and began training him in fine dining. During his years at the Inn, Brett balanced a second job at the Carter Plantation in Springfield, Louisiana where he learned banquet style serving, party preparation, and cooking for a crowd. While working at the plantation he learned how to make larger quantities of delicious dishes without sacrificing flavor or quality.
Chef Brett’s experience recreating Louisiana dishes, working in fine dining establishments, and producing quality high-quantity meals for large parties led him to become the Head Chef at Old Rail Brewery. Years ago, on a hunting trip to Folsom, Louisiana, Brett tried Sauce Piquant for the first time. Upon his return, he could not find the tomato based dish served anywhere despite searching at nearly every restaurant in the area. Now it’s a staple of the Old Rail menu for everyone to enjoy. While many Southern-style classics can be found on Old Rail’s menu, Brett’s creativity and passion for locally-sourced seasonally fresh ingredients adds excitement to both these old favorites and his innovative new ones. So… Cheers to great food and beer!
In the late 1800’s, when the sleepy little town of Mandeville was still young, residents who lived and worked there would often awaken to the sounds of buzz saws and foresting equipment working the thriving timber industry along the northern banks of Lake Pontchartrain. The area’s “good water” and soil type meant that loblolly pine and hardwood grew tall and strong here. That brought the timber industry, and the timber industry brought the trains.
Massive steam powered locomotives would pull into town via the old rail branch that split from a main line into New Orleans, bringing supplies and news. The route has a deep history rooted in the timber industry and the hard-working men who spurred the growth of the area. Men who’s hunger at the end of a sweltering South Louisiana workday was a thing of legend. These men would gather with the town folk at lodges and hotels along the line for a hot meal, good company and strong drink.
Today, Old Rail Brewing Company honors the deep history of Mandeville and its famous timber trains with a gathering place for friends and neighbors like no other. Located on the Tammany Trace (Louisiana’s only Rails-To-Trails line), Old Rail Brewing was built tall and strong… a place for sharing the topics of the day, getting a great meal, and sipping a pint of house-brewed handcrafted beer of the highest quality.
Belly up to the bar and have a pint: We brew beers that tell a story. Whether it’s in their name or in the ingredients, our beers are flavorful, award-winning and interesting (just ask us). Also, our beers are brewed on site, and is the inspiration for our uniquely crafted southern-style food menu. You’ll find smoked meats, hearty pastas, refreshing salads, and a variety of appetizers that pair perfectly with our craft, regional and seasonal beers. Collaboration between our kitchen and brewery makes Old Rail a “must-visit” for beer lovers and connoisseurs alike.