Flying Tiger Brewery
Monroe’s Flying Tiger Brewery serves up beer with a history lesson. Just take a look at its taproom: The nose of a World War II-era Curtis P-40 Warhawk fighter plane, honoring hometown hero Gen. Claire Chennault, peers out over the pecan wood tables where visitors enjoy Flying Tiger’s handcrafted brews.
The brewery began, as does many small-scale operations of its kind, with a couple guys home brewing in a garage. In this case, it was company co-founders James Earl Simpson and Robert Brewer. They tinkered and tweaked their first batches a few years ago and, in 2014, began planning to open the microbrewery.
Fast forward to late 2016. At this point, Brewer and Simpson had brought former Abita Brewing Company head brewer Brooks Hamaker on board and had built a state-of-the-art brewing facility and luxurious tasting room. They opened late that year and have been watching both their reputation and bottom line grow ever since.
“We just expanded to Alexandria and Ft. Polk, and are launching in Shreveport as well,” says Brewer. Flying Tiger will eventually expand to restaurants, bars and stores across the state. The brewery is currently canning three flagship beers: Man at Arms amber ale, Burma Blonde golden lager and Heroic Hops IPA.
World domination, however, is not in the cards just yet. Says Brewer, “We’re proud of our connection to Louisiana, and want to focus on building our brand in the state.” That focus on all things local is most evident at Flying Tiger Brewery’s taproom itself. It’s become a destination for hardcore beer aficionados and casual visitors alike, with ample space to unwind.
“We have a huge covered patio space, over 5,000 square feet. Some sitting nooks, the bar…. I’ve been to a number of breweries and none of them have been as comfortable as this,” Brewer says. Flying Tiger hosts weekly events such as One-off Wednesdays, where Brewer’s team concocts just 10 gallons of specialty beers. Past One-off Wednesdays have included Russian imperial stouts and Belgian-style witbiers. “It gives our guys a chance to be creative, while educating the market on craft beer.”
Visit the taproom today and you'll find the flagship beers alongside some more adventurous varieties. Try the Belgian Strong, an ale that stands up to its name with a whopping 8% ABV. The Bockus Classic German Bock is an Old-World beer containing hints of caramel flavor; Final Resting Place is a double IPA; Nitro Milk Stout is a creamy combination of caramel and chocolate flavors with a hint of bitterness; and Plum Smuggler Amber Lager, a lighter flavored ambor that's great for sipping on a hot afternoon.