Great Raft Brewing
The Great Raft Brewing Company is named after the historic Great Raft of the Red River. The logjam made the river impossible to navigate until Captain Henry Shreve and the US Army Corps of Engineers removed tens of millions of cubic feet of cypress, cedar, and petrified logs from the river channel in the 1830s. The clearing of the Great Raft opened the Red River back up to ships, industry, and agriculture. Just as Shreveport enjoyed a commerce boom due to the work of Captain Shreve, Andrew and Lindsay Nations claim (rightfully so) that the birth of their north Louisiana brewery is a launching pad to brew a new breed of business.
Andrew, who has a background in project management, developed a love for craft beer in Washington DC. After contributing to DCBeer.com for a while, he eventually purchased the website and ran it himself. With more knowledge about beer and five years of home brewing experience, he made the decision with his wife, Lindsay, to return home to Shreveport and start a brewery. Both Andrew and Lindsay have a deep passion for the art of beer. Their level of beer enthusiasm runs deep, and it translates into the lagers and ales that they brew.
Joined by Chief Brewer Harvey Kenney, Andrew and Lindsay opened Great Raft to great fanfare in 2013. Kenney has brewing experience in California, Turkey, Mexico, and most recently at the Thunder Road Brewing Company outside Melbourne, Australia.
Flagship beers include Southern Drawl Dry-Dry Hopped Pilsner, a traditional brew that Great Raft describes as "wildly drinkable," made with Louisiana rice from the Cajun Country town of Crowley. Reasonably Corrupt, a Schwarzbier, is a dark and toasty black lager with an edge of sweetness that adds great depth. Finally, the Commotion Pale Ale boasts a nice citrus aroma and flavor profile with grapefruit-like hop bitterness. Great Raft has several other beers that they've be toying with as well from a Coffee Brown to the Grace & Grit Hops Double IPA.
The Great Raft tasting room is typically open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday. Stopping in is definitely recommended as the tasting room provides an excellent space to share a few pints as well as get a view of the brewery itself. Tours are offered at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and admission is free.
Great Raft's renovated warehouse captures a feeling of modern urban revival with plenty of charm that will make you want to stay and enjoy. Sometimes you’ll even find food trucks in the parking lot ready to feel hungry beer connoisseurs.