Troy DuGuay, co-owner of CottonPort Brewing in rural Ouachita Parish, looks to both the recent and ancient past for the inspiration behind his brews. “Honoring history” might as well be the company’s mantra.
The company’s headquarters in tiny Sterlington (pop. 1,800), near the banks of the Ouachita River, is a throwback to a 1930s-style taproom, complete with a coppertop bar and vintage Edison lights. Says DuGuay, CottonPort’s aesthetic “goes hand-in-hand with the Prohibition Era and the old steamboats here.
“We’re trying to bring back old-style beers, like those in the early days prior to Prohibition when beers weren’t so hop-forward and full of raspberries…. We’re going back to what the experience was like before the latest craft beer renaissance.” CottonPort’s constantly rotating stock of beers include those made from recipes dating back decades or, just as likely, centuries — classics including altbiers, lagers and IPAs are on the menu.
DuGuay has been on the beer scene long before the craft brewery craze of the last decade or so. He began brewing in 1989 in his Pennsylvania home, and like many startup beermakers, got a taste for the business by making ales for friends. Fast forward to early 2016, and DuGuay, along with son Troy and business partner Will Cook, formally began making small batches for the public.
How small are these batches? Very. DuGuay’s double-barrel system is capable of making approximately 500 pints at a time. When asked about opening the brewery for tours, he says that there’s not too much to see — “it’s about the size of a small kitchen!”
That small-batch approach is part of CottonPort’s plan. By making just a couple barrels at a time, DuGuay says, “it allows us to put out a whole variety of recipes, and try to get an idea of what the local market’s preference is. We’re able to tailor our beers without a lot of excess.” CottonPort’s customers will determine which beers will eventually become part of the brewery’s regular lineup.
Visit CottonPort’s tasting room in Sterlington to see what’s brewing today, and to try one of the other dozen or so Louisiana beers on tap. The brewery proudly serves beers from such local breweries as Tin Roof (Baton Rouge) and Chafunkta (Mandeville), plus those from Shreveport breweries and elsewhere. CottonPort Brewing is open on Saturdays from 4:30 to 10 p.m., and regularly hosts food trucks from the Monroe-West Monroe area.