Crying Eagle Brewing Company
“We went big, is the moral of the story,” says Stephen Tyson, general manager of Crying Eagle Brewing Company in Lake Charles. How big, exactly? In an industry where so many companies start out in homebrewers’ garages and gradually scale up, Crying Eagle opened with a 10,000-square-foot brewing facility, plus a spacious taproom capable of hosting private events and an outdoor beer garden fit for concerts. Its on-site restaurant offers even more reasons to hang out with friends and family.
It’s been a long time coming. Tyson, along with company president Eric Avery and brew master Bill Mungai spent years developing southwest Louisiana’s sole microbrewery. It was worth the wait, however; in July 2016, Crying Eagle held a series of soft openings in Lake Charles that saw long lines customers waiting for a taste of one of its new signature brews. Those include a golden ale called The Chuck, described on Crying Eagle’s website as “a thirst-quenching juggernaut of a session ale that has its bags packed for the beach, the duck blind, Grandma’s house, or anywhere else Chuck may want to roam.”
“I anticipate that being the hammer that drives its way into every bar in the tri-parish area,” says Tyson.
The other two beers currently in production include a Belgian-style single beer called Ready to Mingle, “which the Trappist monks themselves would drink while making beers for others,” according to Tyson. Finally, there’s the Calcasieu Common, an amber lager made with the same hybrid brewing process used to make California common (aka steam beer) style brew.
The common theme of these beers, aside from their impeccably high quality, is their low alcohol content; all weigh in at less than six percent ABV. “These beers are very approachable,” says Tyson.
The approachability of Crying Eagle’s beers is in line with the company’s mission of being a destination for both beer aficionados and those just looking to kick back after work. Stop by Crying Eagle’s tasting room and you’ll find long tables that all but invite friends and strangers to rub elbows over a cold one. Outside you’ll find a courtyard with cornhole and washers, games perfectly suited for playing while holding a pint in one hand. For Avery, Mungai and Tyson, the brewery is not just about beer, but bringing the community together.
In Tyson’s words, “we want this to feel like the neighborhood’s living room. We want this to be the brewery of the people.”
Photo credit: Daniel Castro Photography