Great Raft Brewing
Great Raft Brewing 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, and was the beginning of a prosperous time for Shreveport. Founders Andrew and Lindsay Nations opened their north Louisiana brewery to launch a new breed of business in northwest Louisiana and mark the beginning of craft beer growth in the region.
Andrew, who has a background in IT 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.
Andrew and Lindsay opened Great Raft to great fanfare in 2013. Flagship beers include Southern Drawl 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, Commotion Pale Ale boasts a nice citrus aroma and flavor profile with grapefruit-like hop bitterness. Great Raft has an expansive line of seasonal and experimental beers that keep beer drinkers coming back for more. From their rotating line of fruited goses, to bourbon barrel aged treats and their sought after Grace and Grit Double IPA, Great Raft Brewing makes something for everyone.
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. Food trucks are regularly in the parking lot ready to feel hungry beer connoisseurs.