Tin Roof Tropical IPA and Turnrow

21 Aug

It’s been a while since I talked to the guys at Tin Roof Brewing, but I managed to catch up with one of the co-owners, William McGehee, today. They have a few things in the works over the next couple weeks, so here’s an update.

First, they are debuting a Tropical IPA today at The Chimes East. The base beer for this is their Juke Joint IPA, but this one has mango, pineapple, and lychee. The nose is full of pineapple and citrus hops with a nice citrusy, tropical fruity background. It’s got Centennial, Citra, Falconer’s Flight, Cascade, Warrior, and Columbus hops.  This will be tapped at 4:00 at Chimes East, so go by and check it out.

Tin Roof Tropical IPA

Friday, they are kegging their newest early fall seasonal, Turnrow. According to William, Turnrow is “a harvest ale brewed with fresh ground coriander. Its light, straw color and low bitterness make it a perfect complement to the hot days of early fall. The hops are Magnum and Styrian Golding, and the coriander provides just the right amount of the citrus spice to balance this refreshing brew.” Turnrow should be released on draft sometime next week. Stay tuned for information on where to find it on tap.

Tin Roof Turnrow

Rougarou imperial black ale will be brewed very soon, with a late-September or early-October release.

Construction on their tap room is progressing nicely, and they are very close to announcing an opening date. As soon as they do, I’ll let you know. I do know they plan to have 10 taps, with half being their regular lineup, and the other half being one-offs, test batches, or different takes on their flagships. I’m looking forward to seeing this in person, as it should be a really nice space, and I like trying out different beers I haven’t had.


Bourbon County Stout keg goes quickly in Baton Rouge Sunday

18 Aug


Sunday isn’t a typical day to release a single keg of a specialty beer to a market. But then again, Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout isn’t a typical specialty beer. Yesterday, The Chimes East in Baton Rouge put a single keg of it on tap just in time for Sunday brunch. Fortunately, I had a heads up that this was happening, so I got there as the Chimes was opening at 11 AM. They gave you the option of a 13 ounce pour of it, or you could order a flight of Goose Island beers in 4 ounce tasters, such as the 312 Urban Wheat, IPA and Matilda alongside the Bourbon County.

I opted for the 13 ounce snifter pour of it, and it’s a good thing I got there early. We sat at the bar area with a good view of the tap. We were able to see how much of it was being poured, and had a pretty good idea that this keg would not last long. Sure enough, two hours later, the entire sixtel had been floated. The beauty of this was that this was entirely an organic release, with only a Facebook post and word of mouth promotion of it.


I was excited to get a couple pours of this amazing beer. But there’s more to be excited about. What this shows to me is that Louisiana, and Baton Rouge specifically, is far from the craft beer wasteland that it’s been portrayed as in the past. When a keg of this type of beer can sell out in two hours with little to no promotion, it tells me that there are a lot of people who appreciate these kinds of beers in our market. And that’s a good thing to show to other craft brewers who may be weighing whether or not to expand their distribution into Louisiana. For too long, we’ve been known as a state who drinks a lot of beer, albeit bad light lagers. That is changing.  The craft beer market here has really taken off over the last several years, and especially in 2014. Just this year has seen the arrival of big time craft brewers such as Terrapin, Founders, Lagunitas and Santa Fe. 2013 saw New Belgium, SweetWater and The Bruery come into the state. And the emergence of more local breweries such as Gnarly Barley, 40 Arpent, and Great Raft to go along with the established breweries like NOLA, Parish and Tin Roof has been a great thing. More and more people are turning to this artisan brewers for flavorful beers and are shunning the mass produced swill. Sure, there’s still lots of work left to be done, but our state is trending in the right direction.

Great Raft Brewing expanding

7 Aug

Good news from Great Raft Brewing about their south Louisiana expansion.

Great Raft Brewing More Than Doubles Capacity with Two-Phase Expansion Plan
– New fermenters in first phase to add 55 percent more production capacity
– Second phase targets South Louisiana launch in First Quarter 2015

Lindsay Nations, Press Contact
703-606-0518 (mobile)

August 7, 2014, SHREVEPORT, La. – Great Raft Brewing plans to increase production by more than 160 percent with its expansion in 2014. The expansion includes adding fermentation tanks that will increase capacity from 2,500 to 7,000 barrels (bbls) annually.

To better meet market demand and ultimately grow into new markets within the region, Great Raft Brewing will undergo a two-phase expansion over the next six months. The first phase is underway now, as the team is installing two new 60 bbl fermenters that will add 55 percent more production capacity. The additional capacity will help Great Raft Brewing better fulfill distributor orders and maximize its footprint within the North Louisiana markets it currently serves.

“We are excited for the opportunity to serve our existing customer base more consistently, as well as establish Great Raft Brewing within the state. We want to share our beer with as many people in the region as possible, without overextending ourselves or compromising quality,” said co-founder and vice president Lindsay Nations. “Making the jump to New Orleans and surrounding markets is the next logical step for us to be able to meet that goal.”

The second phase of production expansion lays the groundwork for distribution expansion into South Louisiana. Beginning in December and slated for completion in January 2015, four additional 60 bbl fermenters and one 60 bbl brite tank will be added to the cellar. This equipment will increase capacity by an additional 70 percent, leading to a 163 percent increase in total capacity within the brewery’s first year. The additional 240 bbls of fermentation space will be used to brew products that will be shipped to South Louisiana.

Great Raft Brewing will release specifics around its plans to enter South Louisiana later this year. Distributors and timelines have not been announced.

In addition to an upgrade of brewing operations, Great Raft Brewing will also work to launch a barrel aging program, expand in-house lab capabilities, and add a meeting space at its Dalzell facility. The company expects to create five new jobs as a result of the expansion.

Great Raft Brewing brewed its first beer in October 2013, becoming the first Shreveport brewery to operate and sell beer since prohibition. Since then, the brewery has produced beer as fast as possible to keep up with demand for its products. In late March 2014, Great Raft expanded distribution into Monroe and Ruston markets, but hasn’t been able to maximize the full potential of that market due to production limitations.

Great Raft Brewing’s location in Shreveport is on track to produce 2,500 bbls this year. The expansion will give them the ability to produce close to 7,000 bbls in 2015. The current cellar is taking up only a small footprint within the 27,000 square foot warehouse, allowing for plenty of room for growth. “We knew from the very early stages that we wanted to brew more beer than we would initially be able to produce. That’s why we picked a building with growth potential. But we wanted to take it slow, grow organically and be smart about it. Our growth in volume will be met with a continued focused on quality. The equipment upgrades to our lab and canning line give us invaluable insight into our beer. Additional volume is great, but it will always come second to quality,” said co-founder and president Andrew Nations.

More information about Great Raft Brewing can be found at


About Great Raft Brewing: Great Raft Brewing is a Shreveport, Louisiana based craft brewery dedicated to making creative, authentic beer and helping to build a great beer culture within communities it serves. Co-founders Andrew and Lindsay Nations are Shreveport natives with a passion for beer. Born from their desire to bring exciting, flavorful, fresh craft beer to their hometown, Great Raft Brewing is bringing the craft brewing tradition to Northern Louisiana.

Information about Great Raft Brewing can be found at http://www.greatraftbrewing.com. Learn more on Twitter https://twitter.com/GreatRaftBeer and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/greatraftbrewing.

Founders Dissenter Imperial IPL to debut on August 1st

31 Jul

Founders has a new release coming tomorrow (August 1st), and it’s the first lager they’ve brewed in over a dozen years. Dissenter Imperial IPL (India Pale Lager) is the summer release in their Backstage Series.


Founders has this to say about Dissenter:

We plan to introduce Dissenter, an Imperial India Pale Lager (IPL) brewed with a wide variety of tropical, citrus-forward hops, this August to mark the tenth installment in our Backstage Series. Like all of our Backstage Series beers, Dissenter will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $11.99 per bottle.

Dissenter is the first lager we’ve brewed since Noble Lager, a beer that hasn’t been in our production cycle for twelve years. Dissenter is our argument in favor of the potential for complex lagers, clocking in at 8.7% ABV and 70 IBUs.

This beer is a departure from our other releases for a couple of reasons: All of the beers in our standard lineup are ales, which are fermented at warm temperatures, whereas lagers are fermented cold. Plus, Dissenter uses a different kind of yeast from other Founders beers. Test batches of the Imperial IPL were brewed using our pilot system and have been on tap in our taproom off and on throughout the past few months. The longer brewing process used for lagers gives this beer an exceptionally clean finish, allowing the clear beauty of the hops to shine.

“With Dissenter, we’re releasing yet another Backstage Series beer that doesn’t fit within standard beer style guidelines,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “And that’s the point. It’s a celebration of the creativity of our brewing team, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the growing circle of beer enthusiasts.

Dissenter will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Friday, August 1, and will be available at our taproom that same week. Look for one more Backstage Series releases from us in 2014.

Dissenter is really an excellent beer, and I don’t even need to qualify that with “for a lager.” It should satisfy the cravings of hopheads, yet it’s clean finish makes it remarkably easy drinking for a beer that weighs in at 8.7% ABV. Look for it starting August 1st in both draft and bottles. But since it’s limited, don’t delay, because it won’t be around very long.


The Chimes Beer University

28 Jul Chimes Beer U

For those of us that spent our formative beer drinking years at The Chimes Restaurant and Taproom in Baton Rouge, Around the World was a rite of passage. The whole concept was for you to drink 60 different beers from 20 different countries in 6 months. Once completed, you’d get your name on the wall (I can show you mine) to go with a t-shirt proclaiming your accomplishment.

Fast forward to 2014, and Around the World has gone the way of VHS tapes at The Chimes. Forget life support, it’s dead and gone, much to the chagrin of my generation.

But never fear, starting on Monday, August 4th, a new program debuts that encompasses each of The Chimes locations without need for the antiquated card system. Chimes Beer University makes its debut just in time for the return of the fall semester at LSU, with its goal to educate the pleebs in this, the craft beer era. Chimes Beer University is a mobile website, designed for use at any one of their locations (Chimes LSU, Chimes East or Chimes Covington) that’s easy to access via smartphone. The premise is that you have to complete 15 different courses and drink 50 different beers in order to graduate. There are 3 different levels, Undergraduate, Graduate and PhD. Drinking a beer from one of the courses completes that course. Some of the courses available are Abita Orientation, Beginner’s Brown Ale, Intro to Imperial Stouts, IPAs 101, and Study Abroad Germany. The catch is that you can only check into 5 classes per visit, and you will only be able to check in while physically at one of the locations, thanks to geotagging. So, no cheating on this test!

This is a great interactive way to really involve yourself in the beers you drink at The Chimes. I think it’s a great update to the Around the World program and I’m excited to get my studies started.

Check out Chimes Beer University today, and start classes on Monday, August 4th!

Chimes Beer U


Lagunitas coming to Louisiana in October

18 Jul

Breaking: Lagunitas is coming to Louisiana in October. They have signed their distributor contract, and will be here soon. Hallelujah!


Best craft beer restaurants & bars in Baton Rouge

27 Jun

With 225 Magazine releasing their Best of Food and Drink winners today, I feel it’s appropriate for me to sum up my thoughts on the best restaurants or bars for craft beer here in the Baton Rouge area. This is strictly my opinion and nobody else’s. So there.

The Top 5

1. The Chimes Highland – The Chimes was the original craft beer bar in Baton Rouge, and after a period of time when they fell off for a bit, they’ve roared back with their draft expansion in late 2013. Now featuring 80 taps to go along with their extensive food menu, The Chimes is just comfortable. Granted, nostalgia may play a role, but nowhere else in town can you take the entire family out for a meal with such an extensive craft beer selection. Whether you want to relax at the bar, hang out and watch the game, drop in for a quick bite, or bring the kids to brunch, The Chimes has you covered. It’s first and foremost a restaurant, so that means there’s no smoking allowed. This is rule #1 in my book for a craft beer establishment. They also serve all of their beer in room temperature glasses, either 20oz imperial pints or 13oz snifters. Never do you have to worry about getting that imperial Russian stout in a frosted shaker pint glass. The selection is a great mix and constantly changing. It’s a place you can go for lunch, dinner, or late-night food, as well as weekend brunch and always get a craft beer, and it’s by far my favorite place to go in Baton Rouge.


2. The Cove – The battle for 2nd place was tight among a pair of contenders, but The Cove edged out the Pelican House by a nose. Why? Because The Cove gets the most coveted beers in town. If Baton Rouge only gets one keg of a rare beer, more often than not, it’s going to The Cove. One look at their beer list tells you that they take their beer seriously. While the main bar allows smoking, the draft room does not, so that’s a plus for me. And most of my visits there, I don’t venture out of the draft room. The downside is that they don’t open until 5:00, and they don’t serve food. So it’s strictly a bar, and definitely not family friendly. But the selection helps make up for that. They also serve most of their draft beers in room temperature 10oz pours. The bottle selection is unmatched in the city. It truly has to be seen to be believed.

3. The Pelican House – As I mentioned, there was a tight battle for #2, and despite The Cove taking that spot, The Pelican House has a lot going for it. It is completely non-smoking, which is great. They feature 136 taps, so you can always find something good to drink, no matter your favorite style. They do a good job with their food as well, but it’s still a bar, which is kind of a bummer for me because the space lends itself to being a place you could have nice lunch or early dinner with the family. It also can get rather loud and boisterous, especially when they feature live music. It’s kind of a turnoff to have to yell at the person next to you just to hold a conversation. But the courtyard patio area is a really nice place to sit when the weather is good. The beer list is good, but I’d like to see them update their Beer Menus site a bit more often. Sometimes it can be weeks between updates, and with 136 taps, staying up to date is important. The standard pour is in a frosted shaker pint glass, but you can ask for a room temperature one or a snifter, which I suggest doing. I wish that none of them were served in a frozen glass, but I digress. A plus is that there are no Bud, Miller or Coors beers on tap. If you want that, you have to get it in a bottle and show everybody else what a sheep you are.

4. The Chimes East – OK, maybe it’s not fair to have a second location of one of the establishments on this list. But it’s my damn list, and I made the rules. The Chimes East is very similar to their big brother with many of the same qualities. The draft list is not quite as extensive with around 50 taps, but the quality of those taps is really solid. The horseshoe shaped bar is great and the bartenders friendly. Again, this is a restaurant first, but one with a great craft beer list. That means it’s family friendly and generally just a great place to chill and hang out.

5. The Bulldog – It’s hard to believe that The Bulldog is #5 on this list. But there’s one reason for that: smoke. Don’t go here expecting to enjoy the aroma of your freshly poured double IPA. Just walking in, the smokey barroom smell hits you. And if you think you can escape it by heading to the patio with the great fountain, well, good luck. Every now and then you can get away from it, but more often than not, the table next to you will be full of people puffing on their cancer sticks. The beer selection varies from good to great depending on the week. There are times when I’ve had trouble picking out a beer to drink from their 80+ taps. Sometimes it’s because there are so many great things to try, yet other times it’s full of meh. I’ve been there when there has been only one IPA on tap. And it baffles me why they don’t use BeerMenus.com as a way to track their selection. Instead, their website shows just an alphabetical list of beers they have, with no mention of which are draft vs. bottle nor a date it was last updated. Still, if you go at a non-peak time, you can get a good beer to drink as well as some pretty tasty bar food. Just plan on taking a shower as soon as you get home.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

The Londoner – The selection can be hit or miss, but sometimes the end up with a few gems (they currently have Stone Enjoy By IPA on tap). If soccer is your thing, this is a great place to watch games with fellow American Outlaws. It’s also family friendly.

Leroy’s Kitchen – Though not a craft beer hot spot, Leroy’s is another family friendly place with some good beer on tap. They hosted a beer fest in the spring, and have done a good job getting some craft beers that few other places in town have been able to secure.

Olive or Twist – While known more for their cocktails, Olive or Twist has long had a really nice bottle selection. With the recent addition of 8 taps of craft beer, they are upping their game.

Red Zeppelin – Pizza and beer go together well, and no other pizza joint in town features the selection that Red Zeppelin does. Another family friendly place, you’ll satisfy your craving for a pie and a pint here.

Burgersmith – We just covered pizza and beer, now for burgers and beer. The big draw is that all of their taps and bottles are Louisiana beers. I can respect that. Good on them for truly being local.

Places that need to step up their game:

Walk-Ons – Seriously guys. How can you have 50 taps full of meh? Come on. Bring in some IPAs, stouts and porters.

Happy’s Irish Pub – For a place that features no Bud, Miller or Coors beers, the selection will leave you scratching your head. Not a single IPA is on tap at either location, despite 22 and 26 drafts respectively. Shame on you.

Ivar’s Sports Bar – This place has a great location in the Perkins overpass area, but is overpriced with a bad selection. And when was the last time they cleaned their beer lines?

Downtown Baton Rouge – how the hell is there not a decent place in downtown Baton Rouge to get craft beer on tap? Not a one. Stroube’s has a decent bottle selection. Third Street Pub and Red Star Bar have a few craft beers on tap, but there’s not one craft-centric restaurant or bar downtown. There was talk of the The Draft House opening in late 2013, but all has been quiet on that front, so I’m wondering if that fell through. But downtown is sorely lacking in craft beer.


So that’s my opinion. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments below.




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