Brew Trail of Louisiana
Craft brews are all the rage these days, and Louisiana holds its own with more than two dozen breweries throughout the state. Visitors may tour many of the breweries, taste their beers in taprooms, purchase merchandise and fill up their growlers.
In South Louisiana, there are plenty of craft breweries to choose from. Tin Roof Brewing in Baton Rouge, for instance, began in 2010 at 1624 Wyoming Street, not far from downtown Baton Rouge and the LSU campus, naturally both top markets for beer. Banker Charles Caldwell of Natchez and William McGehee, who was finishing his law degree at LSU, decided a brewery was in their future instead of banks and law firms, and gifted the Capitol City with their talents.
Tin Roof produces several beers, plus a variety of seasonal and single batch brews, and on many nights you’ll find food trucks visiting and live entertainment. We recommend the Tin Roof Blonde Ale, Voodoo Pale Ale and the Parade Ground Coffee Porter if you’re looking for some java flavors.
Like most of the craft breweries in Louisiana, Gnarly Barley Brewing in Hammond began with an idea and home brewing; Zac and Cari Caramonta started their beer business in their garage! Pretty soon thereafter, the couple was introducing their beer at festivals and receiving positive feedback, so opening a microbrewery was the natural next step.
In 2014, Gnarly Barley opened in a 10,500-square-foot facility at 1709 Corbin Road in Hammond, producing beers with Louisiana names such as the Catahoula Common and fun ones such as The Exchange Student Belgian Ale, the Radical Rye India Pale Ale and Korova Milk Porter, a Baltic oatmeal milk porter.
Two new breweries to the Acadiana region are Cajun Brewery in Lafayette and Crying Eagle in Lake Charles.
Cajun Brewery joins a vibrant beer scene around Lafayette, joining Parish Brewing Company in Broussard and Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville. Cajun Brewery, however, is the first microbrewery to be located within the Lafayette city limits.
Founder Zeke Bossley fell in love with craft beers and was determined to make his own in Cajun Country. He opened Cajun Brewery in October 2015 at 206 Rayburn Street near Lafayette’s Cajundome and Cajun Field, close to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette sports action. They currently produce small batches of craft beers that are available in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.
Cajun Brewery currently offers two beers to sample, the Cajun Whit wheat-based ale and Bayou Brunette, an American brown ale.
Crying Eagle Brewery in Lake Charles is a microbrewery, a beer tour, garden party, and occasional dining option. The multi-use facility occupies an enormous space on the outskirts of Lake Charles, which means there’s plenty of room to socialize, relax on the outdoor patios and decks, and enjoy lawn games or listen to live music — even yoga and beer on Saturdays! Once a month, Crying Eagle sponsors food trucks for a roundup, so there’s plenty of good food to complement their craft beers.
The name relates to Calcasieu (the parish name), once an Attakapas Chief who reportedly yelled a unique battle cry, and their beers have equally interesting names, such as the Calcasieu Common Lager, The Chuck Golden Ale (in reference to how locals call their city Lake Chuck) and Ready to Mingle Belgian Single.
Heading north is another brewery recently breaking ground. Flying Hearts of Bossier City began when two couples who shared a love for craft beer teamed up and started creating. Ben and Elizabeth Pattillo and Ben and Leah Hart formed the Flying Heart Brew Club after their first batch turned out well and immediately started on larger batches and experimentation. The next step, naturally, was to open a brewery.
Flying Heart Brewing opened in 2015 in the historic Fire Station Number 6 on Barksdale Boulevard and now serves up several different beer styles and seasonal brews donned with colorful labels. Be sure to sample the Flagship Firehouse Blond named for the brewery’s location and Barrel 52, a porter infused with bourbon.
For more information on Louisiana’s breweries, visit the Libations section of Louisiana Travel’s website at libations. louisianatravel.com/breweries.
Cheré Dastugue Coen is a food and travel writer and author living in Lafayette, LA.