Trying to fix a recipe can force a brewer back to the drawing board.
Great Raft Brewing (www.great- raftbrewing.com) in Shreveport had to reconsider the recipe of its flagship beer, Southern Drawl, after last year's harvest yielded hops that contained half the alpha acid bittering agents the beer needed. Small tweaks to the recipe didn't restore the flavor the team wanted, so co-founder Andrew Nations decided to start from scratch, re- creating a beer that accounts for 30 percent of the brewery's sales.
Great Raft rolls out its new Southern Drawl this month. No longer a "pale lager," it's brewed in the pilsner style with Southern ingredients. For a traditional pilsner, the majority of the malts and hops come from Germany, where the style was invented.
"If we redo it, let's make it Southern," Nations says.
The new recipe is brewed with Cajun Country Rice from Crowley and dry hopped with the German noble hop Tettnang, the newer German hop, Hallertau Blanc, and Mosaic and Cascade hops. Rice is not a traditional pilsner ingredient.
"We were more concerned with celebrating a Louisiana-sourced product and making a delicious beer than fitting into a stylistically perfect box," says Great Raft co-founder Lindsay Nations.
Tin Roof Brewing Company of Baton Rouge also has changed recipes recently.
Tin Roof hired Michael Till of Rogue in Oregon as head brewer and Robbie Welborn of Ska Brewing Company in Colorado as head cellarman, and they led a reinvention of its flagship pale ale.
Voodoo Bengal was a traditional pale ale that used classic hops and a deeper malt flavor and color. The new Voodoo Pale Ale is more in line with the popular Northeast-style pale ales and IPAs. It is a hazy, heavily dry-hopped beer using Citra, Simcoe, and Waimea hops for tropical and citrus fruit aroma and flavor. The body is lightened by the use of malted and flaked oaks in the grain bill, which also creates a haziness that's popular with many beer drinkers.