10 Years of Beers: Staff Favorites – Zak Strezo

October 9, 2023

As we race towards our 10 Year Anniversary, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite beers over the years and hear directly from the Great Raft Team.

Take a look at what our Head Brewery has to say about his favorite Great Raft beers of the past decade.

Southern Drawl Pale Lager – The beer that started it all for me, this delicious full bodied lager with subtle hints of white grape and perfect bitterness of noble hops.  When I first had this beer and noticed the simple complexities I was hooked.

Kanpai Style– Just as much fun to make as it is to drink.  Shirakiku sushi rice is the showman of this delicate beer, and you can taste it, clean and refreshing! The hints of lemongrass from the light sirachi ace dry hop is a added bonus, this beer was a dream of Matt and I’s for years before it became  reality.

Company I Keep- What can I say about this absolute power house of a unapologetic Pilsner that isn’t already known at the first sip?  Crazy drinkable and floral as hell with the dry hop that is worthy of any IPA.  Perfect festival beer and not only one of my favorites but also one of the staffs.

Twilight Of My Youth– This was an incredibly fun beer to create with our good friend, Eric, from Parleaux down in New Orleans.  Both lager lovers we knew we had to pull out all the tricks of our trades for this one.  Super soft and inviting with hints of white cake on the nose being thrown by the Cypress we let this lager age on to pay homage to the wonderful state we call home.

Oktoberfest– What a Marzen.  Love the amount of passion every single one of us in this company put into making sure this beer is perfect and consistent every single time.  Lagered to perfection and just so enjoyable.

Southern Drawl Dry Hopped Pilsner– This beer made up for the fact that the original recipe was leaving our flagship line up.  The Louisiana Cajun Rice really dries this thing out making it so smooth and crushable and allows the Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic dry hop to shine.  My favorite things about this beer; its my everyday, all day, drinker, AND I love watching my friends heads spin when I try to explain this beer to them……. It’s a ahhh American style German Italian pilsner……..kinda?  We just made it how we like it, and I love it!

Show Pony– This little sweet thang was a fun idea from all of us here to showcase some great little boutique maltsters. No crazy tricks pulled out from our sleeves or anything, just a sweet little Kellerbier, and I am a huge fan of simple complexities as you can tell.

Make Believer– Now this one right here, I pulled ALMOST every trick of the trade I have learned over the years to pull this one off.  Still love seeing someone drink this and be mind blown when I tell them it a 4.5% Session beers that has body and aroma almost equivalent to a DIPA.  Two of my favorite hops mix and mingle very well in this beer as well.  Tropical AS HELL and you can crush em all day with out getting to….well ya know.

Old Mad Joy– Barrel Aged or not this beer is just drop dead gorgeous.  What it takes from hot side to cold side to make this beer makes me super proud of it, and it has brought home some hardware as well!  As soon as it gets below 70, or hell if the AC is set below 70 I crave this Baltic Porter.

Come What Mayhaw– What a beer, a huge learning experience for me on so many different levels.  This beer started off as our base golden sour that we brewed with Caleb from Upland Brewing and was knocked out into our Oak Foeder.  He brought some “bugs” from their brewer and inoculated our foeder starting and teaching us about the solera method.  This beer alone and getting to sit down for a few beers with Caleb and Harvey really shifted gears for me making me into who I am now as far as my passion for beer and wanting to gain the knowledge.



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