Innovation and Creativity – Two Critical Ingredients for Beer in Today’s Craft Beer Industry

November 3, 2020

The world of craft beer has evolved drastically since we opened Great Raft Brewing in 2013 — especially over the last few years. We’ve always prided ourselves on making a wide variety of beer – we never 

wanted to back ourselves into a corner with one particular style of brewing. Besides, there is way too much to appreciate and explore in the world of craft beer today! Regardless of a brewery’s stance on how the industry has evolved in recent years, it’s simply not enough to only make clean, true-to-style beers anymore. While the technical aspects are still fundamental the modern brewery has to be adaptable and open to new trends, techniques and styles.

We launched our Side Lot Series four years ago in November of 2016 as a creative arm in our brewing program, while simultaneously helping to educate our staff with opportunities to bring their ideas to life. The series got its name because the  team would often roll the pilot system out to the Side Lot behind the building, and brew recipes that they created. We wanted to create a more structured program through the Side Lot Series to give everyone in the brewery an opportunity to create a recipe and brew their very own beer. Sometimes we use the pilot system to trial recipes before moving them into full production on our 20 bbl brewhouse. Other times we encourage the team to experiment with a new ingredient or technique. Sometimes, the team just wants to see how crazy they can get and really push the boundaries. 

When the tasting room was open, we aimed for monthly Side Lot Series releases. Bob Thames created the very first Side Lot beer, a SMASH IPA tribute to one of his favorite Texas beers at the time – Yellow Rose by Lone Pint Brewing. At the time, SMaSH IPAs weren’t widely available in the region, so Bob’s creation was a fun opportunity to introduce something fresh and new to our customers.

Since then, we have released dozens of beers under this program. Garrett created our first beer made with Kveik yeast. Our SMASH IPA releases were so popular that we’ve started regularly brewing Hobbies Include – our SMASH IPA series.

While the brewery has been closed to the public, our staff is still here bringing new ideas to life. While we can’t invite you on-site to enjoy a pint together, we will be selling these Side Lot Series releases periodically for curbside pickup thorough Our pilot system only yields about a single keg of beer, so these releases will be extremely limited. If one of our upcoming Side Lot beers sounds interesting – act fast because we will only have 30-50 crowlers of each beer available for sale.

Be sure you’re following the Tasting Room Facebook page,, to be the first to learn about future releases. 

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1251 Dalzell Street, Shreveport, LA, 71103

Tasting Room Hours: Wednesday–Thursday: 4-8PM | Friday: 4-9PM | Saturdays: 12-9PM | Phone: 318-734-9881

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