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Beer buzz: Monroe’s craft brewing scene 

click to enlarge Heath Lord is owner and head brewer of Ouachita Brewing Company.

Photo courtesy Ouachita Brewing Company

Heath Lord is owner and head brewer of Ouachita Brewing Company.

The craft brewing scene is growing in northeast Louisiana. Here are updates on three breweries in the Monroe area.

  CottonPort Brewing opened in Sterlington in April, but owner and brewmaster Troy DuGuay Sr. died on May 20. CottonPort closed, but a representative from the brewery says its managers plan to reopen by September.

  Heath Lord homebrewed beer for many years before opening Ouachita Brewing Company in Monroe on Dec. 23, 2015. Lord uses a two-barrel (bbl) system to brew small batches of Ouachita- down pilsner, 318 IPA, Conflicted coffee porter and Silverwater ESB for local distribution. He recently began contract brewing his flagship beer, LouisiAmber, at Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Mississippi, and Ouachitadown production may follow.

  Ouatchita Brewing was the only brewery in northeast Louisiana until CottonPort opened. Monroe has been slow to embrace the craft beer movement, Lord says, but adds he thinks locals are catching on. To help encourage interest in beer culture, Lord has served on the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council since 2007.

  "We just want to serve our state well and keep that good Southern hospitality going," Lord says.

  Flying Tiger Brewery is on track to open in Monroe in September. Co-founders James Simpson and Robert Brewer began construction earlier this year on the 8,000-square-foot facility, which will house a 15-bbl brewhouse system, 11 fermenters and brite tanks and a 2,000-square-foot taproom.

  Flying Tiger brewmaster is Brooks Hamaker, former head brewer and vice president of Abita Brewing Company and head of operations at Durham, North Carolina's Fullsteam Brewery. Hamaker will brew blonde ale, IPA, amber ale and nitro milk stout as the brewery's four flagship beers.

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