Shreveport's Great Raft Brewing (www.greatraftbrewing.com) is showing local diners that craft brewing and cuisine have a lot in common.
"I didn't understand why more breweries and chefs don't work together," says Andrew Nations, co-founder and president of Great Raft.
Andrew, his wife Lindsay and head brewer Harvey Kenney have teamed up with the John Besh Foundation, and the brewing team is working with chefs at Besh Restaurant Group locations to create food-friendly beers that focus on local ingredients and are well-suited for the restaurants' menus.
Borgne chef Brian Landry worked with Great Raft's Provisions and Traditions: Volume One, which is a hoppy Kolsch style with Louisiana rice. The citrus hop aroma and flavor from the Nelson Sauvin and Amarillo hops used for dry-hopping and the light body provided by the rice complement many dishes on the seafood-focused menu at Borgne (601 Loyola Ave., 504-613-3860; www.borgnerestaurant.com).
The beer was released during the foundation's Fetes des Chefs fundraiser in March, and is sold in draft and large bottles at Besh restaurants, local bars and wine shops.
Provisions and Traditions: Volume Two is a German-style gose beer brewed in collaboration with Chef Miles Landrem of Johnny Sanchez (930 Poydras St., 504-304-6615; wwwjohnnysanchezrestaurant.com) and released on Cinco de Mayo. The wheat-based, slightly tart, dry-finishing beer uses salt from Avery Island and coriander to add flavor to the traditional style. It pairs with Landrem's Mexican spices and flavors at the upscale taqueria. At 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, the gose is a good beer style for summer.
The chef collaborations and styles for the next two volumes will be announced in the fall. One dollar from every beer in the Provisions and Traditions series benefits the John Besh Foundation, which provides scholarships, grants and loans to locals pursuing culinary careers.