BY LINDSAY NATIONS, Great Raft Brewing
We are excited to formally introduce you to our collaboration series with The John Besh Foundation. Andrew has always been intrigued by the similarities that chefs and brewers possess and had long wanted to brew a chef-driven, collaborative beer.
When we heard about The John Besh Foundation, we knew it was a perfect opportunity to pitch them on the idea of working together. The Foundation works to preserve the rich culinary history of Louisiana by sending aspiring chefs to culinary school, as well as offering interest-free microloans for farmers. Andrew reached out to the Foundation to explore the creative process with some of the state’s best chefs, celebrate Louisiana ingredients, and give back through the Foundation with a charitable beer. We were thrilled that the Foundation was willing to work with us on this project and the brainstorming started right away. In December, Andrew and I put the high level plan together. Then we sat down with Chief Brewer Harvey Kenney and Borgne Head Chef Brian Landry to plan Volume One of the series.
We approached the conversation with no preconceived notions of what this beer would be. It was critical that the creative process and planning be truly organically creative, collaborative and representative of both Harvey and Brian. We started by tasting the Great Raft Brewing flagship beers to give Brian a solid understanding of the type of beers we brew year-around. We also drank a few saisons to start the conversation around different versatile styles of beer. Borgne is located near the French Quarter in the Hyatt Regency hotel and focuses on coastal cuisine. Although this beer will be widely available throughout the state, we wanted to be sure the beer would lend itself especially well to the menu at Borgne and Louisiana seafood.
Harvey introduced the idea of brewing something with Louisiana rice. Rice gets a bad wrap in the brewing game because some of the larger breweries use it to stretch the dollar and serve as a less expensive starch source. In our case, we wanted to explore how the rice would affect the flavor and body of a beer. We went back and forth about if a lager was the way to go. Ultimately, we felt a kolsch would be the best vessel to feature the rice and also still give us great body and drinkability.
Volume One is a kolsch with Louisiana Cajun Country™ rice that we dry-hopped with Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin hops. This duet of hops is super citrusy and loaded with unique aromas, making them some of the most sought after hops in the world. It was important for us to preserve the characteristics of the kolsch and show restrain with dry hopping. The result is beautiful aroma that heightens the beer while showcasing a new look at an old style.
Please enjoy Volume One of Provisions and Traditions. $1 of each bottle sold will go to the John Besh Foundation to help change the life of aspiring chefs and farmers who contribute so much to our rich culinary culture.