Imagine yourself sitting back at a barbecue surrounded by the people you love (and maybe a few that get on your last nerve). Imagine yourself out by the pool on a hot Louisiana day. Imagine yourself shooting pool at your favorite local dive. Now, imagine your beverage of choice for all these events. What is it? If it’s not a craft beer from a local brewery, you’re missing out.

May 15-21 is American Craft Beer Week and local breweries in the Shreveport-Bossier City area are ready to celebrate. This is an exciting time for craft brewers to salute their expertise. From beginner craft beer drinkers to lifelong enthusiasts, American Craft Beer Week is the perfect time to take part in local activities centered on the specialty beverages created in our own community.

SB Magazine got to chat with the owners of the three breweries located in the SBC to find out more about their passion: brewing.

Flying Heart Brewing
700 Barksdale Blvd.
Bossier City, LA 71111

Hours: 3:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Owners: Ben Hart and Ben Pattillo

Event: Celebrate Flying Heart’s Second Anniversary Under the Big Top on May 13 with carnival games and six new brews available that day.

Interview with Elizabeth Pattillo

SB: Why start a brewery?

EP: Ben Hart’s wife, Leah, was going to Greenland for a year. She asked Ben Pattillo and me to keep him company while she was away. At the time, we were brewing as a hobby and invited Hart to join in. In August of 2014, the idea of starting a brewery came to them while working on their home brews. By May 2015, the doors to Flying Heart had been opened and they were in business.

SB: How is your beer connected to the local area?

EP: Our connection is with our location. We’re in the oldest standing fire station in Bossier City. So many locals grew up nearby. It’s nice to have a place that they’ve seen all their lives turn into something they love to gather in as adults. Our beer names also connect to the community. Firehouse Blonde is a nod to our location, Barrel 52 is named after Barksdale Air Force Base and Highway 80 is an ode to the prominent travel throughout the oil boom.

SB: What’s unique about your beer?

EP: We create beer that not only we want to drink but also we create things that we feel consumers are going to appreciate. We love that the environment we’ve created here is one of openness and welcoming. We love having new faces come through our doors and enjoy our beer.

SB: Which beer was your first craft beer?

EP: Black Heart was our very first “from-scratch” recipe. It’s one of our staple beers. It’s got a hint of licorice and chocolate covered cherry, and it has 7.3 percent alcohol content.

SB: How is working at a brewery different from how you thought it would be?

EP: Well, we can tell you this: don’t open a brewery if you don’t like to clean. Ninety percent of the job is cleaning and sanitation.

SB: What efforts do you make to be environmentally friendly?

EP: Ben Pattillo is a civil engineer so he’s our water and waste expert. We do our very best to reduce our water usage by using his knowledge in the area. We are always striving to be more environmentally friendly.

SB: Which beer would you suggest to a first time visitor?

EP: For a beginner, I’d say to try Firehouse Blonde. It’s a relatable beer with no weird after taste. It’s a great jumping off point for someone just starting out in craft beer. For a craft beer regular, I’d suggest Barrel 52. It’s a bourbon barrel infused porter with notes of charred oak and vanilla—a well-rounded beer.

SB: How do you decide on new beers to brew?

EP: Lots and lots of taste testing. We think of things we’d like to drink and experiment with them until we find what works. We love putting twists on recipes to make them unique.