SHOWCASING LOUISIANA: Tin Roof Brewing Co. thriving in Baton Rouge


BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For craft beer fans in the Capital City, there’s a brewery between downtown and LSU that has been getting a ton of buzz locally and nationally.

Tin Roof Brewing Co. boasts its four core brands, and its most popular is the Voodoo Pale Ale.

“Blonde, Voodoo, Uber Fruit, and Juke Joint,” said William McGehee, co-founder of Tin Roof Brewing Company.

The Voodoo is a heavily dry hopped ale with flaked wheat and oats to enhance tropical and fruit flavors.

“Everybody’s had a beer under a tin roof, out of a camp or whatever, and just kind of that feeling of nostalgia, and that’s what I think of when I want people to drink our beer. I want them to think of relaxed and good quality southern feel,” said McGehee.

McGehee and his buddy realized Baton Rouge was lagging behind in the craft beer world, and they wanted to change that.

“You know, why is no one else doing this? And we both loved beer and he’d actually started to learn how to make it, so we said a city like Baton Rouge with a school like LSU, there’s got to be a brewery here, so we set out to do it,” said McGehee.

The brewery, which is located right off Nicholson Drive, opened in 2010; it has a taproom where folks can go to try the brewery’s unique flavors..

The beer starts with water and grain in the first two tanks.

“This is our mash turn right here. This is where the grain comes through, up top there, and we hydrate it,” said Katie Lowe, a brewer at Tin Roof.

They rotate it around with hot water, steeping those crushed grains to get the sugar out. It goes through the pipes and it brings that sugar water through a kettle that holds about 40 barrels.

The tanks in the brewery are named after bodies of water in Louisiana.
The tanks in the brewery are named after bodies of water in Louisiana. (Source: WAFB)

“Sterilizing that sugar water that’s going to be fermented, you’re going to add in your hops, and then sometimes, if you want to do any crazy flavors, they’ll add them to the boil as well,” said Lowe.

Once that’s done, the beer goes through to the fermenters, which can hold 60 barrels. Then, the yeast is added, which turns it into alcohol.

“This is actually active fermentation going on right now. You see these bubbles? As the yeast is eating the sugars, just like we do, we put off CO2, the yeast are doing the same thing too. They’re eating the sugars and creating the alcohol,” said Lowe.

Tin Roof typically lets ales ferment for two weeks. The brewery also makes seasonal brews.

The tanks are named after bodies of water across Louisiana. The beer then moves to the packaging tanks.

“This is where we’re going to let it sit, and we’re going to carbonate it before they’re either going to keg it or can it,” said Lowe.

Now, the beers head to packaging, where a machine can put beer in 60 to 70 cans per minute. That’s 100 to 120 cases per hour.

“Sends them into this little shoot, makes a little rotation, gets a little sanitizer rinse, continues to go down. We have a little date thing here, tells you the date it was packaged, might have something silly on the bottom, something irrelevant. It will jump on the conveyor finally,” said Josh Bowe, who’s the packaging lead at Tin Roof.

Now, the cans are ready to be filled. Into a row of ten, the cans will be pushed forward with a lid on top and sealed.

“It will either go into one of these two seamers here and it will catch the first part of the seam here. The second one will hit here, and at that point you have a totally seamed can,” said Bowe.

The beers head to a huge fridge where they await shipping. Tin Roof beers are mostly sold in Louisiana, but the beers are also available in five other states.

“I think the next move would be another location, possibly multiple locations. I think people like going to the breweries and getting that experience, so we’re going to focus on home and on Louisiana, but we have some other things that we’re working on as well, and we’re very excited about,” said McGehee.

In 2018, Tin Roof Brewing Co. won a gold medal for the Voodoo Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival.

The brewery’s taproom is open every day of the week except Monday.

To learn more about Tin Roof, visit the website here.

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