What’s new from breweries around the south and available at fine craft beer stores around Atlanta this week? Some great new brews!
American Craft Beer Week has finally arrived. Prepare yourself for some epic events going on in the Atlanta area all week! Some highlights with a focus on local offerings are below
Midway Pub – Huge list of rare beers pouring starting at 5 pm. Local rarities include: Red Hare Tequila IPA, Three Taverns Departed Spirit, Orpheus Minotaur, Red Brick Nitro 20th Anniversaryy, Red Brick Unholy Beast (one of their rarest and best beers ever!), Monday Night Bourbon Drafty Kilt, and Terrapin Bourbon Wake N Bake
Ale Yeah Decatur – Blue Tarp’s Hopster The Grouch release party. Hang with the guys from Blue Tarp and buy this limited release, an 11.6% Oak Aged Brettanomyces Double IPA. Only around 100 bottles will be released.
Brick Store Pub – Three Taverns will release their much anticipated new barrel aged beer, Departed Spirit. Also will have several rare Three Taverns releases as well.
Sweetwater Brewing – Several limited release beers will be on tap: Project Hash: Brown Ale, Orange Hash IPA, Halliwell:Tart Ginger Wheat, Keg Hoppped IPA
The Porter – Creature Comforts Athena tap takeover. Come try 10 different versions of this tart berliner weisse including ranberry, black currant, and blueberry!
SweetWater Brewing – Several limited release beers will be on tap: Whiskey Barrel Aged Hop Hash, IPA with Sorachi Ace Hops, Keg Hopped IPA, Happy Ending, and a Fan-choice infused beer – show up at 5 and decide what we put in the Hee-Haw!
Ale Yeah (all three locations) – Try Creature Comforts award winning DaySpring is a Grisette, or a light bodied, low alcohol farmhouse ale featuring locally grown wheat with Saccharomyces & Brettanomyces and Cosmik Debris, an 8.3% Double IPA. We’ll be celebrating the release of these beers at all 3 shops and in Decatur we’ll be pairing these beers plus one other with cheeses from Many Fold Farm, a dairy right here in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. From 5-8pm and for the low, low price of $10 all of these delicious pairings can be yours.
Wild Heaven – First Anniversary party from 8-11 pm. Featuring new sours and barrel aged beers
SweetWater Brewing – Special limited release beers will be on tap: Happy Ending aged in George Dickel Whiskey Barrel & 2012 Festive Ale
Southern Beer Tours – Join us as we visit the 3 largest breweries in Atlanta. We visit SweetWater, Red Brick, and Red Hare. Transportation, beer, brewery tours, and a gift bag included for $65.
With big plans to further expand Creature Comforts Brewery, located in Downtown Athens, Georgia, has brought its big, bright beautiful cans to the largest craft beer market in Georgia. Adam Beauchamp says the team at Creature Comforts is excited about the move. “It’s great to be able to begin getting some cans into the Atlanta market. I’m from metro Atlanta originally, along with the rest of our leadership team. We’re very lucky to have such a large and vibrant beer drinking community nearby.”
I can attest, as a friend of a lot of people in the Atlanta craft beer community that I had lots of requests for these two beers on my trips to Athens. Of course, people love draught at a bar or when they can get a favorite at a local growler store, but these beautiful cans just cry out to go on a hike or other outdoor adventure in our beautiful state.
Athena (pictured above) is a great citrusy, tart berliner weisse style that is easy to drink at 4.5% abv. The tartness continues to come through even as it warms a little and stays refreshing. I can almost see myself with this in my hand on a boat on Lake Lanier or tying a cooler full on my tube shootin’ the Hooch. Don’t pigeonhole this beauty, though. It would be just as at home poured in a weisse glass and enjoyed with a strong blue or sharp cheddar cheese before dining with friends.
The name kind of says it all with 6.5% Tropicalia American IPA. Even a malt head like myself can absolutely enjoy this AIPA. The hops used give the beer a wonderful ripe tropical fruit taste and the bitterness that is there helps balance the beer and doesn’t wear down ones palate like some AIPAs that use a lot of bittering hops. The can itself seems ask, “Why are we not at the beach?” In the hot days to come, have a Tropicalia and you can take a beach vacation with your mind’s eye. A good goat or sheep cheese from Georgia’s Sweetgrass Dairy or Decimal Place Farm would be nice, but you better start planning a trip to Jekyll or St Simon’s soon to get the real “beach feel”.
There are a lot of cans coming on the scene lately to the market as Eddie Holley, owner of 3 Ale Yeah! locations can attest, “Creature Comforts Tropicalia and Athena cans exploded on the scene last week. Second Self cans are in this week. Transmigration of Souls came back in last week. Southbound and Service Brewing cans have recently landed.”
There was other news from CEO Chris Herron, as well.
-After doubling it’s fermenting capacity once this year, the brewery hopes to double it again by the end of the year. That’s what we call “exponential growth”, folks.
-After the success of the bomber/keg release of Southerly Love earlier in the year, Dayspring is being released very soon and is a Saison style beer. In the spirit of collaboration, the wheat used in the beer came from Northeast Georgia Dayspring Farms. That’s what we call a vertically integrated Georgia product. Anyone in the Georgia General Assembly listening?
With the growth, though, Beauchamp says he has one goal. “ My number one priority is to keep our beer’s quality as high as is feasible. “
The beers’ consistency is one thing I, personally, have been really impressed with out of the gate. The guys have done a great job with the cans of delivering the same experience with every pop of the top. But, worry not, seekers of varied Untappd check-ins and badges. The co-brewmaster and self-appointed “Heisenbrewg” tells me, “This year will also bring lots of new and interesting one offs, as well as a full calender of seasonals.” I know for a fact that if you are in downtown Athens on a certain day that “Curious Tuesdays” are not to be missed.
Georgia brewers and brewpubs still face headwinds that brewers in other states no longer have to contend with. The supposedly “pro-small business” General Assembly passed a Georgia Beer Jobs Bill that was somewhat of a shadow of its former self, as they sat back and counted contributions from local beer wholesalers.
As Holley puts it, “It’s a great time to be a beer drinker in GA. And with the winds changing, no matter how hard they are blowing, the important point is that they are. The future is bright in the first notch of the bible belt.”
Let’s check out what it looks like as the can get filled at the brewery.
Video of Athena can being filled at Creature Comforts
Join Southern Beer Tours on our newly launched tours in Athens on April 25!
The following is an open letter to the Speaker of The House, David Ralston. We encourage you to write him, your Representative, and the members of the Rules Committee to help get SB 63 to the Governor’s desk.
You can find more information on how you can be personally involved at the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild
My name is Justin Hall and I am the owner of Southern Beer Tours here in the Atlanta area.
I write to you today to encourage your support of SB63, the Beer Jobs Bill.
My company provides people a way to visit several breweries in a safe environment in one day. Our company has experienced great growth in the last year we have been open. We currently hire 1 full time employee and 4 part time employees. We were recently featured on CNN about beer tourism. You can view that video at: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/28/living/national-drink-beer-day-eatocracy/index.html?hpt=hp_c3 and you can watch the video titled “Atlanta, a beer tourist’s paradise”.
This beer bill is important to the growth of my company and the industry as a whole. When I compare our company to others in established craft beer markets, we have a ways to go. Cities like Tampa and Asheville were able to have 10x the guests a year each with similar companies. Atlanta is uniquely positioned to be the largest craft beer tourism city in the South. We have more visitors than any other city, and we are the largest city in the South.
Allowing breweries to sell on site will create more opportunity for new startups. And will help established players grow and hire more employees. I know you have a couple of breweries and a brewpub in your own district. They would be able to benefit from a bill like this as well.
Every week, out of town guests ask me why they can’t buy the beer they sample and bring it back with them. They often can’t find the beers from the breweries we visit because they are not widely distributed yet.
We ask that you support Senator Hill’s original version of this bill and help give our industry a chance at becoming something truly huge.
SweetWater Brewery has announced their newest Dank Tank release, 420 Fest Double IPA. It is made with 100% Marris Otter Pale Ale malts, then hopped and dry hopped with experimental hops and is bursting with flavors of grapefruit, lemon, black currant and mint. It’ll come in at 8% ABV. Look for this release in April with a sneak peak at the brewery on 3/26.
Also look for an Barrel Aged Imperial Stout in September. This beer was just brewed and has been transferred into Heaven Hill and Woodford Bourbon barrels to start the ageing process.
Source: SweetWater Newsletter
The following is a post from guest blogger, Brad Hodnett:
If you’ve been to Wild Heaven Craft Brewery as of late or seen any of your friends pictures from there, you may have noticed the three large tanks behind the sample pour bar. As a volunteer at the brewery, I know I got asked about it a lot. Well, in a few months, hopefully, we’ll all be able to taste this exciting series of new beers from the whole grain craft brewer in Avondale Estates just outside of Decatur. Most exciting to lovers of Belgian style sour and funky beers is that these three beers were transferred straight from the tanks into different French wine barrels and have had a strain of Brettanomyces added to them for further complexity and flavor.
Two of the beers were specifically brewed by Brewmaster Eric Johnson and Head Brewer Jake Adams to be Belgian sour style beers. These two beers have been placed in the several different styles of wine barrels, and a different strain of classic Brettanomyces has been added to each beer. The other beer uses all Rauch Malt in the recipe and will be called “Fünken Rauch”. Jake tells me that it will take a few months for the Brett to do its job, but he expects the Fünken Rauch to be the first one that is ready for distribution.
For now, when you go to a tour at Wild Heaven, you will see racks of barrels behind the sample tasting taps and confidently tell your friends that they are French oak wine barrels filled with beer and ready to throw down some funk like Georgia native James Brown.
Also, coming much sooner from Wild Heaven will be a featured release of “Height of Civilization”. This amazing beer is the breweries English style Barleywine that was aged in tequila barrels for several months. It had a great debut at the “Secret Stache” beer fest and will be available in large format bottles in stores within the next month. This will be the first time that Civilization will be available in bottles.
So, start watching for updates on Wild Heaven’s social media. In the next few months, you will be able to taste the first Brett and Belgian sour style beers from this Georgia gem. Til then, be on the look out for Height of Civilization as well.
We tour at Wild Heaven this Saturday. Buy your tickets now:
Wondering what you’ll be able to sample this Saturday on our One Year Anniversary Tour? We will be visiting SweetWater Brewing Company, Red Brick Brewing, and Red Hare Brewing. Check out the list below (subject to change and availability). Tickets are still available at http://SouthernBeerTours.com/tours-list.html
Barrel Aged Belgium Strong Ale
American Amber Ale, 5.3% ABV, 25 IBUs
American IPA, 6.8% ABV, 61 IBUs
Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Imperial India Pale Lager, 8% ABV
Chai Milk Stout, 6% ABV, 26 IBUs
SweetWater / Southern Beer Tours Collab “Blood Orange You Hoppy”
Blood Orange IPA
Fruit Beer, 4.9% ABV
American IPA, 6.3% ABV
American Pale Ale, 5.4% ABV
Sweetwater Georgia Brown
English Brown Ale, 5% ABV, 24 IBUs
Belgium Style Red Ale, 6.0% ABV, 25 IBUs
SweetWater Happy Ending
Imperial Stout, 8.8% ABV, 60 IBUs
SweetWater Hop Hash
Double IPA, 7.8% ABV, 100 IBUs
Orange Dream Cotton Tail Pale Ale
Watership Brown Ale
English Brown Ale, 7.2% ABV, 45 IBUs
American IPA, 6.2% ABV, 65 IBUs
Long Day Lager
Bohemian Style Lager, 4.98% ABV, 25 IBUs
Cotton Tail Pale
Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV, 37 IBUs
Imperial Red IPA
Imperial IPA, 9.4% ABV
Pure Cane Sugar Root Beer, 0% ABV
To help celebrate our One Year Anniversary Tour we will have a special one-off beer at each stop on Febuary 7th. Red Brick will be serving the Beast, a barrel aged Belgium strong ale. Red Hare will serve us a cask of Orange Dream Cotton Tail Pale Ale. Then SweetWater had us come make this Blood Orange IPA cask with them for our tour.
Our first idea was to make a Blood Orange Happy Ending Stout. Happy Ending is one of our favorite beers so we wanted to do a little twist on it. After doing a test taste, we realized that the Happy Ending is too big a beer for the blood oranges to be really noticed. Thanks to SweetWater’s head brewer, Nick Nock for taking time to help us make this cask!
So we tested the blood orange juice with a few different beers. First was with their IPA. This gave it a tart finish that we found very good and surprising. Next we tested it with Johnny Hash. This gave us a very sweet smooth tasting beer. In the end we decided to take a mix of both IPAs, and do a 70/30 mix of IPA and Johnny Hash.
Join us this Saturday, February 7th for your only chance to taste this beer. Tickets are available but are selling quick.
Red Brick has announced the latest in their Brick Mason series of beers, Imperial Stout!
“Did you love the 20th anniversary Imperial Stout from last year? Well do we have a surprise for you! IT’S BACK! We have taken our Imperial Stout, inspired by our 20th anniversary recipe, and barrel aged half of it before blending it with a fresh batch prior to bottling!”
The release party will be Saturday, February 7th. You’ll be able to taste this with us on our One Year Anniversary Tour on the same day. Also they will tap the Beast, a barrel aged belgium strong ale, to help us celebrate. Tickets are moving fast so buy now!
Red Hare has announced it’s newest addition to their Rabbit Reserve Series, Imperial Red IPA. This beer will be released as a draft only special for a limited time.
“This Imperial Red IPA is brewed with a ton of hops, offset by a sweet malt forward profile. Deep red in hue, and a warming 9.4% ABV; the force is strong with this one.”
The release party will be Saturday, February 7th. You’ll be able to taste this with us on our One Year Anniversary Tour on the same day. Also they have made a special Orange Dream Cotton Tale Pale Ale cask to help us celebrate. Tickets are moving fast so buy now!