With new breweries opening at an unheard-of pace in the Atlanta area, it seemed necessary to create a place for tracking their progress. Enter Brewery Watch, a semi-regular blog series we'll publish as often as the market dictates to do precisely that. Got a new brewery tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While this Decatur brewery's wares have been in the market for several months, BlueTarp held its inaugural tour in late August, and its tasting room is nearing the end of its build out. Pouring at that tour was BlueTarp's Fünk Weisse, a 3 percent alcohol by volume Berliner Weisse, which is the first in the brewery's wild/funky/sour beer FunkieTarp Series. Brewer Tom Stahl says he hopes to have the series' second beer ready soon, but that these two will be the exception to the rule.
"Most of the FunkieTarp beers will be funked in barrels and will take six months to two years to get where they need to go," he says. "We have 1500 square feet of space next to our tasting room which will be used for barrel storage and aging. Some in the series will be wild and spontaneous while some will be cultured."
Yes Face, the new session-beer project from Mark Broe of Griffin, Ga.'s shuttered Eagle & Lion brewpub, has been featured on tap at a number of bars and growler shops in the Atlanta metropolitan area in recent months. "Availability is hard to track because the beer sells fast," Broe says. He's been contract brewing his British-style "real ale" (a session IPA and an upcoming session stout so far) at Jailhouse Brewing Company in Hampton, Ga., but is looking to expand. "I hope to find some more capacity at one of the new breweries in Georgia so I can keep production local. We will remain a gypsy brewery until the litigation is finished, which could be another year. If we win, of course, I will set up a brick and mortar."
This Alpharetta establishment opened in June and is serving up five house-made beers alongside guest drafts and bottles. Owner, brewer, and Roswell native Brandon Hintz thought about setting up shop in his hometown, but after discussing with downtown regulars, changed his mind. "Everytime I'm down there, its slammed, always," he says. "I started to realize that a lot of people down there were from Alpharetta. So, why not go up there and give people in the area something unique? I also found out what the city of Alpharetta has in store for the businesses and that they were building a new city center, I figured it was the best option."
Decatur's newest brewery launched at the Brick Store Pub in mid-July, is now pouring in myriad locations, will soon employ Georgia's first Belgian brewer, and plans to open its tasting room later this month.
Alpharetta's first package brewery started holding tours in early August. Jekyll rolled out with a Kolsch, an American brown ale, and a particularly tasty IPA. Last night, they tapped their Southern Session, a "crisp, light, clean ale" that clocks in at 4.8 percent ABV.
Grant Park's first brewery is currently building out its space not far from the Beltline. While their tasting room won't be ready until next Spring at the earliest, they hope to have a Kolsch and an American Pale Ale in market in the next month or so. "There's still a great deal of work to be done," VP of Marketing, Mathew Sweezey, says. "We've tentatively settled on a [September/October] launch event near Grant Park with multiple meet and greets around Atlanta to follow."
Roswell's first brewery was readying a Kickstarter announcement until it recently ran into some zoning issues with the city. " The plan is to cash flow a three-barrel brewhouse to help establish a brand in a very specific area," Gate City's Brian Borngesser says. "All partners live in Roswell and our goal is to give the locals a sense of pride by having a craft brewery. This thing is total grass roots on shoestring budgets and we hope to prove that even in a hostile state that a small brewery can make it." While they work through the legal kinks, here's a video they recently released.
Former Twain's brewer David Stein says the four core recipes (a pilsner, IPA, oaked rye amber, and a Berliner Weisse) for his forthcoming Athens brewery, Creature Comforts, are nearing perfection. Additional brewers Blake Tyers and Paul Vaughn have moved to Athens and are building a wooden pilot system for spontaneously fermented beers. Stein says the plans and construction are well under way on the downtown Snow Tire building, and that they hope to have their beers in market by January.
This Roswell-area brewery-in-the-works garnered recent attention via a BBC article about SweetWater. "Head Goat" Kathy Davis has a chef background and spent several years as a Buddhist lay nun. "I was tempted to join a nunnery in Nova Scotia," she tells Creative Loafing. "A good friend talked me out of it over many Belgian beers at Brick Store Pub. Hence the Abbey and the Belgian part of the concept."
Davis, a lover of beer and business, is tentatively planning for a January opening for her "food-centric Belgian-style" brews, which will include a Belgo-American Pale Ale, a Belgo-American Dubbel, and a Belgo-American Tripel.
Early this week, Orpheus Brewing announced its location, a 16,000+ square foot space overlooking Piedmont Park. "Being on the Beltline was important for who we are," brewer Jason Pellett tells CL. "It connects neighborhoods in a profound way, and fostering those kinds of connections between people are what we make beer for. It's about creating an experience that ties people together."
While Pellett doesn't expect Orpheus beers hit the market before April 2014, the brewery's initial lineup is fairly unique, especially by Georgia standards. Their beer page lists "a saison hopped like an American IPA" called Lyric Ale, "a tart plum saison with wine-like acidity" called Atalanta, a seasonal IPA series, an imperial stout "rich and complex from Trappist yeast" called The 12th Labor, "a barrel-aged sour pale aged on fresh Georgia blueberries" called Wandering Blues, and many more seasonals and barrel-room offerings.
In July, Second Self found a space and signed a lease "in the same industrial park that Dogwood Brewing was, right down the street from Nuevo Laredo," says Jason Santamaria. They're tentatively planning for a Spring 2014 launch with their Red Hop Rye, LIPA (Light IPA: a 6% version of a more traditional West Coast IPA), and Thai Wheat. They also have some specialty beers in the works.
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