Friday, January 24, 2014

Operation Athens, Georgia Part 2: A sneak peek of Creature Comforts Brewing Company

An interview and walkthrough with Co-Owner and Co-Brewmaster David Stein
“On the left is Adam Beauchamp and on the right is me, David Stein. We’re the co-founders and co-brewmasters of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. I wish I wasn't smiling. It woulda been way more gangsta!” - David Stein
Whaddup Y’all!
After hanging out with my homey, Catch 22 Executive Chef and Partner Richard Miley, at his awesome gastropub (see here), we paid a few beer places a visit which I will highlight in Part 3 of my Operation: Athens, Georgia series. But to embrace the boom of new breweries opening in the state, I had to hit up one of the most anticipated, Creature Comforts, which is still under construction downtown.
I knew one of the two owners—David Stein—from his day working at the world famous Brick Store pub in Decatur Square and later becoming the head brewer for Twain’s Billiards and Tap around the corner; I promised him I’d have his back when he told me he would be opening a brewery in Athens. Well here we are! Alongside co-brewmaster and co-founder Adam Beauchamp—who was formerly with SweetWater Brewing Company for seven years—their promise to open Creature Comforts by the end of February has all of Georgia antsy for their diverse roster of sipping pleasures including an IPA, Pilsner, Rye Amber, and Berliner Weisse.
Accompanied by my trusted sidekick, my camera, I wanted to give you an update on what A-Plus and D-Nice have in store for both Bulldog Country, the ATL, and the rest of the South. After heading to what was once one of the great landmarks of Athens affectionately called the “Old Snow Tire” building at the corner of Hancock Avenue and Pulaski Street, I got a tour by both Adam and Dave. 
After weaving through construction workers and electricians laboriously trying to complete the 13,250-square-foot project within three weeks or so, I interviewed Dave and showed him my shots; he provided great commentary on all of them for you to enjoy. It doesn’t get more real than that! By the way, this brewery is going to be pretty damn impressive set to flaunt a rustic-meets-chic vibe with gangster beers to match.

Bussit:

Ale: What made you decide to set up shop here? I love the building.
David Stein: The Snow Tire building is an iconic spot in downtown Athens. We were very fortunate to get the opportunity to build a brewery there. Adam and I both went to UGA (University of Georgia) for undergrad and we couldn't be happier to move back. Everything in Athens slows down a bit and is pretty relaxed; it's the perfect place to get comfortable. We're excited to be Athens' second craft brewery and really feel this town has the potential to become a significant craft beer destination.

I see the promise, bro. So when do you plan on opening this bad boy up?
We hope to brew our first batch by the end of February. If we do, our beer will hit the market in March.

Whoa! That soon, eh? Nice. And what brews are on deck to represent CC?
Our initial line up will be a Pilsner; an IPA brewed with Citra, Galaxy and Centinnial hops; a Rye Amber aged with a bit of French oak; and a Berliner Weisse. We feel these styles will satisfy a wide range of beer drinkers. We also plan on releasing four seasonal beers and a variety of specialties, so everyone from Bud drinker to beer geek should be able to find something they like. Our recipes were also developed to be bold yet easy drinking.

Well this brewery is going to be big enough to please every damn body! What else do you have planned for it?
Ha! We will have brewery tours and a variety of special events. Our co-founder, Derek Imes, is even planning a bike ride from Creature Comforts to Oskar Blues in Brevard, NC. I'm sure we'll have a ton of cool stuff going on throughout the year. My personal focus at the moment is almost entirely on perfecting our beers and getting everything ready for production.

That makes sense. How did you come up with Creature Comforts? I dig the name.
Thanks man. Creature Comforts is what I named my beer when I was working at the Brick Store Pub and became more serious about brewing. I wanted to give my beer its own personality. I let numerous people sample Creature Comforts over the years and the rest is history.
I chose the name because I was inspired by a good friend's artwork—these awesome woodblock carving prints of these creatures that I always dreamed of using on my labels if I ever started my own brewery. And we can't forget that beer itself is one of the finest creature comforts known to man.

So let’s give Adam a shout out.
Definitely. Adam is a veteran brewer who used to be with SweetWater for seven years and is the co-brewmaster with Creature Comforts. He is our key to brewing quality beer consistently and ensuring our brewery is always a safe working environment. Every brewery needs an Adam!

That’s super cool. I can’t wait for the grand opening! How can we stay up to date?
Ah! Please check us out and follow our progress on both our website creaturecomfortsbeer.com and Facebook page Facebook.com/creaturecomfortsbeer. Thanks Ale!

No doubt!

Now look below. David has some fun facts and commentary regarding a few of my shots.
“This is a view from the front of the building tasting area looking back toward the brewing equipment. There used to be a drop ceiling covering up this beautiful ceiling, but we exposed it during demo.”
“This is our 30-barrel bright tank in front of our 60-barrel brights and fermenters. Our cellar has a total of 270 barrels of fermentation space—basically over 8,000 gallons.”
“This is our Cool-Fit glycol piping. We began plumbing everything this week.”
“With a little bit of love and lots of beautiful oak, this will soon be our barrel room. We are repurposing Snow Tire's old lights to be chandeliers in the tasting area.”

“This is a section of the ceiling in the restrooms. They are made out of Snow Tire's old tire racks.”

“Zack Brendel, owner of Oneta Woodworks, let us tag his truck with our Creature stencil. If anyone wants one just holler. Oneta Woodworks is reclaiming a ton of old wood from the building and reusing it to build the bars, walls, ceilings, furniture, etc.”

Stay tuned for the official date of Creature Comforts’ first throwdown and Part 3 of chillin’ in Athens, Georgia. I dig this city!
Cheers!
Ale


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