Monday, November 7, 2022

Check out my ‘21 Best Atlanta Breweries For Beer Snobs’ article!

 

I also included the exclusive, unabridged version below!

I’m Baaaaaaack!

Oh man, your homie Ale has been globetrotting, hitting up southern California twice, Tokyo, and just recently a tour of the Finger Lakes all within the month of October. This was hands down the busiest month of my life because, besides my BDay on the 8th, I also had hosted a major Piano Keys event alongside New Belgium in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival, launched a fundraising beer with DuClaw plus an interview here, helped produce the amazing Blacktoberfest weekend in Atlanta, plus all the rest of the festivities that come with the season. Regardless, I still want to make a pledge to do better updating this site. My Instagram has been the prime source of delivering updates, announcements and latest happenings, and now I want to provide a more personal account of some of those postings. I got you and appreciate you for continuing to join me on my journey.

First up, here’s a breakdown of my latest article that dropped last week, which turned out to be a passion project of sorts.

Last week, I announced my debut article with The Infatuation—a culinary-forward website that covers the globe, but with an edgy, humorous, neighborly vibe—here when it dropped. I was asked to write up Atlanta’s 21 Best Breweries and I gladly accepted. With me knowing all of them and being around since each of their inceptions, it was an honor to give these hard-working folks in ATL some light on such a prominent media source. As many writers do with their first article under a new publisher, we write more than expected; it’s better to cut words down than add them. That was my case here, so what I will do is include what I originally turned in and what they ended up posting. I totally get the style, approach, and overall mission to get direct to the point while still engaging the reader. Rest assured, there will be more contributions to The Infatuation. I can’t wait to do the next one. Stay tuned for that!  

And with that, may thanks for reading, giving me your support, and having my back. Shout out to all the breweries that are officially listed as ATLANTA on their address. Here is the unabridged version I originally turned in which includes a more personal account of what you should know about them compared to the more concise, straight-to-the-point version that was published here. Both serve the same purpose: They show love to the incredible, underrated beer scene in Georgia’s capital.

Cheers!



The Original Version:

21 Best Atlanta Breweries For Beer Snobs

While cities like Ann Arbor, both Portlands, Asheville, and Denver are justly revered as being prime beer hubs, Atlanta is now demanding the same respect. Since Georgia lifted the ABV from 6% to 14% in 2004, its sipping scene has blown up significantly. In the words of Andre 3000, “The South’s got something to say!” This is especially true when it comes to the numerous breweries throughout ATL.

 

Buckhead

Iron Hill

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With a goal to have 20 locations by 2020, the Mid-Atlantic-based Iron Hill’s successful restaurant/brewery combination entered the Southeastern market by thankfully filling a void in the swanky Buckhead district with their 18th location just over a year ago. Known for award-winning brews crafted on site like the King’s Gold American pilsner recently receiving a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, plus an extensive food menu, and industrial-chic décor, they’re a perfect fit for the neighborhood. Take everyone from beer geeks to business partners here and make a day of it either inside their spacious taproom complete with chandeliers or patio set along bustling Peachtree Road with Lenox Mall and ritzy Phipps Plaza just steps away.


Castleberry Hill

Atlantucky

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Owned and operated by Grammy Award-winning rap group the Nappy Roots, the 6,000 square-foot, fully operational brewery also serves as an event facility and art exhibit complete with a stage the Nappy Roots and aspiring artists under their Not Regular independent label perform. Starting off as homebrewers, Fish Scales and Skinny DeVille quickly learned the business through contract brewing and eventually opening up one of the only Black-owned brick and mortar breweries in Georgia. With their spacious brewery just steps away from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlantucky welcomes a steady stream of visitors enjoying a steady rotation of brews on tap, including the well-balanced Mile High Pale Ale, light-bodied Castleberry Pils Lager, Chesapeake Bae Fruit Beer, and Peaches + Queens Peach Cobbler Ale. Canning and more collaborations are set for the very near future.

 

Downtown Atlanta

STATS

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Popularly regarded as one of the premier sports bars in Atlanta with 70 televisions and a broadcast studio, the multi-level STATS also has award-winning brewmaster Austin Edwards crafting a wide range of IPAs, sours, lagers, and seasonals from a 10-barrel brewery. Besides getting virtually every big game and just a block away from State Farm Arena where the Hawks play, the upscale bar menu and functioning taps built into tables also contribute to this 16,000 square-foot, industrial-meets-chic location’s draw.  

 

East Atlanta

Hippin’ Hops

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Georgia, let alone Atlanta, now has its first Black-owned brick-and-mortar brewery thanks to entrepreneurs Donnica and Clarence Boston. Choosing the former Eastlake Pharmacy as Hippin’ Hops’ first location in the hipster-driven East Atlanta Village, solid brews with smile-producing names like the Baby Mama Drama and Oops Upside Yo Head IPAs, plus “frozen beers” such as the Coco Crazy strawberry pina colada and So Peachy sour fearlessly push the envelope. Always festive, live DJs, an adjacent beer garden with cornhole, and New Orleans-themed food staples including authentic po’boys, Cajun shrimp deviled eggs, catfish nuggets, gator bites, and a fresh oyster bar, the Bostons now have a second location ten driving minutes away in neighboring East Lake and an expansive production facility in Stone Mountain.

 

Grant Park

Three Taverns Imaginarium

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Inspired by Trappist Monks in Belgium, brewer Brian Purcell opened one of the most respected beer companies in the South in 2013, Three Taverns in Avondale Estates. After years of success with the Night On Ponce IPA leading the way, it was time to open an experimental brewery in Grant Park’s historic Atlanta Dairies complex across the street from the Atlanta Beltline. Scoring the hire of heralded brewer Neal Engleman, virtually everything pouring inside this stunning bi-level facility has been world-class status since opening its doors in 2020. The vast greenspace shared with other businesses including the new concert venue, The Eastern, is perfect for friends and family to toast Imaginarium’s libations alfresco.

 

The Beacon’s Eventide and Elsewhere

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Nestled in Grant Park, this community of living and retail boasts two breweries to go with an eclectic variety of restaurants. Eventide is all about trivia, a constant rotation of food trucks, and serving up crowd favorites like their Kolsch Style Ale and Snow Cold IPA. Grab one of their brews and check out the neighboring Grant Park farmers market on Saturdays as well.

Elsewhere runs the back corner of the Beacon with a lively pet-friendly patio where beer advocates and cycling clubs kick back to enjoy the European-inspired pilsners, Czech lagers, hefeweizens, and IPAs (try the popular West Coast-style Viridity) to pair with a full menu boasting delectable apps, handhelds, and salads. They have an assortment of beer alternatives like seltzers and craft cocktails to make sure everyone’s thirst is quenched. An assortment of live music is a regular thing as well. The Beacon is undoubtedly the move when entertaining a lot of folks at one time.

 

Inman Park

Wrecking Bar

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Owner Stevenson Rosslow, returning head brewer Tim Schiavone, and staff go above and beyond to ensure there is nothing like Wrecking Bar. Already a visual standout positioned at the base of the historic Victor H. Kriegshaber House—a prominent Victorian-style mansion on bustling Moreland Avenue—their renowned beer program delivers a wide range of styles to please virtually every palate including pilsners, Juice Willis IPA variants, Breaking Bob Kölsch, sours, a spectrum of award-winning stouts, saisons, barrel-aged specialties, and guest taps. Executive chef Mikey Staniewicz’s rotating farm-to-table food menu, locally sourced provisions, biergarten, Marianna event space, and top-notch craft cocktails fit for even the most sophisticated spirit advocate seal the deal. Look out for their annual Strong Beer Fest and new Hop Harvest Fest.

 

Midtown

SweetWater

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Sure, as one of the nation’s largest beer companies—currently #11—SweetWater is everywhere throughout the country including Delta flights, but they make sure their homebase in Midtown shows patrons a hell of a time. Their location is more like a complex, with a barrel-aging facility called the Woodlands Project, a completely redesigned taproom, a cornhole field, live music stage, full merch store, and spacious pet-friendly patio. And beside their assortment of IPAs, stouts, lagers, and legendary 420 pale ale, SweetWater also diversified their sipping lineup to include selections from acquired breweries Alpine and Green Flash, plus the Oasis electrolyte-infused seltzer line. And don’t skip the tour; it’s an amazing experience and proves how successful a brewery can become after opening their doors in 1997. The annual 420 Fest is one of Atlanta’s most popular music festivals as well. Yeah, SweetWater does it all.


Orpheus

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Founded in 2014, Orpheus Brewing answered Atlanta’s craving for high-gravity IPAs, stouts, and wild-fermented and sour beers. Now in its 8th year, founder and brewmaster Jason Pellet—who is also a classically trained trumpeter to explain the brewery’s moniker—is justly credited as a major contributor to introducing Atlanta to beer styles popular in especially Europe. The acclaimed Transmigration of Soul’s Double IPA, Atalanta Plum Saison, and numerous other varietals are served in the remodeled taproom and numerous retail outlets throughout Georgia and beyond. Located just off Atlanta’s Beltline complete with a picturesque view of the city, plus a steady rotation of food trucks and guest chefs, Orpheus is one of Georgia capital’s must-visit destinations.

 

Old Fourth Ward

New Realm

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Set directly beside the Eastside Beltline trail, New Realm’s first of soon-to-be six massive locations throughout the US cannot be missed—all 40,000 square feet of it. Boasting a brewing program masterminded by the legendary IPA guru Mitch Steele who pledged to demonstrate his expertise to brew sours, pilsners, wheat varietals, stouts, and other beer styles as well, thanks to the 26-barrel brewhouse and barrel room. Add the gorgeous beer garden, skyline rooftop, full-service restaurant (the New Realm Burger and crusted mac and cheese are crowd faves), live music, and trivia regularly and the aggressive multi-city expansion is justified.

 

Biggerstaff

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Historic Old Fourth Ward could use another brewery, so Sarah and Clay Davies said, “Hold my beer” and created one. Now celebrating its first year, their variety of solid beers often named after Sarah’s family members like the Harvey American IPA and Aunt Etta Satsuma Sour, the popular raw oyster happy hour, Sunday brunch, rustic-chic interior, and dog-friendly patio along bustling Edgewood Ave produce a winning combination. Gourmet coffee welcomes early risers followed by an open kitchen serving up delectable lunch and dinner selections helmed by newly appointed executive chef and barbecue aficionado Al McClendon. This is one of the true have-it-all brew destinations in Atlanta destined to be, well, bigger than ever.

 

Summerhill

Halfway Crooks

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Answering the call of imbibers fond of traditional beer styles minus all the trendy adjuncts and gimmickry, Shawn Bainbridge, Tim Kilic, and renowned brewer Joran Van Ginderachter direct from Belgium became a part of the aggressive redevelopment of Atlanta’s historic Summerhill in 2019 with Halfway Crooks. Packaging and décor are themed with the appreciation of technology in the 80s, hip hop serenades customers enjoying European-inspired pilsners, marzens, radlers, schwarzbiers, American IPAs, helles, and other selections. The second of the two levels is airy with a large projector screen mostly showing wildlife vids, and the a revamped beer garden is set to open in early 2023. Complete with a limited, yet appetizing food menu serving wings, pretzels, and different versions of fries, this is the go-to spot for true beer heads and even local brewers who crave remarkable, true-to-style ales and lagers.

 

Upper Westside

Round Trip

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Round Trip wants to take its imbibers’ palates on a journey to experience German-inspired beers with a draft lineup pouring marzens, helles, hefeweizens, berliner weisses and Munich-style dark lagers. Recently opening in 2021, CEO and head brewer Craig Mycoskie complements more than than 12 years of brewing experience with weekly events like Dirty South Trivia and Speed Puzzle night. Round Trip does a stellar job of giving ATL a tour of how lagers can be just as exciting and complex as ales.

 

Bold Monk Brewing Co.

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Undoubtedly one of the poshest breweries in Atlanta, Brewed To Serve Restaurant Group owners Cindy and Alan LeBlanc, plus brewing icon John “JR” Roberts, have adorned Atlanta with an extraordinary three-level imbibing experience. Lead-paned windows; velvet and leather seating; wood floors; beer garden with fire pits; a library; coffee bar; and barrel room ideal for private dinners further justify Monk’s accolades. Of course, the award-winning Belgian-inspired ales and lagers, and culinary program rivaling ATL’s top restaurants—look for Belgian frites, brisket poutine, wood-grilled salmon, and mussels—are collectively the true draw, but the stunning décor is an invaluable complement. And be sure to consider Brewed To Serve’s legendary Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery, the oldest brewpub in Georgia for their premium hand-cut steaks, brick oven pizzas, and expansive beverage list based directly on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.

 

Fire Maker

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Opening in 2020, co-owner and co-founder Elliott Hall and family quickly made their brewery a city favorite with a mission to inspire others to celebrate their achievements and identify themselves as “fire makers.” Their successful interpretations of classic styles including Chattahooch-Tea Southeastern IPA brewed with lactose and two tea variations, plus other adventurous IPAs, lagers, and sours have resulted in an actual “Awards” page on their website. Their brewery brandishes mural work by celebrated local artist Jordan Atkinson and a partnership with Scoville Hot Chicken to bring the heat on the culinary side. Fire Maker is now entering the world of ciders with more ventures on the way to add fuel to their impressive blaze of entrepreneurialism.

 

Scofflaw

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Launched by former Wall Street exec Matt Shirah and veteran brewmaster Travis Herman, Scofflaw kicked in ATL’s door with edgy tactics and intended brashness especially over social media to validate their moniker. Once they settled down and focused on what they do best—making smash-hit IPAs like their Basement, POG Basement, Basement Light, and Hooligans, plus a lineup of imperial stouts, sours, seltzers, and even spirits. Scofflaw now has two locations in the Upper Westside, the O.G. in the Bolton neighborhood and state-of-the-art, 9,000-square-foot brewing playhouse for Herman called Dr. Scofflaw’s Laboratory and Beer Garden. The latter is based inside the 80-acre retail development called The Works complete with a beer garden and the convenience of sipping one of their beers while exploring various eateries including a vast food hall a few steps away. The success story continues with a third location called Scofflaw Beer Barn with 48 taps inside downtown Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.

 

Steady Hand

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Since opening in 2019, Steady Hand is home to 24 rotating taps of IPAs, stouts, sours, seltzers and lagers to name a few. Their Cloudland Hazy IPA, Paradise Waits IPA, Flower Business DIPA, and Lager are the year-rounds, while an array of seasonals complete the portfolio encased in captivating can art. Patrons also enjoy the laid-back industrial style of the tap room that doubles as an event space for comedy shows, concerts and trivia nights. Live music and events like the monthly Ales & Overlands off-road vehicle show get a lot of love as well.

 

West End

Specifically the Lee + White development popularly nicknamed ‘Malt Disney’

Monday Night

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Starting as hosts of a homebrewing gathering with a few homies after their Bible study sessions on Monday Nights more than a decade ago, Jonathan Baker, Joel Iverson, and Jeff Heck now have four Monday Night brewing locations throughout the South. Regarding the two venues in Atlanta, the O.G. in the Upper Westside has a fire pit, two tap stations, food trucks, and live shows regularly. The West End’s expansive Garage along the bustling Westside Beltline trail is the playhouse for award-winning brewmaster Peter Kiley; it’s all barrel aging, flaunts a coolship aka “Crunkship” to produce spontaneous beers, and recently launched an open kitchen serving authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas thanks to Chef Adi Komic and his team.

 

Wild Heaven

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Respected as one of the major contributors to building the groundwork for Georgia’s craft beer scene by contract brewing in 2010 before opening their first brewery in Avondale Estates about a  year later, they now have a spacious, 21,600-square foot second location in what is popularly christened Malt Disney on the West End. While president Nick Purdy, Brewmaster Eric Johnson, and crew keep steady year rounds like the Emergency Drinking Beer variants, ATL Easy Ale, Euro-Style Pilsner, and new sensation, the Sunburst IPA, their seasonal odes to traditional European styles and Garden Beer collaborations with Atlanta Botanical Garden truly show how they flex their creative muscle. Complete with an extensive to-go menu featuring handhelds, wings, house-cut fries, tacos, and salads, plus a patio overlooking the Westside Beltline trail, these pioneers will maintain their royalty status for years to come.

 

Best End

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With wordplay paying homage to their neighborhood, Best End joined Wild Heaven, Monday Night Garage, ASW Distillery, and the Hop City bottle shop to complete the “Malt Disney” collective in the Lee + White complex during the fall of 2019. Boasting a 20-barrel brewery complete with a pilot system for creating inventive lagers, IPAs, sours, stouts, and sours, there’s also a restaurant, the Graffiki Tiki Bar, an assortment of wines, cocktails, and events with live music regularly to keep the party going.

 

 

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Check out my ‘21 Best Atlanta Breweries For Beer Snobs’ article!

  I also included the exclusive, unabridged version below! I’m Baaaaaaack! Oh man, your homie Ale has been globetrotting, hitting up sou...

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