Georgia Craft Brewery: Creature Comforts Brewing Company
Established: April of 2014
Location: 271 W. Hancock Avenue, Athens, Georgia
Known For: Tropicália is Creature’s IPA and most popular offering. It is currently ranked at #3 on the top 250 beer list for Georgia at beeradvocate.com. The only two beers beating out Tropicália are also Creature Comforts offerings, See the Stars (bourbon barrel Russian Imperial Stout) and Cosmik Debris (Double IPA). I had the opportunity to try Cosmik on tap at a restaurant and it was otherworldly. Tropicália is 6.6% abv and offers up the aroma and taste of tropical fruits like pineapple and passion fruit. Currently, Creature’s distribution area reaches west to Atlanta.
Current Beer Menu: Creature had five beers on tap at the time of my visit. The aforementioned Tropicália, Athena (a 4.5% abv Berliner Weiss), Reclaimed Rye (a 5.5% abv Rye aged a week on French Oak spirals), Bibo (a 4.9% abv Pilsner), and Tritonia (a 4.5% abv cucumber and lime gose). Tropicália and Athena would have taken top honors from me, but Tritonia was absolutely delicious. I have started enjoying the gose style more and more and Tritonia is an interesting take on the style. There is no hiding the cucumber or lime. Add that to the slight saltiness of the gose and it goes together perfectly. I am a fan of rye beers, so Reclaimed Rye was also a beer I could appreciate. Bibo is a refreshing Pilsner on point for the style.
Price Range: $14.00 gets you access and a tour of the facility, a glass, and six 6oz pours of beer. In regards to alcohol, Georgia seems to still be stuck in the 1930’s. It makes entirely no sense to me, but here’s how it works. You walk in and buy a tour. As part of the tour, you are given a glass (we had a choice of two) and a bracelet that has six tabs, each of which represents a 6oz pour. Once you enter you can begin drinking right away while you wait for your tour to begin. Breweries in Georgia are looking towards 2017 as an opportunity for change with the alcohol laws.
Wine Menu: Wine is not available for sale within breweries in Georgia.
Food Menu: Creature offers neither food nor access to food trucks. I imagine Athens will be seeing changes in the near future on this as well. One can only hope anyway.
Ambiance: Creature Comforts building has a very industrial feel to it. Originally built-in the 1940’s as a Chevy dealership the building later changed hands and became home to Snow Tires. In 2012 Creature bought the building and completely rehabbed the interior. A number of signs still hang in recognition of the building’s history. Like most of Georgia, Creature had a laid back feel to it. In one area of the building, there were giant Dragonflies hanging from the rafters that were donated by a local artist. Live music was provided by Tre Powell. Boy can that man sing! What seems to be a third of the building is laid out as the tasting room while the rest of the building consists of the tanks, barrel room, and walk-in cooler.
Bar Seating: The seating consisted of a small area with bar stools and two large picnic tables that easily seat ten apiece.
Staff: Erin was my bartender and quite knowledgeable in regards to the beer. Graham was the tour guide and answered all questions without even a second thought. He even provided me with a behind the scenes look at both the barrel room and grain room. The tour itself was your typical brewery tour with a bit of the history of the building and brewery, the layout of their distribution footprint (Athens and Atlanta), and what goes into making their beer.
Merch: Creature has a wide assortment of t-shirts for $20.00, hats also for $20.00, glasses starting at $4.00, koozies for $2.00, and stickers for a $1.00. Most of the merch can be found both in-house and at their online store. Creature also has a ‘Get Comfortable’ line of merchandise in which they donate 100% of the proceeds to local non-profits that fight hunger, poverty, and homelessness through their Get Comfortable program. Those items can be found here. Also, 100% of the proceeds gained from the tours on Wednesdays are donated to the program. If you bring in a donation item Creature will give a $2.00 discount off of the tour price. The 2015-2016 campaign has raised $65,000 in the last five months.
Membership offered: Creature doesn’t offer any sort of membership and there is nothing planned for the immediate future.
Best days or time of year to go: Any time that the University of Georgia isn’t in session. Once the college kids go home a large portion of the crowd does as well.
Regular Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Friday: 5:00pm – 10:00pm, and Saturday: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Happy Hour: Because of the current laws there is no happy hour available.
-The name ‘Creature Comforts’ originated as Co-founder David Stein’s homebrews.
-Bibo was the name of Einstein’s parrot and also translates as “I drink” in Latin
-The first run of Bibo ever produced was a drain pour due to a bad batch of Czech Saaz hops.
-Reclaimed Rye was named after the wood that was ‘reclaimed’ from the buildings ceiling during the renovation of the facility. That wood was refinished and can now be seen used as bar tops, tables, and on the wall as paneling.
-Creature won an award for outstanding rehabilitation by the Athens Heritage Foundation due to their meticulous rehab of their 13,000 sqft space.
-They are both kid and pet-friendly as long as your four-legged friend is on a leash.
-Adding five 120 barrel tanks earlier this year Creature hopes to reach 18,000 barrels by the end of 2016 and are hoping to hit maximum capacity of 28,000 barrels after adding another tank later this year.
Overall Rating (1-5): I’m rating Creature Comforts a 4.5. Every member of the staff I came into contact with was beyond friendly. The brewery itself was open and inviting and the beer was very good.
What was missing: I personally think a brewery should always have at least one darker style of beer on tap. Unfortunately, Creature didn’t. Of course, no points are lost for that because it’s just a personal preference.
When you’re in Athens or passing through Atlanta and have some time to kill add Creature Comforts to your brewery list to visit. You won’t be disappointed.
Is there something else you would like to know about Creature Comforts Brewing Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.