Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

Georgia Craft Brewery: Creature Comforts Brewing Company Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

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 Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.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.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

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 Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.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.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

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 Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.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 intoGeorgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co. 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 Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.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.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

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

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.Happy Hour: Because of the current laws there is no happy hour available.

Fun Fact:

-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.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

-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.

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.-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.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

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.

Cheers!

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company

The Southern Brewing Company

My wife and I headed up to Athens, Georgia a few weeks back for the wedding of our good friends. After doing a little research, I came to find out that Athens is home to three great breweries. I also found out that Georgia has really odd beer laws. Basically, you go to the brewery, buy a tour, and with that tour comes 36 ounces of beer to be consumed on-site. Georgia certainly isn’t doing their craft beer scene any favors, but that isn’t stopping the breweries from producing great beer. This is the first of the three reviews from my Georgia trip.

Georgia Craft Brewery: The Southern Brewing Company Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company

Established: May 14th, 2015

Location: 231 Collins Industrial Blvd, Athens, GA 30601

Known For: I heard through the grapevine that The Southern Brewing Company was doing things with yeast that other Georgia brewers weren’t. Of course, I had to find out more. Southern is developing their own yeast strains and actually has a yeast lab on the property, which is typically unheard of for such a young brewery. One of the strains was developed from a Wild Native Azalea bush directly from Southern’s property. The Wild Azalea also just so happens to be the state wildflower. Unfortunately, the beer produced from the yeast strain and named after the flower wasn’t available on my visit. Another yeast strain developed by Southern was taken from the state flower, which is called the Cherokee Rose. Luckily there was a keg of Cherokee Rose in the cooler which was moved up in the line so I could try what all the talk was about. Cherokee Rose is an easy drinking summer beer with a mild tartness and bananas for days. The only thing that would have made it better was a slab of my wife’s delicious, put-it-up-against-anyone’s, banana bread.

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company Current Beer Menu: Finally a brewery that understands me and has their Imperial Stout on tap during the summer. Chocolate and hints of coffee were dancing around me like fireflies on a hot Georgia night. It made a great base beer for what was aged in bourbon barrels and came out drinking damn near like a masterpiece. The BBA version wasn’t on tap, but Southern hospitality certainly was alive and well in Athens, Georgia. The Southeastern Berliner uses the aforementioned Wild Azalea yeast and was very good with citrus on the nose. With thirteen different beers to choose from, I certainly wasn’t going to walk away disappointed with all of my options. There was everything from a Kolsch to a Sour Stout on tap. With every beer I tried I kept thinking to myself, “are these guys really only a year old?” There are certainly big things ahead for The Southern Brewing Company.

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing CompanyPrice Range: $10.00 gets you access to the facility, a glass, and six 6oz pours of beer. You can’t just walk into a brewery and order a beer. Nope! You have to buy a tour and are only allowed 36oz’s of Southern’s finest nectar. It makes entirely no sense to me. You would think the government would be all about small business booming like they are everywhere else across the country. Everyone that I spoke to was hopeful there would be some change for the better coming in 2017, but until then the great craft beer drinkers of Georgia are stuck with the ass-backward laws.

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing CompanyWine Menu: Wine is not allowed to be served at the brewery.

Food Menu: Food trucks are permitted, but they aren’t necessarily allowed to be scheduled. If a food truck happens to show up, consider yourself lucky. From what I was told food trucks haven’t been embraced in Georgia like they have in Florida.

Ambiance: You walk into Southern and immediately pay for a tour. After a few feet the 12,000 sqft building opens up with brewing equipment to the left, ‘Barrel Land’ at the far end of the building, and the taps to the far right. Two large warehouse doors are open on either side of the building one of which opens to the great expanse of land that Southern has at their disposal. There is a different feel to this brewery than I am used to. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I want to tie it to being in the Deep South. There’s just something the South has that can’t be found anywhere else.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company

Bar Seating: There are plastic Adirondack chairs spread throughout the brewery. There was no actual seating at the bar, which seemed to be consistent in each of the breweries I visited. There was a large area behind the brewery where a small stage had been set up with a number of tarp coverings and more Adirondack chairs.

Staff: Ian, the tour guide, was kind enough to give me a private tour since my time was Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Companylimited. After showing me around, he introduced me to one of the brewers, Mark Mooney. Before getting hired on at Southern, Mark attended the Siebel Institute of Technology Brewing School in Chicago, followed by a four-month internship with Jailhouse Brewing in Hampton, Georgia. After a short time of shooting the shit and tasting a few beers, I had to make my way back to the hotel and quickly get ready for the night’s festivities, which included the wedding rehearsal dinner. Mark agreed to meet me the next day to show me around what he affectionately referred to as ‘Barrel Land’. The following day I met up with Mark at the brewery. We had a great hour-long conversation. He listed what was in the barrels and asked what I was interested in trying. I decided on a Flanders Red that was aging in red wine barrels with a pound and a half of local strawberries per gallon. The aroma of strawberries was certainly there. It wasn’t as sour as I expected it to be, but it definitely was tasty with the strawberries and a hint of red wine coming through. Southern doesn’t want their sours Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Companyto peel away your palate like some in the industry have a tendency to do. My next target was the Wild Ale that was aging in the sixty barrel oak Foeder. Southern is the first in Georgia to incorporate a Foeder into their brewing repertoire. The Wild was another delicious beer, some of which will go into barrels with the rest going into kegs. Before calling it a day Mark pulled a bit of their Double IPA out of a tank for me to try. Another style and another beer that was pretty damn impressive. Unfortunately, due to a combination of the breweries hours and the wedding timeline my short window of time had come to an end. I had to order an Uber and head back to the hotel to change for the wedding. Everyone I came into contact with at Southern made me feel as if I was a regular and not just another tourist.  You’ve heard the term ‘Southern hospitality’ thrown around, but you really don’t know what it means until you’ve experienced it.

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing CompanyMerch: Southern has a large assortment of shirts ranging in price from $20.00 to $30.00, hats for $12.00, and glassware from $2.00 to $6.00. All of these plus patches, stickers, bottle openers, etc. can be found in their online store or when you visit the brewery.

Membership offered: Sign ups begin on June 12th for Southern’s inaugural Barrel Society bottle club. For $250.00 you get a club shirt, glass, two members-only events, and ten to twelve barrel aged beers from across the spectrum of styles. From the beers I had the opportunity to try I would have to imagine the offerings would consist of saisons, imperial stouts, Berliners, and/or sours. There will only be space for 100 members. I would certainly be signing up if I was a local.

Best days or time of year to go: Saturday is the busiest of the three days they are open. Saturdays are the time to be there from the looks of the turnout. There was a party atmosphere with a band playing out Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Companyback, but it also had a very family-friendly feel with kids running about. If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere both Thursday and Friday would be your best bet.

Regular Hours: Thursday: 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Friday: 4:30pm – 9:00pm, & Saturday: 2:30pm – 7:30pm

Happy Hour: With the way the laws are set up there is no happy hour.

Fun Facts:

Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company-In their first year, Southern produced 24 beers on their production system.

-The walk-in cooler was owned by a mortuary, SweetWater Brewing, and then the Terrapin Beer Co. before being purchased by Southern Brewing.

-Everything that comes into the brewery is reused, including the pallets which were used to create the new serving bar.

-Southern is the only brewery in Georgia to completely build their own building.

-There are plans in the works for a building that would house their sour program and for a 1,500 seat amphitheater. With 14 acres of property, the possibilities are endless for Southern. They seem to be aiming to become a must visit destination in the future for not only craft beer drinkers, but also music loving folk.

-All spent grain goes to a local pig farmer who in turn provides a pig, fed by that grain, for a pig roast at Southern.Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Company

-They are hoping to begin canning in August or September of this year.

-Southern had four amphorae made, using Georgia clay, to age their beer. Amphora are ceramic barrels that date back 9,000 years to the Neolithic age. They offer an earthy mineral character to the beer and were first used by the Brasserie Cantillon in Belgium.

Overall Rating (1-5): I am grading Southern a well-deserved 4.75. If I was a local this is one of those breweries I would visit weekly. Consider yourself lucky Athens. The Southern Brewing Company will be doing big things in the future!

What was missing: Nothing at all. Not only was there a porter on tap, but also an imperial stout! Color Georgia Craft Brewery Review: The Southern Brewing Companyme happy! If not for all the wedding stuff (Congratulations again Catlin & Cameron!) I would have spent much more time enjoying not only the beer but the company of the staff as well.

Thankfully the wedding brought us to Athens. Otherwise, I doubt I would have ever discovered The Southern Brewing Company. Split between two days I was on-site for probably three hours. I don’t know when I’ll be in Athens again, but I will most definitely be visiting Southern one way or another in the future. If you’re heading to Atlanta do yourself a favor and head east to Athens and enjoy what Southern has to offer.

Did I leave anything out or is there something else you would like to know about The Southern Brewing Company? Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below.

Cheers!