We had originally planned on checking out SweetWater Brewing Company for their Thursday night tour, however it was cancelled due to the weather and dangerous road conditions. We definitely wanted to check them out prior to leaving town and were fortunate enough to get ahold of ‘Diggs’ and set up a time in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day prior to leaving for Birmingham, AL. We met up with Diggs in the spacious taproom and were soon joined by Zak Ray – the Resident Sipster who handles events, tours, and beer education – for a tour of their expanded facilities. This was by far the largest operation we have been able to view completely and it was very enlightening for us to see the stark contrast from the smaller, younger breweries that we focus on and very much enjoy visiting.
After surviving the ice and snow onslaught, our good friend Sarah made her way up from Savannah and joined us at Twain’s Billiards and Tap in Decatur, GA on Thursday, 2/13/14. Owner and co-founder Ethan Wurtzel greeted us when we walked in the door, then poured us a flight of beers to enjoy as we talked to him about the brewpub. Twain’s is, and always has been, a place where you can hang out, eat, drink, watch sporting events on TV, play shuffleboard, darts, pool, and other games; it’s a very interactive establishment.
On the morning of 2/11/14 we prepared for Atlanta’s Snowpocalypse 2.0. As the day progressed, we realized the weather wasn’t going to get too nasty until late in the evening and decided to take advantage of the milder than expected afternoon to visit nearby 5 Seasons Brewing Company. They currently have 3 locations but we chose to visit the original Prado location where we met with Restaurant Manager, Casey Dryden, who has worked his way up from server in 9 years with the company. While we sampled a flight at the bar, Casey graciously answered all of our questions about the brewpub’s history.
While awaiting the impending doom of Icepocalypse 2.0 in Atlanta, GA, we went to check out Wrecking Bar Brewpub on the evening of Monday, 2/10/14. We chatted with the bartender, Paul, while sampling a flight of their beers on tap, and then got introduced to their head brewer, Neal Engleman. Neal started as a server at the Grand Opening on June 19, 2011, but quickly worked his way into the brewery by November.
On Saturday 2/8/14, we had the fortunate timing of re-entering Georgia and attending the Mosaic Red Rye IPA release event at Terrapin Beer Company. When we arrived there were still hundreds of people waiting in line outside but, as an example of how accustomed the brewery is at handling packed tours, that line moved very quickly and we were soon inside and speaking with one of the Regional Sales Managers, Oliver Koch. Oliver shared his knowledge of the brewery before handing us over to Matt Saylor for a private tour of their vast facilities. We were informed that, despite this day’s special beer release, the brewery tours which are held Wed-Sat each week from 5:30-7:30pm are often that busy and are always capped at 800 attendees. The tours and tastings are free or $10/$12 with a souvenir pint/specialty glass, respectively. It doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of new craft beer converts with the University of Georgia campus just 2 ½ short miles away.
After spending the day with our awesome host, Sarah, in Savannah, GA, we headed over to Southbound Brewing Company on the night of Wednesday, 2/5/14. We had no idea what we were walking into, as we had apparently decided to show up on the grand opening night of their brewery tours. Instantly we were surrounded by patrons playing cornhole, laughing, and conversing over the drinks Southbound had on tap and cask that night. Not only that, we were also lucky enough to get to enjoy the live, local music that was being provided by The Whiskey Sessions.
On the morning of 2/4/14, we once again packed our bags and prepared to head to Georgia after 9 (mostly cloudy and rainy) days in the Sunshine State. We crossed the border and hugged the Atlantic coast on our way to historic Savannah, GA for a tour of Moon River Brewing Company. We cozied up to the bar and sampled a flight consisting of each beer on tap that day and cured our hunger with the $5 lunch special, a chicken cordon bleu inspired sandwich with French fries. We were next greeted by the brewery’s co-owner, John Pinkerton, who started the business with Gene Beeco in 1999, well ahead of the new wave craft brewery wave in the South.