First Draft with Kathy Davis
Abbey of the Holy Goats brewer/owner talks beer
Kathy Davis has worn a lot of hats over the years. Sous chef at Cafe Lily in Decatur. Yoga and martial arts instructor. Starbucks barista. At one point, she almost became a nun. But it was while working at a financial planning firm that her parents gave her a homebrewing kit and she found herself inspired. She decided she no longer wanted to sit at desks working for other people, so she enrolled in business school at Georgia State, traveled the country visiting breweries, and started immersing herself in beer and business culture.
"It's been almost 10 years since my epiphany," Davis tells Creative Loafing. "There has been a lot of deliberation on my part to make sure the creation of the Abbey is nothing short of perfect."
The Abbey is Abbey of the Holy Goats, her Roswell brewery that's set to open in February. She plans to make Belgian-style beers inspired by the La Trappe and Gulden Draak she drank at Brick Store Pub during one of her most formative beer experiences. And it seems like the community is ready to drink them with her. In October, she raised more than $30,000 on Kickstarter to help finish the Abbey's build-out. CL caught up with Georgia's first female brewery owner/brewer to talk Belgians, taproom experiences, and — of course — goats.
Describe your first beer.
I was allowed small amounts of beer or wine at family events. I don't necessarily remember those beers well. I think the nicest one was a Honey Brown or a Guinness. But when I was in my 20s, I was talked out of joining a nunnery in Nova Scotia while at Brick Store Pub in Decatur. Over this conversation, I remember my first beer was a La Trappe. I'll never forget how the flavors exploded on my tongue to create this delicate balance of malty and ester-y with a tart finish. It was heaven. I went on to drink more Belgians that night, finishing with a Gulden Draak.
What kind of beers can we expect from the Abbey?
We're going to produce a session beer that's full of flavor, The Goats of the First Order. The Lazy Goat is a Belgian-style Pale Ale full of complexity and spice. We're producing a Saison, Goats in the Garden, which we're fermenting in an oak foeder, which complements the complexity of the beer. Finally, our last clean beer is a Belgian-style Red Double IPA. It'll be bold, sticky, estery, and hoppy. We're also creating a sour beer line that should take some time to come to full creation. It will be a traditional souring program meaning the beers will sour in wooden barrels anywhere from eight months to two years.
What makes your taproom special?
The Abbey Tasting Hall includes a locally handmade 26-foot-long community table weighing in at 2.5 tons. The room feels like a medieval monastery from the table to the stained glass and fireplace. I commonly get "Game of Thrones" references. We want you to commune with the beer, commune with each other, become a part of our community. No TVs, no pinball — just good people and good beer.
You once considered opening a goat farm. Any chance for goats on at the Abbey?
Our long-term goal is to build a brewery on some land and have not only goats, but a community garden as well. We want to embody the spirit and image of a true Abbey, with incredible beer and an incredible experience.
Brick Store Cellar Fest 2016
When: Sun., Feb. 28, noon-4 p.m.
Where: Brick Store Pub
In a first-of-its-kind event, the Brick Store will open its cellar, offering hundreds of vintage beers to ticket holders. Only 150 tickets will be sold, and they can be purchased in cash at Brick Store.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub Wood-Aged Wednesdays
When: Every Wednesday
Where: Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Price: Depends how many wood-aged beers you drink
Each week, this Little Five Points brewpub serves up a special small-batch beer that’s been aged in a wood barrel.