5 new Georgia brews to
Beer guru Ale Sharpton shares his top local picks for the season
Fall is one of the best times of the year to imbibe what I consider to be the best, most complex beverage in the world beer. The change of weather often brings more body and a little more bang for the buck on the ABV level, but in Georgia's case, it can also mean inventive interpretations of traditional styles thanks to a lil' Southern flare. Here are a few of the many sippers in production to bless our lucky palates in October.
1. Table Beer - Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Athens
There is no doubt this Athens-based brewery needs more space to meet its demand, but while its expansion is under construction, the folks at Creature Comforts are keeping fans entertained with a new brew simply called Table Beer. Formerly labeled the Epicurious in 2016, Creature actually welcomed feedback from culinary geniuses throughout the state to craft this effervescent, incredibly balanced ale designed to pair with fare. Subtle flavors ranging from Mandarin orange to fresh-baked biscuits will not overpower taste buds when you stick a fork into what chefs poured their heart into. Don't worry: At 4.2 percent ABV, this baby still holds its own identity; the Table Beer just likes to share the spotlight. So unselfish, right?
2. Dust Bunny Hazy IPA - Monday Night Brewing, Atlanta
Speaking of expansion, Monday Night Brewing is having one helluva fall season so far. The brewery just blew Atlanta's mind when it hosted the grand opening of its colossal second location in the West End called the Garage, constructed specifically for barrel-aging beer and keeping the city partying hard. The name goes back to when the founders first started homebrewing in, yes, a garage years ago but not everything is vintage; there are still some brand-spanking new brews coming out, including the Dust Bunny. Embracing the craze for hazy IPAs inspired by the Northeast, the Bunny promises booming notes of peach, lemon and orange, with a touch of honey at 6.8 percent ABV. That sounds like my steez. I'm sure it will be yours, too.
3. Flower Business Double IPA - Steady Hand Beer Co., Atlanta
Let's stick with the hops. Kicking down the door with its first canned brew (complete with a gangster design), the all-new Steady Hand Brewing will have hop heads rejoicing with a double India pale ale christened as Flower Business in mid-October. A muscle-flexing 9 percent ABV, this hazy baby promises bursts of tropical fruit, citrus and some pine to round things out. Its "flagship beers" Paradise Waits IPA and Georgia Farmhouse Ale will follow Flower's lead in November, so here's a high five to Steady Hand.
4. Vanilla Gorilla Imperial Porter - Red Brick Brewing, Atlanta
Proudly beating its chest as Georgia's oldest craft brewery since '93, Red Brick celebrates 24 years by canning its beloved Vanilla Gorilla imperial porter for the first time in four-pack, 16-ounce cans. The Gorilla's perfect fusion of hand-cut Madagascar vanilla beans and layers of chocolate undertones will be in high demand, so scoop 'em quick. Plus, the 8 percent ABV gives it an "imperial" status and will graciously help us adjust to the colder evenings. Drink it on the cool side not ice cold for the full effect.
5. Queen's Weiss, Southern Bel' and Unseasonal Lager - Arches Brewing, Hapeville
The European-influenced Arches Brewing saw the dominance of ales (no relation) around town and carved its own lane by also specializing in the other beer species, lagers. Nice move! Representing Hapeville, look for its new, sophisticatedly designed aluminum 12-ouncers in retail coolers this month. The Queen's Weiss (5.3 percent) stays true to the traditional hefeweizen, delivering the style's signature flavors of banana, clove and poppin' bubblegum; the strong Southern Bel' (6.8 percent) pays homage to Belgium with a complex fusion of coconut and dark fruit; and the easy-drinking, amber-hued Unseasonal Lager at 5.4 percent keeps things fresh while using old-school brewing techniques and spicy Noble hops to create a flavor balance that is enjoyable year-round. Arches has a bright future and is a pretty great place to kill time before heading to the airport!
And, some new breweries to boot
Look out for some brand new beer companies joining the Atlanta scene, including Roswell's From The Earth and Variant; Old Fourth Ward's New Realm, Pontoon in Sandy Springs, Slow Pour straight outta Lawrenceville and Good Word opening up in Duluth, with more on the way. Whoa!