Brewing Trend Forming in Georgia: Atlanta Home to Many Small Breweries

By EMILY PUGH

A trend is forming in Georgia, especially in downtown Atlanta; breweries are
moving in and calling it home.

A new brewery just moved into West Atlanta called Monday Night Brewing. The
brewery is located off Trabert Avenue near Atlantic Station. The brewery opened in January and just recently began bottling in March of this year. Monday Night Brewing joined the team of brewers in Atlanta that consists of Red Brick Brewing Company, 5 Seasons and SweetWater Brewing Company. This is creating a lot of excitement in the area.

Alyssa Silvia, a Kennesaw State University student and a customer of Monday Night
Brewing, said she thinks that having local breweries are “cool and good for the economy.”

“Since they are local people from around here can be employed by them,” Silvia said.

She is a frequent visitor to the breweries in the area and enjoys the environment they provide. Her favorite beer so far is the Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale from Monday Night Brewing. One of her only worries is that flooding the Atlanta market with breweries would make them less special. She worries that if there are more of them they could become as common place as a McDonalds and would in turn make them not as special to her.

Steven Cole has a different point of view.

“By having more breweries around it creates more competition between them, causing
the breweries to strive for even better products,” Cole said.

This seems to be the route that Atlanta Breweries are going. The breweries are pushing themselves to give better products to the public.

The development of craft breweries in Atlanta started with Red Brick Brewing formerly known as the Atlanta Brewing Company. The company opened its doors in 1993 and now distributes beer to eight states in the Southeast. Red Brick Brewing has two main beers: Laughing Skull and Hoplanta, but it also offers many different seasonal varieties. The company offers tours on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Then there is SweetWater Brewing Company off of Ottley Drive in Atlanta; its beer is
known throughout the Southeast. The brewery was founded in 1997 and started off
in a building off Fulton Industrial Boulevard. The company is a large environmental supporter with its “Save the River” campaigns. It organizes fundraisers to help preserve Chattahoochee, Savannah, French Broad, Black Warrior, and Neuse for future generations. A few of its year-round beers are Blue, IPA, and Georgia Brown plus limited releases Motor Boar, Festive Ale and Waterkeeper.

SweetWater hosts an event called 420 Fest where participants are able to try different types of beer and learn about how the beer is made and listen to music.  SweatWater’s tour is free but $10 is the fee for a custom pint glass and six 5.5 ounce glasses of whichever beer you would like to try.

5 Seasons followed years later and opened in 2000 opening its first location in Atlanta,
which is considered its west-side location. It has since then become a local attraction. 5 Seasons then opened locations in the cities of Alpharetta and Sandy Springs.

5 Seasons is a unique combination of restaurant and brewery that uses only locally grown, sustainable and organic vegetables. It also bakes its own bread, cuts its meat in house, and makes its own ice cream. The variety of beer offered, which is brewed in house, is vast, including the GA Peach Wheat, Great White Buffalo and Garden Gnome Trippel.

It Started With Awesome Mondays

Monday Night Brewing was started by Jeff Heck, Joel Iverson and Jonathan Baker. The
three met at a Bible study and began to brew a beer kit when they decided that they needed a way to get to know each other better. After they started brewing it morphed into an event where friends and family were coming over to try the mixes the trio had created. The brewery idea formed easily because of the trio’s complementary business skills and enthusiasm.

“Literally, it was as simple as we started brewing on Monday…and all of a sudden we started thinking ‘Man, Mondays are awesome,’ and we actually looked forward to Mondays,” Iverson said, commenting on how they chose the company name.

It is now their mission to make Monday nights more fun for the rest of us.

The brewery’s mantras are “It’s not about living for the weekend, but about enjoying every day as much as you can; quality, not quantity; and relationships.” The company founders believe that we should do what we love every day. They hope to inspire people to do what they love; so many people have to think about the weekend to make it through their five-day week.

Heck, Iverson and Baker believe that beer, especially their beer, is meant to be enjoyed and drunk with the intention of not going overboard and that beer is a relational drink, meant to be enjoyed with friends.

One of Iverson’s favorite things is to pair the beer with different foods; he said he loves to pair the company’s beer Fu Manbrew Belgian-style WIT with Asian food, because of the hint of ginger. According to Iverson, the Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale goes great with smoked food and the Eye Patch Ale and a good pizza are “just the perfect combo.” Silvia also likes to pair her beer with food and agreed that the IPA with pizza is a great combo.

Challenging Beginnings

Iverson did say that getting the business set up held its challenges.

“Having fun sitting around making beer is fun, but trying to build a company and raise
money, getting loans from the bank and all of those things that go with running a company – all of those things have been a huge challenge,” Iverson said.

All of the hard work appears to have paid off. People now flock to the brewery and
bottles fly off the shelves.

“I am really excited that I can buy Monday Night Brewing in stores now instead of
just being able to get it in growlers and at bars,” Silvia said.

Before the beer product was available in package stores, customers would have to
venture out to specific retailers that were approved to sell growlers of beer. Growlers are glass jugs that hold 64 ounces of beer and are filled in the store and then capped for transport.

“I will probably still buy growlers but it makes it easier to grab some bottles if I do not have time to go to a place that sells them,” Cole said.

Monday Night Brewing also just released a new beer called the Double Eye Patch Ale.

“The double IPA is kind of a notch above,” Iverson said. “It is about 8.23 percent alcohol and 80 IB’s or so. It is definitely an IPA that a person who loves hops is going to love. It still has the same characteristics as our Eye Patch Ale in that it is balanced. It is a nice balance between the malt and the hops.”

Monday Night Brewing currently holds tastings on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, where customers pay $10 and receive a custom Monday Night Brewing glass and are able
to fill it up 3 times with whichever beer they would like. Also, customers are allowed to tour the brew room.

“We’re just excited to be here and have people into our home,” Iverson said.

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