The Georgia Beer Scene Is Hopping

Some interesting beer developments going on these days in Atlanta (and Georgia more broadly):

First, the legality of selling growlers (a large bottle that may be filled from the tap on site) in Georgia may come to be. From AtlantaBeerMaster.com, a letter from the Georgia Department of Revenue was quoted: “The Department [Of Revenue] has determined that, persuant to the Georgia Alcoholic Beverage Code, “growlers” or similar containers may be appropriately used so long as it is at a licensed retail off premise location that does not deal in distilled spirits by the package.“ At a state level, things look good, but local laws also come into play. A store called “The Beer Growler” is set to open in Athens in roughly a week according to the owners (UPDATE, 12/11/2010: They opened today!), and as AtlantaBeerMaster.com reported, Kraig Torres, owner of Hop City Craft Beer & Wine here in Atlanta, has said that they are staying on top of developments as well: “Atlanta, and surrounding jurisdictions have not allowed the sale of growlers specifically, despite the revised opinion of the State of Georgia. I am looking into the matter deeply. The DAY growlers are green lighted by the City of Atlanta is the day Hop City will sell it’s first growler.” It’s worth pointing out that you can buy (or sell) pre-filled growler size bottles anywhere – the interesting development is the potential to buy a growler filled fresh from a keg at your local store. Frankly, it’s a bit of a novelty for consumers since it won’t significantly improve the selection of beer available, though some will argue that the freshness of taking it from the keg to the bottle to your home the same day is a strong enough reason to choose a growler over a traditional beer bottled at the brewery.

Second, a new shop dedicated to craft brews will be opening soon on College Avenue in Decatur, Georgia: Ale Yeah! “We will showcase an abundance of American craft beer as well as varieties from around the world that exemplify liquid perfection.  We will carry bombers and also give people the opportunity to “build-your-own” 6-pack.  We will also offer fine cheeses, cured meats and chocolates that compliment the experience of a perfect pint.  Ale Yeah! will also carry a selection of fine brewing supplies in case you’re looking to create your own perfect pint.” Sounds good, yes? (UPDATE, 12/1/2010: Ale Yeah! opened this past week!)

Third, the Brick Store Pub has opened their upstairs “cellar” featuring a tremendous collection of vintage bottled beers. This is a gold mine for beer lovers, with selections spanning the globe and dating back as much as a decade in some cases, with each bottle labeled by vintage. Like wine, some beers (especially the ones you will find in the Brick Store cellar) benefit from time in the bottle, as opposed to the dominant theme of “drinking beer fresh.” This is your chance to try multiple vintages side by side and experience for yourself the impact of bottle aging, not to mention the ability to find some beers that you won’t find anywhere else. We stopped by for a quick tour from Dave Blanchard, one of the owners of the Brick Store:

Fourth!, 5 Seasons Prado, the original location of 5 Seasons, is now Lucky Devil Brewing. Kevin McNerney remains the brewmaster for Lucky Devil – no change to the beer, or menu for that matter. This should actually help differentiate Lucky Devil from the other 5 Seasons locations, as they had been on divergent paths due to different ownership and management over the past several years.

For extensive coverage of the Atlanta beer scene, check out www.AtlantaBeerMaster.com.

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