THE NEXT GREAT CRAFT-BEER TOWN: ATHENS, GA
By Ale Sharpton
The South has been cast as craft beer’s new frontier in recent years, withserious breweries gaining ground all over the region. And just as producers are striving to keep pace with with Stones and Dogfish Heads of the world, there are Southern cities making moves to compete with O.G. brew hubs like San Diego, Chicago, and Portland.
Asheville, NC, has been widely lauded as the new brewing capital of the South thanks to tax breaks that attracted major brands like New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Oskar Blues to set up East Coast operations there—they joined an already thriving local scene to create the combination of clout and upstart energy that marks the country’s best beer towns.
But the big question is, who’s got next?
We’d put our money on Athens, GA, which complements Atlanta’s burgeoning scene (it’s only an hour away) with its own trifecta of sold-out brewfests, standout craft breweries (including the regional powerhouseTerrapin Beer Co.), and new-school gastropubs. This week marks the annualAthens Beer Week (April 7–16), so we thought there was no better time to turn our attention to this breakout beer town.
THE FUTURE: CREATURE COMFORTS AND SOUTHERN BREWING CO.
Adam Beauchamp and David Stein are the co-founders and co-brewmasters of Creature Comforts, which plans to hit the ground running with an eclectic introductory lineup.
“Our initial line up will be a pilsner; an IPA brewed with Citra, Galaxy, and Centennial hops; a rye amber aged with a bit of French oak; and a Berliner Weisse,” says Stein. “After a rigorous first week of brewing, we now have all of our year-round beers fermenting away. Classic City Brewfest will be the first chance for the public to try our beers, and then look for our brewery doors to open the week of the Twilight Criterium [a pro cycling event] on April 25th, with beer hitting the market then as well.”