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5 Awesome Peach State Microbreweries

Updated on April 20, 2015

Brewing It Up in Georgia

Visiting microbreweries all around this great country of ours is on the bucket list of this old (well, kinda old) beer junkie, but for now I'm sticking around town and learning more about notable microbreweries in and around my city of Atlanta, Georgia. On this page I'm delving into just five of the many breweries that are located in Georgia, from Sweetwater in Atlanta to Jailhouse in Hampton. If visiting microbreweries is something you like to do as well, think about adding a couple of these to YOUR bucket list. Now, pop open a cold one and get your drink on!

Photo Credit: " 'Appley-Peach' by Matt" - via Creative Commons


Sweetwater Brewing Company

Photo Credit: LaMenta3, via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: LaMenta3, via Creative Commons

The very first ideas for what would become the great Sweetwater Brewery began in the early 1990s when Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney were roommates at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. The two wanted to get into the business of brewing beer and began their quest by washing out dirty kegs. After they finished school, they found themselves at the American Brewers Guild in California and starting to brew their own beer for breweries on the West Coast. The summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 brought Freddy to the city. He began thinking that Atlanta really needed some West Coast-style brews. Together, Freddy and Kevin began pinching their pennies and started a small brewery off of Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta's west side. They decided to name the brewery "Sweetwater" after Sweetwater Creek, where Freddy often enjoyed kayaking, and their motto became "Don't Float the Mainstream". February 17, 1997 marked the official beginning of Sweetwater Brewing Company. As the beers started to become more popular after a few years, Sweetwater was moved to its second and current location in Midtown Atlanta in 2004. Sweetwater is currently enjoying its new and huge expansion project that now has the capacity to brew 100,000 barrels of beer.

Public tours, which are really just like huge outdoor parties, operate on Wednesday-Friday from 5:30-7:30 pm, Saturdays from 2:30-4:30pm, and Sundays from 2:30-4:00pm. You will want to arrive very early for the tours and tastings because they are very popular around here and usually packed to the gills with very nice people ready to taste some excellent beer and just chill. Rides home are offered at a discount in case you need one. The gift shop is loaded with lots of Sweetwater garb, so be sure to check it out. Check out sweetwaterbrew.com for info about the company, the brews, upcoming event info, and to sign up for the newsletter. Sweetwater's Blog is an excellent source for news about the brewery, and you can follow Sweetwater on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Sweetwater's Brews:

Year-Round: Blue, IPA, 420, Georgia Brown, LowRYEder IPA

"Catch n Release": Happy Ending, Road Trip, Motorboat, Festive Ale, Waterkeeper Hefeweizen

"Dank Tank Series": Dank Tank, Crank Tank, Anniversary Ales 15, 16

Votin' Time!

Photo Credit: Catharticflux via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Catharticflux via Creative Commons

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Terrapin Beer Company

Photo Credit: Beerstreetjournal.com via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Beerstreetjournal.com via Creative Commons

Terrapin's story begins with two guys named "Spike" and John who met when they worked together at a microbrewery in Atlanta and began setting their sights on brewing beer that was original and different from anything being brewed in the southeastern United States. In 2002, they introduced their first craft beer, Rye Pale Ale. It instantly became a hit and won the American Pale Ale Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival later that year. Around that time, Spike and John decided their headquarters should be located in Athens because both Athens and Terrapin feel strongly about great music, the environment, and living life to the fullest.

According to John's blog, Terrapin saw its best month ever in July 2013, selling over 4,000 barrels of beer. That can be thought of as over 8,000 kegs or over 120,000 gallons of beer, all in just one month! Currently, Terrapin boasts 43 full-time employees, over 30 part-time employees, and over 20 different beers being sold in ten states. Terrapin brews have won many awards and Jimmy Carbone of Beer Sessions Radio on Heritage Radio named Terrapin as one of the 25 best breweries in the United States. Public tours of the brewery are offered on Wednesday - Saturday from 5:30-7:30pm. There are also many charity fundraiser events, benefits, and festivals here throughout each year and at the gift shop you can score some Terrapin gear like hats, t-shirts, and koozies. Follow Terrapin on Twitter at @TerrapinTours and @TerrapinBeerCo. They are on Facebook as well. At the Terrapin Site you can learn more about the brewery and their beer and also sign up for the newsletter.

Terrapin Brews:

Year-round: Rye Pale Ale, Golden Ale, Hopsecutioner, Tree Hugger, Recreation Ale

Seasonal: Hopkarma, Moo-Hoo, Pumpkin Fest, Maggie's Farmhouse

Monster Beer Tour: Wake n Bake, Monk's Revenge, Hopzilla, Oaked Big Hoppy Monster

Terrapin also has many collaboration brews, special releases, and side projects - see the site for more info.

Red Brick Brewing Company

Photo Credit: QuinnDombrowski, Creative Commons
Photo Credit: QuinnDombrowski, Creative Commons

Red Brick Brewing Company, founded in 1993, was originally known as Atlanta Brewing Company and is the oldest operating brewery in Georgia. Its current location is off of Defoor Hills Road in Midtown Atlanta and it distributes to eight states within the Southeast. Its doors open for public tastings and tours Wednesday - Friday from 5-8pm and Saturday from 2-5. They have a Facebook group for you to follow and you can also visit redbrickbrewing.com for more information.

Red Brick Brews:

Year-Round: Hoplanta, Laughing Skull

Seasonal: Winter Seasonal Red Brick Porter, Red Brick Chocolate Cherry Porter, Spring Seasonal Red Brick Blonde Ale, Summer Seasonal Dog Days Ale, Fall Seasonal, Winter Seasonal

Limited Release: Brick Mason Series #5 - The Lost Years, Brick Mason Series #6 - Black-Eye Rye, Brick Mason Series #7 - 20th Anniversary Ale, Brick Mason Series #8 - Vanilla Gorilla

Jailhouse Brewing Company - Good Things Come in Small Packages

Photo Credit: YellowDog via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: YellowDog via Creative Commons

This small, up-and-coming brewery started in 2008 when its owner got his training at American Brewer's Guild and bought an old, run down jailhouse in which to house his brewery, Jailhouse Brewing Company. Renovation to the Old Hampton Jailhouse began in 2008 and Jailhouse began selling its craft beer in 2009. Only offered in Georgia at the moment, this tiny brewery is sure to be a hit in short order. Tour the brewery and taste the one-of-a-kind beers on "Lockdown Thursdays" from 5:30-8 and on "Visitation Saturdays" from 2-6. To read more info and join the mailing list, see Jailhouse's site.

Jailhouse Brews:

Year-Round: Slammer Wheat, Misdemeanor Ale, Mugshot IPA, Breakout Stout

Seasonal: Saison Reprieve, Restraining Order Porter

Red Hare Brewing Company

Photo Credit: Elyse Marie Moore from Red Hare Brewing
Photo Credit: Elyse Marie Moore from Red Hare Brewing

Currently located on Delk Industrial Boulevard in Marietta, Georgia, Red Hare Brewing Company got its start in 2009 when Roger Davis first began thinking he might want to brew beer. He and his friend Buddy Thomas began brewing their own craft beer in Roger's basement and even came up with their own brewing system using water coolers, a big brew pot, and other various tools and hoses. They thought up recipes, brewed them up, and found that their beers were becoming quite popular amongst their friends. About a year later, Red Hare Brewing Company was born along with bigger dreams and a very convenient and much bigger brewing facility. In 2011, the brewery opened its doors to public tastings and tours and its beers were becoming more readily available in Marietta and the surrounding areas. Red Hare currently boasts an 11,000 square foot facility and many award-winning brews. The brewery was also the first craft beer brewery in Georgia to can their beer. You can tour the brewery and taste the delicious beers on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30, Fridays from 5:30-7:30, and on Saturdays from 2-4. Follow Red Hare on Facebook and on Twitter, and visit Redharebrewing.com for more information.

Red Hare Brews:

Year-Round: Long Day Lager, Gangway IPA, Watership Brown Ale

Fall Seasonal: Forbidden Fruit

Limited Edition: Coffee Cream Stout

Rabbit's Reserve Series: Chocolate Porter, Imperial Red IPA, Saison, Oktoberfest, Bitter Hearts Double Black IPA

Thanks For Visiting!

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    • merfzel profile image
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      merfzel 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @Lady Lorelei: Definitely... nothing like a cold beer when lounging around the pool in the summertime! Thanks for visiting :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      I love the concept behind the jail house brewing company. What a great legacy for a very sad building (should make a lot of people happy now lol). Seriously beer is my second favorite beverage ranking second only to my morning coffee. Gotta love an ice cold one in the hot sun or late evening.

    • merfzel profile image
      Author

      merfzel 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @Scott A McCray: LOVE Taco Mac... It is like a treat for me and my husband to go there and tackle our "Brewniversity" lists :)

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 3 years ago

      Hopsecutioner...mmmm-mmmm, goooood!

      Not a micro in and of itself, but Taco Mac is an Atlanta area fave for me - beers from EVERYWHERE - ON TAP! There's one in Charlotte now, but I haven't had a chance to visit yet...

    • merfzel profile image
      Author

      merfzel 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      @Grifts: I'll go with you... when I was developing this lens, I realized Red Hare is only a few minutes from me and I haven't even been there :) I LOVE touring and tasting at microbreweries.... Abita in the New Orleans area is my all time fave.

    • Grifts profile image

      Devin Gustus 3 years ago

      If I am ever in Georgia, I will be sure to check these out

    • profile image

      Namsak 3 years ago

      I do like a nice beer and there are some interesting ones here.