Sweet Water Brewery

FREE BEER (4 days a week) Map
From Sweetwater Brewery

About two decades ago, I was really into beer. I did all the stuff you would think a guy who was into beer would. I even made my own, and got pretty good at it. But for the last decade of my life, I’ve steered away from beer first toward neutral and then less neutral spirits. But it doesn’t mean I don’t still appreciate a good beer. And I am glad that Atlanta has got a worthy craft brewery to represent us in the Sweetwater Brewing Company, just off the Peachtree Exit on I-85, located at 195 Ottley Drive in Atlanta.
From Sweetwater Brewery
Now this is not exactly a secret, as the crowds can attest, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. Every Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday from 5:30p-7:30p (and Saturday from 2:30p-4:30p), these guys basically open their doors to the public to visit and taste some fine Georgia draft beers. They do two things: they operate a tasting room and they have a tour of the facilities. They are both technically free, though most patrons will opt to spend the $8 on a souvenir glass because you will get significantly larger “tastes” of the beers and they make nice keepsakes.
At the tasting room, you have a choice of their 5 Standard Brews: 420, IPA, Sch’wheat, Georgia Brown, and Blue, as well as one seasonal brew, they call “Catch and Release,” which was for us something called Motor Boat. As I knew before coming there, these guys know what they are doing and the beer is solid.
I would rank IPA & 420 as very good; Georgia Brown, Motor Boat, and Sch’wheat as good (though I’m not partial to wheat beers—I believe it’s done nicely); and Blue as just plain weird. Blue has an odor of Boo Berry cereal and that olfactory experience is so discordant that I can’t even tell you what it tastes like. That being said there’s a market for less beer-like beers and that’s apparently what they are going for. I do want to reiterate that the other beers were good to very good. Heck, I can honestly say that “I don’t often drink beer, but when I do I normally drink 420.”

The tour is a little underwhelming. After touring various whiskey distilleries, I probably expected a bit too much from this. With the large crowd it is hard to accomplish any kind of meaningfully informational tour, and I bet that most of the folks there didn’t really care that much. When they asked if anyone brewed beer at home only me and one other tour patron raised their hand. But considering the obstacles, it came off quite well. The impression I received was that this open house and tour was Sweetwater Brewery’s honest and sincere way to say thanks to its patrons. This type of heartfelt connection to a company’s customers is pretty rare, but nice to witness. It was also nice that the second half of the tour was held inside the huge walk-in cooler, allowing a nice way to beat the heat, if just for a few moments.

So if you like beer or know someone who does, and are over the age of 21 (this is important – no children are allowed), a trip to the Sweetwater Brewery is good way to spend a few hours of your day on the way to some Atlanta evening destination. Be prepared to drink, for crowds, and to walk a short distance from parking to the buildings. As I said, they seemed to thank me for my patronage, this article is my Thank You to them just for being there.

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