According to BrewersAssociation.org, there are 161 breweries in Georgia. That number includes those designated as brewpubs and breweries and of those, 50 are in the Atlanta metro area. That’s a whole lot of beer.
Since I always search for breweries when I travel, I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to visit some of my home state’s breweries. I definitely have my
drinking work cut out for me, putting this guide to breweries in Georgia together.
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Sweetwater Brewing Company
Even though it’s not the oldest brewery in Georgia, Sweetwater Brewing Company has been around a long time. Since 1997. And it’s their famous green 402 beer bottles that most people are familiar with. In fact, Sweet Water is so popular, they make half of the beer produced in Georgia yearly.
Located in an industrial area northeast of Atlanta, Sweetwater is easy to get to and is pretty large. They have indoor seating and an outdoor, dog friendly, area that’s covered. Even though the brewery wasn’t crowded when we got there, it filled up as the afternoon progressed. They do offer a 30 minute tour for $10 but we were starving and decided to forego the tour to eat.
Sweet Water Beer
I don’t consider myself a beer connoisseur by any means. In fact, I don’t even tell you what a lot of them are. I only know what I like. My preference leans towards German beers, Belgian ales, gose and sour beer.
For certain, I don’t like IPA’s. It just so happens that one of Sweetwater’s most popular beers is an IPA. But no worries. They have plenty of other beer on tap for whatever your tastes are. Actually, it was tough to pick one.
Instead of a flight, I picked a Sour Berliner Weisse called Easy Lover. It was made with El Dorado hops that the server explained are a special kind of hops. Sweetwater puts a lot of attention into the ingredients they use. In doing some investigation when I got home, the El Dorado hops tend to have tropical fruity notes.
Which makes sense, since my beer was a cloudy, more fruity sour beer that tends to be found in Northern Germany. I really enjoyed the taste and it complimented my burger nicely. Sweetwater also serves a hard seltzer for those that don’t drink beer.
Sweet Water Food
The only thing better for me than a brewery with good beer, is a brewery with good beer AND good food. I have to say, Sweetwater Brewing has some of the best menus I’ve seen at a brewery.
Huge, generous portions, perfect for sharing. The burger I ordered was enormous, topped with cheese and bacon and the fresh handcut fries were a perfect side.
My daughter ordered smoked chicken nachos made with cheese, charred corn, black beans and a creamy verde sauce. As nachos go, these were some of the tastiest.
As more people came in, we checked out what some of the other people were ordering. In fact, the lady next to us let me snap a photo of her crispy Thai brussel sprouts. She swears they are the best thing on the menu. Next time Sweetwater. Next time.
Sweet Water Vibe
One of the things I really don’t like about some breweries is a snobby, we know more than you, attitude. There was none of that at Sweetwater Brewing. The bartender was professional and went out of his way to explain the beer when I had questions. And in a nice way. Not condescending.
The food came out quick and we were well taken care of. The brewery is big enough to feel comfortable but not so big that you feel lost. There’s a fun, happy vibe about the place and I would definitely go back. Even though I don’t have a lot to compare to, I’m pretty sure Sweetwater is going to rate really high on my breweries in Atlanta list. I’m only sad I didn’t tried it sooner.
Bold Monk Brewing Co.
Bold Monk Brewing Co. is one of Atlanta’s newer breweries. Housed in an industrial complex in West Midtown, Bold Monk has a restaurant, a library, a coffee house and a newly completed beer garden. They literally want you to find your most comfortable spot and enjoy yourself.
One thing that really surprised me about Bold Monk is they also serve brunch till 3pm on the weekends. I’m a big fan of breakfast all day so I can’t wait to go back and do brunch. There’s a mixed berry waffle with whipped cream, calling my name.
Bold Monk Beer
Like Sweetwater, I visited Bold Monk with my daughter and we met up with a mutual friend. Bold Monk’s beer model is Belgian and the menu is full of ales, stouts, lagers and a few IPA.s. I chose a Belgian Witbier brewed with lemon, orange peel and coriander called White Oak White.
And it was delicious. The attention to detail in the glassware was something I appreciated as well. For the non beer drinkers, the brewery has Urban Tree cider and Atlanta Hard Cider.
Bold Monk Food
When we decided to visit Bold Monk, we really didn’t know what to expect or if Bold Monk Brewing even served food. Unfortunately, we had eaten before we went. I say unfortunately because the food looks amazing.
In fact, their current Google rating is a 4.6 with almost 400 reviews. That’s pretty incredible! I can’t wait to go back for brunch or some of that pizza our bar mates ordered. Shout out for letting me snap this photo. Yes, I do that a lot to the embarrassment of my daughter.
Bold Monk Vibe
I really enjoyed the upscale, which is different for a brewery, but welcoming vibe at Bold Monk. Everyone was super friendly. Since we weren’t eating, we sat at the bar. The service was great and our bartender did a thorough job explaining about the beer. Bonus points for no snobbery.
We felt well taken care of and he continued to check back frequently to see if we needed anything. Even though I enjoyed sitting at the bar, and would do it again, I am looking forward to checking out the new beer garden.
Breweries in Atlanta
These two breweries were a good introduction to Atlanta breweries. They couldn’t have been more different but I enjoyed each one equally. Before these breweries, I had only been to Ocmulgee Brewpub in Macon. Which I enjoyed a lot too. I started my Georgia breweries beer quest in February of 2020 and even though I was off to a good start, we all know how 2020 turned out. I’m hoping to get back on track for 2021 and working through a few more breweries in Georgia’s. Until then…slainte.