Earlier this month, I celebrated my 23rd birthday. One of my many birthday outings was at Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta, GA. I’ve tried their beer before (probably at T.MAC), and I had heard that the brewery was a fun time, so I got a group of friends together and we checked it out! The rumors are definitely true. From the minute I walked in, the staff was upbeat and friendly which really set the mood and the atmosphere.
Like most breweries, you pay at the door for a glass and drink tickets that allow you to taste a variety of different beers in short pour fashion. The first one I tried was their Southern Session, which owns the slogan “Everyone’s Beer.” It seemed like a friendly choice, and it was light enough for me, but still had a lot of flavor to it. Definitely a great choice to start off with while my group and I chatted and played some Connect-4. I loved how there were all types of games laid out for people to play. They had everything from Cornhole to Pac-Man (beer and games, what more could you want?). I also used this time to take a birthday selfie with everyone who came out to celebrate with me, check out the gallery below!
I grabbed another one before we went on our tour of the brewery. I tried out their Big Creek which is a Kölsch-style beer (it means something German, I didn’t really pay attention), but I remember that it was pretty tasty! It’s brewed in an unusual way that gives it a lot of character. And it was a perfect walking beer as we explored the behind-the-scences action of the brewery.
The tour started in the main room where there was live music and people mingling. There was a huge wall painted with tons of names that we were told has all of the names of people who made the opening of the brewery possible.
We learned that they started out by raising money through a Kickstarter, which is one of those crowdfunding websites, and that as part of the donation, people got their names put on this wall. So we made a toast to them, tipping our hats to the people who made it possible for us to come out and enjoy the place. I thought that was pretty unique and definitely a memorable part of the experience.
Our tour guide was awesome, and she gave us a fun history lesson (yes, fun history, this place figured out how to do it) about Georgia and how beer brewing came to the colony. Which is ultimately how they decided their name, Jekyll, to pay homage to the history of Jekyll Island and how it contributed to what Georgia brewing is today. They really tell the story a lot better than I do, so you’ll just have to make a visit yourself! Then we were whisked into the room where they grind up all of the barley for their different types of beer. We were offered a sample of a cocoa flavored one that I reluctantly tried. It tasted like severely burnt cocoa krispies, but I imagine once it’s made into beer it tastes a lot better! Next stop was the warehouse where cases of beer were getting ready to go out for shipping. Here, our guide talked about how the brewery has been expanding to new states, which sounded really exciting for a company that has such a grassroots beginning. The last place we were shown was the bottling/distillery room. To my surprise, there was a group of guys bottling and labeling each beer by hand. The other breweries I’ve toured before had a lot of automated equipment that does these jobs, so it felt a lot more personal to see that each beer has some human effort put into it. With their expansion, though, our guide mentioned they were getting a fancy bottling machine in the next couple of weeks, so I felt lucky that I was able to see those extra steps before it was replaced with something more efficient. I also got a cool souvenir bottle cap that hadn’t been pressed yet. Pictures from the tour are below!
After the tour, we stayed a bit longer to enjoy the music and the people, and of course another beer. We learned about more of the types of beer they make on the tour, so I decided to try their ‘Merican Amber Ale. It was a great choice, and probably my favorite one that I tried all night. Vinnie tried the Cooter Brown Ale, and while browns are not my thing, he really enjoyed it (probably in-part to the awesome back story that goes with it). By then, the time had gotten away from us and we were late getting to my birthday dinner or else I could have stayed there all night.
Jekyll Brewing was a total win-win. Good beer and atmosphere, good people, and I got to cross off another thing on my 101 in 1001 challenge. It was a fun place for our group to spend happy hour, and I definitely want to go back again soon. What brewery should I try out next? Let me know your recommendation below!