Fellow award-winning homebrewers, Georgia Tech grads and fraternity roommates, Jason Santamaria and Chris Doyle partnered to found Second Self Beer Co. in 2010.
“We had both had corporate jobs at the time,” Santamaria says. “Brewing is what we really loved and what we were passionate about so we wanted to make that our second life. It was our dream.”
The new brewery, located in a small building on Logan Circle in northwest Atlanta, is built around a 10-barrel brewing system, with 20 barrel tanks, and a production capacity of 2,400 barrels per year.
Beginning Oct. 6, the first Second Self beers will be available on draft around Atlanta in bars, restaurants and growler shops, and for sale in kegs at package stores. Currently, the brewery is only open for private tours, but there are plans for public tours and a tasting room soon.
Gathered in the brewery office one recent Saturday morning, Santamaria and “beer consigliere” John Liotta talked about Second Self, while Doyle joined the conversation via speakerphone from Albany, New York, where he was about to get married.
Santamaria’s family was in the restaurant business, and he’s worked as a chef and kitchen manager, but his brewery role breaks to the business side. And as the company’s “beer architect” he serves as the brand’s “taste ambassador.”
“Chris is basically in charge of everything in the brewery and I’m in charge of everything outside of the brewery including the sales and marketing,” Santamaria says. “However, any recipe creation is something we do together.”
Known as the company’s “Alechemist,” Doyle earned a diploma from the Craft Brewers Apprenticeship Program at the American Brewers Guild in Salisbury, Vermont, and went on to work as a brewer at Sweetwater Brewing Co. in Atlanta.
“Working at Sweetwater gave me a lot of hands-on experience and in-depth knowledge,” Doyle says. “Working at Second Self is little bit different because we don’t have the same kind of computer systems. But it will be helpful as we grow.”
Liotta, who is a veteran of the high end wine business, but a bit of a beer newbie, came on board as a kind of elder and advisor.
“I’m considerably older than these guys and I have the relationships that I’ve built with restaurants and bars and package stores,” Liotta says. “Really, I’m just here to make everyone’s life easier, and if they need something, they can ask me.”
As for the beers Second Self will be offering soon, many have a culinary bent, and all are aimed to play well with food.
The brewery’s core beers are Thai Wheat, a spicy American-style wheat beer flavored with lemongrass and ginger, and Red Hop Rye, an American hybrid IPA brewed with a good portion of rye malt.
LIPA, an aromatic session IPA with blended hops, and Saison, a traditional dry saison made with all American ingredients, will be the first two seasonal offerings.
Later on, look for Mole Porter, a chocolate porter with a spice blend of cocoa nibs, cinnamon, clove and dried chilies, Old ’Oyle, a big Russian imperial oatmeal stout, and Juniper Rosemary IPA, a malty herbal IPA flavored with juniper and rosemary.
“The beers we like don’t always fit a category,” Santamaria says. “We try to make everything we do very flavorful and creative but still well balanced. And we play with lots with herbs and spices. I grew up in a kitchen and I want beer on the dinner table.”
Beer Pick: Thai Wheat
Second Self Beer Co., Atlanta, GA
Available on draft at bars, restaurants and growler shops, beginning Oct. 6
Profile: One of the oldest recipes developed by Second Self partners Jason Santamaria and Chris Doyle when they were still homebrewing, this refreshing but complex American wheat is rooted in Santamaria’s travels in Thailand. Brewed with spicy Saaz and Hallertau hops and flavored with lemongrass, ginger and a touch galangal, it’s a light, crisp food-friendly beer that’s well suited for sipping any time.
Pair with: Santamaria and Doyle suggest pairing Thai Wheat with fish, chicken, pork loin, grilled vegetables, sushi and Asian cuisine.
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