Beer Town: Three Taverns on tap in Decatur

Brian Purcell, the founder and president of Three Taverns in Decatur, will finally be able to answer the question that people have been asking him for over a year now: “When can I get your beer?”

The new brewery isn’t quite ready to open to the public, yet. But on Friday, its flagship beers will be on tap at bars around Decatur and a few neighboring areas, as Three Taverns launches Single Intent, a Belgian-style single ale, and A Night In Brussels IPA, a Belgian-style American IPA.

The celebration will begin at 5 p.m. at the Brick Store Pub, dubbed by Purcell as the “official launch headquarters and home base.” And throughout the evening, the Three Taverns team will be traveling around to toast and celebrate with friends and neighbors.

Last week, Purcell was busy at the brewery, where the tasting room and bottling line were still under construction. But the brewhouse had been operating for weeks and there was beer in the fermenters, ready to be transferred to the bright tanks and kegged for distribution.

“I am about as tired as I’ve ever been,” Purcell said. “This has been a long journey. I’m living my dream. But it’s going to be a much better dream when there’s beer in the market.”

Of all the new breweries opening around Atlanta, Three Taverns may be among the most ambitious. Named for a refreshment stop on the Appian Way in Italy, its plan calls for producing premium Belgian-style beer, combining Old World brewing techniques and a creative American craft style.

“I want to have an Old World aroma woven into everything we do,” Purcell told me earlier this year, when the brewhouse was first installed. “What I associate with that is a world where craftsmen were appreciated for the effort they put into making their product and they were passionate about it.”

Last year, Purcell and his partners raised $1.9 million in capital and took over a warehouse space in East Decatur Station for a build-out that includes a four-vessel, 30-barrel brewhouse, multiple fermenters, keg and bottling lines, and warm- conditioning and barrel-aging rooms.

But for five years before that, Purcell, a longtime home-brewer, was designing and perfecting his beer recipes, brewing on a pilot system and winning awards at homebrew competitions.

By August, Purcell hopes to have bottled beer in package stores and Three Taverns open for brewery tours and tastings. Right now, though, Friday is on his mind.

“I can’t wait until I can toast with a glass of my beer with my friends and see the fruit of all this effort,” Purcell said. “That was the vision that was locked in my brain for so long. It wasn’t a vision of building a brewery. It was a vision of the finished product and everything that surrounded that. That’s what I kept in the center of my mind.”

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