Right now in the U.S., there are some 4,400 small, local and independent breweries, and nearly 2,000 more in planning. Beyond the obvious success of regionally distributed beers from Georgia-based breweries such as SweetWater and Terrapin, that growth is reflected in the number of new breweries that have been springing up, often under the radar, around metro Atlanta.
With recent changes in state and local laws that allow more relaxed rules for tours, tasting rooms and beer to-go, these small community breweries have become social hubs, where people gather to hang out and have a good time listening to music and playing games.
Here are five new brewery tasting rooms you may not know about, but can visit this weekend:
Abbey of the Holy Goats, Roswell
Instead of joining a nunnery in Nova Scotia, Kathy Davis opened Abbey of the Holy Goats in Roswell, where she lays claim to the title of Georgia’s first female brewery owner. In the small-scale operation, Davis produces Belgian-style beers, designed for pairing with food, and traditional sour ales. The Abbey Tasting Hall, which opened in February, is appointed with a huge, handmade, 26-foot-long community table, where gatherings take place amid the medieval glow of stained glass artwork and a stone fireplace.
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Signature beers: Goats in the Garden saison with elderflowers; the Lazy Goat Belgian-American pale ale; the Goat’s Obsession Belgian dark double IPA; Mango Wit.
Tours and tastings: 5-8 p.m. Fridays; 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. 4000 Northfield Way, Roswell. 470-282-1444, abbeyoftheholygoats.com.
Arches Brewing, Hapeville
Opened in April in the arts district of Hapeville, near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the Porsche Experience Center, Arches was founded by biochemist-brewmaster Jamey Adams, who makes Old World-style beers using scientific techniques. Classic and seasonal lagers are the focus, but strong Belgian styles are in the mix, too. Though the building was once a NAPA Auto Parts store, the Arches team built out the brewery and tasting room with an eye to Bavaria and Belgium, reusing materials and finishing the space with reclaimed barn wood.
Signature beers: the mild and spicy Unseasonal Lager; Equilibrium dry-hopped pale ale; Southern Bel Belgian blonde ale; Vienna seasonal lager.
Tours and tastings: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 3-6 p.m. Saturdays. 3361 Dogwood Drive, Hapeville. 678-653-2739, archesbrewing.com.
Gate City Brewing, Roswell
Situated in the heart of Roswell’s bustling Canton Street dining district, Gate City opened its temporary tap room in February, and it quickly became a fixture of the scene. Nestled amid the brewing equipment, it’s a set-up that lends itself to both tours and tastings. But plans are in the works for a new 3,000-square-foot tasting room that will leave space for a brewery expansion. In the meantime, Roswell’s generous open-container law allows visitors to grab a crowler to-go for a stroll through the evening’s Alive After 5 street party.
Signature beers: 1864 American IPA; Copperhead American amber; Mosaic’in Me Crazy session ale; 20 Gram cream ale; Terminus porter.
Tours and tastings: 5-9 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 1-8 p.m. Saturdays. 43 Magnolia St., Roswell. 678-404-0961, gatecitybrewingcompany.com.
Second Self Beer, Atlanta
Since debuting in late 2014, Second Self has been growing its westside brewery to meet local demand for its food-friendly beers — even if it meant closing the tasting room in late 2015. But during its “grand opening” weekend, July 7-11, fans can tour the expanded brewery and visit the new tasting room, which has been tripled in size to accommodate up to 180 visitors. Atlanta-based Square Feet Studio designed the space, which features a 24-foot butcher-block bar, reclaimed-wood tables and a separate kitchen for catered events and chef pop-ups. Read more about the Second Self opening here.
Signature beers: Thai Wheat with lemongrass and ginger; Red Hop Rye IPA; Citrus IPA; Maverick & Gose with coriander and salt.
Tours and tastings: 6-8 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; 1-4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. 1317 Logan Circle N.W., Atlanta. 678-916-8035, secondselfbeer.com.
Southern Sky, Kennesaw
Owner-brewmaster Jon Near, a Georgia Tech grad, opened Southern Sky as “a family business” in 2015 in a Kennesaw business center space just south of McCollum Airport. The recently completed tasting room offers a venue for socializing, private events and fun and games, such as cornhole and giant beer pong. Like the company motto, “A little bit out there,” Near’s tastes and brewing philosophy run toward the unusual and experimental, at times bordering on the outrageous.
Signature beers: Worlds Apart pink ale, a Belgian white and Irish red hybrid; Schwarzschild Porter; Beholden IPA.
Tours and tastings: 5-8:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 2-5 p.m. Saturdays. 1590 N. Roberts Road, Suite 208, Kennesaw. 770-702-8318, southernskybrewing.com.