Beer Town: Albany’s Pretoria Fields beers now available in Atlanta

Tripp Morgan (left), founder of Pretoria Fields Collective in Albany, works with his father, farm manager Harris Morgan. CONTRIBUTED BY THE LEVEE STUDIOS

Tripp Morgan (left), founder of Pretoria Fields Collective in Albany, works with his father, farm manager Harris Morgan. CONTRIBUTED BY THE LEVEE STUDIOS

In late 2017, when Pretoria Fields opened in downtown Albany, it was not only the first family-owned brewery in the area, it was the first farm brewery in Georgia.

Pretoria Fields Collective is the vision of Albany surgeon Tripp Morgan, a Camilla native and homebrewer who sought to bring together his love of beer and his family's history of farming.

Currently, Pretoria Fields has three farms, in Camilla, Pretoria and western Lee County, growing barley, wheat, fruit and even some hops, for a core lineup of beers that recently became available in Atlanta. Morgan’s father, Harris Morgan, a retired pharmacist, manages the farms.

“That’s our main story and who we are,” Tripp Morgan says. “My dad has been in farming his whole life, and farming has been in our family for several generations. After he got back from Vietnam, he went to pharmacy school, but we continued to work our family farm in Camilla.

“At that time, it was my job and his passion. It has since turned around, and I guess it’s the opposite of that now. We’re up to about 700 acres now, but the idea of the brewery really came about as added value to the farming.”

Though the original plan was to locate the brewery at the farm in Pretoria, it turned out that the city of Albany was making a push to attract more businesses to help revitalize the downtown, and a partnership developed to build the brewery and taproom on Pine Avenue.

The Pretoria Fields team gathers together in the Albany tasting room. CONTRIBUTED BY SHEMS HAMILTON

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“It goes back to the idea of the public house and a place where the community can come together,” Morgan says. “We’re not a sports bar. We want people to come in and think about beer like they think about wine. If we can’t get people to think about what they’re drinking, then we’re not going to be successful. But the community invested in us, and they’ve really shown up, and it’s created some growth and change in the downtown.

“Our biggest goal is to educate people about what we’re growing and how we’re using it in brewing. We grew four different types of brewer’s grains last year. The University of Georgia agricultural extension service has been helping us, and we got two varieties of two-row barley that did very well. The idea of our collective is to continue to grow that knowledge base, develop some more interesting grains, and try to bring even more Georgia-grown ingredients to our beers.”

Kevin Hilton is the head brewer at “farm to glass brewery” Pretoria Fields Collective in Albany. CONTRIBUTED BY THE LEVEE STUDIOS

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Eric Kircher, who worked as the lead brewer at California’s Russian River Brewing, developed the recipes for Pretoria Fields. But Kevin Hilton, who worked at Bluejacket Brewing in D.C. before becoming the head brewer at Pretoria, is overseeing the day-to-day operation of the 30-barrel brewhouse. And he will take charge of a wild and sour beer program at the farm that will include a coolship and barrelhouse.

“It’s always been the mission to get a brewery on the farm proper,” Hilton says. “Harris has been doing a great job getting all that ready. There’s already a structure out there, so getting that going soon is something we’re really looking forward to. But we have a lot of things in development right now, and the best ones will wind up in distribution.”


Skywater: The crisp, easygoing flagship is a crowd-pleasing take on cream ale, with malted wheat and oats, and Loral and Mandarina Bavaria hops.

Shoalie: Named for the shoal bass, this well-balanced West Coast IPA displays a fruit-forward flavor, with Citra, Ekuanot and El Dorado hops.

Rye Charles: Named for Albany’s Ray Charles, it’s a nutty, off-dry amber rye IPA made with Pretoria’s own organically grown heirloom grains.

Walkers Station: Call it a stout or a porter, it’s a smooth, creamy, dark beer with roasted malts, flaked oats, and chocolate and coffee aromas and flavors.


These days Georgia is full of companies changing the game with their beer.