Atlanta brewer Tim Schiavone returns to Wrecking Bar

Brewer Tim Schiavone has returned to Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Little Five Points. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

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Brewer Tim Schiavone has returned to Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Little Five Points. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Longtime Atlanta brewer Tim Schiavone recently returned to his roots, taking over as head brewer at Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Little Five Points.

Schiavone followed a familiar path from homebrewer to commercial brewer, but the peripatetic nature of his career has been more unusual, as he has moved between big and small breweries around metro Atlanta.

I sat down with Schiavone at Wrecking Bar, where we sipped a surprisingly dry, hoppy Belgian blonde ale he calls Light Through the Veins, and talked about how his hobby became a profession.

“I started homebrewing about 13 years ago,” he said. “I was working in the kitchen at the Porter Beer Bar and working at Brew Depot in Alpharetta. Then, I started brewing with an old high school friend, Neal Engleman, who became the brewmaster here, and now is the head brewer at Three Taverns. We had a great time together. I was obnoxiously curious, and wanted learn everything about beer and beer culture.”

Schiavone left Wrecking Bar the first time in 2012, to go to work for brewmaster John Roberts at Max Lager’s in downtown Atlanta.

“With John, I got into filtering lagers, and a lot more recipe formation,” he said. “I would get there at 7 in the morning to brew, and be knocking out at midnight. John thought I was crazy. But, I was passionate, and I was having a good time, working as his apprentice.”

In 2014, Schiavone returned to Wrecking Bar. This time, he worked the front of the house, dreaming of opening his own brewpub one day. However, in less than a year, he was back brewing again at Max Lager’s.

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“By 2015, I was getting into sour brewing, and I entered a brandy, barrel-aged American mixed culture beer that won the people’s choice award at Hoptoberfest,” Schiavone said. “That was a really good feeling.”

He finally decided he was ready to pursue building a brewery of his own, but the the process took much longer than expected.

The brewpub, Best End Brewing, finally opened in West End in late 2019, a few months before the pandemic.

“I think every homebrewer’s dream is to open a brewery,” Schiavone said. “Unfortunately, it turned into a nightmare,” as he and associates clashed over differing expectations.

Schiavone licked his wounds for a bit, and worked his way back through another series of breweries. But, when asked to return to Wrecking Bar, he didn’t hesitate.

“I’ve learned a lot the hard way, and one thing I think I can confidently assert is that there’s a different dynamic being a brewer in a brewpub,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be a pub brewer. Production brewing is kind of the same thing over and over again.”

Schiavone allowed that he’s never liked the term brewmaster, reserving it for pedigreed Old World brewers. He’s simply happy being a brewer, sourcing new ingredients, and experimenting with a variety of styles.

“I believe I’m much more of a recipe-driven brewer, coming up from homebrewing and pub brewing,” he said. “Being able to do that again is incredible. I’m back where I want to be, with a brewery in the city of Atlanta. It’s a dream come true again.”

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