Standing in front of a mural of the comic book-style character, I could see the resemblance.
“The Dr. Scofflaw character has been out about three years, now,” Herman said. “It started with cutouts and this just felt like a natural progression. The very first one was me in a white apothecary jacket with my hair all teased out and crazy welding goggles. We’ve done three or four renditions of that and a couple of beer labels.”
Far from mad, Herman is a real scientist, with a degree in chemistry and microbiology. He worked in pharmaceuticals doing commercial fermentations, before earning a brewing science degree at the University of California. He also spent time at two of California’s most esteemed breweries, Lost Abbey and Russian River, before moving to Atlanta and partnering with Shirah.
The name of Dr. Scofflaw’s Laboratory and Beer Garden is a tribute to the mad scientist alter ego of Scofflaw co-founder and chief brewing officer Travis Herman. Bob Townsend for The AJC
Credit: Bob Townsend
Credit: Bob Townsend
Dr. Scofflaw’s is dedicated to experimentation. With more than 70 taps, and a sophisticated seven-barrel brewhouse, Herman and his crew can conjure a steady stream of one-off beers and get immediate feedback from visitors. And it may serve to tweak and improve core beers, too.
“It has all the bells and whistles, and it’s very similar to the 15-barrel system, with options for decoction, step-mashing, and a chilled whirlpool,” he said. "But we got so busy and so big so fast at Scofflaw, I never really got to use them. Now this place is going to be my playground. I expect it to be a lot of small-batch stuff, a lot of R&D stuff, and barrel-aged stuff. I have a lot of things I want to try.”
While at Dr. Scofflaw’s, I sampled Pacific Gravity, a lovely beer described as an “old school West Coast IPA brewed and dry hopped with Centennial, Chinook, Cascade.” A fairly big fruited sour, Isle of Guava, was a smooth surprise from the experimental side.
Walking around the grounds, which includes a covered patio, a takeout window, and an area for live music, Herman reflected on what it took to get to this point.
“Let’s be real. When you start a brewery, it’s all about the beer,” he said. "The ambiance comes in later on, after you have a following and money. This is our attempt at nice. But it’s still got enough of our style that it’s still Scofflaw.
“I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get it into full swing and really start turning out some of those things that people are like, ‘How did you do that?’ And I guess that’s things that haven’t even been invented, yet.”
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