Beer Town: Elsewhere Brewing opens in Grant Park

Elsewhere Brewing recently opened at the Beacon complex in Grant Park. But during a recent visit, co-founders Sam and Sara Kazmer noted that it all began in Florence, Italy, where the couple first met in 2013, and romance ensued.

Sam is a metro Atlanta native and West Point grad, who was medically retired from the Army after a debilitating parachuting accident. Sara’s background is in marketing and hospitality, and she’s worked at several breweries, including Halfway Crooks in Atlanta.

As a prelude to opening Elsewhere, the Kazmers embarked on a year-and-a-half beer tour through North America, South America and Europe, with the goal of learning more about the kind of brewery they wanted to open.

“We wanted to elevate the taproom setting, and get away from the warehouse vibe, and make it a more comfortable place, where people could hang out, and have good food to eat with their beer,” Sara said.

The inviting space features a vaulted ceiling, pine tables and chairs, and a long, oak-topped bar. The shiny new kitchen is the domain of executive chef Thomas Stewart, who collaborated with Patagonian chef Richard Oyarzun to create a South American-inspired menu that includes empanadas, house-made chorizo, guava shrimp skewers, and fresh pasta.

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Credit: Dessa Lohrey

Credit: Dessa Lohrey

The Kazmers brought in award-winning brewmaster Josh Watterson to handle brewing operations. He designed the 10-barrel, direct fire brewhouse, which is equipped with 13 horizontal tanks for production and serving. There’s also a small tabletop canner for packaging beer to go.

Watterson worked at Brasserie St. James in Nevada, where he was awarded Brewer of the Year and Midsize Brewpub of the Year at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. More recently, he was the brewmaster at Vista Brewing in Texas.

At Elsewhere, Watterson already has an impressive lineup of beers on tap, including a West Coast IPA, an American pale ale, a German hefeweizen, a peach saison, and two excellent lagers.

Crisp, clean and floral, Carouse European-style Pilsner is brewed with Pilsner malt, Saaz hops and German yeast, and is served as a side pour. Gest Dark Czech Lager employs Pilsner and de-bittered black malts, Saaz hops, and Czech lager yeast for a surprisingly complex array of aromas and flavors.

“I was introduced to Sam and Sara, and we all had the same interests, as far as beer, and vibe,” Watterson said. “We all decided we wanted a European focus, but we also wanted a very inclusive beer program. There are no filler beers. There’s a story behind each one. We always want to drink beer with food. That’s one of our biggest things.”

“That’s something we noticed a lot in Europe,” Sam said. “The beer cuisine in Belgium, and then in Germany, and the Czech Republic. And we really started getting into Garrett Oliver’s book ‘The Brewmaster’s Table’ and learned how beer is just such a great partner with food. We definitely approached the beer and the food menu with that mindset.”

While the beers have European and American roots, stylistically, Sara explained the decision to make the food menu stand out as something different.

“When we went to South America, and people were just crushing Pilsners with these fatty, charred meat dishes, we thought it was awesome,” she said. “Bright carbonated beer is going to cut through all that. I think it’s a really interesting menu for a brewery.”

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