It was a sweaty, stormy day in Atlanta years ago, even before the build of SweetWater’s wild ale expansion “The Woodlands” was complete, that SweetWater Cambium was born. Brewers Nick Burgoyne and Chris Meadows were transferring wort from the brewery’s number one selling 420 Extra Pale Ale into a stainless steel tank. On any other day, this beer would have been donning the “420” hoppy badge of honor and headed out the door in a matter of weeks. This liquid, however, had a much grander destiny that would take years to complete.
The ever-so-stunning The Woodlands was a drawing on a piece of paper when the brewers and lab biologists at SweetWater started isolating Brettanomyces strains and souring bacteria for the brewery’s wild ale program. On this day, as the thunder boomed over the city, the years of microscopic work were about to pay off. Isolated Brettanomyces strains, along with a Belgian saison yeast and Lactobacillus bacteria were set free in the tank. Nature will handle it from here.
About 8 months later, an American wheat ale base (similar to the now-retired Sch’Wheat Wheat Ale) topped off tank then allowed ferment out before finally being transferred to the brewery’s oak foeders for a full year. Cambium was finally bottled in December and has been conditioning on their House Brett ever since.
A bit like a Robert Frost poem, two roads diverged for that pale ale wort and only one went into the wood(s). This weekend you’ll see it really made all the difference.
Nearly two years in the making, SweetWater Cambium will debut in 500-milliliter bottles on January 27th.
SweetWater will release special crowlers at the brewery for Georgia vs. Alabama Championship Game.
The Georgia Bulldogs meet the Alabama Roll Tide in the National Championship Game at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Just miles down the road, SweetWater is releasing limited edition 32-ounce crowlers, sporting the opposing school colors.
Guests can fill up with any beer on tap with the exception of Woodlands Ales and Second Helping IPA.
Crowlers will be on sale starting at 4:20 pm on Friday, January 5th.
Image: SweetWater Brewing Company
SweetWaterChocolate Milk Stout is now a part of the brewery’s “Hatchery Series” as October closes.
For the first time in over 20 years, Atlanta’s largest craft brewery has a pilot system, giving the brewers a place to play. This summer’s hit has been Hatchery Series #2, Mexican Lager.
SweetWater Chocolate Milk Stout is now the 4th release in Hatchery Series. Brewers Dan & Drew created this stout reminiscing on those little pints of chocolate milk you had a school lunch. Only now – it can get you drunk.
We used lactose and flaked oats to create a silky smooth, sweet and creamy chocolate brew that will remind you of your younger days. Just don’t let that school bully steal your milk money.
None of the Hatchery releases in the young series have been upscaled to full production…yet. The brewery isn’t ruling out the idea depending on the popularity.
SweetWater Chocolate Milk Stout will be a 12-ounce bottle and draft offering.
Coffee and bourbon barrel-aging meet in SweetWater Sinners Son, a release that truly needs to be on your radar.
The road to this release began with SweetWater Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. After years of working on the barrel-aged stout, it was finally released in 2015.
Earlier this year, SweetWater opened a new extension to the brewery designed just for wild ales and barrel-aged beers dubbed The Woodlands. Ever so casually, the brewery introduced a coffee infused edition of the bourbon imperial stout on draft in the expansion. The result? Absolutely incredible.
The blend of vanilla oak, freshly roasted coffee, and a touch of bitter chocolate makes SweetWater Sinners Son one of the best barrel-aged coffee stouts we’ve ever tried. It was finally bottled under its new name.
Sinner’s Son is ripe with age, driven to the cellar for months to mature in bourbon barrels. Just prior to bottling, a fresh blend of coffee and espresso beans from the JavaVino farm was introduced to harmonize with roasted malts and bring balance to its complex barrel aged soul. This imperial stout is decadent at 12.4% ABV with rich chocolate and vanilla notes, a velvety mouthfeel, and hints of oak.
SweetWater Sinners Son was blended in late-September and bottled this week.
Availability: 500ml Bottles, Draft.
Debut: Halloween Weekend 2017
SweetWater Brewing’s 20-plus years of operation have been shaped by three beers – 420 Pale Ale, IPA, and Blue. Incidentally, that’s their ranking in annual sales as well.
When the brewery first started canning in 2014, 420 and IPA got the nod, but Blue never got the call for aluminum. Love it or hate it, the blueberry wheat beer has always held its own in the brewery’s lineup, but was passed up for canning in lieu of seasonals, and more recently, the Dank Tank releases. Not anymore.
SweetWater Blue will soon be available in 12-ounce cans for the first time in the near future, ending the lurking can question for the “infamous” wheat beer.
A timeline has not officially been set for the release.
SweetWater Brewing kicked off 2017 by opening The Woodlands, one of the southeast’s largest sour and wild ale facilities. It is the beginning of a new era for Atlanta’s largest craft brewery.
Much like The Bruery’s Reserve Society, Upland’s Secret Barrel Society, or Cigar City’s El Catador Club, SweetWater is adding a club of their own – the Woodland’s Circle.
The Woodland’s Circle is open to only 500 members. Those in the circle will receive a few perks, including six different club-only bottles.
- different, unique, barrel-aged beers chosen by the Woodlands Project Head Brewer
- (1) $25 bar tab at the Woodlands to be used during membership period
- 10% discount for purchases in the brewery Schwag Shop
- Exclusive Woodlands Circle branded glassware
- Woodland’s Circle membership card
Those wishing to join can name a trustee for bottle pickup at the brewery. SweetWater will not ship beer in or out of state.
The Woodlands will still have general public releases as well throughout the year. The most recent release from The Woodlands is Cherry Pit & The Pendulum, a fantastic sour/wild ale with 3,000 pounds of cherries.
Those wishing to join SweetWater Woodland’s Circle and do so through this link: http://sweetwaterbrew.com/woodlandscircle-registration/
Image: Beer Street Journal
Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company’s first full production foray in to American wild ales happened a few years before their new Woodlands Facility. In 2015 to be precise, with the release of a Brettanomyces yeast heavy Pit & The Pendulum. That beer, brewed with fresh peach puree from South Carolina was so well received that it was made intermittently year-round. This year, a new Pit is coming – SweetWater Cherry Pit & The Pendulum.
Arising from the brewery’snew foudres is SweetWater Cherry Pit & The Pendulum, that has been sitting for over six months on a blend of Montmorency & Balaton cherries. Chris Meadows and Nick Burgoyne, brewers overseeing the Woodlands, started fermentation on Rainy Day Acid Trip (the unofficial name for the base) in stainless steel in July, 016. It was transferred to oak foudres in December, where a blend of Montmorency & Balaton cherries were added to the oak.
The result is a delicate, tart wild ale that almost glows a pinkish-red. While The Woodlands program may be young, after tasting Through the Brambles, Cambium (foudre beer) and Cherry Pit – the word maturity comes to mind. SweetWater, being the biggest craft brewery in the state, doesn’t get the beer geek cred they deserve sometimes. For the past 5+ years, the brewery has put in some serious time internally developing a wild ale program.
Ultimately when comfortable, the brewery pulled the trigger on the wooden palace that is The Woodlands. The brewing team didn’t use their fans as guinea pigs in development. They left much of the triumphs and failures behind closed doors leaving to the public some of the best sour and wild ales the southeast has to offer. This truly is a new era for SweetWater.
A golden ale soured with lactobacillus and fermented with three brettanomyces strains, then aged for 6 months in American and French oak with 3,000 pounds of Montmorency & Balaton cherries. Freshly harvested house brettanomyces was added for bottle conditioning, ensuring evolution in the cellar.
SweetWater Cherry Pit & The Pendulum is a 16.9-ounce corked & caged bottle release.
PIC: Beer Street Journal