After six years of running Beer Street Journal, and doing A LOT of beer drinking, sometimes a brewery just stands out. A brewery that makes you love craft beer that much more. For me, that’s Jailhouse Brewing in Hampton, Georgia.
This small, hot, town south of Atlanta could almost be missed if you weren’t looking for it. Main street consists of a single stop sign. Rush hour consists of about 7 cars. It’s quiet and peaceful when compared to neighboring Atlanta.
The brewery is built in a circa 1900 old jail/courthouse that still has bars on most of the windows. It’s almost as if you would see Andy Griffith and Barney sitting at the front desk.
I’m sitting here on the stoop in this small, crowded brewhouse, sipping a Reprieve Saison taking in the brew day. It’s hot for 10 am. Over 90 degrees already. The doors are open but that’s not helping. You sweat. You have no choice. There’s a mix of bluegrass and southern rock booming through the speakers while the smell of soaking grain is in the air. Everyone has a beard here except me. This is southern brewing. This is the south.
Ale Sharpton, Jailhouse founder Glen Golden, and I are brewing a special collaboration today. Something we’ve never really seen brewed in Atlanta. Personally when I think of the south I think about sweet tea. Why can’t that be a beer? No one has tried it before. Why not us?
So that’s what we did. We created an amber ale heavy on caramel malt. While the base was boiling, we made separate whirlpools of orange pekoe tea (that’s sweet tea if you’re wondering), orange peel and coriander. Those flavor additions went in near the end of the boil. Later we will add a little more tea to the brite tank. A team of brewers and reps from various craft breweries are here to help taste test it.
If you are in or around Atlanta, join me for the first ever Beer Street Journal party at Cypress Street. We are going to celebrate southern craft brewing, food, art, music and more. I promise you there’s no better way to spend a Saturday.