Posted in Headlines, New Realm Brewing, New Releases

Blackberry Smoke band has their own beer thanks to New Realm

Music collaborations are nothing new in craft beer but that doesn’t make each one unique. This is an either way it’s cool statement – New Realm Brewing is releasing a beer with the band Blackberry Smoke. If you know the band, you’re already excited. If you’re not there yet, their music is in the tv show Yellowstone. In yet? 

This collaboration comes from a mutual friendship between the band and New Realm Brewing that started back in high school. Here are New Realm, fresh cans of New Realm Blackberry Smoke Lager are being signed by Brit Turner, drummer. He greets me with a smile and a beard that literally says musican or craft brewer. 

Blackberry Smoke, a rock/blues/country band formed in Atlanta, Georgia 21 years ago. “The best way to celebrate your 21st is with a beer!” Turner jokes. “But really though, it’s the best way I can see. it.” He always hoped there would be a full scale band inspired beer, but getting one is harder than you think. Brewery capacity and distribution is a complicated thing. Turner says there was a small scale “Smoke” beer made in North Carolina a few years ago, that was available at one of their sold out shows. The band hoped the rest would be available in distribution later. Their rabid music and beer-loving fans managed to drink it all that night and there was none left over. 

“We knew a few of the New Realm Brewing folks as far back as high school,’ Turner says. We have basically have our own record label situation and making a beer with a craft brewer really made sense to us,” he adds. Blackberry Smoke started a year before the first iPod, a few years before YouTube and more than a decade before Spotify. “Our only choice was to tour,” say Turner. Craft beer has that “out of the garage” feel to it like a lot of rock bands. 

In preparation for Blackberry Smoke Lager, Turner sat down for a tasting session with brewmaster and co-founder Mitch Steele. “A lager just makes sense,” Steele tells me. “We made it with a touch of pilsner malt on top of 2-Row, so there’s a little bit of Europe in this lager.” It’s crazy how many bands we’ve interviewed lean towards the lighter side of beer like a pilsner or lager. Almost every time their reasoning is that they want to drink a few on stage and still be able to play. 

Over the course of a few hours with the band, Turner’s excitement was solely focused on what this beer means to their fans. Steele and Turner designed it with them in mind. “They got us where we are, and we wanted to do something for them,” Turner says. “I’m more excited to see them drink it then I am to have it.” 

Mitch Steele himself is a guitarist and music fan, making it easy to put a little extra musical passion into it. Both brewing and music require emotion and passion if you want it to be good. New Realm Blackberry Smoke is about both. 

Two decades ago Blackberry Smoke got together and started playing in bars. Not long after, they were performing with Guns N’ Roses, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Church, ZZ Top, and Zach Brown Band. 

Honestly, to Turner and the rest of the band, this might be more exciting. 

New Realm Blackberry Smoke Lager is available in 16-ounce cans and draft where ever New Realm is sold.  

Style: Lager
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft. 
Debut: Late May, 2022

?? ABV

Posted in Don't Miss This, Orpheus Brewing

Orpheus Brewing appoints new CEO

Orpheus Brewing CEO

Atlanta, Georgia-based Orpheus Brewing has appointed Abby McLocklin Cheng as the brewery’s new Chief Executive Officer. She will assume the role immediately.

We’ve been in the unique position to have seen Cheng’s career flourish, first meeting her at Total Wine more than 10 years ago. At that time she had recently finished multiple degrees at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She was a heavy foodie and I mistakenly took her as someone that was just into French reds, and hated on new world wine. There was so much more there than that. She also had a desire to work in beer and explore the craft beer industry. As with everything she does, it didn’t take long for her to fit into the industry successfully, many if not all of your favorite Founders beers on tap in the Atlanta area are thanks to her. 

On both personal and professional levels we are happy to announce that after only a few months at Orpheus Brewing they have realized the value of having Cheng run more integral parts of the Brewery as CEO. Her aims are to bring additional leadership and focus to a brewery that she feels passionate about.

Additionally, this gives brewery founder Jason Pellett the opportunity to step back into his much more familiar creative role,

She’s already assumed the CEO role, and we’re looking forward to seeing the direction she takes Orpheus in the future.

Posted in Arches Brewing, New Releases

Summer Seasonal Extended: Arches Brewing Bohemian Riot Pilsner

Arches Brewing Bohemian Riot

Arches Brewing Bohemian Riot first debuted at the brewery in 2019. The summer seasonal’s had grown over the years, prompting the brewery to extend the brewing season through August. 

“Riot” is a pilsner, brewed in collaboration with North Carolina’s Riverbend Malt House. The Georgia-based, lager-forward brewery used traditional Czech Saaz hops to create this “crisp summertime drinker”.

Arches Brewing Bohemian Riot is available in 12-ounce cans and draft until fall 2022. 

Style: Pilsner
Hops: Saaz
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.

Debut: 7/5/19
Latest Return: Spring 2022

5.3% ABV

Posted in New Realm Brewing, New Releases

The “Martian style” imperial IPA from New Realm has arrived

New Realm Restricted Area Double IPA

New Realm Restricted Area Double IPA marks the second release of the brewery’s Monsters & Myths Series in 2022. 

Apparently, the secrets of the infamous Area 51 in Nevada include hops. Restricted Area Double IPA is a double IPA, brewed with a “paranormal” amount of Citra and Mosaic hops. According to New Realm, the brewery had yet to brew a beer using those two hop combinations together.

“Our Monsters & Myths DIPA series is a favorite among beer fans every year, and we can’t wait for Restricted Area to make its debut as our newest addition to the lineup. We joke that Restricted Area is a ‘Martian-Style’ DIPA, but really, it’s just out of this world! We cannot wait to see what our hop-loving beer fans think of this new release.” – Bob Powers, Co-Founder and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer

New Realm Restricted Area Double IPA is available in 12-ounce cans and draft in late April 2022. 

Style: West Coast Style Imperial IPA
Hops: Citra, Mosaic
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Limited Seasonal Release

Debut: Late April 2022

9% ABV

Posted in Beer News

For the Guild: This weekend’s Georgia Craft Brewers Festival

By now, buying a pint at a brewery in Georgia seems pretty unremarkable. Just a few years ago, it was a crime.

The Peach State’s brewers were mired in restrictive distribution laws and redundant taxes. As recent as 2016, a brewery paid the state excise taxes for the beer they produced.  Visitors to taprooms wanting to drink beer from the source were forced to buy a tour of the facility, in which the state collected taxes on the price of the tour. The beer consumed as part of the tour were “samples” given out for free, up to 32 ounces. The final sting? Breweries then had to submit taxes to the state of Georgia for the free beer they weren’t allowed to charge for, based on the price it would sell for if it was legal to charge the customer for it. 

If that sounds excessive, you aren’t alone. These restrictions on on-site beer sales, even hosting a food truck on-site, put Georgia brewery numbers at the bottom per capita in the United States. Meanwhile, wines were sold by the glass and to-go at Georgia wineries with few limitations. The beer industry was suppressed by a government that prided itself on being pro-business. 

Finally, in 2017, Georgia took a step out of the stone age with the passage of Senate Bill 85, becoming the 50th state to allow direct sales to consumers. It marked the first forward progress for Georgia beer since 2006 when the state raised the legal alcohol by volume beer limit from 6% to 14%. 

The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild (GCBG), which was founded 7 years earlier in 2010, helped move that needle. After all, Georgia was never going to be a beer destination without a group working on behalf of the state’s breweries. Despite the 2017 victory, there’s more work to be done. That brings us to this weekend.

The GCBG is hosting its first full-scale festival at Atlanta’s Atlantic Station. This unique festival will feature 65 Georgia breweries and more than 30 collaborations from across the state. The Guild wants this to be a 250+ beer reminder of what’s exciting about Georgia beer. 

“Our hope is to make a premiere spring beer festival that you don’t want to miss,” says Rachel Kiley, COO of Monday Night Brewing and Guild president. “I think of something like Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer in Chicago with a Georgia spin, or something like that,” she adds. “I know getting there will take a while.” 

The Georgia Craft Brewers Festival will also serve as a fundraiser for the GCBG, a 501(c)(6) trade organization. The guild doesn’t have the capital to undertake the festival on its own, so they’ve tapped Atlanta Beers Festivals to assist. The guild will get a fraction of the profits to continue its legal and advocacy work on behalf of the burgeoning brewery scene in the state. 

Unique to the festival is a “Collab Competition” for all the participating breweries. This Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned competition is split into two categories – “Big Beer” (over 7% ABV) and “Little Beer” (under 7% ABV). The judging will take place on Friday, before a special VIP Preview Session and brewer Meet and Greet.

“With the past two years behind us, we want to get back to what we love – Georgia Beer.” Kiley tells us. “This helps the GCBG advance the beer industry for all of us.” 

Tickets are still available for the main festival on Saturday, April 2nd, rain or shine. 

Posted in Don't Miss This, Wild Heaven Craft Beers

Wild Heaven Sunburst IPA is a juicy year-round addition


Wild Heaven Sunburst IPA launches this, marking just the third year-round IPA the brewery has released in 12 years. 

More than a decade ago, Wild Heaven launched with just two beers – Ode to Mercy (Imperial Brown Ale with coffee) and Invocation (Belgian Golden Strong Ale). An IPA release by the brewery was years away from being brewed, even with strong consumer demand. According to co-founder Eric Johnson at the time, “we’ll make one when I think there is a recipe good enough.” 

Finally, in 2016, Wise Blood IPA hit the lineup year-round. A year later, and 100 test batches and water chemistry adjustments, their first imperial IPA – Good Vice hit taps. Wild Heaven initially intended it to be year-round, but the brewery’s passion for that recipe faded fast. Then came Altair IPA in 2018.  Each beer was a stop on a hoppy journey to now.

Wise Blood and Altair are now ghosts.

Here at the brewery, the canning line is busy filling cans of Sunburst IPA – a new and now only year-round IPA the brewery will have for the foreseeable future. It’s aptly named. Sunburst is every bit bright and juicy as it’s billed. A big flavor departure from the brewery’s IPA predecessors, it’s looking to be one of the premier southern IPAs.

That spawned a debate with Josh Franks, head brewer at Wild Heaven. Could Southern IPA be a thing? India pale ale is undoubtedly the style juggernaut of the craft beer world. Going back about 15 years ago you’d find popularity with the English IPA. Soon to be taken over by West Coast IPA. Then a steady sequence of hoppy variants- the Belgian IPA, the Black IPA (aka the Cascadian Dark Ale), the New England IPA, and lactose heavy milkshake IPA. Should The South have its own? 

Maybe they already do. 

It’s not an official style but perhaps it should be. Think of an IPA that’s hoppy and bright. Juicy like a hazy IPA but still fairly clear, still holding on to some West Coast IPA bitterness. A subtle hybrid of two dominant styles. Creature Comforts Tropicalia and Scofflaw Basement IPA would be great examples. A (highly theoretical) southern IPA would be bright and sunny. Just like the sun-soaked, pollen heavy, 3 weeks of cold weather region they were born into. 

Wild Heaven Sunburst IPA hits retailers this week year-round in 12-ounce cans and draft.  

Style: IPA 
Hops: Citra, Talus, Galaxy, Mosaic, Cascade, Chinook, Amarillo

Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. 
Debut: 3/24/22

Topics: |
Posted in Don't Miss This, Firestone Walker Brewing

Firestone Walker Invitational returns after 2 years, sold out


The Firestone Walker Invitational is a pretty epic festival, held in June each year. It sold out in 2020, and ultimately was canceled due to the growing pandemic. 

After two years, Firestone Walker is ready to host the festival once again, announcing the brewery lineup as well as a own “Ultimate Firestone Walker Experience”

A few brewery attendee highlights include  FrauGruber Craft Brewing from Germany; Brouwerij ‘t IJ from Amsterdam; Casey Brewing from Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Schönramer from Germany; Cerveza Antares from Argentina; Bale Breaker Brewing from Yakima, Washington; Cervejaria Bamberg from Brazil; Cloudwater Brew Co. from England; Urban Roots Brewing from Sacramento, California; Omnipollo from Sweden; There Does Not Exist and Liquid Gravity from San Luis Obispo, California and Great Notion Brewing from Oregon.

Ultimate Fan Experience

The brewery has announced the “Ultimate Firestone Walker Experience” sweepstakes, which is new for 2022. The winner receives two tickets to the Invitational, private tours of both the Venice and Paso Robles breweries,  three nights hotel stays and lunch and dinner at the brewery taprooms.

Fans can submit their entry via the Ultimate Firestone Walker Experience sweepstakes page, now through April 3rd.

2022 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest: Attending Breweries

3 Floyds
Alvarado Street
Bagby Beer
Bale Breaker
Beachwood Brewing
Blackberry Farm
Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Casey Brewing
Cervecerìa Antares
Cervejaria Bamberg
Cigar City
Creature Comforts
Crooked Stave
Firestone Walker
Firestone Walker Propagator
Fonta Flora
Garage Project
Great Notion
Green Bench
Green Cheek
Half Acre
Highland Park
Humble Sea
Kern River
La Source
Liquid Gravity
Other Half
Pinthouse Brewing
Pizza Port
Private Landbrauerei Schönram
Russian River
Sante Adairius
Side Project
Sierra Nevada
The Bruery
The Lost Abbey
The Veil
There Does Not Exist
Topa Topa
Urban Roots