Craft beer enthusiasts that follow my blog know by now that I am partial to lager styles. There are a number of IPAs, Pale Ales, Stouts, etc. that I really like and the desire to expand my beer knowledge drives the diversity of beer reviews; however, my heart lies with lagers of many styles. When it comes to attempting to determine which breweries make the best beers in Georgia, well, that’s a lot like being forced to pick your favorite child. Each brewery brings something a little different to the table and most do a wonderful job producing highly enjoyable beers. All that being said, there is one brewery in Georgia that has really separated itself from the others in producing consistent, high quality beers – Arches Brewing Co. in Hapeville, GA. I don’t think it’s by accident this brewery focuses mostly on lagers.
Arches Brewing was opened in 2016 by Jamey Adams, Jeff Dake, Daniel Beer, Ryan Fogelgren, and Greg Mickle. Jamey Adams serves as brewmaster. What makes their approach unique is their attention to detail, right down to the water profiles that serve as the base building block of their beers. When they endevour to reproduce a beer style, Czech Pilsner for example, they start by adjusting the water to duplicate the profile unique to that particular region. When you consider the fact that beer consists of over 90% water, it makes total sense to start and focus there. Their results have been hard to overlook. Industry respected publication Beer Connoisseur has confirmed Arches quality and consistency by their ratings of ten Arches beers:
Very Good (86 to 90)
- Five Week Sail Baltic Porter
- Mystik Bock Dunkles Bock
- Lloyd’s Light American Light Lager
- Southern Bel’ Belgian Ale
- Winter’s Night Munich Dunkel
- Queen’s Weiss Hefeweizen
Exceptional (91 to 95)
- Bohemian Riot Czech Pilsner
- Low Viz IPA
World Class (96 to 100)
- Mexican Empire Vienna Lager
- Southside Lager (International Amber Lager)
Professional brewers will tell you that lager styles, versus most ale styles, are some of the more challenging beers to produce. By the nature of the fermentation process, it is difficult to hide flaws in the finished product. This is what makes what Arches is doing that much more impressive.
Despite the young craft beer market in Georgia, the state’s craft beer breweries are producing some high quality beers. Atlanta Brewing Co. is the state’s oldest craft brewery and its longevity speaks for itself. SweetWater and Terrapin have the broadest national distribution. Creature Comforts produces the widest variety of beers and has grown the quickest over the last two or three years. However, if I were forced to select which brewery was producing the best quality beer on a consistent basis, Arches Brewing would be the leader. If you find yourself in the Atlanta area and you are a craft beer enthusiast, be sure to visit Arches Brewing down near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. You will not be disappointed.
Thanks for reading. Until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!