Those of us who have fathers who passed down their enjoyment of good beer can identify with Charles and Clay Gridley. We’ve probably all wanted to open a brewery together, but have never had the guts to pull the trigger. These guys actually did it! This father-son team founded Six Bridges Brewing in Johns Creek, GA back in 2018. Charles, a chemical engineer, once worked for Coors and Clay, a firefighter, was an avid homebrewer. After Charles retired, they decided to open Johns Creek’s first craft beer brewery. Like many breweries, they wanted to have a strong connection to the local community. With the help of the City of Johns Creek, they came up with the name Six Bridges Brewing as a tribute to the six bridges that cross the Chattahoochee River as it flows in a southwesterly direction along the county line. After opening in late 2018, the brewery has experienced steady growth and collected an enthusiastic group of fans.
Six Bridges is easy to find, as it is located at 11455 Lakefield Drive in an industrial park just off GA Highway 141 in Johns Creek. It’s a nice space with ample parking, complete with a roomy taproom and naturally shaded beer garden. As you enter the taproom, you’ll immediately note the hand painted map on the wall to the left, which depicts the locations of the six bridges across the Chattahoochee the brewery is named after. To the right is a sitting area with several comfy armchairs where patrons can sit and have more intimate conversations while enjoying one of 10 or so beers on tap. To the right, the space opens up to polished concrete floors with large shellacked wood topped tables. The bar is to the left side of the room, sporting an overhead digital menu board displaying the current tap list. There a a handful of flat screen televisions sprinkled around the room for viewing your favorite sporting event. While the room is subtly lite with mostly string lights hanging from the rafters, it does not lack plenty of bright daylight during the day from the expanse of large plate glass windows providing a nice view of the outdoor beer garden. The beer garden is one of my favorite parts. It has large picnic style tables with soft string lights over head for the evenings and plenty of shade. It’s easy to see yourself sitting out there during Oktoberfest downing cold, delicious amber pint of Märzen. No doubt it’s the perfect drinking space for the hot, humid Georgia summers.
While their initial focus was on IPA’s, Pale Ales, Sours and Stouts, Six Bridges has quickly expanded their offerings to include lagers and barrel aged beers as well. Their stalwarts are Medlock NEIPA, Shelby Golden Ale, Silent Accord Milk Stout and Sour Continuum with Pink Guava. Having tried Medlock and Shelby before, during my visit I went for a flight consisting of Healthy Scratch Blond Ale, Bluegrass Barn Kentucky Common, Sour Continuum with Pink Guava and Silent Accord Milk Stout. Here are my impressions on the beers that I have sampled there.
This New England style IPA put Six Bridges on the map early. It was rated a 93 by The Beer Connoisseur Magazine. It’s a hop forward hazy IPA made with a trio of hops: Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra, giving it citrus, melon and pine notes. It’s medium bodied, good head retention, semi-sweet and low on bitterness. Flaked oats are added to soften the mouth-feel and round out the finish. It is by far their most popular taproom offering.
Golden Ale has become less available these days with the popularity of IPA’s and Pale Ales; however, Shelby is is still quite popular in the taproom. This ale is slightly hazy with short head retention. On the palate, it is light bodied, relatively sweet with herbal and fruity notes and very low bitterness. It’s a great introductory beer for non-beer drinkers or those that like something light and not bitter. At 4.8% ABV, it is well suited for times when you want to hang out of a while and socialize without partaking in high ABV beer.
This beer is unusual for a Blonde Ale in that it is quite high in ABV. Your typical Blonde Ale ranges between 4.0% and 5.0% ABV. It’s a clear, very pale gold with moderate head retention. Aroma is mostly floral. Mouth-feel is light bodied and soft. Bitterness is restrained and the alcohol is not particularly well hidden. Finish is dry and medium in length.
I am not a big fan of Berliner Weisse or sour beers, but this one won me over. It garnered a 91 rating from The Beer Connoisseur Magazine. It’s a wheat ale made with Huell Melon hops infused with pink guava. Not the prettiest looking beer in the world – it looks like a glass of grapefruit juice, but the flavor combinations work. Some Berliner Weisse are either too tart or too fruity, this one is perfectly balanced between the two. Add to it a light bodied mouth-feel and you get a beer well suited for steamy hot summers in the Southeast. AT 5.0% ABV, it’s pretty sessionable too.
Silent Accord is a medium bodied stout made to be drunk year around. Its dark brown, with a mousse-like, khaki color head exhibiting good retention. Flavors of coffee and coconut are prominent on the nose and in the flavor profile. Bitterness is restrained, finish is quite lengthy. It’s one of the better coconut flavored stouts I’ve had, as I have found that most fail to deliver much in the way of actual coconut flavors.
This one turned about to be my favorite. First time I’ve had this style, as it is a nearly extinct beer. It’s a hazy, saddle brown color with great head retention. The malt back bone is made from 2 – Row Barley, Carapils and a healthy dose of corn grits. Hallertauer Magnum hops gives it subtle floral aroma, spicy flavor and a moderate level of bitterness necessary to balance out a sweet malt profile. It’s well executed and I liked the sweet/bitter balance much more than I thought I would. This beer was named after local spot Everett’s Music Barn that has featured Bluegrass music for over fifty years.
Almost every brewery has something unique about it and everyone has characteristics they like about certain breweries. Besides the obvious of making great beer, some of the things I look for in a brewery are a taproom with a lot of natural light filtering into it (there is nothing more depressing that a dark, poorly lit taproom) and a shady outdoor beer garden. Six Bridges easily checked both of those boxes. The beers are high quality and they have a good variety of styles on tap; they only lacked having a couple of solid lagers available. However, given the space requirements for making and storing lagers, that’s understandable. Crowd-wise, I did pick an off-peak time to drop in, because it’s easier to talk to the staff about the beers, so I can’t speak to the crowds during peak hours; however, it looks well set up to handle normal weekend business. Tyler was managing the tap room the afternoon I visited and was setting up a photo shoot for a new Imperial Stout – Bozo Nightmare – they were introducing for Halloween. He was very accommodating of my questions, even stopping once to go to the back to get an answer for me from Head of Operations Bryan Johnson. I always appreciate it when a brewery staff doesn’t mind me hanging out of a while asking questions.
When visiting the northeast side of metro Atlanta, if you are looking for a brewery with a wide variety of IPA’s, Stouts and Sours, this is one you should visit. They don’t have a lot of production/storage space, so you won’t find lagers there often; but everything is top notch quality. They have Tasters, Half Pours and Full Pours available with Full Pours running from $4.50 to $7.00 per glass. A flight of beers consists of a choice of four Tasters. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The facility is bright, clean and roomy. Six Bridges Brewing gets the Let Us Drink Beer stamp of approval!
- Monday – Closed
- Tuesday – 11AM – 9PM
- Wednesday – 11AM – 9PM
- Thursday – 11AM – 9PM
- Friday – 11AM – 10PM
- Saturday – 12PM – 10PM
- Sunday – 12:30PM – 7PM
Thanks for reading and until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!