SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) turns 17 years old this month, and the brewery is celebrating in style with an anniversary party on Sunday, February 23 and with the release of a special anniversary ale dubbed 17 -Saison Farmhouse Ale.
It is hard to believe that it has been 17 years since SweetWater Brewing co-founders Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney fired up their 25-barrel brewhouse for the first time and started providing the people of Atlanta with their West Coast-inspired beers. To say their brews made an impression on Southern beer lovers . . . well, that would be an understatement. The brewery has since completed a $19 million expansion project to keep up with demand, upgraded the brewhouse to a 400-barrel monster, made the list of the top 25 craft breweries nationwide by production volume, and has been putting out some of the most respected beers being made in the Southeast today.
All of that hard work and success is something that should be celebrated, and celebrate they will with a 17th Anniversary Party on February 23 at 2 p.m. in the confines of the brewery located at 195 Ottley Drive in Atlanta. It all begins and ends with the beer, so the folks at SweetWater are reaching deep into the cellar to pull out some rare and incredibly tasty offerings that they saved for just an occasion. Here's a list of some of the brews that have been confirmed for the event:
- Second Helping IPA
- The Gimp Old Ale
- Ghoulash Black Double IPA
- 2012 Festive Ale
- Brown Eye Buckeye
- Big Ol' Belgian Blue Balls
- Some Strange II Black India Pale Ale
- The Price is Wrong Belgian Strong Pale Ale
- 15th Anniversary ESBeast
- 16th Anniversary Wheatwine
- 17th Anniversary Saison Farmhouse Ale
- 2014 Happy Ending Imperial Stout with Raspberries in a Bourbon Barrel
- 2014 Happy Ending Imperial Stout with Mint in a Bourbon Barrel
- LowRYEder IPA aged in a Rye Whiskey Barrel
- Happy Ending Imperial Stout/Exodus Porter Blend in a Bourbon Barrel
- Red Hot Mama Imperial Red Ale
To go along with all that tasty brew, there will be live music provided by Like a Locomotive featuring a live brass section, plenty of dining options thanks to the plethora of food trucks attending, and all the good times you come to expect from a SweetWater party.
Tickets for the party are $12 per person when purchased in advance online or $17 per person at the door day of the event (if tickets last). Your ticket gets you beer samples, a souvenir tasting glass, and access to the live entertainment. Not a bad deal at all for an afternoon at the brewery.
The celebration does not stop there because what's a brewery anniversary without an anniversary beer? This year's anniversary ale will be 17 - Saison, a complex farmhouse-style ale. This beer is loaded with ingredients that include six malts (2-row, rye, wheat, Munich, 13/17 and Melanoidin), four hop varieties (Galena, Saaz, Centennial and Amarillo), and two strains of yeast (French Saison yeast and a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis). To get a better idea of what to expect, here's how SweetWater Head Brewer Nick Nock describes the final product:
“The malt bill gives this brew an earthy, spicy flavor with a light and fluffy mouth-feel, while the hops deliver a moderate bitterness blended with a bit of lemon-lime citrus from the finishing hops. Together, the 2+ month fermentation and cellar time, malt bill, hop bill, and yeast strains all work harmoniously to produce a natural tasting, lighter-bodied (for high-gravity) brew, perfect for some outdoors sippin’ in the spring.”
17 - Saison will debut at the anniversary party on February 23, and then it will see distribution on draft and in 22 oz. bottles for a limited time.
Well, you have two great ways to celebrate SweetWater's anniversary this year. If you cannot make it to the party on the 23rd, just keep an eye out for the 17 - Saison to turn up at the craft beer-friendly locations you normally find limited SweetWater offerings in Alabama. This is going to be a brew worth seeking out and will most likely disappear quickly, so grab one when you see it. Heck, grab two because that Brettanomyces Bruxellensis is sure to add some nice funky notes with time. If you have never attended a SweetWater party or are on the fence about making that drive, I urge you to grab a few tickets. You cannot help but have a good time at this brewery and you are going to be hard pressed to find many of the beers on this tap list again. I hope to see you all at the anniversary party to raise a glass with the folks at SweetWater to many more great years in the future. Prost!