Sweet Water Brewery
I’m a big fan of breweries — whether we go to a specific event, to a tour, or just to hang out, I really love the brewery atmosphere. My favorite brewery — or maybe co-favorite with Swamphead in Gainesville — is Sweet Water Brewery in Atlanta. Brett introduced me to Sweet Water when we first started dating. Since then, we’ve managed to visit relatively frequently.
I credit Sweet Water with my love of IPAs and brewery culture. As a fan of hoppy beers, there are few Sweet Water beers that I don’t like. Sweet Water’s 420 and IPA are classic beers, staples in our apartment, and, thankfully, pretty easy to find in South Florida.
Visiting the Brewery
Over thanksgiving, Brett and I were able to visit Sweet Water Brewery a couple of times when we went to Atlanta. Ok, we kind of planned our trip around it. We had the best of intentions to try other breweries — Atlanta has a bunch! — but it just didn’t pan out for us.
Tasting Room Updates
Since the last time we were in Atlanta, the laws around breweries and taprooms have changed in Georgia, so Sweet Water redid their tasting room to reflect this. Before, you would pay $10, get a free branded pint glass, and six tickets, which you would trade in for a half of a beer. This was a pretty fun system, and it was with this that we pretty much sourced all of our drinking glasses — the rest are Swamphead, like the glass featured here.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the renovation. We knew that the brewery built a kitchen and now offered food. To be honest, I was worried that it might have lost some of its charm since the format changed. However, this was not the case. Sometimes, change is good, and while the old system was entertaining enough, there’s something to be said for the chiller atmosphere now. With the ticket system, it could become a bit of a madhouse, where you’d basically need to get back in line the minute you got your half pour if you wanted to use up your tickets in any reasonable time frame. Now, there’s plenty of seating and places to hang out and sip on some great brews.
My Favorite Sweet Water Beers
Sweet Water’s Staple 420
I’ll start this list with Sweet Water’s 420, a pale ale. 420 is pretty readily available outside of Georgia, to my knowledge. For example, a few years ago, I was excited to see that the Longhorn Restaurant in Orlando my family frequented had it as their seasonal beer. As far as I know, it’s still their seasonal beer (not super seasonal, then…but I’m not complaining).
Like I said, 420 is categorized as a “pale ale.” However, also like I said, Sweet Water is pretty heavy handed on the hops. So, if you’re looking for a traditional pale ale, you might find 420 to have more of a bite than you would otherwise expect. The brewery describes it as “dry hopped with a fat stash of Cascade hops,” after all. That’s not to say it isn’t a fantastic beer — it is — and that’s what makes it one of my favorites.
The Classic IPA
I love Sweet Water’s IPA. It is a classic beer, hoppy but not heavy. As much as I love Category 3 IPA from Due South Brewing and Big Nose from Swamphead, these IPAs are a bit on the heavier side. Not so with Sweet Water’s IPA, described as “a hophead’s beery dream.” IPA is bright and flavorful with hints of citrus. Word to the wise, though: with 6.3% ABV, though, it can sneak up on you.
Goin’ Coastal IPA, My All Time Favorite
Goin’ Coastal is basically IPA with pineapple. It has all the great flavors of IPA with extra hints of fruit and citrus. Sweet Water describes it best: “The bright aromas of the five citrus hop additions are accentuated by the tropical fruit of the pineapple. And just like those three day weekends, its finish is quick.”
This used to be a seasonal beer of Sweet Water’s, and I was so glad when they decided to make it year-round. It can be difficult to find in South Florida, so when we spot it, we usually stock up. If you’re looking for a great beer for days out on the boat, this is it.
A Surprise On Our Latest Visit
It just so happened to work out that our good friends, Chris and Lauren, — and god-dog, Hazel — were able to join us at Sweet Water before the close of the Thanksgiving holiday.
It was really the best way to close out Brett and my anniversary trip. The new layout of the brewery — especially the upgraded outdoor patio area — made it so easy to hang out all day with friends. We were able to order food as we liked and Brett and Chris went on a tour while I hung out with Hazel and Lauren. I had a veggie burger that was to die for — filled with beets and quinoa, topped with a great feta mix — and the French fries perfectly hit the spot.
Next time you’re in Atlanta, be sure to check
Sweet Water Brewery out for yourself! Cheers!