LOCATION: Sweetwater Brewing Company. Atlanta, GA
The trip to Sweetwater Brewing Company happened on a completely last minute chance. My friend and I decided to go to a Braves game in Atlanta to see them play at Turner Field one last time. Of course I would choose to drive 10 hours to watch a game and then drive 10 hours back the next day. Since Sweetwater was on the way to the game I had hopes that we would be able to stop.
Luckily, we got a decent start to the drive and made it to the brewery at 3pm. They are only open for TWO hours each day for tastings and tours. Today, they opened at 2:30pm and already a line was out the door and around the corner. There was a parking attendant and I asked, “is there a special event today or something?” His reply was, “no, just a regular ‘ol Saturday” THIS was a regular Saturday?! I seriously have never seen a brewery so busy before in my life, and for the size of it, which is the largest I’ve seen, that is an impressive feat to make!
Sweetwater Brewing Company opened in 1997 by two Colorado men. They wanted to bring a West Coast feel to an East Coast brewing company. They decided upon the name after kayaking down Sweetwater Creek and aptly acquired the slogan “Don’t Float the Mainstream” for their fisherman brewery feel.
Luckily, the line to get in moved fast, even though there was a threat that they were reaching capacity already after only 30 minutes of being open. There were a few tour options to choose from.
For $10 you could get a tour, 6 tastings and a souvenir glass. For $20, you could get the tour, tasting, glass and a souvenir 6 pack. And, for $25, you could get the tour, tasting, glass, and souvenir growler PLUS a fill. I stuck with the $10 option and made my way to the packed tasting room. With only a little more than an hour to taste, I thought it would be impossible with the line.
The tastings were a little more than half a glass of beer. So, by the time you finished all 6 tastings, you had probably around 3.5 beers in an hour. This just was not going to be possible for me.
They also only gave one tasting at a time, so the best and fastest way to taste all 6 was to get your tasting and walk to the back of the line while drinking your half glass of beer, get another tasting, walk to the back of the line, and keep repeating. I only managed to drink 3 tastings before I was too full. I really enjoyed their Blue and Georgia Brown brews but the others were too hoppy for me.
I never made it to the actual tour of the brewery either since time was constraining. Overall, the brewery was way too packed for it to be actually enjoyable. I like laid back breweries where you can enjoy your drinks and chill out and this place was very overwhelming and fast paced. Funny, considering they are trying to bring a West Coast feel to the place and fast paced is not conducive to the West Coast one bit. While the brewery is nice and impressive, I definitely won’t be back. It’s worth checking out, if you actually make their 2-hour window.
However, the Braves game made the trip worth it!
*Thank you Chris for accompanying me on this adventure.
WOULD I DO THIS AGAIN? Nope! But, worth a first and only trip at least.
HOW TO DO THIS: Packages are cheap and they take credit cards. Tours are Wednesday through Friday from 5:30pm-7:30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 2:30pm to 4:20pm. Parking is limited and the brewery is located at 195 Ottley Drive, Atlanta. www.sweetwaterbrew.com