Named for Jekyll Island, believed to be the site of the first brewery in the Deep South, circa 1738, Jekyll Brewing lays claim to being the first packaging brewery in Alpharetta.
Hidden away in a nondescript building on Marconi Drive, near Big Creek Greenway and a slew of high-tech companies, the brewery opened to the public for tours and tastings in August.
It was funded in part by Kickstarter donations. Founder Mike Lundmark and co-owner/brewer Josh Rachel launched the campaign in early 2013 to raise money to pay for the electrical and plumbing work.
“We’ve run out of money about 73 times, so far,” Lundmark said during a recent tour. “But somehow, we keep getting more. With Kickstarter, we raised $37,000 in 28 days.”
Compared to some of the new breweries that have opened around Atlanta, recently, Jekyll is a modest operation. The 10 barrel brewhouse is packed into a tight warehouse space, and is absent electronic bells and, whistles, except for temperature controls.
“When we’re brewing, we brew three times a day,” Lundmark said. “We’re doing three batches to make 30 barrels, and busting our tails 18 hours a day. Everything we do is truly handcrafted from front to back. We want to smell, and taste, and touch, and see our beer.”
Jekyll started with three beers, then quickly added two more, all designed by Rachel, who was an award-winning local homebrewer with a talent for replicating classic styles before partnering with Lundmark.
Big Creek Kolsch is a light, crisp take on the classic German style, with fruity hints of pear and a dry finish. Hop Dang Diggity IPA is a hoppy but very well balanced representation of the wildly popular American style. Cooter Brown is a smooth brown ale with roasted malts and a typically American hop bitterness.
The two newest, ‘Merican Amber is an easy drinking ale with caramel malt balanced by hop bitterness, and Southern Session is low alcohol, lightly hopped take on a “lawnmower beer.”
Though, currently, the beers are only available in kegs — meaning at restaurants, bars and growler shops — Jekyll will be adding a bottling line, soon. And, of course, of can try them during tours and tastings at the brewery and at several fall beer festivals.
Tours: 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 1-9 p.m. Saturdays. 21 and up only.
Jekyll Brewing, 2855 Marconi Drive, Suite 350, Alpharetta, jekyllbrewing.com.
Beer Pick: Hop Dang Diggity
Jekyll Brewing, Alpharetta, GA
Available on draft and in growler shops.
Profile: Jekyll describes Hop Dang Diggity as a “Southern IPA” with a “Georgia pine aroma” and a “malty backbone.” That a pretty good description of an aromatic beer that balances sweetness and bitterness with a nice smooth finish.
Pair with: Try Hop Dang Diggity with Southern barbecue and spicy Asian and Latin dishes.
— By Bob Townsend, AJC Drink blog.