Drink This Beer: Second Self ATaLe
We talked to Second Self Beer Company’s Jason Santamaria about the new ATaLe.
Tell us how the beer was created. What was the inspiration for this one?
The inspiration is easy…it’s our city: the one Chris and I grew up in and the one we still call home. How it was created is a longer story. We wanted a beer to complement our lineup, to pair well with a variety of food, and that would be great to enjoy anytime of year. Our most popular beers are Thai Wheat, Citrus IPA and Mole Porter. All of them have some form of adjunct in them (from ginger, to citrus peel, to chilies), and we wanted a more straightforward beer to add to the mix. We’ve been working on the recipe for almost a year. We brewed six pilot batches and two full-scale tests before finally getting it to where it is now.
You describe ATaLe as “crisp” and “clean.” How did you work to create this beer?
I’d describe most of our beers as “crisp” and “clean,” but in this case, it’s the key element of the beer. This is a beer that is light in color, light in body, and unfiltered, so there really is no room to hide behind mistakes. We started from scratch and questioned everything. In a way, we wanted to show off how far we’ve come since we launched in 2014. We wanted the malt bill to be simple so the hops pop but stayed balanced. For the hops, we played around with many different varieties and combinations and even created a few new techniques for hopping/dry-hopping. Using what we learned during the development process for ATaLe, we actually adjusted the recipes for two of our year-round beers: Citrus IPA and Red Hop Rye. The recipes have all improved and been well-received across the board.
Thank you for not naming it “Hotlanta Ale.” Seriously, how did you come up with the name?
Being from here, I have grown up hating that name – though I hate to admit we did use it for a spicy version of ATaLe that is going to Classic City this weekend using Thai chilies. For ATaLe, once we got the recipe where we liked it, we decided to make it a tribute to Atlanta, because it was so good. We did what we always do when coming up with a new name: we got the team together and brought in some inspiration juice (beer). We ended up talking about all the things we love and admire about our city. If possible, I wanted to find a way to work in the letters A-T-L into the name so we could make them stand out in the art on the can. I’m not sure who said it first, but once it happened, we knew we had a winner. We had some close runners-up for names, but we might save them for later.
Your can art is unique. Definitely says “Atlanta.” Who designed it?
Tex Grubbs from Adrenaline Shot creates all of our art, and he really nailed this one. All of our beers have a distinct character on the front of the can, and I wanted the skyline as the “character” in this case. Tex had the idea of focusing more on the landmarks and icons of the city. Part of the reasoning is because Atlanta has a few distinct skylines—Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead. We wanted something unique yet very Atlanta.
As Atlantans, you say that this is a tribute to your home. What do you hope that beer drinkers will come away with?
One of our goals in developing ATaLe was to showcase Atlanta Beer. We draw inspiration from a lot of beers and flavors around us and wanted to explore what kind of beer would define the city. I hope drinkers enjoy the beer with friends and come see us on the Westside.
Your core beers are primarily designed to pair with food. What kind of food were you aiming for with this one?
All of our beers are designed to pair well with food, but this is our most food-friendly beer. It has low residual sugar, so it won’t linger. It has just enough bitterness to cut through fatty/flavorful foods but not so much that it will overpower them. Some of my favorite pairings with ATaLe include a few Atlanta staples: oysters, smoked wings, street tacos, and Georgia tomme cheese.
What’s coming up next for Second Self?
Beer-wise, we just released a new version of Maverick & Gose, one of our most popular warm-weather beers. We were unable to source Wakatu hops this year (there are no more in the world for at least another year) so we had to re-evaluate the recipe anyway. This year we went with Mosaic hops and decided to lower the salt content of the beer. To balance out the hops and decreased saltiness, we upped the acidity of the beer. It is still more like a traditional German gose but with an American hop profile. This summer, we’ll release our Farmer Fund Saison and MIG: Margarita and Gose. We’re also working on a few ideas to take advantage of what SB85 will now allow us to do. We’re looking forward to the changes we’re going to make!
Anything else I might have missed?
Beer Guys Radio is the best!
We couldn’t agree more 🙂