Shelton Festival Visitors Guide to Atlanta Beer
Shelton Brothers returned to Georgia recently after a brief hiatus and they wasted no time showing us lots of love. We’ve had several events featuring their amazing beers, The Festival is setting up camp in Atlanta this August, and The Porter Beer Bar will host Zwanze Day in September. My body is ready.
If you’re coming to Atlanta for The Festival we know you’ll want to take in all that Georgia beer has to offer, and we’re here to help. Over the last few years Georgia has really upped their craft beer game. We have a few excellent breweries and a lot of good breweries, several great brewpubs, a handful of world-class beer bars, and plenty of amazing restaurants that offer a great craft beer selection.
Shelton Fest week events: We’ll add events as we receive them, you can see the full list on our calendar of Georgia beer events. Select Georgia only to hide Alabama events and hide Tours to avoid information overload.
Our brewery laws are weird, for now
Shelton Brothers Fest is landing in Georgia a couple of weeks too early to take advantage of our new direct sales law. However, you can still drink some brews and take some with you when visiting our breweries. We have a “Tour System” here and until the new law goes into effect you have to buy a tour that can include up to 36 oz. of beer for on-site consumption and/or up to 72 oz. of beer to go. Most breweries offer their own mix of options so the system works for you, just know you can’t simply go into a brewery and order a pint. The average cost for a tasting tour here is $12 – $15, and with many of the breweries you get a souvenir glass with your tour. We know it’s stupid and sounds confusing, but every brewery will walk you through it and after your first one you’ll be a pro.
“I don’t have time to read all of this, just tell me what breweries I can’t miss!”
Scofflaw Brewing, Orpheus, Wrecking Bar (brewpub). There, are you happy now? Based on overall hype and love level by the Atlanta beer community, these are the ones you have to visit if you only have time for a few.
These are the breweries getting the most love in Atlanta right now, you won’t go wrong visiting any of them. Many of our other breweries are very good as well but I didn’t want to go crazy with a guide meant for a weekend trip. At the bottom of this list I’ll add a map of all Georgia breweries so you can see everything we have to offer.
- Monday Night Brewing | Get your malt fix with Monday Night’s Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale, the BBA variant is a popular seasonal release and occasional pours at the brewery. Also make sure to get your hands on Slap Fight IPA and Blood Orange Blind Pirate.
- Orpheus Brewing | IPAs, Sours, and Stouts. Orpheus was the first brewery in Georgia to offer a canned sour ale, their Atalanta tart plum Saison. Transmigration of Souls IPA hits hard for the hop heads and the brewery is releasing The 12th Labor BA Imperial Stout on August 17th, the Thursday before The Festival.
- Scofflaw Brewing | Strong IPA game. Scofflaw is less than a year old but has hit the market full force. Their Basement and Hooligan IPAs are local favorites. If you visit the brewery expect to be hit with lots of hops on tap. You might also find their Sneaky Wheat and if you’re lucky they’ll have some Absentium Imperial Stout or variants pouring.
- SweetWater Brewing – The Woodlands | Nothing says Atlanta like SweetWater. Funk and sour fans shouldn’t miss The Woodlands, SweetWater’s new barrel facility. Not only are the beers great but the space itself is an awesome display of barrels, puncheons, and foeders. It’s right next to the original SweetWater brewery so if you have time you can hit both spots, but you’re here for Shelton Fest so make sure to hit The Woodlands.
- Three Taverns | Three Taverns has a heavy focus on Belgian styles but some of their most popular beers veer away from that. A Night On Ponce IPA and Rapturous Raspberry Sour (Berliner’ish) are two stellar offerings. For something lighter their Prince of Pilsen is a great choice. Visitors to the brewery can also find experimental brews from their Hop Leaf, Sour Asylum, or Funk Yard projects.
- Wild Heaven | EDB – Emergency Drinking Beer, a hybrid pilsner-gose, is the star at Wild Heaven. If that’s not your thing then grab their Wise Blood IPA or Eschaton Quad. Wild Heaven also offers up amazing barrel-aged sours that don’t really get as much love as they should, if you’re lucky perhaps some Emmylou or Joni will be available.
- 5 Seasons | Two Locations | Check them out at their Prado or Westside location. Great food and beer. The Westside location is right next door to Hop City for your bottle shopping needs.
- Max Lager’s | Atlanta’s oldest brewpub with great food and beer. Their Hopsplosion IPA has been a staple at the brewpub for years and their Excommunication Flanders Red took Bronze at GABF last year.
- Torched Hop | Our rising star. One of our newer brewpubs but quickly making a name for themselves with lots of great brews and food. They also have a hug bar selection if you’d prefer something a bit harder than beer.
- Wrecking Bar | Our most celebrated brewpub. Located in a circa 1900 mansion, both the beer and food are outstanding. Porter Beer Bar is a short walk away. Dinner and beers at Wrecking Bar, then post beer beers at The Porter. Heads up, the neighborhood (Little 5 Points) is very eclectic and is great for people watching but can get a bit sketchy at night. However, I’ve been to both locations many times and I’ve never been murdered even once.
Atlanta Beer Bars and Restaurants
- Argosy | A great bar in the lively East Atlanta Village neighborhood. Argosy features a very cool antique nautical decor and a back game room that opens later in the evening. Visit after 11 PM and order two draft beers and get a free pizza!
- Brick Store Pub | Neck in neck with The Porter for our very best beer bar and can be found on many best in the US and best in the world lists. Designed like an old European pub, no TVs here. Just you, your friends, and great beer.
- Georgia Beer Garden | If you want to get your fix of Georgia beer, this is the place to go. Only Georgia beer on tap.
- My Parent’s Basement | Located in Avondale Estates in very close proximity to Wild Heaven and Three Taverns, the food is decent and the beer list is awesome.
- The Porter | As mentioned above, Brick Store and The Porter are some of the finest beer bars in the country. Excellent food with a huge tap list and extensive bottle selection, as well as an impressive beer cellar. Couple this with dinner and beers at Wrecking Bar and you’re set.
Atlanta Bottle Shops
- Ale Yeah! | Located in Decatur, just down from Wild Heaven and Three Taverns. Great selection of American and European craft beers plus various snacks. They also sell Big Green Eggs if you just have to get one while you’re here.
- Green’s | Two Locations | Mega liquor store with great craft selection.
- Hop City | Two Locations | Our best and biggest beer specialty stores. Their Westside location is right next door to 5 Seasons brewpub, Krog Street Market location has a bar outside serving full beers separate from the bottle shop.
- Tap on Ponce | Not conveniently located but if you find yourself at Ponce City Market check out Tap. You can get cans, bottles, and growlers to go and even glasses to enjoy your beer in the common areas of the market.
- Tower | Two Locations | Another mega store offering lots of craft beer.
OTP Day Trip(s)
Atlanta is divided into several neighborhoods but those that live outside the perimeter (I-285) are OTPers, as opposed to those that live ITP. Many wars have been fought, much blood has been shed, over the ITP/OTP debate. Mainly because people can be stupid.
If you want to head out to the ‘burbs there’s some good beer to be had there as well.
OTP Breweries and Brewpubs
- Arches Brewing | If you fly into Atlanta and you want to get beer into you as soon as possible Arches is your closest brewery. They brew a lot of classic, old world styles. Arches took 2nd place in our reader survey for best new Georgia brewery in 2016. (Scofflaw took 1st)
- Burnt Hickory Brewery | 75 North to Kennesaw | BHB’s taproom feels like you’re hanging out in your favorite dive bar or your buddy’s basement. Owner Scott Hedeen’s motto is “To be minimal, would be criminal,” and his beers reflect that. Expect a mix of IPAs, stouts, and sour beers, and several variants on tap.
- Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative | 400 North to Cumming | Cherry Street recently won top honors at the US Open Beer Championship, and it is well-deserved. Their brewpub offers a huge variety of styles on tap at all times.
- Dry County Brewing Company | 75 North to Kennesaw | Just a short drive/Uber from Burnt Hickory, Dry County’s core beers include an IPA, Extra Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, and a Session Ale. The taproom normally has a variety of beers available including the popular Neon Neon sour series.
- Gate City Brewing | 400 North to Roswell | Gate City’s location in Historic Roswell offers a great mix of walkable restaurants and shops to couple with your brewery visit. 1864 IPA, Copperhead Amber Ale, and Terminus Porter make up their most popular core beers.
- Hop Alley Brewpub | 400 North to Alpharetta | The food here is great and the beer is good. They offer a huge variety of house-brewed styles as well as an extensive selection of bottles and guest taps.
- Reformation Brewery | 75-575 North to Woodstock | A very family oriented brewery offering a selection of brews inspired by one of the owners’ many trips to Europe as a pilot.
OTP Restaurants, Beer Bars, and Bottle Shops
- Lincoln Fill Station | 20 East to 78 East to Snellville | Should you find yourself way out in Snellville then you’ll definitely want to stop at LFS. The combination beer bar and bottle shop offers many cans and bottles to go as well as growler fills and you can also enjoy a beer or cigar on their huge patio.
- Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe | 400 North to Roswell | Huge selection with many available as singles.
- The Peach and the Porkchop | 400 North to Roswell | Amazing food and a nice selection of craft beers. Manager Tom Moran is very active in the craft beer community and works hard to curate a great beer list. Just down the street from Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe.
- The Nest | 75 North to Kennesaw | Close to Dry County and Burnt Hickory. Offering up lots of BBQ, 59 taps, and a nice bottle selection.
- Wing Cafe & Tap House | 75 North to Marietta | Huge beer list, chicken wings, and other bar foods. The Wing is a popular destination for OTP residents.
- Sprayberry Bottle Shop | 75 North to Marietta | One of our most popular bottle shops. Owner and Beer Manager Brij Patel is a craft beer geek and continues to expand this shop to offer a larger variety of craft beer.
- Truck & Tap | 75-575 to Woodstock | Just down the street from Reformation Brewery, Truck & Tap offers draft beer, cans and bottles, and wine. The daily food selection is provided by rotating food trucks on site. Weather permitting, the whole place can be opened up to make one huge patio. Downtown Woodstock also offers several other bars, restaurants, and shops.
Athens Day Trip
If you can work it into your visit this is a trip well worth taking. Athens (about 70 miles from Atlanta and home of UGA) has a fantastic beer scene.
- Creature Comforts | Georgia’s star brewery. Tropicalia IPA continues to fly off shelves here and beer geeks wait for each installment of their Paradiso fruited Berliner series. Their special release sours and stouts always sell out quickly. A recent expansion has allowed the brewery to offer up small batch releases only available at the tasting room.
- The Southern Brewing Co. | The guys at SBC are doing amazing things with barrels, foeders, and even freaky-deaky clay amphoras with their beers. Their yeast program is amazing and they offer up some very unique beers brewed with strains they’ve captured and isolated.
- Terrapin Beer Co. | Their recent sale to Miller’s Tenth & Blake has turned many in the beer community away from Terrapin. However, they are one of our oldest breweries and still very popular. MooHoo, Hopsecutioner, Wake N Bake, and Recreation Ale are all great beers. We’ll let you decide if the Big Beer connection is an issue. We’re not the boss of you.
Athens Restaurants, Beer Bars, and Bottle Shops
- Trappeze Pub | A very short walk from Creature Comforts and a great place to grab some food and a beer. They don’t have a massive beer list, but they do offer a great craft selection.
- Catch22 Gastropub | Another great place to grab a bite and beer. Their business cards proudly display their worst Yelp reviews.
- Blue Sky Bar | My personal favorite bar in Athens. Extensive beer list and a cool outdoor rooftop patio
- Five Points Bottle Shop | While in Athens make sure to head down the Atlanta Highway and hit up this shop, one of the best in the state.
The Full Monty on Georgia Beer
If that wasn’t enough info for you then check out the map below listing every Georgia brewery and brewpub, as well as cideries and meaderies or view the results of our 2016 Best of Georgia Beer survey. We also have a Guide to Georgia Beer Bars with a list and map of most of the locations in the state serving craft beer, we’ve included that map below as well.
Welcome to Atlanta!