Since last fall, visitors to Athens have had a new reason to say “Cheers!” at the quintessential college town’s collection of craft breweries. Thanks to changes in Georgia’s alcohol regulations, breweries (and distilleries across the state, too) can now sell their suds straight from the source — no more being relegated to shopping for craft beers at wholesale distribution sites.
In short, there’s never been a better time to embark on some beer tasting — and grab a six-pack to go — in one of the South’s edgiest formerly antebellum towns. Follow our lead to the best craft breweries in Athens where you can try and buy.
Creative foods like beer-braised pork chops and chocolate stout–spiked Beeramisu are on the menu at this brewpub where you can find a pairing for every tasty pub dish served up. The head brewer here fell in love with craft beers while studying in Cologne, Germany.
And The Dom beer is inspired by the kölsch-style ale he appreciated abroad. Sports fans should sip the Hades’ Hounds Hunker Down Brown, a commemorative brown ale brewed to toast the Georgia Bulldogs’ appearance in the national championship college football game in 2018.
Brewery Ambassadors guide you through the goods during tours Wednesday through Sunday at the indoor tasting room or big outdoor yard at Terrapin Beer Co.
The Rye Pale Ale has been a favorite since it took home a gold medal at the American Beer Festival in Denver back in 2002. In fact, that single beer was the impetus for the brewmasters to open a brick-and-mortar outfit a few years later in 2008 in Athens’s artsy warehouse district.
The seasonal brews here are always fun to buy and bring home to enjoy with friends, with varieties like Moo Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout and Pumpkinfest in the mix. Live music accompanies the tasting tours, so make an event of it.
Head to downtown Athens to sip craft beers at this brewhouse opened by two University of Georgia alumni that USA Today named among the best new breweries of 2016. Copper lamps hang from high ceilings over a long wooden bar, and a glass garage door opens onto Hancock Avenue, giving a nod to the iconic industrial building’s past life as a tire shop.
On tap you’ll find everything from a crisp pilsner and the house-favorite Tropicália IPA to a rye amber aged with French oak. Then pick up some cans and bottles to bring home.
In 2015, two friends who met at a beer convention opened one of the newest breweries to hit the Athens suds scene. Set on the outskirts of town, the facility sits on 15 acres, with hiking and biking trails being built onsite and plans to erect an amphitheater to host live bands, too.
Come for the tasty hefeweizens and stouts on tap or to try small-batch seasonal beers that might feature an Irish red ale or the Bumpkin beer, aged in bourbon barrels.
Can we get a cheers?