Hapeville’s small-scale Arches Brewing is about to go big

Bob Townsend | June 2017

Arches Brewing founders (L-R) Jamey Adams, Jeff Dake, Daniel Beer, Ryan Fogelgren, Greg Mickle. CONTRIBUTED BY: Arches Brewing.

Arches Brewing opened a little over a year ago, and since then, it’s been flying a bit under the radar. But it looks like that’s about to change very soon.

Located in Hapeville, in the new downtown arts district, near the Porsche Experience Center and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the craft brewery is unusual in a number of ways.

First and foremost, Arches focuses on lager beers, a style that takes longer and is more labor-intensive to make, and is arguably more expensive because of that.

Second, the three-barrel electric nano brewing system Arches’ five founders have been using isn’t exactly well-suited to large-scale beer production, let alone lagers.

And, yet, they have persisted — building out a tasting room that has become a popular Southside destination, and getting Arches beers out on draft at bars and restaurants around metro Atlanta.

One recent Saturday, I met up with Arches brewmaster Jamey Adams at the tasting room, where we sipped through the current draft lineup, including the year-round flagship, Unseasonal Lager, and a spring-to-summer seasonal, Mexican Empire, which is a Vienna-style lager commonly brewed in Mexico.

“I moved to East Point 15 years ago, and started brewing beer about 12 years ago,” said Adams, who is a biochemist by trade. “Being on the Southside was always important to me, but I also understood the market down here, and the proximity to the airport.

“I’ve watched restaurants be open Mondays through Fridays and closed on the weekends. But that’s changing, and we’re trying to be a big part of that, and encourage other places to be open, too.”

The Arches name derives from the beers the founders brewed under the four brick arches on the screen porch at Adams’ Colonial-style home in East Point, Adams told me. And many of those recipes later became the basis for the brewery.

Asked about the decision to position Arches as a lager brewery, Adams said it went back to a eureka moment he had after he first brewed an Oktoberfest as a gift to his wife.

“It was the science, and a chance for me to learn a whole lot more about brewing, and then I just went down the rabbit hole,” he said. “With the process, I discovered I could think ahead, and do a whole range of lagers for different seasons, which is what we do at Arches, except for our Unseasonal Lager, which is always on.”

Re-creating lager styles from various places around the world, while brewing with Atlanta water, is another thing that brought Adams back to his chemistry background.

“If it’s Oktoberfest, it’s Munich, so we create Munich water by adding mineral salts to make an Oktoberfest as true to style as we can,” he said.

“Luckily for us, Atlanta city water is fairly neutral. But we recently drilled a well 450 feet down into the aquifer, and we’re in the process of getting that ready to use for brewing.”

For Arches, and Arches beer-lovers, though, the bigger news is the arrival of a 20-barrel, steam-powered brewing system, which is planned to go online in July, followed in August by the first batch of Arches beer in cans.

“It’s all going to be happening soon,” Adams said. “I came to this brewery with 38 recipes that were tried-and-true, and we’ve only done maybe 20 so far, so it will be fun to constantly bring in new stuff as we go along.”


Arches Brewing Founders with Creative Loafing Atlanta

BREW TEAM: Three of five Arches Brewing co-founders, co-founder and brewmaster Jamey Adams (from left), co-founder and head brewer Greg Mickle, and co-founder Ryan Fogelgren, with Duke the brew dog

In an increasingly crowded Georgia brewing scene, Arches is unique. For starters, it's paving ground in the craft-beer-nascent Hapeville. But it's also doing it with interesting beers. A recent taproom lineup included an American Lager, three versions of a Belgian Blonde, and a hearty Russian Imperial Stout — all brewed on a tiny 1-BBL system. That's right, no IPA. Arches does things a little differently. Founded by five longtime friends with diverse — brewing, software, chemistry, law, and architecture — backgrounds, Arches will release seasonal lagers throughout the year, another unusual move for a craft brewery, but especially one in Georgia. Creative Loafing caught up with co-founder Ryan Fogelgren to find out how this unique new business plans to make it work.

The seasonal lagers are an intriguing move. Tell me about them, and why you're going that direction.

[We're planning] a rotating lineup of six lager styles. Starting the weekend before Mardi Gras, we offer a Traditional Bock. In May, we offer a Vienna Lager. Around July we have a German Pilsner followed by Arches Festbier on September 1. As the temps drop, we offer a German Dunkel through the holidays and complete the rotation with a Baltic Porter in January and February. Many of these styles have never been commercially produced in this state, and we're thrilled to introduce Georgia beer drinkers to new seasonal offerings. Only one of them, the Unseasonal Lager, will be produced year round as our flagship lager — it's a double decocted lager made with all-American malt, noble hops, and Bavarian yeast.

What drew you to Hapeville?

It's one of those towns that everyone has passed by and never stopped to check out. When we first looked there, it was intriguing to see how much energy and effort was being put into transforming this small town. They emphasized local crafts, food, and showcased local art on every corner. We liked the feel and passion of the community and the direction they were taking. Jamey Adams, our brewmaster, has lived in East Point for over 10 years, which is only a few miles away and has experienced the passion of this community firsthand. We felt it was the right fit and saw an opportunity to be a part of something special going on in this community. We also see a great opportunity to share our beer with airport travelers, surrounding hotels, and conference centers. With companies like Delta and Porsche anchoring a growing alliance of businesses, it only makes sense to add a destination attraction that encourages the community to engage with business and casual visitors.

What do you hope for the future of Georgia beer?

There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in this state. As the laws governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages continue to progress, we can only hope the legislators begin to truly feel the economic impact of our industry. In general, we think that craft beer drinkers will shift from the IPA-heavy trend that we have seen dominate the market in the past five or six years to an emphasis on more traditional, classic styles of beer including lagers.

Courtesy of Creative Loafing Atlanta: Original Article


Arches Brewing Brings Old World Flavors to Georgia for the First Time

Atlanta’s newest brewery offers beers never produced commercially in the state

ATLANTA, 2 March 2016 – Opening on April 16 as a nano-brewery, Arches Brewing will combine the best of modern and old-world brewing practices to deliver more than 30 distinct recipes to the Atlanta area. Many of their beers, particularly their lagers, have never been commercially produced in Georgia.

“For centuries, brewers have created various styles of beer based on the availability of local ingredients and at the mercy of seasonal temperatures,” said James Adams, Brewmaster for Arches Brewing. “We model many of our processes after the same European brewing practices, many of which have been eliminated over the years with modern technology and an endless supply of specialty grains.”

In this fashion, Arches Brewing plans to launch with a variety of seasonal and “Unseasonal” beers, including several rotating lagers that will adapt with the changing of seasons. One traditional technique practiced by Arches is called decoction, which is similar to sautéing ingredients in your kitchen. This allows the base grain to produce richer colors, intense flavor and complexities that would otherwise remain hidden. This practice was common prior to the creation of specialty grain. In addition, Arches pays particular attention to the water chemistry and mirrors the water profile of each style’s country of origin.

“We are intentionally starting small and plan to grow organically in order to maintain high levels of control,” said Adams. “A major part of that control enables us to slow down our processes and allow the beer to mature properly. While the majority of our lagers require months of conditioning, our Belgians will mature for up to two years before they are released. When beer gets rushed, the imperfections overwhelm its flavor profile, which is not the direction we intend to take.”

Arches Brewing will officially open its doors on April 16 in Hapeville, Ga., just outside Atlanta. Renovated from an old Napa Auto Parts, the tasting room now reflects the classic, old-world vision of the brewery. The Arches team built out the space themselves over the course of nine months, reusing and repurposing nearly all of the existing materials from the building and other salvage sources.

The tasting room will be open to the public Tuesdays-Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 6 p.m. Entrance will cost $15, including 6 sampling tokens.