I had the great pleasure of spending an hour or so with one of the founders of Gate City Brewing. Pat Rains is half of a 2-man founding team. He moved from Portland to Roswell over 11 years ago. He rocks a gnarly beard. And for a transplant, he surely has that whole Southern Hospitality thing down. I’m decidedly Southern, so that means a lot to me. As many ‘why did you start a brewery?’ stories go, Pat started brewing as a hobby about 10 years ago. He’d just recently relocated to metro Atlanta and had a hard time finding the kind of beer he wanted. His hobby turned into an obsession which eventually turned into a serious homebrewing habit. He and his brewing partner, Brian decided to ditch their 9 to 5 jobs and go legit. Last July, they moved into a cool space right off of Canton Street – an old auto shop. They spent months getting things in brewing order and haven’t looked back. They literally do not have time to.
Roswell Loves Gate City Brewing.
The demand for their brews runs high and the brewery is always brimming with folks during tasting room hours. Live music on Saturdays, fundraisers and private events keep the team occupied in between time. It’s a busy place! So busy, they’re working on building out the downstairs of their building to make space for a proper tasting room and beer garden. Doing so will free space upstairs, allowing Gate City to expand their current 8 barrel system to a 30 barrel one. That’ll quadruple the brewery’s capacity within one year’s time, giving them the bandwidth to ramp up production and broaden their reach throughout metro Atlanta.
Lucky me, I got to taste 8 of them. The names [Copperhead, 1864, Terminus, Straight Outta Hopton, 20 Grand] are pretty cool; many reference Atlanta history which makes them even cooler.
Among my favorites:
- Copperhead American Amber Ale [5.2% ABV] – super drinkable, a bit ‘roasty’ but not overpowering, just enough hop bitterness, and an awesome copper tone. It’s one of those brews you keep in the fridge. A good ‘go-to’ brew. No surprise it’s their best seller.
- 1864 American IPA [6.3% ABV] – bittering and dry hops combine with the perfect amount of malts to make a well balanced IPA. And of course the name is an homage to the year that Atlanta was burned to the ground by General Sherman’s troops, and also when rebuilding began.
- Vanilla Brown [6.5%] – a smooth, crazy aromatic and almost dessert-like ale that takes advantage of the magic that is pure Madagascar vanilla. I enjoyed this one a few degrees warmer and it was perfection.
- They have Crowlers: quart sized, canned growlers. Pat says they prefer them to the glass ones because they up the ante on quality control (since cans deliver the freshest brew outside of a tap). I like them because they’re way more manageable. I can easily finish a quart in a sitting.
- Pat has Favorites: when asked what he’s enjoying right now from other local breweries he named Monday Night Brewing’s Slap Fight and a few things by Orpheus. The Atlanta brewing community is such a warm and welcoming one.
- They’re Working on Cool Stuff: like sours, barrel aged brews, a black IPA, and a traditional European Dunkel that should be released this fall.
You Should Visit.
The brewery is just an Uber ride away from Atlanta. Plus you can enjoy your brew while meandering throughout downtown Roswell (they allow open containers) or even pop in to one of the local spots and catch Gate City brews on tap.