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For the love of beer

 

Sampling Six Bridges Brewery in John Creek

Nestled in the heart of Johns Creek, surrounded by trees and with a great laid back feel, you will find Six Bridges Brewery. The first and only brewery in the Johns Creek area, it is named after the number of bridges that cross the Chattahoochee in, that’s right, Johns Creek.
 
The brewery itself consists of a 10,000 square foot brew house containing a 30-barrel main system, along with a 2-barrel pilot system. For those who don’t know, breweries have large production systems, and utilize a much smaller system for research and development of new beers.
 
Created by the first father and son team in the state to start their own brewery, Charles and Clay Gridley, opened the doors of Six Bridges Brewery in December 2018. They have produced some very tasty beers in a short period of time.
 
The taproom is dog and kid friendly both inside and out, which sets this brewery apart. While we were there, more than 10 dogs were getting along nicely. If you do decide to bring your dog, please be honest with yourself and bring only well behaved dogs to this or any brewery. In reality, the same goes for children. The outside area has several picnic tables, cornhole games and is lit for the nighttime crowd. This is a brewery where everyone can feel comfortable.
 
They have a board for people that want to “Pour it forward” by buying a beer for a first responder, military or just a particular friend that visits at a later date. This is a nice idea for those that are on the front lines keeping all of us safe.
 
The beers
• Medlock - A New England India Pale Ale coming in at 6.2% ABV, this is the number one seller for the brewery. Made with Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops, it has a golden, hazy appearance. A little juicy on the nose but those of you not into juicy IPAs need to continue on into the first sip as this beer is smooth and not overly juicy. It’s responsibly hopped with just a hint of bitterness, and true to its New England style, a piney taste rounding it out. A nice, dry crisp finish makes this a refreshing beer with a great taste.
 
• Shelby - An American Golden Ale coming in at a mild 4.3% ABV, this is the number two seller for the brewery. An easy drinking, smooth everyday beer with a crisp finish. There is a smooth sweetness balanced by a slight bit of hops at the finish. This is one to fill the cooler with for a day on the lake or an evening at the campfire. No one will refuse drinking this beer, including your crazy cousin who says he doesn’t like craft beer.
 
• Abandoned Shadows - An Imperial Double Stout coming in at a hefty 12.2% ABV. Heavy mouth feel is instantly noticeable, hints of chocolate and vanilla with a slight roasted coffee flavor. High alcohol level but not a boozy taste as one would normally expect. A slight bitterness that I was not expecting. An enjoyable pint all in all. You knew a big dark beer had to be in the mix. Don’t be afraid of the dark!
 
Sour Continuum With Blueberry and Pink Guava - A Sour Berliner Weisse coming in at 5% ABV. A nice light and mild sour, but not a tastebud butt puckering sour level though. The blueberry is muted and the guava comes through smoothly along with other fruits in a good blend. A well flavored beer with fruit but not heavy enough to be distracting. This is a sour that I could drink more than one of at a sitting, and I am not a big fan of sours. 
 
Cloudy Shoes - A Belgian Witbier coming in at 5% ABV. A very nice and mild witbier, a great summer beer that you could drink several of while on the lake. Slightly sweet, not a heavy hop (bitter) flavor, and a clean crisp finish make this another all day beer.
 
The entire brewery was clean, well kept and inviting. Several times during our visit we saw the staff cleaning the surfaces people normally touch, all the doors, bar, and tables were scrubbed. The staff was top notch, not only on the service side but also on their knowledge of beer.

If you are looking for a brewery to start your adventures into visiting breweries and branching out to different styles, I recommend you give Six Bridges Brewing a try. If you are a veteran beer taster and prefer more styles than usual, I was not disappointed at this taproom. I struggle at times as I prefer darker and heavily flavored beer, but they had a good variety on tap which is much appreciated. Sali enjoyed the sours and IPA as the weather was hinting of Spring.  
 
Packaged beer is available in the tap room as well as shirts and other items.

Slàinte!  (a popular toast in Gaelic meaning health).
 
 

Michael works around Lake Lanier and Sali is a contract negotiator in the data industry. They can be reached at lakesidenews@mindspring.com.








March 2020 column
 

The Brewery that has a 9,000 year lease

Beginning this month, Lakeside is introducing a new column: “For the Love of Beer.” Written by husband and wife team Michael and Sali Duling, the column will focus on all aspects of the third most consumed beverage in the world (behind water and tea). Here is their first column:
 
It is Saint Patrick’s Day! Give or take a few days. Time to don some green, gather friends and raise a pint of Guinness! Ah the dark stuff, that many only drink one time a year. But why? It’s dark, it’s too thick, it has too much alcohol or too many calories –  those are the common reasons.  Why then, are over 10 million glasses of Guinness served daily around the world?
 
Guinness is generally misunderstood, as are most stouts when someone is looking for a “beer.”  The Guinness that we find today actually came to be in 1959 and is called Guinness Draught. It is not a lager, which is what Bud Light is for. It is not a pilsner. Think Miller Light. Guinness Draught is a stout, a beer family that utilizes roasted malts and other grains to get its dark color and bolder flavor profile.

It does not cause extra calories or alcohol levels as some assume. Guinness actually has the same alcohol by volume (ABV) as Bud Light, 4.2%. As for calories, Guinness comes in at 128, Bud Light at 110 and Miller light at 96, skim milk at 126. Yes, you read that correctly, Guinness has two more calories than the same amount of skim milk. So put aside those weight gain concerns and enjoy that glass.  
 
Now that those myths are gone, let us pour a Guinness! Pouring a draft Guinness the proper way is an art, but today we are going to concentrate on the can. When you first open that can you will hear a hiss and some unique gurgling, that is the nitrogen widget that Guinness pioneered in the 1950s. “The world famous Guinness widget uses an ingenious nitrogen filled capsule that surges with bubbles when the ring pull is opened – replicating the Draught experience in a can,” the company says on its website. The nitrogen gives Guinness that creamy head, the signature and rich taste without the calories. As you fill your glass from the can, you will see the cascading nitrogen bubbles that are creating that distinct foamy head. Guinness only puts the widget in the can these days; the bottle does not have it. Guinness has changed the bottle with the idea of being able to drink it straight from the bottle with no glass needed. 
 
Arthur Guinness started brewing beer at Saint James Gate in 1759, by signing a 9,000-year lease! You read that right, 9,000 years! Now that is some confidence. Arthur Guinness knew he could make an extraordinary beer, so in 1799 he stopped brewing ales and focused on brewing porter, a black beer from London. Porters and stouts are two styles that are intermingled quite often. Guinness started as a porter but is now called a stout, or a “stout porte.”

Guinness has a distinctively different flavor, so do not expect a common beer taste, this is extraordinary.  On the nose, Guinness has a sweetness with the malt flavors breaking through just a touch. As for the taste? Guinness has many flavors going on; stouts have a more complex taste profile than most beer. Guinness is a good balance between the sweet malt and the bitter hops to form a pleasant taste. Did you catch the flavor notes of coffee and chocolate? How about the roasted grains giving it a bit of a toasty taste? The creamy texture will throw you a bit, if you are not expecting it, but it is all part of the charm of a wee pint of the dark stuff! 
 
For an even more unique experience, try it at room temperature! It is a different beer. This is why many people serve it at temperatures from 45-65. Caution! When you open a can at room temperature have a glass ready, the nitrogen releases with a vengeance and the beer will be coming out whether you want it to or not. You will find that stouts generally are at their best in these temperatures. The flavors are smoother and very easy drinking. Ice-cold Guinness can be a little bit harsh when it delivers its flavors. Kind of like a  bull in a china shop. At room temperature, the flavors introduce themselves, as if you are on a first date. The slight bitterness from the hops is still there at the finish, but a good bit tamer. At room temperature, that bitterness just begs you for another sip, and then another after that. The bitterness is no more than a beer that you may be used to, but it will be a little different with the roasted flavors mixed in.
 
You may have guessed that we are fans of Guinness. When we first met at a local Irish pub. I fell in love as Sali turned away from the bar with a glass of Guinness in her hand, the bartender brought mine a moment later. Four years later, we were engaged in Arthur’s private bar at the Guinness Brewery at St James’s Gate in Dublin. Both of us having Irish heritage does not hurt!
 
So this St Patrick’s Day, have a Guinness, or two. Close your eyes and focus on the flavors, you may just find more in that pint than you had previously realized. 
 
Sláinte! (a popular toast in Gaelic meaning health).


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