Sunday, September 7, 2014

Creature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, GA)

Athens, GA is best known for the University of Georgia and, depending on your cultural preferences, for either college football (Go Dawgs!) or popular music (from R.E.M. to of Montreal, and hundreds of bands in between). And, of course, beer lovers will also know it as the home of Terrapin Beer Company.

In May this year, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. opened for business in the old Snow Tire building.The interior is a single large area, with a high curved ceiling, that resembles an airplane hanger.

Two bars, one small and one large. A few long tables, but it is mostly a wide open space, with small wooden counters around the walls. The brewery area is open and visible in the back. 

Georgia still (yes, even in 2014) has some unusual liquor laws, and they apply differently at various kinds of bars/pubs/restaurants. The way it works at Creature Comforts is this: you are requested to buy a souvenir glass for $12, and you receive a plastic wrist band with six beer tabs. The server will take one tab each time you get a sample, and the samples are generous (maybe 6-8oz. each). 

Five taps were on when I was there. Thus, only a few styles, but the brewers have an interesting take on each one: for example, they used Motueka hops in the pils or conditioned their rye/amber ale on French oak. 

The service is quick and very friendly. I tried all five beers and liked them all (and, shhh… don’t tell anyone, but their rye beer is much better than Terrapin’s flagship Rye Pale Ale). On the way out I had a brief chat with the brewing crew, as they sat at one of the long tables, laptops open, formulating recipes.One of them had been in Japan and reminisced a bit about a long evening at Bakushu Club Popeye in Tokyo.

Creature Comforts is great addition to the Athens beer scene, and I imagine them only getting better.

Here are a couple of standout Creature Comfort brews:

Creature Comforts Bibo
Moderately sharp grassy nose, a bit pungent (Motueka?). Medium straw color, fluffy white head, very good lace. Clean grassy initial, fizzes up into a gentle malty sweetness, soft but distinct bitterness, which lingers a bit. Thin-medium body. A very satisfying pils. Flavors are gentle but firm.

Creature Comforts Tropicália
Big citrus nose, tropical fruit puree, nice mix of aroma hops. Medium straw color. Sweet caramel, light pepper, and big mango. Milder tropical fruit notes save it from becoming a hop bomb. Balances in mid palate and then more strained fruit notes emerge in finish. Medium-heavy body. Wonderful aroma, VERY tasty, and so well balanced. One of the best IPAs I’ve had in a long time.


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