Throughout my college years, I occasionally wondered what the “other Athens” was like. I wasn’t thinking about the big one in Greece. In those days, traveling overseas was beyond my reach. As a student at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio – Athens, Georgia was the town that was somewhat of a mystery to me. It was where a new kind of music was being made by the bands that I came to know and love including R.E.M., B-52s, Bar-B-Q Killers, Pylon and many others. When the excellent documentary film Athens, Ga.-Inside/Out was released during my time in college, I became somewhat fascinated by what this town in the northern part of Georgia was cranking out to the world.
Not too far out of school, my curiosity was answered when I moved to the Atlanta area the same year the B-52s’ Cosmic Thing hit the charts. One late summer day in 1989, I had to find the Atlanta Highway that the band sang in the CD’s hit single, “Love Shack.” What I found was a college town similar to the one I graduated from – minus the rolling Ohio hills. Ever since that first visit, I came back to Athens for its eclectic eateries and clubs over the years. A great arts culture mixed with a love of football with the University of Georgia’s Bulldogs, I quickly discovered that Athens has been attracting music lovers and gridiron faithful for years.
My most recent visit to Athens took me to the Terrapin Beer Company. Tucked away in an industrial park, Terrapin is the home to a 40,000 square foot brewing facility that produces some of the finest brew in the world including their Rye Pale Ale, Golden Ale, SunRay Wheat Beer and India Style Brown. I had the pleasure to sample these varieties at a recent anniversary party that featured constant beer-pouring and local bands jamming inside and outside of the brewery.
During the beer-fest, I was greeted by Dustin Watts, Terrapin’s VP of Sales and Marketing. Sporting a Viking helmet, Watts whisked me away on an ersatz tour with a group of participants. Trying to speak above the sounds of the band playing Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F,” Watts did his best to tell us about Terrapin’s dedication to the brewing process and its commitment to being earth-friendly.
“You see that stage outside?” Watts asked the crowd.
“Yeah!” we answered in unison.
“Well, that’s a bunch of cement that could’ve ended up in a landfill. Instead, we kept it all and made it part of the stage!” Watts yelled.
“Yes!” we all said, as we hoisted our beers.
At the conclusion of the tour, visit Terrapin’s gift shop which offers brilliantly-designed t-shirts, hats, bike jerseys, tank tops and more. A visit to the Terrapin Beer Company is well worth it. You get a fine education in beer making while you enjoy a cold beer brewed to perfection.
The location of the brewery is 265 Newton Bridge Road in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit their Web site.
Terrapin Beer Co. begins running tours Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays 5:30 - 7:30.
Terrapin Beer Co. is featured on a Turner South TV special and named, in a viewer poll, the Best Brewery in the Southeast with a whopping 72% of the total vote!!!
The Terrapin Rye Pale Ale was released in Georgia in April of 2002.