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Owen Ogletree's Brewtopia Brewsletter: December 21, 2013
In this issue:
Follow our craft beer adventures...
- All Aboard the Pineapple Express
This holiday season, watch for Terrapin's Side Project 21 - a smoked pineapple helles called Pineapple Express that's the brainchild of a team of Terrapin employees with representatives from all departments at the brewery. The team conceived the beer, created a promotional plan and brewed a test-batch that was served to employees and judges at the Terrapin Christmas party last year.
Terrapin's Wake 'N Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout and the new Cinnamon Roll'd Wake 'N Bake will hit shelves this month. Also mark your calendars for the annual Wake 'N Bake Off event to benefit Wholesome Waves - it's two days of baking and stouts to be held at Aroma's in Athens on January 18-19.
- Brewing History of "The ATL"
Atlanta Beer, Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle's "heady history of brewing in the hub of the South," will prove a fascinating read for any craft beer lover in the Southeast. The book features chapters on frontier taverns of the area, Atlanta's first beer boom, stories of early breweries of the city, the brewpub trend and the rise of current breweries located in Georgia's capital.
Historic photos are included, along with colorful quotes from Atlanta's beer barons of today and days long gone. The chart outlining Atlanta's post-prohibition dead breweries forms a sobering reminder that craft beer has not always been such an easy sell in the state.
Grab a copy of the book in print or Kindle format on Amazon
"This ain't no beer joint. It's a community center."
- Manuel Maloof, owner of Manuel's Tavern.
1986 quote.
- Give Your Beer Lover Atlanta Cask Ale & Classic City Brew Fest Tickets for the Holidays
Looking for a special holiday gift for the beer lover in your life? Tickets to either of our long-running, exceptional festivals make the perfect gift...
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Sample from around 40 rare, one-of-a-kind, cask-conditioned, real ales from craft brewers in the USA and the UK at this exceptional festival. No other event in the Southeast offers such an extensive and impressive selection of perfectly cared for, delicious cask ales - allowing attendees to compare delicious classic styles of real ale to specialty casks with mind-blowing ingredients. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS:

Sunday, April 13, 2014 - Athens, GA
Sample from almost 400 of the greatest and most sought-after craft beers from around the world, experience the impressive cask ale pavilion with 20 rare, one-off real ales, and hear live bluegrass from Playing on the Planet! Trust us, there will be some amazing and exceptional treats at the BrewFest this year! CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS:
- Three Taverns, One Vision
Story and photos by Owen Ogletree
Originally published in Southern Brew News
Brian Purcell, Brewmaster and CEO of Three Taverns Craft Brewery, recalls a fateful, beer-indulgent night in Brussels back in 1994 that introduced him to the beauty, complexity and decadence of Trappist ales. Brian and his friends enjoyed themselves so much, that they were almost arrested while trying to drive across the French border later that evening. This one night formed a source of major inspiration for Brian in opening his own Belgian-themed brewery this year near the heart of Decatur, Georgia. His flagship brew is even called "A Night in Brussels."
Brian left his job with Coca-Cola in 1996 to open his own promotional marketing company geared toward soft drink manufacturers. "I never really took pleasure in running that business," he recalls. "I needed a more enjoyable, creative outlet."
Inspirational Origins
In 2000, Brian made a trip to Portland, Oregon to attend a wedding, and enjoyed his first taste of homebrew while there. Brian soon caught the homebrewing bug and started out with a five gallon extract kit. When he began to explore the idea of opening a commercial brewery, he graduated to a larger, all-grain brew system in 2008. This system (shown below with Brian) is now displayed in a place of honor in his Three Taverns brewery.
In what turned out to be a huge compliment, Brick Store Pub co-owner Mike Gallagher once mistook Brian Purcell's early homebrewed oatmeal stout for a popular commercial stout during a blind tasting and subsequently praised Brian's beer to his Brick Store partner Dave Blanchard. Brian adds, "After giving me valuable encouragement, Dave Blanchard then watched me plan Three Taverns with great impatience over the years. He would tell me, 'Brian, that's a great idea, but hurry up!'"
Brian loved the Brick Store ever since he moved to Decatur back in 2002. "A La Trappe ale at the Brick Store one night reawakened my interest in Belgian beer, and I knew another trip to Belgium was in my future."
Mythical, Magical Belgian Ales
In the summer of 2012, Brian visited the St. Sixtus Trappist brewery cafe in Belgium, drank three potent Westvleteren 12 ales and then rode his bike back through the lovely countryside to his hotel. He describes the day as "beer nirvana."
"Brewing these magical, Belgian-style beers spoke to me," notes Brian. "Making a great product and doing events to bring people together to open them up to wonderful beer and conversation held a tremendous appeal."
Brian's mind was set. He began the process of raising 1.3 million dollars to start his brewery and then sold his marketing company to his neighbor. In the fall of 2012, Three Taverns leased space in a small business park within walking distance of downtown Decatur that was once the Push-Push stage theater company.
A Bit of Belgian Influence
In the early planning stages, one of Three Tavern's biggest investors suggested hiring a Belgian brewer, and Brian considered this a brilliant idea. "Kevin McNerney from 5 Seasons was working for me as a brewing consultant," explains Brian. "Belgian brewer Peter Bouckaert, now with New Belgium brewery in Colorado, was visiting Atlanta for special events, and Kevin told me that Peter was going to Taco Mac Sandy Springs that night. Kevin and I met Peter at The Fred and discussed hiring a Belgian brewer. Peter told us that Belgians are 'born with a brick in their stomachs' and don't like to leave their country, but he did refer me to his nephew Joran Van Ginderachter who had worked as an intern at New Belgium and was inspired by brewing opportunities here in America."
27-year-old Joran will be moving to America and taking on the official role of head brewer at Three Taverns at that time. "My uncle inspired me, and it was always fun talking to him about beer," says Joran. "I was so interested, that I worked on a paper in high school about lambic beers and visited Oud Beersel and Frank Boon's brewery for research. Frank Boon got me hooked on sour beers - he is one of the smartest guys in terms of sours."
Joran (pictured above and to the right) brewed some interesting beers for Brouwers Verzet at De Ranke recently, and his bottled Oud Bruin is available at a few outlets in Atlanta now. Excited about helping start Three Taverns and being involved in the creation of new recipes, Joran also places emphasis on hard work and focus. "Brewing is fun, but you have to know when to be serious about it," he says.
Strong Beginnings
The night of July 19, 2013 saw the premier of Three Taverns' initial two brands at Brick Store, where a total of 15 half-barrel kegs were consumed. "To launch at Brick Store, where I found inspiration, was great," recalls Brian Purcell. "Mike Gallagher presented a heartfelt toast, gave me a bear hug and pulled me up front to speak to the crowd. I looked out and saw both friends and strangers - all happy, smiling and enjoying my beer. I realized then that Three Taverns is something bigger than me - the brewery is a gift to the beer-centric city of Decatur."
Three Tavern's sparkling new brewhouse - a 30-barrel, four-vessel model from Newland Systems in Canada - impressed Brian from the start with its efficiency and speed. The brewery's tasting room boasts taproom walls with old wood reclaimed from a barn in Kentucky, along with salvaged, 150-year-old bricks. Visible through a large window, the barrel-aging room is housed to the right of the bar, and a mezzanine lounge area sits above the serving area.
Recipes with Tradition & Flare
Single Intent comes in as a Belgian-style single - a lighter-bodied, abbey-style blonde ale usually reserved for the monks' personal consumption with meals. French Strisselspalt hops provide a spicy, floral aroma, and soft Belgian esters lend a complex, fruity backdrop in this 5% ABV beer with 35 IBUs.
As a Belgian-style IPA, A Night in Brussels contains Belgian malts, American hops, pure cane sugar and a spicy Belgian yeast strain. Brian calls the 7.5% ABV, 69 IBU beer "an American IPA on a Belgian road trip," and he's stepping up additions of aroma hops and dry-hops to boost the citrusy hop bouquet in recent batches.
When asked if his decision to open Three Taverns has made him happy, Brian Purcell quotes the American writer Fredrick Buechner who said, "Finding a sense of calling in your work is when your great happiness meets the world's great need."
- Brewsletter Sponsor
Southern Tier 2XMAS

2XMAS is an 8% ABV double spiced ale brewed in the tradition of Swedish Glögg. 
FERMENTATION: Ale yeast, two varieties of hops, four varieties of malts. Figs, orange peels, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger.
COLOR: Dark ruby
NOSE: Spice cake, dried fruit, mulled wine
FLAVOR: Spices balanced with sweet malt, slight hop bitterness
BITTERNESS: Medium-high
BODY: Medium
GLASS: Tulip glass or snifter
- Featured Links & Events

  • 01/25/2014 - ATLANTA CASK ALE TASTING offers around 40 rare cask ales for sampling from the USA and UK. It's epic. Tickets on sale NOW!
  • 04/13/2014 - CLASSIC CITY BREW FEST. Foundry Park Inn & Melting Point, Athens, GA. Georgia's premier craft beer event with almost 400 craft beers and 20 one-off cask ales. Tickets on sale NOW!
- Follow Brewtopia Events on Facebook
CLICK HERE and hit the Brewtopia Events "like" button on Facebook to see live photos and news posts as we sip, quaff and sniff craft beer around the world.
  • Owen and the Beer Wench travel to Belfast in Northern Ireland over the holidays to explore the historic pubs of the city and visit with the cask ale producers at Hilden Brewing Company - Ireland's Oldest Independent Brewery.
  • In January, we'll hit Wicked Weed, Oskar Blues and all the new craft beer spots around Asheville, NC.
Owen Ogletree is an Athens, GA beer writer, beer traveler, nationally certified beer judge, and founder/director of, the Classic City Brew Fest, and the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting. Phone: (706) 254-BREW.
Brewtopia Events LLC • 265 Newton Bridge Rd. • Athens, GA 30607
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