Those of us who have fathers who passed down their enjoyment of good beer can relate to Charles and Clay Gridley. We probably all wanted to open a brewery together, but we never had the courage to pull the trigger. These guys did it! This father-son team founded Brewing of the six bridges in Johns Creek, GA in 2018. Charles, a chemical engineer, previously worked for Coors and Clay, a firefighter, was a great home brewer. After Charles retired, they decided to open Johns Creek's first craft beer brewery. Like many breweries, they wanted to have a strong connection with the local community. With the help of the town of Johns Creek, they came up with the name Brewing of the six bridges in tribute to the six bridges that cross the Chattahoochee River as it flows in a southwesterly direction along the county line. After opening in late 2018, the brewery has grown steadily and gathered a group of enthusiastic fans.
Six bridges is easy to find as it is located at 11455 Lakefield Drive in an industrial park just off Hwy 141 in Johns Creek. It's a beautiful space with ample parking, a large tea room and a naturally shaded beer garden. Upon entering the taproom, you will immediately notice the hand painted map on the wall to the left, which represents the locations of the six bridges crossing the Chattahoochee that the brewery is named after. To the right is a lounge area with several comfortable armchairs where customers can sit and have more intimate conversations while enjoying one of the 10 or so beers on tap. To the right, the space opens onto polished concrete floors with large tables topped with shelled wood. The bar is on the left side of the room, sporting a digital menu panel above showing the current list of takes. There are a handful of flat screen TVs scattered around the room for watching your favorite sporting event. While the room is subtly bright with mostly string lights hanging from the rafters, it doesn't lack a lot of daylight during the day thanks to the expanse of large glass windows offering a lovely view of the beer garden. The beer garden is one of my favorite parts. It has large picnic-style tables with soft garlands above the head for the evenings and plenty of shade. It's easy to see yourself sitting there during Oktoberfest enjoying a delicious amber pint of Märzen. There is no doubt that this is the perfect place to drink Georgia's hot and humid summers.
While they initially focused on IPAs, Pale Ales, Sours and Stouts, Six bridges quickly expanded its offering to also include lagers and cask-aged beers. Their pillars are Medlock NEIPA, Shelby Golden Ale, Silent Accord Milk Stout and Sour Continuum with Pink Guava. Have tried Medlock and Shelby before, during my visit I went for a flight consisting of Healthy Scratch Blond Ale, Bluegrass Barn Kentucky Common, Sour Continuum with Pink Guava and Silent Accord Milk Stout. Here are my impressions of the beers I have tasted there.
This New England style IPA set Six bridges on the map at the start. It was noted a 93 by The magazine for beer connoisseurs. It's a hazy IPA that moves forward with a trio of hops: Mosaic, Simcoe, and Citra, giving it notes of citrus, melon and pine. It is medium bodied, good retention of the head, semi-sweet and low in bitterness. Oatmeal is added to soften the mouth feel and complete the finish. It is by far their most popular taproom offering.
Golden Ale has become less available these days with the popularity of IPAs and Pale Ales; however, Shelby It's still very popular in the taproom. This beer is slightly cloudy with a short head retention. On the palate, it is light, relatively sweet with herbal and fruity notes and a very low bitterness. It's a great introductory beer for non-beer drinkers or those who like something light and not bitter. At 4.8% ABV, it's well suited for times when you want to hang out and socialize without having high ABV beer.
This beer is unusual for a lager in that it is quite high in ABV. Your typical lager varies between 4.0% and 5.0% ABV. It is a light, very pale gold with moderate head retention. The aroma is mainly floral. The palate is light and sweet. Bitterness is contained and alcohol is not particularly well hidden. The finish is dry and of medium length.
I'm not a big fan of Berliner Weisse or tart beers, but this one won me over. He collected a 92 reviews of The magazine for beer connoisseurs. It's a wheat beer made with Huell Melon hops infused with pink guava. Not the prettiest beer in the world - it looks like a glass of grapefruit juice, but the flavor combinations work. Some Berliner Weisse are either too tangy or too fruity, this one is perfectly balanced between the two. Add a light mouth feel to it and you have a beer well suited for hot, scorching summers in the southeast. At 5.0% ABV, it's also pretty session.
Silent agreement is a medium-bodied stout made to drink year round. Its dark brown, with a khaki-colored foam presenting good retention. The flavors of coffee and coconut are predominant on the nose and in the flavor profile. The bitterness is contained, the finish is quite long. This is one of the best coconut flavored stouts I've had, as I've found that most don't provide a lot of coconut flavor.
This one turned out to be my favorite. The first time I had this style, because it is almost an extinct beer. It is a hazy brown color with excellent head retention. The backbone of malt is made up of 2-row barley, carapils and a good dose of corn grits. Hallertauer Magnum the hops give it a subtle floral aroma, a spicy flavor, and a moderate level of bitterness needed to balance a sweet malt profile. It's well executed and I liked the sweet / bitter balance much more than I thought I would. This beer was named after a local spot Everett's Music Barn who has presented Bluegrass music for over fifty years.
Thoughts of separation
Almost every brewery has something unique about it and everyone has characteristics that they like about certain breweries. Besides the obvious of making great beer, some of the things I look for in a brewery are a tea room with lots of natural light filtering inside (there is nothing more depressing than a dark bar. and poorly lit) and a shaded beer garden. . Six bridges easily ticked these two boxes. The beers are of high quality and come in a good variety of styles on tap; they only needed a few solid lagers available. However, given the space required for manufacturing and storing lagers, this is understandable. Regarding the crowd, I chose an off-peak hour to go by, as it's easier to talk to the beer staff, so I can't talk to the crowd during rush hour; however, it appears to be well configured to handle normal weekend activities. Tyler was running the faucet room the afternoon I visited and had a photoshoot for a new Imperial Stout - Nightmare Bozo - they presented for Halloween. He was very accommodating to my questions, even stopping once to go to the back to get an answer for me from COO Bryan Johnson. I always appreciate that the staff at a brewery don't mind spending time asking questions.
When visiting the northeast side of the Atlanta Metro, if you're looking for a brewery with a wide variety of IPAs, Stouts, and Sours, this is the one you should visit. They don't have a lot of production / storage space, so you won't often find lagers there; but everything is top notch. They have Tasters, Half Pours, and Full Pours available with Full Pours ranging from $ 4.50 to $ 7.00 per drink. A beer flight consists of a choice of four tasters. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The establishment is bright, clean and spacious. Brewing of the six bridges get it Let us drink beer seal of approval!
- Monday - closed
- Tuesday - 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
- Wednesday - 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
- Thursday - 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
- Friday - 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
- Saturday - 12h00 - 22h00
- Sunday - 12:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Thanks for reading and see you next time ...Let's drink beer!
As always, remember to drink responsibly.
Extract kits have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent packs in boutiques and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.
If you’re making beer, then you need to be rigorous about cleanliness during the brew. VWP is an absolutely no-nonsense cleaner and steriliser for getting everything ready beforehand. During the brew, a no-rinse sanitiser is invaluable. Between the two, spoilt and infected beer shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy cleaning products online from Brew Store and The Malt Miller.
Invest in some airtight plastic conteneurs. Malt, kept dry and cool, should be fine for six months, but get rid of it after that – you’re only going to get stale flavours if you use stale malt. Likewise, dried yeast will keep, if sealed and chilled, but it will lose potency and reliability. Hops do not improve with age. Be doubtful of any before last year’s harvest, however cheap.
While a good book is an invaluable reference, there will be a time you come across something that flummoxes you. It’s very unlikely you will be the first, and just as unlikely someone else hasn’t discussed it. From the magisterial, if abondant, How tera Brew by John Palmer to the uncountable forums and blogs discussing minutiae, such as Brewer’s Friend, there’ll be something to help.
Avoid grande amounts of table sugar, cane sugar or dextrose as fermentable sugars in your homebrew. They will ferment out completely and leave a very dry, almost ‘cidery’ flavour to your beer. This is what is recognized by many as the ‘homebrew’ taste. If you are looking for an easy way to improve this, swap these sugars with dry malt extract.
Most pack beers are designed to appeal to a wide range of people and therefore have a fairly simple flavour that it not very bitter. They are also generally bittered by using hop extract that adds bitterness but little hop flavour or aroma. Boil some water and add ½ an ounce ( 14 grams ) of any hop variety known for their flavour and aroma characteristics for 20 minutes. This will add a much improved change to the flavour of the beer. Add another ½ ounce ( 14g ) for the last 5 minutes of the boil to add a pleasant hoppy aroma. Simply strain the ‘hop soup’ into your fermenter with the rest of the top-up water. These simple hops additions will make a remarkable difference to your kit beers.
to wake a packet of dry yeast up and ensure that it is ready to start work as soon as it is pitched, try rehydrating it. Boil a cup ( 250mls ) of water for 5 minutes and then pour it into a sterilized conteneur. Wait for the water to cool down to at least 80°F/27°C and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top. Leave this for about 15-30 minutes, when you should start to see it get nice and foamy. Once your wort has cooled enough, pitch this and it will start fermentation much earlier.
If you would really like to get things started, follow the process above but add a tablespoon of dry malt extract to the water before boiling it. After pouring the water to a jar, add your yeast when cool enough and place cling wrap over the top to protect from the environment. Leave for at least 45 minutes at room temperature and you should start to see fermentation activity.
The length of time for fermentation on the side of your coffret beer can is almost definitely not long enough. The manufacturers are in the business of selling product and these informations will make beer, but it won’t be great beer. This should be extended out to 10-14 days.
Although your beer will be carbonated after about a week in the bottle, leave it for a few more to allow for the flavors to settle. This is especially relevant for beer made from packs as it will help remove some of the queue found in young/’green’ beer.
In order to efficiently multiply and get to the business of converting sugar to alcohol, yeast needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in your wort. If brewing using malt extract this can be reached a few ways including by shaking the water you are using to top up your wort, or by pouring it from a great height into your fermenter.
Don’t be too worried about removing your beer from the primary fermenter as soon as fermentation has finished. The Autolysis that you are seeking to avoid will take well over a month and in most cases a single stage fermentation is fine.
If you are looking to control fermentation temperature, place the fermenter in a large container of water to cool it and prevent temperature fluctuations. Wrapping a wet towel around it and pointing a amateur ou amatrice at it cools it even more through evaporative cooling. A few frozen plastic bottles of water are also perfect for cooling the water and your fermenting beer.
If you insist on using a two stage fermentation, use a bottling bucket ( or something else with a spigot ) for a primary. That way you only need a length of hose to rack into the secondary. The spigot will also be far enough off the bottom that the trub will get left in the primary with little extra effort – just tilt the fermenter forward at the end.
The activity of your airlock should only be seen as one indication that something is happening. There are many others indications and a faulty seal on your fermenter could stop anything from happening in the airlock.
The starting cell count is usually quite low with liquid yeast cultures. If you make a yeast starter about a day before brewing, you can avoid some potential issues from under-pitching the yeast.
If you are trying to cool a partial boil, place the whole brew pot into a sink or tub of cold water. You may need to change this water a few times but it is far easier to cool a small pot of wort in a temperature conductive container ( i. e. your brew pot ) than a grande amount of liquid in a fermenter. Adding your cooled wort to even colder water ( or ice ) in the fermenter will serve to cool it even further and should hopefully get you close to yeast pitching temperatures.
Dry yeast packets are perfect for new homebrewers. They have a nice high cell count and are very easy to use. Hydrating these takes very little time and will help get fermentation working earlier.
Get into the habit of sanitizing everything that will come in contact with your wort or beer after the boil.
Extract kits have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent packs in shops and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.
Use a no-rinse sanitiser… This shouldn’t need an explanation and I am yet to hear of a real reason not to
Following on from above – Don’t use bleach as a sanitizer…ever. It is to rinse out and if any comes in contact with the maltose in your wort it has the potential to completely ruin your batch. There are so many better products available that this shouldn’t even be a consideration
Whatever sanitizer you use, put some of it in a spray bottle for quick sanitation during brew time.
Make sure you read and understand the recipe before you start brewing. Also make sure that you have all the ingredients handy before you start. These seem like simple things but the last 15 minutes can get a little crazy… especially if you started drinking while sanitizing
Beer is very resilient so don’t be too worried if you make a mistake while brewing. Although it may not be exactly the beer you were after, you will probably still have something tasty and worth drinking.
Leave the lid off your brew récipient while it is boiling. The process of boiling actually vaporises chemicals that are not wanted in the beer and they evaporate out. The lid doesn’t need to be completely off if you are having dysfonctionnement maintaining a rolling boil but should at least be enough for the steam to escape.
Keep a record of every beer that you make, no matter how simple the recipe. This record will allow you to recall and tweak your brews when all that remains in the future is a couple of stray bottles and a desire for more
Especially when starting out, keep your ingredients and brews as simple as possible. It is much easier to add to a simple recipe that is missing something than it is to remove from something complex
Start by getting a solid grasp of the sanitization, fermentation and bottling processes and work from there.
If you have a choice, choose a fermenter or bottling bucket with a spigot/tap over one without. The siphoning required otherwise isn’t hard but it is still one more unnecessary step.
Bulk priming your beer is a simple addition to your bottling process that will add much greater control and consistency in the amount of priming sugar in your bottles.
The quality of your beer will be relative to the quality of the ingredients used. Always go for the freshest and best quality possible. Always make sure that extract is within any specified dates, yeast is fresh and that hops are nice and green
But most importantly… just relax and remember that you probably aren’t going to ruin your beer – It isn’t as delicate as you think