Last night, Georgia celebrated its newest beer company—Wild Heaven Beer—with a launch party at the Southeast’s Mecca for beer lovers, the Brick Store Pub. Wild Heaven is the brainchild of Nick Purdy, founding publisher of award-winning Paste magazine, with recipes developed by brewmaster Eric Johnson of Athens’ acclaimed Trappeze Pub.
“Our goal is nothing less than to brew the finest beer in the South,” says Purdy. “Wild Heaven Beer’ core portfolio will be high-end beers, and the demand for quality brewing is taking off. Our place in the market is to make beer that appeals to the adventurous craft-beer lover.”
Beginning today, the first two beers from Wild Heaven, Invocation and Ode to Mercy, will be available in pubs and restaurants around Atlanta and throughout Georgia and Alabama later this month. Invocation is a Belgian-style golden ale brewed all-grain, giving it a deep and complex taste. Ode To Mercy is an imperial brown ale combining the flavor and aroma of deep roasted malts, oak and coffee specially blended by Athens, GA’s 1000 Faces Coffee, yielding a smooth, creamy finish. Bottles will be available by the end of the year.
Johnson’s philosophy of brewing is rooted in the European tradition, but with an adventurous American spirit. As both a renowned horticulturalist and proprietor of BeerAdvocate.com’s #2 rated Georgia pub, he has a deep understanding of the science of brewing, an encyclopedic knowledge of the beer scene, and a creative streak which has yielded unending recipes for world-class beer.
“Georgia has fewer breweries per capita than Utah,” says Purdy, “but it’s a top craft-beer market. We’ve got good local breweries, just not enough of them.”
Despite a 2.2% dip in overall beer sales in 2009, craft beer grew 12% during the first half of 2010. And while North Carolina boasts 22 different breweries and Colorado has 25, Georgia only has four. Wild Heaven is contract-brewing with Thomas Creek in South Carolina and plans to open its own brewery in the Decatur area by 2013.
Mike Gallagher, owner of the Brick Store Pub, said, “After traveling to cities like Portland, Chicago, San Fran and Philadelphia, it’s almost embarrassing that we only have four local breweries, and one of those is actually in Athens. We’re a city of over five million people! The locals are ready, willing, waiting and excited.”
Fred Crudder, Beverage Director for Taco Mac, adds, “I was skeptical at first, having not heard anything about this project, but am alarmingly and overwhelmingly surprised at the quality of the beer.”
The following locations have joined with Wild Heaven to celebrate its launch and are featuring both Invocation and Ode To Mercy today: Brick Store Pub (Decatur), The Corner Pub (Decatur), Cypress Street Pint & Plate (Midtown), The Fred (Sandy Springs), Leon’s Full Service (Decatur), The Marlay House (Decatur), Midway Pub (East Atlanta), Octane (Westside), Ormby’s (Westside), The Porter Beer Bar (Little Five Points), Steinbeck’s (Oakhurst), Taco Mac – Perimeter Place (Dunwoody), Thinking Man Tavern (Decatur), Trappeze Pub (Athens), Muss & Turner’s (Smyrna), Diesel (Virginia Highlands), Twain’s Billiards (Decatur), and Young Augustine’s (Grant Park).
Nick Purdy and Eric Johnson are available for interviews.
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Caren West / Chad Shearer
Caren West PR