Ultimate Guide to the Atlanta Black Craft Beer Experience
Published July 27, 2022
Craft beer, by definition, is beer produced with traditional ingredients by small, independent breweries. With more than 30 craft breweries and brewpubs in Atlanta, the craft beer landscape here is young as compared to other cities. But with youth comes the opportunity for growth and creativity. That is especially the case with the Black beer experience in Atlanta. Here, it intertwines the artistry of brewing with diversity, historical context and soul. It represents collaboration, innovation and Black excellence.
This is the ultimate guide to experiencing all that Atlanta’s Black craft beer scene has to offer.
Hippin Hops: Leading the Way as Atlanta’s first Black-Owned Brick and Mortar Brewery Taproom
The first stop on the Atlanta Black Beer Experience has to be Hippin’ Hops, Atlanta’s first Black-owned brick and mortar brewery and taproom. With two locations on the Eastside, Hippin’ Hops provides unique taproom experiences.
The original Hippin’ Hops taproom sits near Glenwood Avenue and Flat Shoals Road at the epicenter of East Atlanta Village, a quirky and walkable neighborhood known for music, bars and people watching. Like most spaces in the village, Hippin’ Hops is cozy and buzzing with energy. The communal seating only adds to the feeling of togetherness in this taproom. On any given day, local DJs are spinning inside while folks are playing cornhole or giant Jenga in the beer garden.
As with most new breweries, the taps are always rotating with new recipes, but you can count on two of the mainstays being on tap. Baby Mama Drama is the signature India Pale Ale. True to style, this one is characterized by solid malt character and a hoppy backbone. The So Peachy peach cobbler sour is another Hippin’ Hops standard and a must-have. It has just the right balance of juicy peach sweetness and fruity tartness.
Unlike most breweries, Hippin’ Hops boasts a full dine-in and carry-out menu. At the East Atlanta Village location, seafood with a New Orleans twist takes center stage. You’ll find classics like fish and grits, shrimp and grits, and oysters on the menu. But among the most popular items is the Alligator Po’Boy on classic French bread with lettuce, tomato and house-made Hippin’ Hops remoulade. This one is a must try and pairs perfectly with the Baby Mama Drama IPA.
Hippin Hops’ Brewstillery
Next, you’ll want to head over to Second Avenue and Hosea Williams Drive to visit the second Hippin’ Hops location in the city. Before entering, forget everything you know about the industrial and dark feel of traditional breweries and taprooms. Hippin’ Hops Hosea is bright and aspirational in its design, layout and décor. The large windows bring in lots of natural light. The marbleized floor – a signature motif of the Hippin’ Hops brand – brings a touch of elegance and sophistication. The furniture is plush, inviting and comfortable.
Aptly referred to as a Brewstillery, this brewery not only offers the full roster of Hippin’ Hops beers, but also a distilled spirits menu that includes vodkas and whiskeys. At this location, the fare is on the lighter and healthier side with more grilled options. The blackened salmon is the most popular item and pairs perfectly with a cool and refreshing Hippin’ Hops beer slushie or seltzer. Be sure to ask the friendly staff about new menu items as this location’s options are always being refreshed.
Atlantucky: Beer, Art and the Unmistakable Undercurrent of Hip-Hop
The last stop on the Atlanta Black Beer Experience is Atlantucky Brewing, located in the historic Castleberry Hill neighborhood and just blocks away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta University Center. Founded by Grammy-nominated rap group Nappy Roots, it’s no surprise that beer, art and music intersect here.
Step inside, and it’s clear that the vibe is unapologetically Black. The walls are covered by Afrocentric artwork curated to highlight local artists. The décor weaves in the elements of wood, steel, leather and concrete, giving the large brewery and taproom a more soulful atmosphere. And the social calendar at Atlantucky is a true representation of its proximity to so many iconic Atlanta destinations.
On any given night you may find gamers meeting up to play old-school video games; Harry Potter enthusiasts costumed and competing in trivia; Atlanta United soccer clubs enjoying pregame beers; a local artist open mic night; or local legendary DJs spinning house music and hip-hop.
The roster of beer here is deep and in constant rotation. As a new brewery and a space of collaboration, Atlantucky takes an experimental approach to craft beer. At any given time, expect a range of styles from German-style pilsners to wheat beers and IPAs. Mainstays include The Bluff, an easy drinking American lager with light notes of malt and low bitterness, and the Mile High Pale Ale, a classic interpretation of the style with a clean and slightly hoppy finish. If you’re not sure what to try, the team of knowledgeable brew-tenders will most certainly recommend a good flight of beers to explore what’s currently on tap.
Atlantucky has a full kitchen that it opens to local food vendors, so visitors can expect a different culinary experience from day to day. This model not only keeps the food menu fresh, but also serves as an incubator for start-up culinary businesses.
While in the taproom, be sure to check out the retail shop stocked with Atlantucky gear. You’ll also find seasonal items as a part of the “Beer is Black History” collection. Created by local beer and lifestyle brand Draught Season, the merchandise highlights the history of beer and those who are now pushing the craft beer culture forward. Items for sale include hats, hoodies and tees – staples of any beer lover’s wardrobe and great souvenirs.
Beer On The Go: Down Home Brewing
Speaking of souvenirs, you can’t leave Atlanta without taking home a six pack (or two) of Down Home Brewing beer. Down Home Brewing is the city’s first brewery to produce and sell craft beer, as well as the first to package and distribute its beer to retail locations. That makes it even easier to take the Atlanta Black Beer Experience home with you.
Pop into a Whole Foods Market, My Friend’s Bottle Shop, Trader Joe’s or Candler Park Market and look for the can with the artistic illustration of Hershel, grandfather of the brewery founder, and the face of Down Home Brewing.
The retail portfolio includes three flagship brews. If you want something to remind you of the beautiful Georgia pines, then grab the Georgia Hooch India Pale Ale, a robust beer with a hop explosion of citrus and pine. The Down Right Hazy India Pale Ale is another of the same style but with a much milder and more approachable flavor profile with a creamy and smooth feel. The T-Pom Pomegranate Wheat Ale is a good choice if you’re in the mood for something with little to no hop bitterness. Its tart flavor and dry, crisp finish work well alone or as the base of a beer cocktail.
Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong. There’s bound to be one Down Home brew to suit your palate.
Black Beer Events & Experiences
If you happen to be visiting Atlanta in the spring or summer, check the Crafted For Action website for in-person events. Crafted for Action builds community through craft beer events that are inclusive and welcoming to all. CraftBeerCon, a hybrid in-person and virtual conference, is the annual signature event for the full spectrum of craft beer lovers.
As the industry’s only conference founded and operated by a person of color and a woman of color, the in-person events create opportunities for people to connect with craft beer at the center. Events include happy hours, paired beer dinners, educational workshops and craft beer tastings at multiple events throughout Atlanta.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a beer expert to enjoy CraftBeerCon events. All levels of expertise are welcome.
Did you know?
Beer has been a part of culture since the beginning of time. Some scholars date its birth back to 10,000 B.C., though the earliest known reference to a beer-like beverage dates back to ancient Mesopotamia around 5,000 B.C. In fact, the oldest recipes ever recovered by archeologists just happen to be for beer.
Considered a superfood because of its nutrient-rich ingredients, beer was historically brewed in African households and has played a central role in the civilization of cultures across the globe for thousands of years. Fast-forward to the modern age, craft beer is more than the sudsy beverage that we know and love. It has come to symbolize the spirit of creativity, freedom and entrepreneurship.
To experience more Atlanta culture, visit Atlanta’s Favorite Black-Owned Restaurants.
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