Last Thursday I had the pleasure of moderating a special live episode of the Brew / Drink / Run podcast at Your Pie in Sandfly. The show’s featured guests were the head brewers from Southbound Brewing Company, Service Brewing Company and Coastal Empire Beer Company. During the show, we reflected on Savannah’s brewing history and the market’s future growth, but also celebrated what’s happening right now in Savannah’s craft beer world.
With Coastal Empire marking its fourth year in business, Southbound hosting its second anniversary party this weekend and Service raising a glass to one year in the books later this summer, all of the breweries currently have brand new but very different beers available on draft around town.
Service Brewing’s head brewer Jeff Hyatt provided insight on Truman’s Tribute, Service’s new session India Pale Ale (IPA). The session moniker means the beer has a lower than average alcohol by volume (ABV) ratio. The idea behind session beers is that you can enjoy more than one in a sitting and not imbibe as much alcohol. The recent trend in session IPAs is to provide more interesting and bold flavor profiles. So while the beverage may be lacking in the traditional alcohol content, the fresh combinations of ingredients make up for that aspect.
Truman’s Tribute is dry-hopped with Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria hops. Jeff explained that this blend contributed directly to the unique flavors. “It’s got a little bit of spiciness to it, a little earthiness,” said Jeff. “It’s got some melon notes and it’s also got a little bit of citrus/tangerine notes to it as well.”
The conversation switched from spicy to sweet as Coastal Empire Beer brewer Kevin Haborak described its latest offering, Southern Delight Praline Amber. Kevin described the beer’s origins in delicious detail. “It’s an amber ale that we brew with Georgia pecans, Madagascar vanilla and then we also add lactose to it to sweeten the beer and enhance the natural caramel flavors from the malt to provide a flavor profile that’s reminiscent of a praline.”
While amber ales generally have more of a sugary-malt profile, those with a sweet tooth will love what Kevin has done with Southern Delight. It has quickly become one of the brewery’s best selling beers and can currently be found on many tap handles throughout Savannah.
Spicy and sweet gave way to sour as Southbound Brewing Company’s Smith Matthews introduced Transilience, his brewery’s summer seasonal. Only available for a limited time, this beer is an imperial take on a German Berliner Weiss style.
Where session beers attempt to reduce the expected amount of alcohol in a beer, imperials like Transilience go the other direction, often doubling the amount of alcohol the style traditionally has. This beer stays true to the Berliner Weiss format with a wheat base and tartness of flavor from the use of a wild fermentation technique. “It has a tart lactic-acid forward notes to it, so it’s really nice and refreshing in the hot weather,” explains Smith. “We used lactobacillus which is a wild bacteria to get that tart acidity.” The beer also benefits from the addition of fresh pomegranate and mango that provide tropical fruit notes.
All of these beers are available at the individual brewery tap rooms during tours and tasting events. Service Brewing is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30 – 7:30 PM and on Saturdays from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Coastal Empire is open on the first and third Saturday of each month from 1:00 – 4:00 PM. Southbound Brewing is open Wednesday through Friday from 5:30 – 7:30 PM and Saturdays from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.