Savannah‘s craft beer scene has steadily improved within the last six years in large part because of the Savannah Craft Brew Fest (August 31) being added to the city’s festival calendar over Labor Day weekend. Since the first event in 2008, several beer-centric bars and restaurants have opened, making Savannah a hopping brew destination, even garnering the moniker “Toast-Us City” by local reporters — a play on Savannah’s famous nickname, The Hostess City. So, while we certainly tip our hats to longstanding institutions of ale such as The Distillery and Jen’s and Friends, we’re pouring the praises for the newbies on the beer scene right now.
Savannah Craft Brew Fest
Like a great pick-six pack, there is something for every craft beer lover at this Saturday’s Savannah Craft Brew Fest. Held at The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, on the opposite side of the river from Historic River Street, attendees get the best view of the city’s quirky waterfront. But beyond top-shelf vistas, you also get the chance to sample beers from about 50 breweries — in your own souvenir ale-tasting glass, no less. Quench your inner beer geek thirst at indoor seminars (Cooking with Beer, Brewing 101) and by talking with brewery reps and other vendors. Savannah’s new and only production brewery, Southbound Brewing Company, is also sponsoring the Fest’s first cornhole tournament.
New Spots for Suds in Savannah
Even if you can’t attend the Brew Fest, you’ll find plenty of beer paradises in the city’s beautiful historic district.
With its recent opening in June, The Beer Growler has 45 brews on tap that are rotated often and can be filled in takeaway, refillable jugs up to 64 ounces.
This new German and Belgian gastropup haven has an extensive bottle list, 20 beers on tap and a new cask tapped every week — not to mention that beer is used in many of their excellent recipes, like the four varieties of beer-soaked mussels: Belgian ale, Belgian wit, IPA or Pale Ale.
This two-story mecca not only carries more than 500 beer choices, but the place’s philosophy is all about letting you sample brews before committing. Their loyalty club tracks the beers you’ve tried and rewards members with discounts, gear and invites to special events.
Although Moon River Brewing has been on the scene for 14 years, it just opened a massive beer garden in March 2013, and Savannahians have welcomed it with open arms — each holding a beer stein, of course.
Beer-Loving Attractions to Come
Savannah continues to gain momentum as a craft beer vacation destination, and the addition of these new liquid gold refuges will only help solidify its place amongst the pitchers.
Southbound beers are already available at many local bars, but the brewery hopes to offer educational tours and tastings to the public in the coming months.
Celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, the man behind midtown Atlanta’s dining institution Empire State South, has caused many folks to cry into their beers with tears of joy over the news that he is opening an Italian eatery with a biergarten (beer garden) attached to it sometime next summer.
Coastal Empire launched its Savannah Brown in 2011 and, that same year, won the People’s Choice Award at the Savannah Craft Brew Fest. Now, they have purchased space near downtown to open their own facility versus having contract brewers handle their production.
The newest kid on the block, Service Brewing does not yet have beers on the market, but they do have plans to open a brewery in 2014. They are military veteran-owned and operated, on a mission to make great brewski and give back to the service community.
Photos Courtesy of VisitSavannah.com