Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing turns 20 this year, and is celebrating their platinum anniversary by opening a massive barrel aging facility called The Woodlands. Sweetwater has executed some killer barrel aged beers in the past, but the brewery is probably best known for creating easy-drinking pales and IPAs in cans. Founder Freddy Bensch says that with 20 years under their belts, SweetWater can “give more time to projects we’ve always aspired to do, like working on higher end, more time consuming and complicated beers.”
The Woodlands, which is scheduled to open this weekend, is a 37,000-square-foot, brick and wood building that sits next to the existing SweetWater Brewery dedicated to aging beers in massive oak foeders and smaller barrels. Eventually, they’d like to start creating four beers a year out of the space, focusing on “wild, Brett beers and other progressive styles.” SweetWater has already released the first beer under the Woodlands Project label, a blackberry sour called Through the Brambles.
Check out the gallery for a peak into the new space, as well as notes about the first beer to carry the Woodlands name.
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SweetWater will focus mostly on sours at the new Woodlands facility.
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There's a huge event space above the barrel aging floor.
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There's space for up to 1,000 barrels.
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SweetWater built the building from scratch, but it has an old world feel thanks to the brick arches.
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A lot of glass, so even if you're not stopping by for a beer, you can at least do some window shopping.
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There's room for 11 different folders (200 barrel capacity each). They have six in the space now.
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Of course there's a tasting room. And a separate space for bottle conditioning too.
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Fancy beer needs fancy glassware.
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The Woodlands is off to a good start. The first beer under the Woodlands Project label, Through the Brambles, is a blackberry sour that comes in at a reasonable 6.2% ABV. It was aged for a year in oak, and a lot of the wood comes through in the sip, which is more tart than sour. You get plenty of the fruit up front, and oaky tannins on the backend. It's light, effervescent and shows a hell of a lot of promise for what's to come from The Woodlands.