First Draft with Ryan Fogelgren

Talking beer with the Arches Brewing co-founder

In an increasingly crowded Georgia brewing scene, Arches is unique. For starters, it’s paving ground in the craft-beer-nascent Hapeville. But it’s also doing it with interesting beers. A recent taproom lineup included an American Lager, three versions of a Belgian Blonde, and a hearty Russian Imperial Stout — all brewed on a tiny 1-BBL system. That’s right, no IPA. Arches does things a little differently. Founded by five longtime friends with diverse — brewing, software, chemistry, law, and architecture — backgrounds, Arches will release seasonal lagers throughout the year, another unusual move for a craft brewery, but especially one in Georgia. Creative Loafing caught up with co-founder Ryan Fogelgren to find out how this unique new business plans to make it work.

The seasonal lagers are an intriguing move. Tell me about them, and why you’re going that direction.

We’re planning a rotating lineup of six lager styles. Starting the weekend before Mardi Gras, we offer a Traditional Bock. In May, we offer a Vienna Lager. Around July we have a German Pilsner followed by Arches Festbier on September 1. As the temps drop, we offer a German Dunkel through the holidays and complete the rotation with a Baltic Porter in January and February. Many of these styles have never been commercially produced in this state, and we’re thrilled to introduce Georgia beer drinkers to new seasonal offerings. Only one of them, the Unseasonal Lager, will be produced year round as our flagship lager — it’s a double decocted lager made with all-American malt, noble hops, and Bavarian yeast.

What drew you to Hapeville?

It’s one of those towns that everyone has passed by and never stopped to check out. When we first looked there, it was intriguing to see how much energy and effort was being put into transforming this small town. They emphasized local crafts, food, and showcased local art on every corner. We liked the feel and passion of the community and the direction they were taking. Jamey Adams, our brewmaster, has lived in East Point for over 10 years, which is only a few miles away and has experienced the passion of this community firsthand. We felt it was the right fit and saw an opportunity to be a part of something special going on in this community. We also see a great opportunity to share our beer with airport travelers, surrounding hotels, and conference centers. With companies like Delta and Porsche anchoring a growing alliance of businesses, it only makes sense to add a destination attraction that encourages the community to engage with business and casual visitors.

What do you hope for the future of Georgia beer?

There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in this state. As the laws governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages continue to progress, we can only hope the legislators begin to truly feel the economic impact of our industry. In general, we think that craft beer drinkers will shift from the IPA-heavy trend that we have seen dominate the market in the past five or six years to an emphasis on more traditional, classic styles of beer including lagers.




Brick Store Pub’s Pancake Breakfast
When: Sat., May 14, 8 a.m.-noon
Where: Brick Store Pub
Price: Depends how many pancakes and coffee beers you consume
This long-running event — which features 21 special coffee beers — is the only time the Decatur beer bar institution is open for breakfast. Pancakes are served until noon.

Wrecking Bar Brewpub Wood-Aged Wednesdays
When: Every Wednesday
Where: Wrecking Bar Brewpub
Price: Depends how many wood-aged beers you drink
Each week, the Little Five Points brewpub serves up a special small-batch beer that’s been aged in a wood barrel.