Akademia teams up with Athentic to release Bold-Faced Rye roggenbier

Night Owls visiting Akademia Brewing Company recently probably noticed a new collaboration beer on the menu.

Bold-Faced Rye roggenbier won the 2017 Athens Homebrew Classic, and as part of the prize package, its brewers got to make and sell it at the brewpub. In a fortuitous occurrence, Bold-Faced Rye will be the first beer to enter market from upcoming Athens brewery Athentic Brewing Company.

“It was really exciting how Southern Brewing Company gave us an opportunity, before we were able to open up our own facility, to come in and get a little bit of production brewing experience under our belt,” said Morgan Wireman, Akademia co-founder and head brewer. “The original plan wasn’t originally to provide that for Athentic — it was supposed to be the competition winner of the Homebrew Classic — but it turned out to be a lucky turn of events that they just happen to end up winning and are now opening a brewery.”

Paul Skinner and Mark Johnson, co-founders of Athentic, were surprised that Bold-Faced Rye took home the top prize.

“It was a complex brewing process because we were doing some decoction brewing, which means we were pulling off some of the wort from the mash and further boiling it and condensing it down and caramelizing those sugars, then adding them back into the mash tun and pushing them through,” Skinner said. “Once you go past that 20 percent threshold with rye beer it’s a booger because [rye] doesn’t have a husk. So it kind of turns into gelatinous material. It’s a little hard to get through — it can stick your sparge in your mash tun. Even when we brewed with Morgan here, I think we four or five times had to stop and unplug the mash.”

Bold-Faced Rye also uses a versatile yeast that has a lot to do with the end result of the beer’s flavor. If it’s brewed cooler, as Athentic did, the notes have more clove; warmer, it has more of a bubblegum sweetness, Skinner said.

“Rye has sort of a characteristic [spiciness] to it. It’s like, kind of a pumpernickel bread,” Skinner said. “I get a little residual sweetness on the front end and then a dry finish. I think for people who just want to try something totally different to their palate, they would be interested in this.”

Wireman and Aaron Martin, Akademia’s beer consumption coordinator, enjoyed working with Athentic, and have high hopes for Bold-Faced Rye.

“I’m really excited to see them doing a style that so far has been underserved,” Martin said. “We’ve had rye beers in Athens, obviously with Creature and Terrapin both famous examples, but the actual roggenbier is something that I haven’t seen coming out of Athens ever before. It was cool to help them out with a style that should be something new for most people in town.”

Authentically Athens

Skinner started brewing in 2011 as part of a church group. As group members moved on to other hobbies, brewing stuck with him and got Johnson addicted. The two knew each other from their day jobs working at Boehringer Ingelheim.

They attended the first Athens Homebrew Classic event in 2015, and during the next two years entered both the Beer Judge Certification Program and five-gallon competitions.

“To win best in show our competition has a couple of rounds. The first round, the beer is going to be facing off against a flight of similar style beers,” said David Ducrest, organizer for the Athens Homebrew Classic. “Judges will sample beers, award points and typically the ones ranked the highest will be considered in a little mini-count. Those might be re-sampled and awarded first, second, third in that category.”

First-place beers then face off against each other.

“It becomes a bit of a debate between the different, really skilled judges about, is that stout a better stout than that English bitter is an English bitter,” Ducrest said.

Homebrewing meant that Skinner and Johnson also had a lot of beer laying around for their friends to enjoy, so they began hosting tasting events as the Kudzu Brewing Company.

“Eventually it became a very strong passion for us, enough that we were very interested to start a business and could envision ourselves doing something in the craft beer industry,” he said.

As business plans became more serious, they realized that another brewery already had Kudzu copyrighted.

“We quickly went back to the drawing board and started brainstorming a ton of new names,” Skinner said. “We created our own word, essentially, by combining ‘authentic’ and ‘Athens’ and it fit the way we brewed.”

Basic brewing done well

Johnson said Athentic’s recipe’s aren’t trying to out-hop or out-bitter anyone, and it’s a goal of theirs to create beers that are unique enough to win competitions, but still be accessible to the average craft beer drinker.

“A lot of our beers are meant to be more on the side of easy-drinking,” Skinner said. “We’ve gone all over the spectrum, but it’s coming back to good ingredients, fresh ingredients. Trying different things and experimenting, and finding that tradeoff that is crafty and different, but also just a very drinkable beer.”

Next up for Athentic is opening the brewery itself. The expected debut date will be sometime this fall, and the anticipated location will be in downtown Athens. Skinner said Athentic will be more along the lines of a brewery than an Akademia-style brewpub.

He’s most excited to release Sister Goldenhair, a refreshing, hoppy pale ale, and his sour, fruity golsch. Johnson already has a following for Flower Power Blonde — the secret floral ingredient he wouldn’t reveal! — and his amber.

When it comes to opening a brewery, timing is the biggest hurdle, the two said.

“Everything takes longer than you think it’s going to take,” Johnson said. “That’s the biggest lesson. You think it’s going to take a week and it’s going to be at least three.”

Johnson and Skinner credit Brian Roth and Mark Mooney at Southern Brewing Company, Morgan Wireman at Akademia and the owners of Grumpy Old Men Brewing in Blue Ridge, Georgia, as their biggest role models in the business.

“Everywhere we go and we talk to brewers, whether it’s brewpubs or breweries, they’re all willing to share information,” Johnson said. “[Grumpy Old Men], those guys really I think were two that I look to because they’re older than we are and they decided to do this as a second act, and they made it happen.”

That’s a big goal for Athentic.

“We’re mid-50s, and this made us just a little bit different,” Skinner said. “We just want to represent that all groups and all ages and all backgrounds can get into this business and have a good time.”

Akademia Brewing Company Enters Distribution

Almost three months to the day after Akademia Brewing Company surprised Athens with an early soft opening, the brewpub will enter distribution for the first time.

Beginning with the first delivery on Jan. 12, select brews of Akademia beer will be in the market. IQ IPA and Niobe’s Tears gose are the first to be available to bars and restaurants in the Athens and Atlanta areas, with High IQ double IPA, Moirai Belgian tripel and Everything He Touches tart brett saison following soon.

“It was a milestone to be able to sit down at our bar and order an Akademia beer, but now the opportunity to grab a glass of Akademia at a bar or restaurant around town just feels incredible,” said Aaron Martin, Akademia’s beer consumption coordinator.

According to state law, breweries in Georgia aren’t able to distribute beer outside of their own establishments. That’s where the distribution partnership comes in: a distributor or wholesaler purchases beer from the brewpub and sells it to retailers. After much consideration, Akademia’s leadership team selected Georgia-based Modern Hops as their partner in this venture.

Eric Levin, owner of Modern Hops

“There are a lot of big distributors with hundreds of brands doing wine and liquor and nobody was really focused on craft beer. We wanted to start something that was 100 percent dedicated to craft beer, but also doing things on the brewers’ terms,” said Eric Levin, owner and founder of Modern Hops. “We designed a model to pick up beer directly from the brewery. The kegs stay cold the entire time. … We don’t want to store beer, we want to get beer straight from the brewery that’s freshly kegged and put in the retailer’s hands.”

This model allows Modern Hops to deliver cans and kegs from its breweries to shelves the same day it’s produced, something he’s not seen often in the industry. Modern Hops is a fairly new company to the craft beer scene. Levin saw a need for it and began planning its business model about 15 months ago. Its first run was in May 2017 with beer from Cherry Street Brewing, another Georgia craft brewery.

Since its inception, Modern Hops added D9 Brewing Co., Superstition Meadery, Blue Pants Brewery and Piedmont Brewery and Kitchen to its repertoire.

“Part of the differentiator of Modern Hops, we have a small portfolio and it’s very curated. We don’t want to get a bunch of competing breweries or breweries making the same sort of style,” Levin said.

He said Modern Hops was drawn to Akademia because of its team and its product — his favorite beer here is High IQ double IPA. Having a brewpub in Athens, Georgia, didn’t hurt either.

“We really wanted to do our part in helping make Athens be more of a craft beer scene,” Levin said. “I think it has the ability to be another Asheville at some point in time, where some people come in for a weekend and are driven by the beer tourism.”

For Akademia’s part, owner Matt Casey chose Modern Hops to partner with because of the company’s eagerness to do business with the new brewpub and its willingness to creatively work an agreement that would allow both young companies to grow together.

“We are Akademia’s outside sales and marketing team for Athens and Atlanta,” Levin said.

He said this allows the Akademia team to focus on brewing and brewpub operations, and Modern Hops takes on the role of getting beer samples to new locations, delivering beer, working with the Akademia marketing crew to plan events and tap takeovers, taking orders and handling service with retailers. Levin’s group also ensures the beer maintains its characteristics and freshness once its in a retail establishment by cleaning the draft lines before installing a keg. This gets rid of any potential bacteria or off-flavors, making sure Night Owls new and old get the optimal taste of Akademia beer.

“It’s easy for us to become experts on those brands and to put [Akademia] on the forefront,” Levin said. “It’s a hard model; it’s an expensive model, but it’s worth it.”

The first accounts that will serve Akademia beer are in the Athens and Atlanta area. In the Classic City, Night Owls can look to imbibe at Catch-22 Gastropub, Blue Sky Bar and both Five Points Bottle Shop growler shop locations. For Atlanta area fans, kegs will soon be tapped at the Hop City Krog Street and West Midtown locations, The Tap on Ponce, My Parents’ Basement and Argosy.

“By the end of the year, we hope to have our beer throughout Athens and Oconee in our home markets, and in key accounts in Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties. We should also be branching out to key accounts towards Augusta, Savannah and coastal Georgia,” Casey said.

Interested in having Akademia beer at your establishment? Contact Eric Levin at Eric@modernhops.com for more information.

Celebrate 2018 at Akademia!

2017 was an unforgettable year for the team at Akademia Brewing Company.

For starters, we opened a brewpub! We brought y’all 21 beers in just a few short months. Our top five beers, according to Untappd review averages, were Noctua, Noctua Chaos, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, Accidental Tripel and Hoppy Ki-Yay Mr. Falcon. Have no fear if you don’t see your favorite on that list though, they are all our favorites — so no matter your choice, you aren’t alone.

But we couldn’t let the year end without bringing out one more surprise, because sometimes a single IPA just isn’t enough. Our final beer of 2017 is High IQ DIPA, on tap starting at 11 a.m. New Year’s Eve. This double IPA takes everything y’all enjoy about IQ IPA and makes, well, more of it.

With our double, we turned everything up to 11 (although the ABV only clocks in at 7.7 percent — a not too incredibly modest increase over the 6 percent base IQ model). Along with this ABV increase, we have an increase in just about everything: more malts, more hops, more bitter, more in-your-face. Our tasting notes include flavors reminiscent of grapefruit, pineapple, lemongrass and a bit of cantaloupe.

High IQ’s introduction isn’t the only treat during the holiday weekend, however. Chef Nate put together a grilled salmon special with mashed potatoes and asparagus for a festive last meal of 2017. We’re keeping our doors open for a midnight toast to ring in 2018, and come back Monday to tap our first cask of the new year! We cold-brewed bourbon barrel-aged coffee and added the cold brew to a cask of our Noctua imperial stout. It’s the perfect breakfast drink after partying the night before. Owen Ogletree of Southern Brew News will be on-hand to liven up the festivities.

The kitchen will be serving up traditional New Year’s Day fare until 8 p.m. or sell-out on Jan. 1, and if there’s any salmon left over from New Year’s Eve, we may wind up giving y’all a chance to add some to your salads from the regular menu.

Akademia now has a projection screen just in front of the brewhouse where we will play big games when the occasion arises. On New Year’s Day, this clearly is reserved for the Rose Bowl. Dress in your Georgia best to cheer the Dawgs on as they battle Oklahoma for a spot in the National Championship!

Worth All the Salt in Niobe’s Tears

Goses are known for their inclusion of coriander and salt, so what better beer to name for the Greek myth about Queen Niobe?

It may be hard for a mother to choose her favorite child — or a brewer his favorite beer — but it’s easy for parents to prefer their children over others, even children of the Greek gods.

That’s the basis of this myth.

According to ancient tales, Niobe had 14 children, and one day questioned why they weren’t worshipped like the goddess Leto and her twins, Apollo and Artemis, were. Needless to say, that didn’t sit well with any of the three. Apollo, god of music and knowledge, and Artemis, goddess of the hunt, descended to the ancient city of Sipylus and killed Niobe’s children.

She was so devastated that she fled to Mount Sipylus in tears and was turned to stone after pleading with the gods for mercy.

Today, there’s the faint image of a woman carved into a limestone rock on Mount Sipylus that cries every year when the snow melts. It’s said this is the image of Niobe, and the melting snow her tears.

We won’t do what Niobe did and brag that any of our beers is better than that of another brewery (what would happen to Akademia if the brewers turned into stone?!), but we thought our gose was a worthy way of taking on this tale.

Niobe’s Tears has the core ingredients of a gose, featuring pink Himalayan sea salt, pale wheat and pilsner malts. It’s heavy on the salt and herbal characteristics, and is kettle soured for a lemony essence.

We may be a little biased, but this beer’s worth all the salt in our tears. Available now at the brewpub in snifters, half-pours and flights!

4.8% ABV / 5 IBU

Noctua Chaos: The First [Barrel-Aged Beer] to Exist

In Greek mythology, Chaos was the first thing to exist. In the lore of Akademia Brewing Company, it thus made sense for Noctua Chaos to be the name of our first-ever barrel-aged beer.

Noctua Chaos is what we call our signature imperial stout after we age it in a bourbon barrel. This batch, coming out on Oct. 25, spent eight months in a W.L. Weller Antique bourbon barrel, where it developed notes of chocolate-covered cherries that add an almost sinful quality to this deep, velvety smooth brew.

We’re tapping the keg at 11 a.m. sharp, just in time for lunch. Chef Nate Eve said he’d pair this with just about anything on the menu, but if you were inclined to further enhance the decadence of Chaos, he recommends the beer-braised pork chop or Beeramisu (don’t worry; no one’s judging you if you eat dessert for lunch).

Akademia owes a special thanks to Five Points Bottle Shop for this hand-picked single barrel. The Five Points crew drove up to the distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, to find the perfect bourbon to keep in the store, and this was the one they chose. W.L. Weller Special Reserve wheated bourbon whiskey substitutes wheat for rye grain, giving it softer flavor notes, and imparting some of those indulgent flavors reminiscent of butterscotch and caramel — along with an unmistakable bourbon nose — to Noctua Chaos.

Available at the bar in half-snifters and flight pours, while it lasts.

11.3% ABV / 80 IBU

Hoprodite NE IPA: Our Big, Juicy Thank-You

It takes a lot of love of craft beer to open a brewpub. In our case, it’s a big, juicy love — perfectly exemplified by Hoprodite.

Hoprodite is the latest IPA to come out of our brite tank, and we think it’s the perfect way to say “thank you” to the big, juicy love Athens and our Night Owls have shown us ever since the announcement came that Akademia was opening.

We appreciate the patience you’ve shown us as we train our staff and work through the growing pains of opening a brewpub. You know our story. You know how big a dream this was for our team and how long it took to get here. And your excitement never wavered. Over the past week, once our doors were open for pre-launch events, you came in droves. You opened crowlers of our first beer; you waited patiently for food and drink; you brought home T-shirts and hats with our logos. You celebrated with us and posted about us on social media. You brought your friends. You provided valuable feedback to make us better, and we are so grateful.

And so, today, we bring you this beer.

Hoprodite is but a token of our gratitude in return for the ardor you’ve shown us. We’re releasing it today behind the bar and in a limited run of crowlers — our 32-ounce cans, to-go — and cannot wait to hear what you think of our interpretation of this big, juicy love. This NE IPA is named after Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and features unmistakable, fragrant notes of grapefruit and orange. The ivory head is a perfect representation of the word “aphros,” which just so happens to mean “foam” in ancient Greek. Hoprodite pours a deep pineapple yellow, which is accented by an aroma of said fruit that comes from the combination of Mosaic, Loral and Ekuanot hops, 4.4 pounds of which are in each barrel of this luscious brew.

We hope you’ll join us starting at 11 a.m. today to get your crowler, pint, half-pour or flight pour of Hoprodite. They say it’s always 5:00 somewhere, but we think this would make a great beer no matter what time of day you came by to drink it.

6.6% ABV / 50 IBU

Crowlers: $16

At the bar: Available in pints, half-pours and as part of a flight.

Don’t Fear the Beer: Our First Release

It’s Friday the 13th — and Akademia Brewing Company is open for business.

We’re inviting you in with a limited release of a beer so frightful it’s delightful: Paraskevidekatriaphobia, a 13 percent ABV behemoth endorsed by Jason Voorhees himself.

The name may mean “fear of Friday the 13th,” but don’t be afraid of the wonderfully high ABV on this monster of an imperial stout. It’s intensely rich, brewed with a gratuitous amount of specialty malts and finished with an equally absurd amount of Condor Chocolates cocoa nibs. With a rich, chocolate-y body you practically have to chew through, the only question will be if there are any crowlers left to go.

Only a few of these 32-ounce containers will be available at the brewpub, but we’ll be pouring Paraskevidekatriaphobia until we close or the tap runs dry, whichever happens first. You’ll be able to get your hands on this beer starting at 11 a.m. on Oct. 13, and we’ll be open until 2-ish a.m. Oct. 14 with a limited menu and multiple beer styles.

We’ll see you shortly, #ABCNightOwls.

13% ABV / 60 IBU

Crowlers: $20

On tap: $7, half a snifter

Photos | Noctua’s First Flight

More than 200 of Akademia’s closest supporters — friends, family and industry colleagues — came to celebrate the first-ever night of service during a private event on Oct. 10.

19 Crimes wine sponsored the evening, and live music was provided by local vocalist Tre Powell. Beers on tap included The Dom, Extra Credit, Akademos Attica, Morai and IQ IPA, and diners could chose from a selection of items from our menu. The top hits were The Dom, a kölsch-style ale, and Extra Credit, our version of ESB.

Co-owners Matt Casey and Morgan Wireman, brewmaster, thanked supporters and acknowledged the journey it took to see their vision finally come to life.

“It was elation and relief, like someone just pulled a half-keg of beer off my chest,” Casey said.

Photos from the event:

“As I stood on the precipice of the monumental occasion that is the launching of multiple men’s hopes and dreams, I was overwhelmed with the sheer pulchritude of an environment filled with friends and family, enjoying our beer and our food.”
— Beer Consumption Coordinator Aaron Martin


WIN an Akademia Yeti Rambler!

Akademia Brewing Company opens in just 10 days — and we want you to have some of the first available gear! We have nine Noctua Yeti Ramblers up for grabs, and all you have to do is be an #ABCNightOwl to get entered to win. Three winners each will be picked from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The contest runs from right now to Friday, Oct. 13 at 10 p.m. Here’s how to enter (and yes, you can enter on each social media channel to up your chances!)

On Twitter:

  • Follow @AkademiaBC
  • Like the contest photo! It’s pretty easy to spot, pinned to the top of our profile.
  • Retweet the contest photo using BOTH the hashtags #NoctuaTakesFlight and #ABCNightOwls.
  • You must do all three of the above to be entered on Twitter!
  • If your Twitter profile is not public, we will not be able to see your entry. So if you want to keep your tweets private, consider entering on Facebook and/or Instagram, where your personal profile or page isn’t involved!

On Instagram:

  • Follow @AkademiaBC
  • <3 the contest photo — it’s the one with the Rambler in it.
  • In ONE comment on the contest photo, tag three friends you want to share our beer with (who aren’t already following us on Instagram, please)
  • You must do all three of the above to be entered on Instagram!

On Facebook:

  • Follow us!
  • Like the contest photo! It’s also pinned to the top of our page.
  • In ONE comment on the contest photo, tag three friends you want to share our beer with (who aren’t already following us on Facebook, please)
  • You must do all three of the above to be entered on Facebook!

Winners will be chosen Saturday, Oct. 14, and will be announced that afternoon! We will do our best to contact everyone via a tagged post/tweet and direct messaging your profile, so please keep an eye out if you entered! Sometimes social media doesn’t let you know that you have messages from business pages or accounts because, well, no one likes spam. In those messages we’ll give you details on how to claim your prize at the brewpub.

The Yeti Rambler 18, according to the Yeti website, features double-wall vacuum insulation and stainless steel construction. It has a trademarked “No Sweat Design” that doesn’t let condensation get your fingers wet, as well as a specialized leak-proof cap.

Good luck, Night Owls! May the odds be ever in your favor and the force be with you.