To Drink or Not to Drink: A Look at Beer Off-Flavors

Every individual has her own palate and preferred styles and flavors of beer. But when it comes to brewing science, there are a few tastes that just don’t belong.

Akademia Brewing Company’s sous chef, Brian Johnstone, reacts to an off-flavored beer sample.

“When a beer gets really old, it starts tasting like morning breath or cardboard,” Owen Ogletree, founder of Brewtopia Events, LLC and local craft beer guru, said of the oxidized off-flavor. “It’s a common flaw. Some ways you can slow down oxidation are to drink it quicker and keep the beer cold. Cold beer oxidizes 30 percent slower than beer at room temperature. Cans oxidize slower; cans usually have much lower dissolved oxygen and less air.”

That’s just one off-flavor — tastes that don’t belong — that Ogletree taught Akademia and Terrapin Beer Co. staff about during a recent seminar held at the brewpub. Participants sampled beer dosed with off-flavors to better help them learn about, and thus identify, these tastes in beer.

“Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but off-flavors do crop up from time to time. Consistency is a key factor when judging a brewery’s offerings overall. When a new batch of beer is ready to serve, it is imperative that any changes in flavor are explained — has the recipe changed slightly, or is that flavor undesirable?” said Sarah Dupuy, an Akademia server and bartender who attended the seminar. “If the staff is educated in what flavors are undesirable, they can better judge whether or not a beer is fit to serve, and make sure the customer is always getting a quality product.”

Detecting off-flavors

The off-flavor Dupuy noticed most was that of diacetyl, which Ogletree also said is his least favorite.

“Diacetyl is butter or butterscotch. It’s like artificial butter or cake icing. I am very sensitive to it,” Ogletree said. 

Diacetyl gives the illusion of sweetness, and it comes from alpha acetyl lactate, which is naturally produced by yeast. If beer gets warm or is run through a dirty line, the alpha acetyl lactate can turn into diacetyl. 

“I love buttered popcorn. My favorite flavor of Jelly Belly is popcorn. But as soon as they opened the diacetyl beer, it smelled like a movie theater that hadn’t had the carpet replaced in 20 years and I wanted nothing to do with it,” Dupuy said.

To prevent this off-flavor, Ogletree said brewers can cold-condition their beer for a couple of days, then warm it back up to 68 degrees for two days. That puts the yeast to sleep, then wakes them back up, and there’s nothing to eat but the alpha acetyl lactate. Once that is taken out of solution, there’s nothing to turn into diacetyl and give beer the off-putting butter notes.

“If you’ve ever had a beer that was like sucking on grape skins and made your mouth dry out, that’s astringency,” Ogletree said, adding that it’s an off-flavor that usually comes from grain husks added during the brewing process. “The grain husks help provide a filter bed, but if you do that too warm with water that’s too hot, all those tannins get sucked out of the husk and make our beer dry and pucker-y and astringent.”

Other causes of astringency are wild yeasts and high-alpha acid hops. As for beer that is meant to have some wine-like flavors or notes, Ogletree said it’s possible to get the proper flavor qualities without tannic properties by adding grapes or grape skins after the beer is fermented, so they’re not exposed to heat.

Sarah Abad, an Akademia Brewing Company server, waits for her next sample of beer during the off-flavor seminar.

And if your beer smells like a Band-Aid, that’s a sign of phenolics. Some beer styles are meant to highlight these flavors (think Belgian ales, Christmas ales and hefeweizens), but on others it’s an off-flavor that comes from wild yeast.

Sarah Abad, an Akademia server who attended the seminar, called this one “the most detestable.”

“To me it tasted like a shoe,” she said.

When off-flavors are “on”

Depending on the style of beer, an off-flavor might actually be a desired characteristic. Esters, which offer Belgian and English ales flavor notes of cherry, stone fruit and kiwi. Although some esters are necessary for certain styles, they can still be overpowering.

“Esters are the fruity qualities of beer,” Ogletree said. “There should be almost no esters in a lager, preferably. [In ales] most of the time the esters that are there are good. The problem is when the esters get out of control and that’s all you can taste. That’s what happens when the beer is fermented too hot. If you ferment a beer at 90 degrees it’s going to have a lot of esters. If your cooler ever goes out, you could have a really ester-y beer.”

Lactic acid, if used properly, is another off-flavor that is “on” point in styles like Berliner weisses and goses. It adds the crisp, tart bite in sour beers, and can come from controlled additions of lactobacillus bacteria. Take, for example, brewing Niobe’s Tears gose or Everything He Touches tart brett saison, which undergoes kettle souring.

While the wort is still in the boil kettle, lactobacillus is added and sealed inside the container overnight. The next morning, the wort is soured. The wort is then heated back up to boiling so the bacteria are killed, but the crisp, sour flavor is preserved.

Though fruity flavors are OK in some beers, vegetable-like notes are less so.

“Dimethyl sulfide is corn, cabbage, vegetables,” Ogletree said. “It’s horrendous and something you do not want in your beer. The best way to get rid of it is to boil the hell out of your beer.”

DMS can also present as a flavor of shrimp or shellfish, and Akademia head brewer and co-founder Morgan Wireman said it’s a common off-flavor that comes from pilsner malts that weren’t boiled long enough.

Wireman was most sensitive to the tannic and diacetyl off-flavors. He said it’s important that Akademia staff learn about these undesirable notes so that they can answer any questions customers have about a flavor they perceive in the beer, and can then bring up potential quality issues with brew staff.

Craft beer guru Owen Ogletree, left, talks with Akademia’s head brewer and co-founder Morgan Wireman during the off-flavor seminar.

“We follow very strict procedures for sanitation and fermentation. We’re constantly testing and making sure that the flavor profile is developing like it should,” Wireman said. “If it’s brought to my attention that there’s a potential off-flavor, there are scientific methods for confirming if certain flavors are, in fact, present.”

These tests can also show if an ingredient in the beer is giving off a false positive. For instance, when Akademia’s IQ IPA recipe was being perfected, the very first batch supposedly  had a diacetyl flavor.

“When we did the testing to see if there was diacetyl, there was no diacetyl present,” Wireman said. “One of the hops in the first batch actually gave off a characteristic that could be perceived as diacetyl. We’ve since taken that hop out of the IQ recipe.”

He said if tests ever did confirm the presence of an off-flavor, the beer would be pulled from sale and potentially dumped — an unfortunate decision that’s part of being a production brewery.

“For instance, Dogfish Head dumped a batch of 120 Minute IPA because it wasn’t right, and it was a quarter-million dollars down the drain. They have strict quality control so they didn’t want to release it if it wasn’t up to their standards,” Wireman said. “Akademia is the same way.”

Akademia Welcomes New Brewpub Consultant

Meet the newest member of Akademia Brewing Company’s circle — Eric Jackson.

If you follow the Georgia beer scene, Jackson’s face is probably familiar. He’s the man behind craft beer blog Uncap Everything, and he’s joining Akademia as its brewpub consultant.

“[Akademia owner and co-founder] Matt Casey has been a great supporter of Uncap Everything and has opened his brewery to my passion for learning about beer. When you’re pursuing something in a new industry and you have someone like [Casey], who is extremely smart and ambitious about the industry, his support is important,” Jackson said.

Jackson was introduced to Akademia shortly before it opened in October 2017. He was one of the first writers to cover the brewpub, and has since attended its events in both Athens and Atlanta, plus reviewed some of its beers for the blog. His favorite Akademia brew is The Dom kölsch-style ale, and he’s partial to the beer-battered Fish ‘N’ Chips on the brewpub menu.

“I’d also recommend the hand-cut fries with any of the Ale Sauces, my favorite being the Ale Cheese,” he said. “If I had my way, there’d be a flight board of Ale Sauces.”

When Jackson isn’t uncapping the latest brews for the blog, he’s working full-time in the restaurant and hospitality industry, most recently with Marriott International, the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Oconee and W Hotels. His expertise with guest engagement and luxury service will add to and further energize Akademia’s culture and identity.

“I’m most excited about creating an elevated beer experience for the guest,” Jackson said. “If you think about hospitality, it’s about engaging with guests and creating an atmosphere that is comfortable and fulfilling. The same is with beer. I find a lot of similarities in their foundations and purpose.”

He looks forward to meeting many of Akademia’s Night Owls while partnering with the brewpub, and hopes some of his Uncap Everything friends take the time to jaunt to the Classic City for a visit.

“I think Akademia is a place to learn, and the variety of beer that’s served tells that story. You have your classics like the kölsch, ESB, gose and tripels, but also brew hazy IPAs, DIPAs and variations on stouts and sours. There’s something for everyone,” Jackson said.

Athens Beer Week colla-beer-ations at the brewpub

Akademia Brewing Company has an event every day this week for Athens Beer Week, and both today and Saturday its team has collaboration beer releases on the books.

Morgan Wireman, head brewer and co-founder at Akademia, partnered with Peekskill Brewery and Cherry Street Brewing to make a double IPA and a dry-hopped saison for Night Owls to enjoy.

“The most challenging part about a collab is making sure the beer turns out well, seeing how it’s basically an ‘exbeeriment’ using ingredients and/or techniques that one or the other hasn’t used before,” Wireman said. “Alternatively though, it’s a chance for the brewers’ creativity and skill to shine.”

Amit Ram, head brewer at Peekskill Brewery in Peekskill, New York, agreed.

“You want to try a new yeast, you want to try a new hopping method, something you can roll the dice on, usually a collaboration is that opportunity. Plus, just sharing experiences and knowledge, that’s how you learn in this industry,” Ram said.

Wednesday: Peekskill collaboration double IPA

Take it to the Macs is a 9.6 percent DIPA with a nose of orange, vanilla, pine and wildflowers. It’s got flavors of star anise and guava with a hint of pineyness. The beer is named for Mac McMillan, Akademia’s head cellar dweller.

Peekskill and Akademia share a bookkeeper — Tammy Prince — who gave both the idea to do a collaboration brew. Wireman previously deemed Peekskill’s beer delicious, and recipe formulation began.

Peekskill Brewery opened nearly 10 years ago and was one of the original standout brewpubs in the Hudson Valley area, Ram said.

“It’s located right on the Hudson River, literally like 200 feet from the water,” he said. “It started as a brewpub that was a small, three-barrel system and then in 2012 … they built out the current location.”

The larger facility is a two-story taproom and restaurant with a 15-barrel brewhouse, producing up to 3,000 barrels of beer a year.

“I didn’t know much about the Georgia beer scene at all, and it’s great to have that exposure. And for bringing our beer and bringing our reputation and our name down,” Ram said. “[Akademia] also makes a rang of different beers, but I think definitely you have been hitting hard on the hop-forward IPAs and kind of making a name for yourselves down there. It kind of works with some of what we do. We like hoppy beers too, so we thought it would be great to make a hoppy beer.”

Ram said he and Wireman bounced off different hops that each has in their contracts to use, and after brainstorming, the team came up with using Azacca and Denali hops.

Saturday: Cherry Street collaboration saison

The second collaboration has a completely different flavor profile. The Lemon Drop dry-hopped saison is 6.8 ABV and opens with bubblegum on the nose. It’s got a rich, full body with hints of funk and clove, and finishes with notes of black pepper.

The saison made a couple Beer Week sneak peeks, first at the Chops & Hops tap takeover in Watkinsville, where Southern Brewing Company’s Allyson Hester tried it, and again at the brewpub’s beer dinner.

“I don’t usually gravitate toward saisons, personally, but it was a perfect balance of floral versus hoppy. Most saisons aren’t very hoppy, but I felt like the hops were well done in this one,” Hester said.

The saison collaboration has a relatively high final gravity for its style, but Nick Tanner, owner of Cherry Street Brewing in Cumming, Georgia, said it’s better to be up than down.

“We were intending to brew a nice, sessionable, slightly refreshing, slightly kind of spicy saison for the spring, and it’s still been kind of cool and damp so we figured this would be the perfect time to release it,” he said.

The beer is dry-hopped with Lemon Drop.

“We both haven’t really used Lemon Drop hops before, and we felt with the yeast [Akademia] was getting in, and the flavor profiles with the Lemon Drop hops we felt would pair with the springtime for a really nice brew,” Tanner said.

Tanner was raised in Atlanta and attended college in Colorado, where he began homebrewing. His homebrew club was Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative, named for the street they lived on. The club focused not only on beer, but also on community outreach, sustainability and education.

When Tanner returned to Georgia to work in the restaurant industry with his family, he took both the name and the philanthropic endeavors back with him, and turned one of his father’s restaurants into a brewpub.

“Our final approval came 12/12/12,” Tanner said. “My dad’s had restaurants in Atlanta for over 30 years now, so we’ve got a good reputation here in Atlanta and we’ve expanded a few times over the past five years.”

Several of those years included visits to Athens Beer Week and the Classic City Beer Fest, including the upcoming events this weekend.

“I really enjoy teaming up and getting with people who are doing the same things, and look at and approach beer the same way. That’s what Matt and Morgan are about,” Tanner said. “They’ve got good heads and they look at beer in a fun, unique way. I had a lot of fun brewing the beer with them.”

Morgan first discovered Cherry Street when he worked at 5 Points Growlers several years ago.

“My business partner Matt Casey had already been talking to Nick Tanner about doing a collab. They also use Modern Hops, the same distributor as us,” Wireman said. “Amit, Nick and Chris, Cherry Street’s head brewer, are all very skilled brewers and have been brewing commercially for a while. I learned quite a bit from all parties. We’re looking forward to doing more collaborations with them.”

View Akademia’s full line-up of Athens Beer Week events here!

Athens Beer Week 2018

Akademia Brewing Company is gearing up for its first-ever Athens Beer Week, an annual celebration of Classic City craft beer slated for April 9 through 15.

“Having more breweries in town other than Terrapin makes it really easy to have some exceptional events throughout the week,” said Owen Ogletree, founder of Brewtopia Events, LLC, which puts on the Classic City Brew Fest and promotes Athens Beer Week. “Akademia’s beer dinner looks fantastic. Terrapin’s Carnival is always a fun time with lots of special beers. Even the small events, like Hi-Lo’s Beer Trivia Night, are always fun. People are just gonna have to check out the entire list online and decide for themselves.”

The week kicks off with Akademia teaming up with its friends at Chops & Hops in Watkinsville, Georgia, for a tap takeover. Chops owner Andrew Wallace, along with bar manager Whitley McGeary, will mind the bar, pouring six different Akademia beers for guests. In addition to the draft specials, Night Owls will get to enjoy menu specials created by Akademia Chef Nate Eve, Chops Chef Josh Aaron and Sous Chef Arielle Hirsch — all made with beers available during the tap takeover.

“I wanted to pair up with Akademia for its first Athens Beer Week beause of the quality of beer that has been put out so far, and I love supporting local breweries,” Wallace said.

Chops & Hops has participated in Athens Beer Week since it began, he said. Though Wallace wouldn’t divulge too much, he did hint that crab and avocado spring rolls may be up for grabs during the tap takeover.

“I’m super excited that we are able to have the relationship that we do with Chops & Hops,” Eve said. “They are really doing some cool things over there as far as food.”

Eve’s preparing a fried calamari appetizer to pair with The Dom kölsch-style ale for the tap takeover and will collaborate on an entrée special with Aaron.

“The key is in the batter. More times than not, fried calamari is far too heavy. My idea is to cut this heaviness down and batter with cornstarch to create a different, more light texture so your palate isn’t overwhelmed,” Eve said.

Events at Akademia

A special beer dinner will take place at the brewpub on Tuesday. Tickets are available for $55 each, and include pours of four Akademia beers, three dishes curated by Eve and a pint glass. The front Beer Hall area of the brewpub is reserved for craft beer fans who want to enjoy a community atmosphere and an intimate discussion about Akademia’s ales and how its kitchen team pairs them with cuisine.

“Beer dinners are a fantastic opportunity to develop a new appreciation for familiar beers and discover new beers,” said Aaron Martin, beer consumption coordinator at Akademia. “The idea behind a beer dinner is you pay a set amount to come in and have a full experience. All the food and beers are deliberately chosen with an eye towards not only individual course pairings, but also the entire experience and the flow of both food and drink.”

Eve plans to surprise beer dinner diners with his menu choices, but said scallops and housemade ice cream may be part of the three courses.

“I think what we are doing is super unique because it’s the only place in town where you can get food and beer together that is all made in-house. Our beer is incorporated into our dishes, and there is no other place in town that is doing that,” he said. “People are traveling from all across the Southeast to come check us out, so we want to give them the best experience possible.”

In preparation for Athens Beer Week, the brew crew put together two special collaboration brews with some of their beer brethren. Amit Ram from New York’s Peekskill Brewery came south of the Mason-Dixon to brew Taking it to the Macs DIPA, and the team from Cherry Street Brewing put their heads together to brew a Lemon Drop hopped saison. The Peekskill collaboration will be released on Wednesday, April 11, and the Cherry Street beer on Saturday, April 14.

Don’t fear the beer …

On Thursday of Athens Beer Week, the Akademia crew heads into Normaltown for a tap takeover at Hi-Lo Lounge. Expect to enjoy a selection of draft beer along with some of Hi-Lo’s dogs, fries and famous pink sauce.

It’s the perfect way to prepare for the following morning, when Night Owls are invited to the brewpub for its irregular, regular tradition of Friday the 13th. Its 13 percent imperial stout, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, will be back on tap, and a limited number of commemorative glasses will be available for purchase. Local blues band The Lucky Jones will take the stage Friday night, and the crew plans to have plenty of festivities celebrating this beer and six months of being in business in the Classic City!

“I am extremely excited to be a part of the amazing beer community that has built in Athens, and to be involved with our first Athens Beer Week,” said Morgan Wireman, head brewer and co-founder of Akademia. “I’m looking forward to the Paraskevidekatriaphobia release on Friday the 13th — I heard Mr. Phobia might be making an appearance.

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, there’s still time to snag a ticket to Classic City Brew Fest, the penultimate beer event in Athens during Beer Week. For the first time, this year’s Brew Fest comes with more than 50 cask ales from breweries, and each of the four Athens breweries will have a draft tent as well. Akademia’s cask ale is Paraskevidekiatriaphobia imperial stout with cocoa nibs, smoked chipotles and palo santo wood.

“The Brew Fest has gone from a huge event with lots of mainstream beers to a smaller, more intimate event with very rare special beers that appeal to today’s craft beer drinker,” Ogletree said. “Instead of having room after room of bottle beers that you can buy in several different places, we decided to focus on the most popular aspect of the festival. … For a town with only four breweries, Athens has a huge population of craft beer aficionados.”

Visit our events page for more details!

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

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.