Celebrating Athens’ Art Community

Athens Area Arts Council turns 20 this year, and the organization is celebrating Thursday at Akademia Brewing Company!

The event is the first of its kind for this membership group, which curates community-based art projects, provides art-inspired education and helps establish fiscal sponsorships for local artists and art nonprofits.

“It’s a really awesome group of people that are all volunteers, and everything we do goes right back into the community,” said Jeanne Watley, the new Arts Council president. “The goal is to integrate artistic resources of the Athens area into our educational system, local economy and the community’s culture.”

The Arts Council birthday bash at Akademia features a stacked silent auction, opportunities to chat with artist members and, starting at 7, live music from local bands White Rabbit Collective and The Pierres. The event is also a percentage night — a portion of food and beverage proceeds collected from 5 to 11 p.m. will go back to the Arts Council.

“Everyone that we’ve talked to about this event has been so supportive of this event and that’s nice. We’re happy to hear that our whole idea of this event is to help each other out and give exposure to these businesses,” Watley said.

So far, the list of silent auction items includes donations from Ben’s Bikes, Color of Heat, The Very Good Puzzle Company, South Kitchen + Bar, Viva! Argentine Cuisine, Revival Yarns, photographer Frances Berry, 5 Points Yoga, Avid Bookshop, Shakti Power Yoga, Strength & Strike Fitness, FIVE Athens, Sangha Yoga Studio, Olive Basket, Canopy Studio, M30 Yoga, Verdae, Fitness @ Five, Marti’s at Midday, artist Tatiana Veneruso, Dynamite, JCG Apparel, R.E.M., Fleet Feet Sports, Rook & Pawn, Wuxtry Records, Tazikis, The Mayflower, Steel + Plank, Shiraz, The National, Pixel & Ink, KA Artist Shop, Treehouse Kid & Craft and Elite Pet Sitting.

“What a better way to invite the public [to] see what we do and stick around and have dinner, have some beer and get some cool stuff in the auction,” Watley said.

They hope to turn the birthday celebration into an annual event, and Watley said members are excited to see what the next 20 years hold.

“Our most recent project was the Art Deck-o Project,” Watley said. “We commissioned nine artists to do four-by-eight panels, big wooden panels, that are going to be hung in the Clayton Street parking garage on all the different levels. The idea of that is putting art in unexpected places, which I think is a really fun idea.”

Art Deck-o was a perfect project for this year, because it was early on in the group’s history that it first put art in the deck. The Arts Council also organized artists to paint water hydrants downtown, and regularly hosts an art exhibition and competition for schools.

“All the money we raise is going straight back into our projects. No one’s paid, everything stays in our organization and goes to make Athens a better place, in my humble opinion,” Watley said.

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!

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