Arches Brewing opened a little over a year ago, and since then, it’s been flying a bit under the radar. But it looks like that’s about to change very soon.
Located in Hapeville, in the new downtown arts district, near the Porsche Experience Center and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the craft brewery is unusual in a number of ways.
First and foremost, Arches focuses on lager beers, a style that takes longer and is more labor-intensive to make, and is arguably more expensive because of that.
Second, the three-barrel electric nano brewing system Arches’ five founders have been using isn’t exactly well-suited to large-scale beer production, let alone lagers.
And, yet, they have persisted — building out a tasting room that has become a popular Southside destination, and getting Arches beers out on draft at bars and restaurants around metro Atlanta.
One recent Saturday, I met up with Arches brewmaster Jamey Adams at the tasting room, where we sipped through the current draft lineup, including the year-round flagship, Unseasonal Lager, and a spring-to-summer seasonal, Mexican Empire, which is a Vienna-style lager commonly brewed in Mexico.
“I moved to East Point 15 years ago, and started brewing beer about 12 years ago,” said Adams, who is a biochemist by trade. “Being on the Southside was always important to me, but I also understood the market down here, and the proximity to the airport.
“I’ve watched restaurants be open Mondays through Fridays and closed on the weekends. But that’s changing, and we’re trying to be a big part of that, and encourage other places to be open, too.”
The Arches name derives from the beers the founders brewed under the four brick arches on the screen porch at Adams’ Colonial-style home in East Point, Adams told me. And many of those recipes later became the basis for the brewery.
Asked about the decision to position Arches as a lager brewery, Adams said it went back to a eureka moment he had after he first brewed an Oktoberfest as a gift to his wife.
“It was the science, and a chance for me to learn a whole lot more about brewing, and then I just went down the rabbit hole,” he said. “With the process, I discovered I could think ahead, and do a whole range of lagers for different seasons, which is what we do at Arches, except for our Unseasonal Lager, which is always on.”
Re-creating lager styles from various places around the world, while brewing with Atlanta water, is another thing that brought Adams back to his chemistry background.
“If it’s Oktoberfest, it’s Munich, so we create Munich water by adding mineral salts to make an Oktoberfest as true to style as we can,” he said.
“Luckily for us, Atlanta city water is fairly neutral. But we recently drilled a well 450 feet down into the aquifer, and we’re in the process of getting that ready to use for brewing.”
For Arches, and Arches beer-lovers, though, the bigger news is the arrival of a 20-barrel, gas-fired brewing system, which is planned to go online in July, followed in August by the first batch of Arches beer in cans.
“It’s all going to be happening soon,” Adams said. “I came to this brewery with 38 recipes that were tried-and-true, and we’ve only done maybe 20 so far, so it will be fun to constantly bring in new stuff as we go along. ”