Gate City Brewing Does It Right
By Frank Mack
Gate City Brewing Company has blossomed seemingly overnight. This is the kind of place that beats, bangs, and rocks out with the small town heart of Roswell’s Canton Street. I love this story. This needs to move from best-kept secret and straight into the limelight. It’s rooted in the all-American garage, where so many entrepreneurial artistic wonders tend to get their start.
Pat Rains and Brian Borngesser are the center of this little world. The guys who most of all stood amongst that smirking scorn the world delivers when young men stick their necks out and dare tell the world what they’re thinking. I admire that. I am that, albeit an older version. I have always thought that from this type of almost innocent ingenuity can spring the best of what I admire. That admiration is to their commitment to buying super local, to investing in the community, to not slop billions of gallons of weak corporate mass-produced alcohol just for the money.
I care about that. And I think WE should care about that because local keeps all those dollars right here. Close to home. Avoiding the extra tax skims, corporate grabs, national marketing costs and a host of other things that mean for every beer you buy and drink maybe a few cents stays around here in “our” economy. If we are lucky.
The state of Georgia is the very last state in the union to reform its laws regarding how craft beer is sold. Dead last folks. Senate Bill 85 has been passed, which allows for the direct sale of beer to you the consumer. Boy is that something. State representatives voted 147-14 to pass a substitute bill last week but updated the language that will update state law for distilleries. The updated version allows licensed distilleries in Georgia to sell up to 500 barrels of distilled spirits per year for consumption on or off premises.
Before this “enlightened” legislation, beer had to pass through a middleman, a distributor, just another hand in the cookie jar. It’s beyond absurd that an American could support such a law, regardless of political affiliation, but somewhere this is logic. Now, however, if this legislation reaches fruition, Gate City and other local brewers will be able to sell beer directly to you. And if you hear the way the politicians are talking you’d think they are doing someone a favor.
Starting Sept. 1 when the legislation takes effect, we’ll live in a world where beer can be truly local, made from all natural products, from all-American farms. Georgia ones whenever possible. This means a farmer has grown and will need to keep growing the raw products this beer is produced with. That’s cool in my book! That means better schools, more local commerce, more people hired and tons more people very happy.
This type of beer and the same type of restaurants are true drivers of the economy. Do you think sitting in front of the tube watching cable news or sinking into a rabbit hole of Internet garbage about Wall Street ‘this’ and corporate America ‘that’ is the real deal? Think again. Folks we live in the most peaceful prosperous times in the history of human existence but you’d never know it by watching the mass media and that goes for every side of our political spectrum. It’s a bunch of bull. This is the real America. One where we’re investing in our own people and our own ideas making a great life for everyone around us.
You want a fix to most of what’s wrong with our world? Shut off your news feeds. And watch these guys go.
Back to the specifics on Gate City Brewing. They produce a wide variety of beers; American IPA, American Amber, Pale Ale, and a Porter. These guys cook hops and grains into a delicious, kind of nutritious, good times brew. And get this. The used portion of hops from the brewing process goes to feed livestock at a farm on Coleman Road. That’s Coleman Road as in the Coleman Road in Roswell and yes there is a farm on Coleman Road, one I’m dying to write about soon.
Gate CIty features two levels. Upstairs the facility has stainless vats and kegs, where the hard work is put in. They offer tours, tastings, and endless good beer kind of stuff. But downstairs, facing the back alley, is heaven for locals. I’m going to nickname this place The Cavern, as in Beatles fame, and I mean it. The room is a straightforward concrete box. A repurposed thing of beauty.
When food is needed the guys at Gate City Brewing have decided on a brilliant street strategy. One really good food truck that brings something different each time. Not competing with the local restaurant scene, this is augmenting it. Giving a shot to a small guy to be seen. I love that. All of it!
It’s acoustically perfect for the bands that will play here. A pin drops in a corner and you hear it across the room. If you like your listening with a down beat thump and a vibration that goes through you this is home. Find this place and begin your spring here. Come with me to the local markets and lets find where our dollars and presence matters.
Locals who wanted to do a lot more than sell some beer launched Gate City Brewing. It’s a thriller, it’s thriving and it deserves to be talked about and has my support. Very well done gents. If anyone deserves a beer after some hard work it’s the Gate City brewing team.
Pictured: Gate City Brewing Company founders: Pat Rains and Brian Borngesser.