If beer were recognized as real currency, Freddy Bensch would be Atlanta’s version of Ben Bernanke (with a beer stein). Freddy is the President/Big Kahuna of Atlanta’s beloved Sweetwater Brewery, the 800-pound gorilla of the southern craft brewing world. Sweetwater brews 49,000 barrels of delicious, award winning beer each year, making Freddy not only a very productive member of society, but also someone who I feel is uniquely qualified to answer a few simple questions…
Q. You’ve got one cask, and one meal: what’s the pairing?
A. Easy~ it would be the AlabamaTwister in a Trailer Park IPA. A creation of my own coupled with stone crab claws followed up with a shot of Don Julio silver to wash it all down!
Q. How much has Atlanta evolved as a “beer city” since you first opened Sweetwater?
A. Great question as I was just looking through some old things we used to do 10 or 11 years ago. I was laughing to myself as I realized how everything back then was basic and one dimensional with regards to the beers, beer bars and even marketing. Today you have extremely complex beers of all shapes and styles coupled with amazing beer bars with insane product diversity. Atlanta is no longer the good old boy beer town it used to be. Step into a Taco Mac, your local watering hole or even you closest package store and I will bet you a keg that you will finds beers from all over the world that most people didn’t even know existed 10 years ago.
Q. A night out in Atlanta with Pete Coors and August Busch- what’ve you got on tap? A. We would start out at Sweetwater of course for some local lip smacking beers~ followed by dinner at Fatt Matts or Fox Bros.From there we would cap the evening off with a visit to a place I take all my out of town guests , the Clermont Lounge for some true down home entertainment! Wouldn’t you love to see their faces! I would even get them a crushed Coors, or Bud can for their of memorabilia. HA!
Q. Favorite neighborhood(s)?
A. L5P, East Atllanta, Va HI
Q. You’re forced to choose between a lifetime of listening to lousy music and drinking fantastic beer, or drinking fantastic beer and listening to lousy music. Which do you choose?
A. HAHA you asked me the question, question. If I understand what you were after, here you go. Boy ~that is a tough one with many variables such as is there a bottle of rum or anything else around? This is going to sound ass backwards coming from me but I think I would I would go for the crap beer and the good music and have that bottle of rum in my back pocket for when no one is looking. Cheated you Huh!
BONUS QUESTION: “What is Brew Your Cask Off”, and why is it awesome?
A. BYCO is a cask ale tasting/ competition with a major twist! The twist being that the 100 casks participating in the tasting/competition are not coming from breweries all over the country or world but rather from 100 of yours and mine favorite local, bars, package stores, restaurants, charities etc . Sweetwater has invited these fine folks to come into the brewery and roll up their sleeves and produce their own cask. This will test not only their brewing skills but also their creativity with regards to the style of cask they choose to produce. All teams start with the same 2 base beers to begin with and then have free will to take their cask which ever direction they would like from there. The BYCO will then have a beer fest for the public to come in on Sat night to get a chance to sample all their hard work. It should be pretty amazing to be able sample 100 completely different casks which all started out the same in the beginning. To top it off all of these casks will be judged by a panel of celebrities to ultimately decide who is the king of the cask. The winner of the competition’s cask will then be recreated and shared with folks at SweetWater’s 420 Fest. Pretty Awesome!The Relevant Linkage
Gear up, and brew your own beer
Tour Sweetwater Brewery
Buy tickets to Brew Your Cask Off