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I started back to work this new year by organizing some old files, which has been long overdue. Going through 10 years of computer files can be a daunting task, particularly for a digital packrat like myself. In the process, I stumbled across a bunch of our old homebrew labels, pictured below.

One of my personal favorites is the Bog Monster Cranberry Ale, mostly because it was so, so terrible. It would have been terrible even if it had fermented correctly, but it became an exploding yeast bomb in the bottles. We didn’t end up brewing that one again. You’re welcome.

2017 is going to be a big year for us, particularly when the construction of our 2nd brewery gets underway this spring. We’ve already been busy working on the plans (and beers) for the new space, so it was fun to take a look at some of the things from our past that have shaped where we are now as a brewery. Even if they weren’t all that glamorous.

You’re going to stop seeing bottled Sampler Packs around town soon, unless you have a time machine. We just sent out the last batch from the brewery. We’ll be replacing it with a canned Case of the Mondays, featuring 12 cans, 4 of each:

We’re pretty excited about this new package, namely because it contains both Slap Fight and Blind Pirate, two of our top selling beers, which are currently only available in cans. Look for it soon!

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We have big news. We are building a 2nd brewery focusing on barrel-aged and sour beers. We are building this brewery along one of the largest urban renewal projectsin the country: the BeltLine. We are planting an urban orchard to aid in wild fermentation. We are opening a 2nd tasting room as part of this new development. We hope to be open Summer 2017.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. The past few years our barrel-aged beers have won numerous awards, ranging from Gold at the Great American Beer Festival for Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt, to Silver at the World Beer Cup for Laissez-Faire Cabernet Barrel Wheat Wine. Our barrel program has quickly become an integral part of who we are as a brewery, and it’s also something we’re pretty good at. Unfortunately, we simply don’t have the room at our Westside location to do all the things we want to be able to do.

We started thinking about additional space for barrel-aging, but before we got too far down the road, we realized we needed to approach this potentially large business decision via our stated purpose:

Monday Night Brewing exists to deepen human relationships over some of the best beer in the country.

We can never forget that inviting friends and strangers into the garage to brew on Monday nights is how we got started. The ability to help build and shape community is why we wanted to open a brewery in the first place. With deepening human relationships as the end goal, we realized we needed to add a couple things to our search criteria:

  • Space for barrel-aging and souring
  • Physical location in an underserved part of Atlanta
  • Tasting room as key component of buildout

We ended up finding an amazing spot along the BeltLine’s Southwest corridor, currently under construction and slated to open next summer. We thought long and hard about building in the City again. Frankly, we were courted seriously by other cities in Georgia and other states as well. Ultimately, we love this city and want to help build something great here. We are part of the Lee + White Development (at the corner of Lee St. and White St.), which will be home to other local food producers including Southern Aged Cheese, Doux South Pickles, and Honeysuckle Gelato. As if that wasn’t tantalizing enough, here are some things we have planned for the 22,000 sq ft space (for reference, our current facility is 20,000 sq ft):

  • Multiple barrel-aging and souring rooms
  • Wild/open fermentation capabilities
  • Tasting room with patio along BeltLine
  • Orchard (fruits will be used in beer production and will also aid with wild fermentation)
  • Dog- and bicycle-friendly outdoor space
  • Paintings of dinosaurs

As we now begin the process of planning and buildout, we have started reaching out to the various neighborhoods and organizations operating around us. We obviously want to make sure this new space is economically viable, but we also want to make sure we are building something that enhances and reflects the community that surrounds it. Southwest Atlanta isn’t as developed as the Westside, but it is already home to vibrant communities such as West End and Adair Park. We hope to be a meeting place for these neighbors, to employ these neighbors, and to invest back into the community when possible.

As our plans unfold, we’ll continue to update you on the yet-to-be-named new space. Which leads us to the obvious question – any ideas on what we should call it?

It’s hard to believe we’ve been at it for five years now. It’s even harder to believe we managed to throw an amazing 1,200 person birthday party for ourselves without anyone getting injured, arrested, or thrown up on. Well, except for Jonathan, who almost threw up on himself. But that’s a story for another day.

You’re probably familiar with our origin story–Friday morning Bible study turned Monday evening homebrewing hobby turned crazy successful (and super modest) craft brewery. We’re pretty proud of how far we’ve come, and every year we like to celebrate that progress with Tie One On, our anniversary party.

This year’s event was SO MUCH FUN. We had more than 30 different beers on tap, including 10 casks designed by our employees, a two-year vertical of Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt, a Maple Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy, and our Tie 5 On Wild IPA brewed specially for our anniversary. And to help soak up some of that boozy goodness, we had Doggy Dogg slinging wieners, Meating Street BBQ serving up pulled pork and brisket, and Bhojanic stuffing tacos with chicken vindaloo perfection.

.   Doggy Dogg   TieOneOn-120

TieOneOn-57We’re so honored to be your hometown brewery, and the fact that we can throw a party that so many people actually want to come to is still totally surreal to us. We couldn’t do it without you, so thanks. And if you didn’t make it to Tie One On 2016, you’ve got 11 months to build up your tolerance for next year.

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All photos courtesy of Sheena Wang Photography.

For more in our Art of Beer series, click here.

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For the past thirteen years, the image of Evereman has been scattered throughout Atlanta as an iconic image. Evereman symbolizes unity and cooperation for all in the city and beyond. This is why we reached out to Evereman artist, Jay Wiggins, to carve tap handles for our brewery. We resonate with the Evereman symbol and how it parallels to all of our individual projects, creations, and relationships.

 How did you get started as an Atlanta artist?

 I moved here as a 19-year-old kid coming to the big city from a small North Carolina town, and pretty early on I started doing street art, mostly in Midtown. Atlanta was a lot smaller when I came here. As a little kid I said I was gonna be an artist and Atlanta has allowed me [to do that]. I can’t imagine a better scenario for myself.

At the time I was part of an underground art gallery called the Blue Rat gallery – that was a group of artists that put on shows. We rented several buildings on Peachtree in Midtown, where it was a very supportive community. I’ve been part of the underground ever since.

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 What’s the story behind the creation of Evereman?

 My son at age 10 came into the shop one day and wanted to make a stencil. So we did out of that little face I made and started painting the face on wood scraps. And we’d paint Evereman and on the weekend we’d go out to and put the Evereman around town. And I just became enamored by it.

What do you like about the craft brewery scene?

I love beer and I love that Atlanta now has craft beer. And I appreciate very much that Monday Night supports the local art scene because it’s a community builder. I think about 98% of artists drink beer.

What did you think about the tap handle project?

I loved the tap handle project. Wood is the material I know, so I was given the cast handle to work with, but I’m more of a sculptor than a painter, so I thought I’d rather make a wooden one, since that’s more of my element. Painting isn’t my thing, making a thing is my thing.

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Do you see a connection between the Evereman philosophy and craft beer industry?

I do in terms of the philosophy around the idea of local, of something that you can recognize within your community, and the idea of more “get out there and do it yourself.” I think there’s this emerging generation of independent and local. I’d much rather know where my money’s going. The whole idea of Evereman is all of us together cooperating instead of competing.

How has Evereman empowered or changed the Atlanta community?

I’ve often thought the image was something that when Atlanta sees it, it makes us feel like it’s our community and our home. This idea of an image that those of us that live here recognize as our own.

There must be hundreds of people that are gifting art now, but the term that has stuck is free art. To me it’s gift art. From my experience I’ve met a lot of wonderful people doing it, and I’ve always opened up my shop to the community, hopefully to inspire people to do their own thing and clearly that’s happened and it’s really cool.

The phrase “Go big or go home” has become a part of our American psyche. But without an ultimate goal in mind, what’s the point? Sometimes we have to train ourselves to intentionally think smaller, for the greater good. Our small ideas, small homebrews, and small garage gatherings turned into something we never thought possible. Our CEO Jeff had the pleasure of explaining this phenomenon to TEDxGeorgiaTech in the short video shown below.

Jeff, as well as our two other founders, Joel and Jonathan, did not expect their Monday evening brewing sessions to turn into one of the largest breweries in Atlanta. Our main focus was to collaborate and grow our relationships through the medium of beer. Nothing more, nothing less. What once was a group of 50 people in Jeff’s yard doing just this turned into taproom tasting tours with hundreds of people on average and a production quota of over 5 million bottles to be brewed this year. As for the beer, each brew speaks for itself with the awards received from national beer competitions. Such as the gold medal for the Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt at the Great American Beer Festival and the silver medal for the Laissez-Faire Cabernet Barrel-aged Wheat Wine at the World Beer Cup this spring.

None of this would have been possible unless Monday Night started small. There were never big expectations from these fun nights in Jeff’s garage, which has made our journey into the beer industry that much more rewarding. A camaraderie of friends, family, and guests were always the most important aspect, and this hasn’t changed since we started brewing in 2006.