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.
We’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.
We’re about to celebrate our 5th anniversary, which in some ways is celebrating our 10th anniversary. We started brewing beer in the garage 10 years ago. Walk down memory lane with us, and also hear from our creative brewer, Josh Johnson, on what makes this year’s anniversary beer so special.
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.
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.
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.
Ray Geir and his quirky sQuishiepuss images are a quintessential asset to Atlanta’s contemporary art scene. His hot pink paint and googly-eyed cartoons have made appearances all throughout East Atlanta shops, as well as Voodoo donuts, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and our very own office wall. Ever since Ray moved to Atlanta he’s been nonstop busy with art shows, collaborations, and mural paintings. Lucky for us, the sQuishiepuss creator was more than happy to share his thoughts about art, Atlanta, and the Ameri-can-do attitude.
What do you like about Monday Night and craft breweries in general?
It was a real eye opener the first time I went to Monday Night to see how devoted they are to collaborate with artists to connect to their community. I’ve noticed people wanna use the word hipster as a diss and when people refer to hipster they refer to created stuff, but I don’t find that hipster. I find that as an American way of life, this, “I’m gonna build this thing out of nothing” idea. Monday Night has that American can-do attitude that gets me excited, and that attitude is so strong in Atlanta.
Why did you choose to establish roots in Atlanta?
My best friend moved down here when he was 16 and I came back and forth to Atlanta to visit him. Nothing struck me about this city until 7 years ago when I saw all this stuff happening. When I’m in Atlanta there’s always this passion behind it. It really felt like the people that lived here owned this city. And everyone has these projects they’re excited about. This spirit of Atlanta made me want to move. You can come here and start a project and be successful at it. People really care about Atlanta and there’s something really powerful in that.
What are some of your current and upcoming projects?
Current projects are the Phoenix fest pop-up events. I’m working with an art collective called Dear Bear Wolf to do mini versions of their Phoenix fest events like 24-hour live painting. I have three of those planned for the summer. I’m also doing a mural for Wix in their Manhattan office, and making an action figure on the side. As well as an artist collaboration called “sQuishiepuss Monster Mash Art Show” where I start 40 paintings and then pass them off to 40 other artists to finish. Other than that I have a coloring book I’ll be releasing through Dear Bear Wolf for the holiday and then I’m finished with the year.
What did you like about painting the Monday Night office mural?
It gave me a whole new sandbox to play in. I can do the things I normally do but in a different subject matter with the Monday Night core values, which were hilarious and unexpected. It was super refreshing and nice.
Our core values (Have Fun, Make it Happen, Embrace Mistakes, Fight for Excellence, and Honor People) are represented within Ray’s mural with the characters Bryan Adams, Captain America, Homer Simpson, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Care Bears respectively.
What was the inspiration behind your Monday Night tap handles?
That was probably, to be honest, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve never painted on the surface of something rigid. I love taking projects like that because I try to find ways to challenge myself. I ended up fitting things like the sQuishiepuss faces into the tie shape of the handle. It’s always interesting working with an odd shape and seeing what you can make out of it.
Have you received any reactions from the artwork you did for Monday Night?
After I posted the mural my email box exploded with people wanting me to do Super Hero stuff like Captain America. I saw this big burst of emails and projects coming in, so it’s beneficial for me, and [Monday Night] gets that recognition. I also got a bunch of text messages in about seeing my tap handle. I received a lot of positive emails and compliments.
What similarities and connections do you see between the beer and art communities?
It’s what people do with their thoughts. I buy hot pink paint and turn it into something that didn’t exist before. [Similarly] Monday Night was an idea, it started in a garage, and they created something that didn’t exist at that point. In a short period of time it turned into a brewery. Maybe that defines art? I don’t know, but having nothing and turning that into something, and having that something be what people react to and love and support, that’s a cohesive idea that runs through both categories.
And doing it locally in Atlanta because you still want the community involved. I try to work with the community and as many people as I can because I feel that’s important. We are Atlanta, we need each other, and we should want to be around each other. That’s the biggest thing, and at no point should the two ever be separate. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make their surroundings a better place.
Welcome to Volume 1 of our “Art of Beer” series, in which we interview local Georgia artists and chat about the intersection of art and beer.
Who really is Sad Stove? ATLiens will find the stove in the form of free art all over the city, but not many people know the human behind the kitchen appliance. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to bring you the voice behind the saddest stove inside the perimeter. In fact, we were so infatuated by this infamous caricature that we dedicated our English Mild for American Mild Month in Sad Stove’s name.
How did Sad Stove get started?
I’ve always been messing around with graphic design work and a buddy of mind told me about Free Art Friday and all these artists who do it. I really like the idea of giving art to people. I wanted to make something and I was cooking with my friend and having a couple beers when something splattered out of the pot and onto the stove and it made a face. When I looked at it it looked like a mustache or a frown and I thought, “It’s definitely a sad face.” We laughed for a good 30 minutes looking at the sad face on the stove and we just called it Sad Stove. Eventually I started getting a following and people started finding the art and I kept seeing how happy it made them.
Why do you choose to remain anonymous?
It’s three years now and only a few artists know me because of get-togethers. We’d have little art parties and people would ask, “Where’s Sad Stove?” and I’d walk away. I want it to be as organic as possible. I want it to stand alone and be the stove that it is.
What do you like about the craft brewery scene?
I like the variety and the styles and uniqueness that each brewery brings to the table. You kinda know what to expect from each, and its also interesting to experience new beers that aren’t so mainstream. I like how craft breweries, especially Monday Night, keep coming out with new things and different twists. Like most art, there’s not a lot of boundaries.
A lot of my friends who are artists drink craft beers. We get together and we drink and we draw. I think beer goes hand-in-hand with art. It gets you a little loose. And we drink good beer, you know? It’s not a “Miller Lite and Paint Party.”
How did the Sad Stove Mild come about?
I’d been talking to my buddy Brody about making Sad Stove tears around Atlanta for people to find. He tweeted me about it and on a whim he tweeted Monday Night saying he thinks they should make Sad Stove tears. Jonathan hit me up and said we’re in. It blew my mind and I said sure. He invited me at 6am on a Tuesday to help brew the mild. Jonathan said he wanted to brew a beer for American Mild Month and he thought the Sad Stove image was a great representation of a mild beer.
Did you ever think your artwork would become the inspiration behind a local beer?
Never. I always wanted to do artwork for beer cans and things like that, but I never thought there would be a relation between the two. It’s funny when you think about it because when people are sad they’ll grab a beer. And I think it’s interesting how Sad Stove can be attributed to an overlooked type of beer.
Mom Jeans is a gem of a beer for us. This Belgian Pale Ale has been aged in Kistler Chardonnay barrels from a prestigious California winery. It’s also the smallest Monday Night production batch of beer we have produced to date, so we suggest you grab one off the shelves or in our taproom before picking your kid up from soccer.
Most wine barrel-aged beers are used to produce sour beers in today‘s modern brewery. Non-sour wine barrel-aged beers often use a higher ABV (Alcohol By Volume) to keep the beer safe from infection. But Mom Jeans defies standards by using a true-to-style Belgian Pale Ale as a base, coupled with Belgian Ardennes yeast to bring out the lingering Chardonnay flavors in the barrels.
“Doing this makes us nervous since it could easily turn into something we didn’t plan on producing, aka a sour beer,” says Head Brewer Peter Kiley. “It helps to shows how our methodology and sterile practices at Monday Night Brewing help our team to produce high quality beers for our fans to enjoy.”
Mom would approve.
Mom will also approve of the smooth and accessible flavors of Mom Jeans. Kiley describes this as the “antithesis” of Laissez-Faire, which is very bold and robust in taste.
“The harmony between the Belgian-style beer and the barrel compliment makes it a really balanced beer with pronounced notes of Chardonnay,” says Kiley. “It’s going to be a great summertime Black Tie.”
All in all, Mom Jeans is the essence of all things balanced and beautiful. Hence, Mom Jeans truly is the essence of your mother.