When looking back on the history of Roswell, GA, there are several distinct periods in its evolution: Native American territory, gold rush town, mill village, quiet suburbs, and now … great place to find a pint of beer! In this two part (for now) series, we’ll dig into the breweries and then the watering holes found in the city, 20 miles north of Georgia, that is repeatedly named one of the top places to live in Georgia.
This is Roswell’s OG, or OB I guess. In 2015, Pat Rains and Brian Borngesser brought the first craft brewery to Roswell, and I guess they opened the floodgates. Good for us. Born in garages and moved to a converted mechanic shop, GCBC is now the anchor tenant on a fantastic and vibrant downtown Roswell scene. And it seems like they’re slowly taking over more and more real estate in Roswell. This is simply a great place to sit and sip a beer with friends. The original tap room spilled out behind the building, which brought about a new taproom back there. And then the expansion continued with a new entrance on Canton Street, the amazing new Artillery Room (you have to read about this place), and liquid expansion into craft cocktails.
Gate City is doing what I wish all breweries would. They have 16 beers on tap consisting of regular year-rounds, seasonal favorites that come back from time-to-time, and one-offs. The year-round selections include a Baltic Porter (Terminus), an IPL called Citras Maximus, my favorite – the Copperhead Amber (although you know I’m a sucker for an amber.) For the seasonal releases, some people gravitate to Gourd Vibrations in the Fall, but for my money, nothing beats Golden Ember. It’s a white stout that has a deliciously smooth finish and just makes you think that you’re sitting next to a fire. And now there’s barrel-aged version. Just … yes.
Now … I can’t vouch for the cocktails, because this isn’t BabyGotCraftVodka. I’ll leave that to the experts.
Just a few blocks away, you’ll find Variant Brewing. This has quickly developed a huge and loyal following as one of the highest-quality breweries in the state. Yes, the state. “Hey Mike, what does Variant specialize in?” Beer. Good beer. It’s not like it’s just a hop house or a place that only does the dark & heavies. They do just about everything, and they do it really well. A few of their year-round beers are absolutely insane in my opinion: Cashmere NEIPA, Norcross Street (a West Coast IPA), and Dark Alchemy, a fantastic oatmeal stout.
But it’s impossible to talk about Variant without discussing two main things. Variant has been producing special batches of barrel-aged stouts for a long time now, and they are the one thing that creates FOMO in more than any other. It all started a few years back with Cinnamon Roast Brunch and Good S’Morning. They have since added a Barrel-Aged Good S’Morning (which is one of the greatest things I’ve ever tasted), Dark Alchemy, and many more. Simply amazing.
The other is a total departure from the others I’ve mentioned so far. Variant has a year-round Raspberry Lemon Gose. It’s very good, and very sessionable at south of 5%. It’s not overly tart and drinks closer to a nice raspberry lemonade. Delicious and refreshing. But then it happened. The Imperial version came out. 4.8% became 10.5%; like became crave; sessionable became dan-ger-ous. Suffice it to say that this is a must-visit if you’re anywhere near.
Remember the old commercial by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?
“You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate!”
I think about that when I go to From the Earth.
“You put a brewery in my restaurant! You put a restaurant in my brewery!”
I will admit to you that I was wrong. My first visit to FTE didn’t really impress me on the beer side of the house. It was okay to me, but not great. But the food – holy crap, the food was amazing. That’s what brought me back. And then I tried the beer again, and I was very pleasantly surprised. But, being an intrepid researcher and reporter, I was afraid that my lowered expectations made the beer seem better than it was – only because I wasn’t expecting much. Nope – the beer was legit. And it keeps getting more legit-er. (It’s a word – no reason to look it up.)
You want the lighter stuff? Have a smooth drinking Golden Spiral. Wanna head for something in the middle? Brown Eyed Girl is your huckleberry. For the hop heads out there …wait until they come back out with Can’t Find My Way Home – a powerful and amazing triple IPA (aptly named when it comes in at 10.2%).
This place is amazing – and it’s equally as fantastic for the beer and the food. Oh, and the amazing concert series in the parking lot, but that’s a story for another day!
We’ll be back soon with part 2 in this series, including information on the award-winning Topside Tap Trail. In the meantime, you can find me at, basically, all the above.