Chattabrewchee nominated for two awards

WEST POINT – The resident brewery in the Greater Valley Area could have two statewide awards for its product by the end of Saturday.

Chattabrewchee Southern Brewhouse has been nominated for two Reader’s Choice Awards from Beer Guys Radio. One is for top brewery in the state and the other is for the top Indian Pale Ale (IPA) in the state.

Co-owner Mike Denehy said the brewery has been open for about 16 months and has been in distribution for 10 months. He said for the business to be nominated in the top 10 of probably 100 breweries in the state, competing with breweries in Atlanta, Athens and Macon when it is the last exit in the state and in a remote, rural area is remarkable.

“For us to be in the top ten, it speaks to our product, public relations and our social media,” Denehy said.

For starters, the brewery is self-serving, which has always been part of the business model for Chattabrewchee. Denehy said that self-pouring function allows people with different experiences with beer to introduce themselves to beer at their own pace.

He said since the craft beer industry is still new to places like West Point and Chambers County, it allows customers to try several beers a few ounces at a time rather than being stuck with a full beer they may not like because they aren’t used to the different styles of beer.

“It has allowed the customers to try quality over quantity,” Denehy said. “Nobody is forcing you to have a 16-ounce beer in your hand.”

The employees at Chattabrewchee know the product well because they are required to spend a day with the head brewer and make their own beer.

“When they are explaining the product in the tap room, they know it hands down,” Denehy said. “They can usually tell the customer everything within the beer.”

Many times, Denehy said customers come in who are used to domestic beer and the Chattabrewchee employees know what products to suggest to make the transition into craft-beer drinking easier. He said the self-pour system also facilitates that transition.

The brewery’s “Crow Hop IPA” is is nominated for best IPA in the state. Denehy said to be nominated for best IPA feels like the brewery is basically being nominated for best beer in Georgia.

“IPA is unquestionably the king of beers,” he said. “Everybody else is fighting for second place.”

He said out of the roughly 100 breweries in Georgia, each makes about 10 IPAs a year, adding that Chattabrewchee put out about 9 to 12 IPAs itself in the past year.

“We are talking about maybe 1,500 to 2,000 IPAs a year,” he said. “For us to have a top 10 beer in a category where there are probably 1,500 beers, that’s staggering.”

Denehy said the Crow Hop is so special because it is a hybrid between a west coast and an east coast blend. West coast beers are traditionally piney and with a bitterness factor, and east coast styles tend to focus on flavor and aroma.

The Crow Hop features both styles with heavy citrus notes, but also the back-of-the-month bitterness. It also has an almost see-through, orange-like color with a citrusy fruit smell. The beer comes with higher alcohol by volume at 7.3 percent.

Denehy said there is a sense of accomplishment that comes with the nomination, but the real sense of success will be when the brewery breaks through to the local community.

“We are looking forward to when folks in the local community don’t have to travel somewhere else to get great beer,” he said. “When they can find world-class beer in their own community and don’t have to go to Atlanta to find it. That is success to us.”