Some breweries brew beer without having a brew house of their own. Instead, they use another breweries facilities in order to brew their beer. This practice is called by several different terms, including contract brewing, ghost brewing, or gypsy brewing. Some ghost breweries are quite large and well-known, while others are simply trying to start or expand a very small brewery without paying as much for brewing equipment and facilities. Georgia currently has several ghost breweries, including O’Dempsey’s, Pontoon Brewery, and Yes Face Beer Company, all from Atlanta.
O’Dempsey’s offers several beers in bottles. We have sampled two of them, their Inukshuk IPA and Cold One Pale Ale. The Inukshuk was a solid, if unspectacular, session IPA, while the Cold One didn’t quite measure up to the Inukshuk.
We found Pontoon Brewery’s beers, Southern Skipper and No Pants Pilsner, to be the best of the ghost breweries of Atlanta. Both beers are available in bottles throughout Atlanta. Both beers were sessionable, but still flavorful and easy to drink. They would be perfect for a picnic, to sip while grilling out, or on a slow float down a river (in a pontoon, of course). Plus, Pontoon’s logo is a rather cute looking otter!
At this time, Yes Face is only producing kegs and casks of their two British-style beers, an IPA and an ESB. We tried a draft of their ESB at The Imperial Bar in Decatur, and we found it to be a pleasant version of the style.
All of the beers currently being contract brewed are common styles and usually sessionable, but this does not mean that they aren’t tasty. Some of the beers and breweries are better than others, but we do recommend you give some of these beers a try, even if you can’t visit their facilities.
Side Note: The Brick Store, The Porter, Square Pub, Marlay House, and Taco Mac all are places to grab some delicious craft brews including several ghost brews.