Walking into Orpheus Brewing's new space on Dutch Valley Place a few weeks ago wouldn't have revealed much more than 16,000 square feet of empty warehouse space with barren, grey concrete floors and expansive white cinderblock walls. And where most of us would have regarded the area and just thought "work," the partners behind Orpheus Brewing saw unlimited potential and far into their brewery's future – a future they would like to reach quickly.
Within a week of breaking ground, studs, walls and support beams were erected, clearly dividing the brewery's various rooms for tasting, brewing, packaging, refrigeration, barreling and outbound shipping. Entire walls of windows had been transposed to make room for viewing of their brewing room to-be. That's just the start of it: there are further plans to demolish another larger wall (which is not structural) so visitors will be able to take full advantage of the location's lovely view whilst sipping on their suds. One thing is certainly clear – the minds behind the brewery, Andrew Lorber, William Arnold and Jason Pellett, take a lot of pride in their space, and with good reason – they're perched smack-dab in the heart of Atlanta, where the BeltLine and Piedmont Park adjoin across from Ansley Mall.
Photos courtesy of Josh O'Connor
The brew-smiths plan to take full advantage of being in the heart of the city by keeping the city at the heart of their brewery. How exactly do they plan on doing this? Well for starters, all of their artwork will be solicited from local Atlanta artists. The team is all about supporting the city, which makes sense – all three of them grew up here. In fact, partners Will and Andy went to high school together at Paideia, where they graduated in the same class as Porter Co-owner Molly Gunn, who years later introduced the duo to their future Master Brewer, Jason. "He has a love affair with beer," Will commented while sipping on one of the brewery's signature Seasonal IPA's. With ten years of brewing experience under his belt, Jason is certainly passionate and motivated about his beers, and teeming with excitement to offer the fruits of his labors to the community that fostered his passion. "If I go to look at the Porter's draft list with 45 beers on it, I want what I'm making to be the beer that someone sees on the menu and thinks, 'Oh wow, that sounds exciting.' If it's not, then there's no point in making it. Why do something that somebody else is doing?"
Jason's brews certainly live up to his own innovative expectations. Orpheus' brewing methods are highly influenced by the Belgian traditions, but also incorporate a healthy dose of American classics. The proof in the pudding? Their Seasonal IPA's which – albeit hoppy – are brewed with unconventional yeasts and grains that lend flavor profiles found in brews of a different color. ("Our IPA's like to play dress-up," Will remarked.) The rest of their menu sports a wide variety of flavors. Their two staple brews, Atalanta and Lyric Ale, are both saisons, the later of which is hopped-up like an American IPA would be, the first of which is more of a tart plum concoction. The remainder of their draft list boasts everything from sours to imperial stouts, and plenty of barrel-aged brews and strong ales – brews largely, dare we say, are untapped in the Atlanta markets.
Keep up with Orpheus' progress on their website and Facebook and twitter pages. Eager patrons can anticipate their brewery doors opening to the public in the spring.