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Column: Black is Beautiful: Drink a beer that supports equality
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Second Self Beer Co. in Atlanta is one of over 1,000 breweries from around the world participating in the Black is Beautiful initiative, which aims to bring awareness to injustices people of color face daily. - photo by Kelsey Podo

The bitterness in Second Self Beer Co.’s Black is Beautiful imperial stout is impossible to miss.

The overload of Cascade hops welcomes a sharpness to the Atlanta brewery’s beer that could draw the attention of anyone with a decent set of taste buds.

Jason Santamaria, Second Self’s co-founder, said when people drink the bitter beer, he wants them to pause and reflect on the state of the world, specifically social injustices. 

“Everything that’s going on, it hurts,” he said. “It hurts a lot of us. We made it intentionally bitter because what’s going on is a bitter pill to swallow. I want that bitterness to linger with you like it lingers with us.”

Black is Beautiful

Brewery: Second Self Beer Co.

Alcohol by volume: 10%

Style: Imperial stout

Bottom line: A beer with a powerful bitterness that lingers

Black is Beautiful is an initiative that has spread to over 1,000 crafter breweries in the U.S. and internationally. The effort was launched by Weathered Souls Brewing Co in Texas as way to raise awareness of injustices people of color face daily. 

Weathered Souls provides a base stout recipe and allows participating breweries to put their own spin on the beer. They only ask that the breweries keep the can design and donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations and organizations committed to long-term equality work. 

Second Self is one of 24 breweries in Georgia that have answered the call.

Santamaria said he chose The New Georgia Project as his receiving charity.  Founded by Stacey Abrams, the initiative is a non-partisan effort to register Georgians to vote and help them become more civically engaged.

“We need more people registered in the state,” Santamaria said. “It’s a charity that I’ve supported personally, and it means a lot to us here.”

Second Self’s Black is Beautiful is brewed with dark chocolate malt and oats and packed with Cascade hops to impart a powerful bitterness. 

I can’t remember ever tasting a beer this bitter. The flavor remained on my tongue for a good couple of minutes after my first couple of sips. It reminded me of drinking a strong cup of dark coffee laced with tiny hints of cacao. 

Despite its harshness, the beer goes down smoothly. It’s not the sort of stout you’d reserve for dessert, but something you’d pair with dinner. Santamaria recommends drinking it with a dense, salty cheese like Stilton, or anything grilled or fatty like steak.

If you’re wanting to support a fantastic cause and pick up a delightfully bitter brew, pick up a pack of Second Self’s Black is Beautiful at 1317 Logan Circle NW in Atlanta. To view a full list of other participating Georgia breweries, visit

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