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Georgia craft brewery Wild Heaven releases quarantine-inspired beer
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Wild Heaven Beer's Don't Stand So Close To Me. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Before the pandemic, craft beer offered a gateway to socialization.

Now, instead of spending hours in breweries, people swing by to pick up their to-go orders and leave.

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

Brewery: Wild Heaven Beer

Alcohol by volume: 5.5%

Style: Vienna-style lager

Bottom line: Listen to the beer and stay at home, folks.

Eric Johnson, brewmaster of Wild Heaven Beer, said the lack of human interaction goes against the spirit of craft breweries.

Because of the pandemic he said Wild Heaven pivoted its focus overnight from draft beer to mostly can releases. Last week he canned a Vienna-style lager aimed for taproom sales and named it, Don’t Stand So Close to Me.

“We’re just living in this weird scary time,” Johnson said. “The hardest thing for most of us is the fact that we can’t gather the way we want to. That’s why I wanted the beer to be named that.”

He said the intent of the Vienna-style lager was to offer a beer that people can enjoy in the spring and throughout the summer on the brewery’s outdoor patios.

I didn’t need to try the beer to know I was in for something amazing. Johnson couldn’t make a poor European-style beer if he tried. 

Don’t Stand So Close to me is crisp, refreshing and slightly floral beer with an out-of-the-oven sourdough bread aftertaste. Honestly, it’s beautiful, and makes me look forward to sharing good beer with others again.

As someone who makes an effort to visit breweries multiple times a month, I’m thoroughly missing my craft beer interactions.

The second I’m holding a pint in my hand, I know I have one thing in common with nearly everyone in the room: an appreciation for craft beer — that instant icebreaker, the conversation starter no matter who’s holding the other glass.

Meeting new people at breweries is as easy as walking up to someone who’s holding a beer and saying, “What are you drinking?”

Before I moved to the Atlanta metro area, I lived in a small mountain town in Andrews, North Carolina. I didn’t know anyone or have a connection to the area besides my job at the local newspaper.

After spending time drinking craft beer at two of the town’s breweries, Hoppy Trout Brewing Co. and Andrews Brewing Co., I quickly started building friendships. 

A good craft brewery is more than just a place to enjoy tasty beer, it’s a place of fellowship for friends, neighbors and family. 

I feel incomplete without craft beer camaraderie, and I hope, like everyone else in the world, that COVID-19 dissipates soon.

Wild Heaven offers contactless beer to-to pick up from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, at its Avondale Estates location on 135 Maple St. People can place an order by calling 404-997-8589 or by visiting wildheavenbeer.com.

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