It’s not easy standing out among the dozens of craft breweries in Georgia.
And yet, a farm brewery embedded in Georgia’s southern reaches has found a way to not only flourish, but create something that’s completely its own.
Flowing Well Gose
Brewery: Pretoria Fields
Alcohol by volume: 4.5%
International Bitterness Units: 15
Style: German-style gose
Bottom line: A refreshing, slightly salty and citrusy summer-drinking brew
Pretoria Fields’ taproom sits in downtown Albany, but its farm lies farther down the road and encompasses 1,000 acres of organically-grown barley and a couple of hundred acres of rye and wheat.
Dee Moore, brewmaster of Pretoria Fields, said the brewery also partners with local farms to incorporate more seasonal crops into the brewery’s beer.
“We’re a collective,” Moore said. “Our motto is ‘Brewed by farmers, farmed by brewers.’ I think that resonates today.”
By growing most of its ingredients, Moore said Pretoria Fields has been dubbed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture as the state’s first official farmhouse brewery.
“We’re the only brewery that’s south of Virginia and east of Texas that is farming barley on this scale,” Moore said. “Most barley is grown in Canada. You can grow here, but yield less. Fortunately, we have lots of farmland.”
All of the 30 beers available in Pretoria Fields’ taproom are built around the ingredients grown on the brewery’s farm and on other nearby farms.
Instead of making a beer with the mindset of making a brew that customers will purchase, Moore said he mostly thinks about the crops currently growing.
This was the case for the beautiful gose I tried called Flowing Well.
The barley and wheat used to make the beer were grown right on Pretoria Fields’ farmland.
Moore said the name of the beer was inspired by the road that passes the brewery’s farm.
Instead of making an American-style gose that’s packed with a sour punch and salty bite, he decided to go the German route.
Goses originated in Goslar, Germany, and traditionally have a more subtle citrus and briney notes.
Pretoria Fields’ Flowing Well offers this type of experience with a hint of acidity, salt and spice. Moore said some of the citrus notes come from the lactobacillus bacteria strain.
“It hits all the bullet points,” Moore said. “It’s not overly sour and salty, and it’s a pleasant beer to drink. You can drink more than one without your fingers swelling from the salt.”
I’ve always been curious about the taste of a traditional-style gose, and I was ecstatic to finally experience my first from a Georgia brewery.
Flowing Well is crisp and refreshing. It’s the sort of beer best enjoyed during the summer while you’re sitting on a beach, hanging out on a boat or doing whatever leisurely activity normal people do in the summertime.
The beer even passed the dad taste test. My dad is not the biggest fan of sours, and is drawn mostly to wheaty German and Belgian-style brews. However, he was pretty enamored with Flowing Well.
So, if you’re skeptical about this gose, take my malt-centric dad’s advice and abandon your preconceptions about sours. It’s truly a scrumptious and inoffensive beer.
Moore said the brewery offers one-off fruity versions of their gose with locally grown citrus fruit, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
If you’re eager to get your hands on one of Pretoria Fields’ brews, you can find them at grocery stores and bottle shops around Georgia. Luckily, the cans are easy to spot with their minimalistic white labels paired with bold letters that say, “Pretoria Fields” across the top.
Canned beer not doing the trick for you? Take a beer trip to Pretoria Fields, which is located at 120 Pine Ave. in Albany. The taproom’s hours are 2-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 1-9 p.m. Saturday and 1-7 p.m. Sunday.
For more information about Georgia’s farmhouse brewery, visit pretoriafields.com.