Roswell Brewery Opens the Gates to a New Taproom

written and photographed by BROOKS METZLER

With the sheer number of craft breweries on scene today, you’d think we’re heading towards a bubble that surely will burst. But if Gate City Brewing, one of the newest craft breweries in the Northside, is any indication, we’re still a long way from max market carbonation.

Pat Rains, an Oregon native and Brian Borngesser, a former account manager, founded Gate City in 2013. Rains and Borngesser, both avid home brewers, set family roots in Roswell a decade ago. They met up through local brewing circles and it only made sense that they open a brewery in the north Fulton county suburb.

“This area is kind of a pocket in the north metro, where you don’t have to go to the city to find some nightlife,” said Lucy Doughty, Gate City’s director of communications. Certainly, Roswell’s Canton Street corridor has long been a sanctuary of artist’s enclaves, quaint specialty shops and stylish outdoor restaurants. Doughty said Gate City is sympathetic to the Canton Street brand that’s already in Roswell.

“We’re new to the Canton Street game and we’re trying to go along with the theme they’ve already established,” Doughty said. They’ve done this through hosting events like Press and Industry night, which I attended to check out some of their most popular brews and, more importantly, a brand new taproom.

Their new taproom, a converted industrial space on the lower level of the building, opened to the public in early February 2017. I walked in to the sounds of alternative rock and buzzing conversation. The back wall features a massive selection of beers, but one with straightforward information: name, style, alcohol percentage and gravity rating.

The first one I tried was their Copperhead Amber. Doughty said Copperhead has been Gate City’s most popular brew since they began brewing using Reformation Brewery’s equipment in Woodstock in mid-2015. It’s a beautifully balanced ale with a slightly hoppy taste, and Doughty reckoned its success lies in the lack of such craft amber ales locally. “There aren’t too many solid, local ambers,” she said, and that has translated into Copperhead becoming a familiar draft on offer in many local restaurants.

A flannel-clad guy in his twenties manned the bar in the new taproom, religiously wiping down the smooth, simple concrete surface. He mentioned he’d come on board when the brewery was still working out of a smaller space upstairs, which is now fully-dedicated brewing space. The design of this new taproom and the kind, unpretentious people who staff it are reflective of the type of beer drinker Gate City looks to attract.

“We pride ourselves on having one really drinkable, orderable style across the beer spectrum––light to dark,” Doughty told me. Gate City, she says, is not for the beer snobs––those who might look for flavor profiles broken down into charts and color wheels of convoluted ingredients. “What we’ve created is interesting and high quality, but it’s approachable,” said Doughty.

I sampled Tarty McFly Sour Cherry next. Having always been a fan of sours and weirdly flavored beers, I appreciated the playful take on a pretty simple, lighter beer. Tarty McFly further represents the brewery’s dedication to simplicity, as its sour base is also offered both on its own and with a blueberry variant, in addition to the cherry I sampled.

Gate City purposefully retains a full spectrum of the beer color chart year round. Doughty said that sets them apart from most other breweries. “Some breweries will really love their IPAs and make nine of them,” she said. Instead, Gate City approaches each new beer they brew with the intention of making it “all-season,” even though they still make certain brews seasonal.

My last sample ticket went towards six ounces of OTP IPA, a very smooth double-IPA that’s earned a solid four-star rating on UnTappd, a social app used to rate beers worldwide. Across the room, people played skee-ball around the corner from where live acts will play every weekend. Doughty said Roswellians have been quick to embrace the new brewery since the original tasting room opened in February 2016.

She said many of the biggest embracers are walk-ins. “About two-thirds have been walk-ins who just enjoy Roswell culture,” Doughty said. “What we’ve created is interesting and high quality, but it’s approachable. And I think the community has really taken to that.”