ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Our first look behind-the-scenes of Albany's highly anticipated microbrewery reveals a plan as developed and well-thought-out as the craft beers being brewed.
Pretoria Fields' opening in September coincides with a change in Georgia law allowing for pints and cases to be sold on site.
It marks an important change in the growing craft beer industry in Georgia, allowing for greater profits and potential for growth.
And, we discovered Pretoria Fields Collective is striking out in a new direction compared to other breweries across the state by returning to an old-world style.
A 20,000 square foot renovation with the potential to transform downtown Albany.
"You will come in we will have a front bar, back bar and access to the beer garden and two bathrooms down the hall," said Chris Willis, COO and brewer.
Hoping for transformation
"There has been a lot of hope for downtown in the recent years. Macon, Columbus, are good examples of opening microbrews and it has really helped the downtown development. That is our hope as much as anything else," said Tripp Morgan, owner.
A hope that began as a child in Camilla.
"I have always worked on a farm. My dad's farm was his hobby and my job when I grew up," said Morgan.
Now a successful Albany surgeon, Pretoria Fields Collective founder Tripp Morgan is sharing his love for the land and for the art of making beer with the community.
Crafting that special flavor
"We want people to learn about beer when they come in. We think about beer the way a lot of people think about wine. It is interesting to us, we want people to feel that."
After maturing to peak flavor, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are picked at an organic fruit farm in western Dougherty County.
"Our big thing in beer is balance. It's about creating these bitter, sour flavors and everything in between and also keeping it in balance, we never want to give you anything that leaves a bad taste in your mouth," said Willis.
"There is an artistry to what you are doing here. We like to think so, it is a labor of love," said Willis.
This working farm is one of three owned by Pretoria Fields Collective in South Georgia. The other two are in Lee County and Camilla.
Here, fruits and grains are grown for the beer. The flavors of the field are meticulously crafted into an original and delicious taste.
"I am blown away, it is so smooth, there is no after taste. It is, like you said, lemonade on a hot day, it is so refreshing!" said Melissa.
"Thank you. So this is a kettle sour beer. I would say it is in a Berliner Weise style," said Willis.
A first for Georgia
Sitting on the outdoor pavilion at Pretoria Fields Farm where in the not-too-distant future beer enthusiasts will also be able to tour the land and taste the exquisite beers we sampled a beer made with loquat fruit from a local tree.
To watch Melissa tasting a sample of the beer and getting a breakdown of what people can expect, watch this video:
"Loquats are from South Georgia and the wheat is from South Georgia, the only thing that is not from South Georgia is the barely, but we are hoping to cultivate some more and use Georgia Grown barley," said Willis.
South Georgia grown, all the way from the men making the beer to the land providing the ingredients.
That's why they choose to name the business Pretoria Fields Collective.
"Collective is a German term which describes the idea of brewers and farmers working together. Brewers that are farmers, and farmers that are brewers. And that has been our concept from the beginning," said Morgan.
A concept for making beer based on what the land provides... the first of its kind for Georgia.
"This is our passion, so I hope it translates into the beer. We really want to bring a good platform to show what all of these Georgia agricultural goods can be used for, and we think that beer is a perfect vessel for that," said Willis.
In the first year, Pretoria Fields Collective hopes to brew 4,000 barrels of beer.
And there is room to grow in its new downtown space producing between 45 and 60-thousand barrels of South Georgia-grown brew.
To take a behind the scene tour of the microbrewery, check out the 360 photo below:
Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.