Brewery Visit – Pontoon Brewing

Once you land at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, hop on the MARTA Red Line and take it all the way north. You’ll be in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

From there, you’ll have to get a car ride or something to make it out to the original home of Pontoon Brewing. This location was Pontoon’s sole facility since opening in 2017, and until very, very recently was where all Pontoon production had taken place. If you find a can of Pontoon Brewing here in Florida, right when this article is getting published, the odds are very good it was brewed in Sandy Springs.

Production has since moved over to The Lodge, out in Tucker, and Sandy Springs has converted into more of an experimental brewhouse. The tap room there is a fun mishmash of tables in the middle of what is clearly a barrel aging room, warehouse, and so on. That’s part of the charm.

The rest of the charm comes from the liberal use of their mascot, a river otter. Seriously, there’s otters everywhere.

It’s one of the many things that I’m looking forward to asking about when I get to host the team at Pontoon Brewing on the Florida Beer Podcast. But since we’re in Georgia, let’s enjoy a few beers and see what they had to offer:

All Of The Otter Reindeer (Winter Ale 6% ABV) – It has a solid malt base with nice notes of caramel, right, apple and toffee, and the nutmeg gives it a warmth that really brings the colder weather home. It’s not necessarily heavy, and has a medium weight to the body. It’s got a nice dark orange to caramel brown color and a lot of the deep flavors of caramel really come through on the nose. It’s not sweet, but it is definitely bold. Perfectly suited for colder weather, I’m not sure I would drink this when it was hot out. But it’s cold right now, so that is perfect.

New Wave (Blonde Ale, 5.2% ABV) – You know exactly what you’re getting yourself into with this beer. It is the most perfect of perfect blonde ales, crisp and refreshing, with a good solid lemon quality to it. It has a light straw color, an inviting biscuity nose, and beautiful light flavor.

Crushing Waves (Berliner Weiss, 6.3% ABV) – One of their year-round beers, and the vanguard of their fruited sour series. And boy, do they ever have a fruited sour series here. This one doesn’t look crazy, because it still has a solid medium gold color to it instead of being every color of the rainbow. It’s when you smell the aroma and you get this bold pineapple quality that you realize something is going on here. The flavor has a ton of pineapple, but also brings in a bit of meaty cherry sweetness to it. From there, it goes whole hog on the pineapple again. It’s got a nice tart bite to it, a little sour, but that pineapple is there to begin with and ends there as well, very delicious and refreshing.

Double Cup: Purple Stuff (Berliner Weisse, 7.6% ABV) – Pontoon described this as an absurd amount of fruit, and what this ended up being was a Berliner Vice with a ridiculous amount of fruit. They were absolutely dead on with this one. It’s got a slightly purplish color, which is to be expected since it has three pounds of concord grapes, boysenberries, and black currants per gallon of beer. Interestingly enough, they chose just the right mix of fruits to where it’s not super tart. It’s got a little bit of fruit tartness, mostly because of the boysenberries, but other than that it’s actually surprisingly smooth and mellow. Very flavorful, just moderately sweet, and they didn’t lactose it which makes me very happy. This is apparently the first series and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

As I mentioned, I will be hosting them on the Florida Beer Podcast in the very near future, so please make sure to follow us to find when that episode drops. In the meantime, I had a few beers that I brought home with me, and there’s still plenty of Pontoon to be had on Florida shelves, so I have no shortage of river otters to enjoy.

Drink Florida Craft,

Dave
@floridabeerblog
floridabeerblog@gmail.com

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