We’ll Toast to That

Written By: Bre Humphries

WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE for an ice-cold beer? What if it was craftmade with passion and precision? With more than 20 offerings on tap at any given time, you’re sure to find your new favorite in Gainesville at Left Nut Brewing Co.

RENOVATED, RETROFITTED AND REBUILT

Located in an old mill facility less than five miles south of Downtown Gainesville, Left Nut Brewing Co. is steeped in history.

“The facility was constructed in 1927 by Johnson & Johnson,” says owner Pap Datta. It opened as Chicopee South, an expansion of the Massachusetts-based company, and served as a mill to process the South’s premier raw material—cotton—into products like bandages and diapers.

Over the years, production at the mill ceased and the facility was used mostly for storage. Datta discovered it while scouting the area for a brand-new brewery in 2012. The transformation was quite a project renovating, retrofitting and rebuilding the infrastructure—but in the end, all that hard work paid off.

“We have basically restored the administrative portion of the Chicopee mill to our brewery,” Datta explains. The result is a beautiful, open concept that preserves the historic feel of the 19,000-square-foot space, with soaring old factory glass walls, original bricks, Georgia marble steps, an original heart-of-pine ceiling, and cross beams harvested from 300-year-old trees. Rather than walls, a simple railing separates the taproom from the processing area, so visitors have a permanent behind-the-scenes glimpse of beer production.

But the facility itself is just one tier of the brewery’s origin story.

“This has been a long-time passion of mine,” Datta says. During his corporate career, Datta dabbled in home brewing

while also visiting breweries all over the world throughout his business travels. When that chapter of his life closed, he poured his heart and soul into this new venture. The name was born because of what he was willing to give up to make it successful, and it stuck—a cheeky saying with a truly sincere sentiment.

“Really it’s a vernacular based on sacrificing something you hold of value to do something you’re really passionate about,” he explains.

A KALEIDOSCOPE OF CRAFT BEER

We all get by with a little help from our friends, and a new business venture is not any different.

“We were helped tremendously by one of the original famous brewers in Atlanta, Kevin McNerney,” Datta says, attributing the Sweetwater founder’s guidance, coaching and friendship as instrumental in getting Left Nut up and running.

Though Datta himself does not brew commercially, his head brewer, Richard Foote, does phenomenal work at Left Nut. A certified national beer judge with a biology background and decades of experience, Foote formulates all the different beer formulas and flavors with the help of

assistant brewer Patrick McCormac, and the duo stays busy. At any given time, you’ll find 25 to 27 different varieties to sample in the taproom, a repertoire that sets Left Nut apart from many other craft breweries.

“I liken it to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for beer,” Datta says.

The first brew Left Nut launched was The Lappland Blonde back in 2016, a golden ale named for a Finnish legend as an ode to Datta’s wife. That flagship beer continues to be a best seller, along with Hooch Shootin’, a New England IPA named for one of the area’s favorite summertime activities, and Lake Gold Golden Lager, named after nearby Lake Lanier.

“At the taproom, every two weeks you’ll see new releases of small batch beer,” Datta says. “We’re always trying to expose our fans to all the different various styles.” This includes the aforementioned IPAs along with a Belgian-style “Grisette” (a milder cousin to the better-known Saison style), pre-prohibition styles like the Kentucky Common, hard apple cider and innovative hard seltzers in flavors like green tea-plum and pear-ginger. Another unique offering is the Engine 209, a Russian imperial style aged in bourbon barrels and named for the locomotive engine that used to run between Gainesville and Athens.

In addition to all the offerings in the taproom, Left Nut distributes six different beers year-round in kegs and cans to restaurants and stores across the state, as well as four or five seasonal brews, including a Peach Milkshake IPA with peaches from nearby Jaemor Farms.

“We try to engage with as much local as we can,” Datta says.

This includes apples from Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge for the hard cider, Yonah Mountain Coffee for some of the stouts, pecans from Pearson Farm in South Georgia for a Shade Tail Nutty Pecan Ale, and barrels made to custom specifications by Gainesville Cooperage for some of the beers that take longer to condition, such as wild ales, lambics and wheat wines.

In order to engage with the community, Left Nut also brews a beer that pays homage to the local watershed. A portion of proceeds from the Pure Source IPA benefits the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, which plays a large role in the quality of beer’s most important ingredient—the water.

Though there is no food service at the brewery, Left Nut does host a rotation of food trucks on the weekends, as well as live music and a host of special events. Kids and pets are both welcome, and you’ll find board games, cornhole and foosball as well as an outdoor area with fire pit and Adirondack chairs, making for what Datta promises is a warm, convivial atmosphere.

LEFT NUT BREWING CO.

2100 Atlanta Hwy.

Gainesville

678-827-6678

leftnutbrewing.com

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