Time for a rant! It’s a beautiful day here in Canton, Georgia and I wish I was sitting out on my patio drinking a glass of 5 Seasons Two Pence Porter, but sadly I’m not, and in fact I can’t. Why is that? Simply put, it’s illegal for a brewpub to sell beer to go in Georgia. And that’s a sad fact, given that the vast majority of states in America allow you to do just that.
Recently, the Georgia Craft Brewer’s Guild tried to get a bill passed to change all that, Senate Bill 63 also known as the Georgia Beer Jobs Law. It would have allowed beer lovers to take home up to 144 ounces of beer from a brewery or brewpub and drink up to 72 ounces onsite at a brewery (you can already drink more than that at a brewpub).
Sadly, politics got in the way. The Republican-dominated state legislature decimated the bill. Why? The state’s large alcohol distributors pressured our elected representatives to side with big business over small, and the same Republicans that constantly claim to support small business showed who they really represent here. To be fair, the bill was introduced by a Republican (Hunter Hill), and he’ll have my support for that in the future. Democrats sided with the distributors as well.
However you slice it, the bill got out of the senate with its pouring amounts halved, and then limited sales to a single container. Hopes were high that would be rectified in the house; instead, they made the bill even worse and sold craft beer drinkers out. The House completely removed brewpubs from the picture, added distilleries in their place, and only allowed one “to go” container as part of a tour package for breweries only. This is what was eventually passed and will become law if the governor signs it or does not veto it.
I suspect this will lead to a lot of quick 2 minute brewery tours to get a growler to go, but it’s extremely disappointing that Georgia’s great brewpubs were sold down the river, and that we look so foolish compared to other states. I can get a growler to go at a gas station, a growler shop, and even at Taco Mac. Why not a brewpub?
Let my empty brewpub glasses serve as a reminder of how displeased Georgia craft beer drinkers should be with this law. Don’t take it quietly, either. Let your legislators know how you feel. Why can a winery sell its product to go without limit in Georgia but not a brewery? Why are liquor distributors being protected? Why are small brewers being kicked in the teeth? These are questions Georgia beer drinkers want answers to.
Since the 5 Seasons Brewing Company, with three brewpub locations in Georgia, has been very vocal in their support of the Georgia Beer Jobs Bill in its original form, sending me regular updates via e-mail, it’s only fitting that I tie all of this ranting and raving into a review of their Two Pence Porter that I enjoyed at their Prado location shortly ago. This is a mild English porter of about 5% alcohol by volume and reasonable in price, as I paid $5.50 for a pint.
My glass of 5 Seasons Two Pence Porter was almost jet black in color though not fully opaque with a light creamy head and an inviting roasty chocolate nose. The body was medium and quite smooth, a little roasty, a little chocolaty, and eminently drinkable. It finished with a gentle kiss of hops and bit of velvety roasty flavor just right for the style. I could easily imagine myself sitting in London and enjoying just such a porter. Or even my backyard, if the Georgia legislature can ever get its act together.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.