We love to help bring to light all the people who are helping to make this city a great Beer town. There are brewers, bar owners, patrons, and politicians who are all working together towards that goal. And, in that regard, we present a series called “Beer Stars” which allows the public and us to gain a greater appreciation for the people who keep the Atlanta beer community churning. Today’s spotlight shines on Eric Thornton. He is the self-described “Beer Geek” of Atlanta, and has earned that title through his knowledge of beer styles and breweries. He can be found at almost every beer event around the Atlanta area, and is so committed and passionate to the furthering of “beer” information that he even teaches topics related to beer to others. So we caught up with Eric to ask him a few questions.
When did you get into Craft Brewing? In 1988, I worked at a store that had about 90 beers available.
Do you brew at home? No. There are plenty of brews that I can enjoy, without having homebrew equipment take over my home.
What has been the best thing to watch in the Atlanta Beer Scene in the past 5 years? A widespread enthusiasm for local beer has begun, and the local brewers have produced beers that we can take pride in.
What beer got you into craft beer? At he store I worked at in 1988, I would buy a new beer every night to taste. I wanted to be able to describe the beers to my customers in a way other than “lager”, “dark”, “German”, “English”, or “Canadian” (pretty much the way the brews were described). Nobody in the store knew what the beers looked or tasted like. I discovered that there was more to beer than the Genesee my Grandfather drank, or the Coors Light that my parents kept in their fridge, or the Miller Genuine Draft & Coors Extra Gold that I’d drink with my buddies. Soon, I established a small library of books about “Microbreweries”, the brewing process, and beer styles.
Have you ever thought of brewing for a living? Not seriously. I would lose touch with what is going on industry-wide.
What is the most exciting thing for craft beer fans you know about coming out soon? There are so many… lots of fun festivals to sample new things, or the new brewers that are about to produce beer, and the diverse variety of limited release brews that are about to be released.
What is your go to beer for Summer? For enjoying on the porch with friends, nothing beats Red Brick “Dog Days Ale”.
Who is your beer idol? I don’t really have one. I admire the people who work in breweries to produce a beer for every moment of our lives. From light simple Pilsners for everyday consumption to the inventive hybrid styles that I can sip with a group of friends. I appreciate the work they all do to create beer for all of us.
What beer would you drink with your last meal? With the sandwich & chips I consumed most recently, I drank Monday Night “Fu Manbrew”. If I knew I was consuming my Last Meal, I would request the last of my stash of 1994 Samuel Adams “Triple Bock”.