Growlers at Crafty Draught offer a new way to drink brews

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Andre Airich and his venture partner Cody Anderson accomplished much before their business Crafty Draught even opened.

In a few months, they lobbied to change Forsyth County’s alcohol law, a remarkable feat here in the South. We’re not exactly known for our forward-thinking laws when it comes to booze.

What did Airich and Anderson change?

Forsyth (and later, the city of Cumming also jumped on board) allows retailers to break the original packaging of beer.

This paves the way for growlers – a 64-ounce glass jug used to transport draught beer.

Crafty Draught, 415 Peachtree Parkway in Cumming, across from the Avenue Forsyth, will fill your growler with one of 20 craft beers they have on tap.

It’s a new concept for this area, something I had to try.

Crafty Draught’s selection changes almost daily. It’s best to check their website ahead of time to see what’s pouring. Also, be sure to check their “coming soon” page. It’s sort of an on-deck circle of beer – a list of kegs in the backroom waiting to be tapped. When they empty a keg, one of these will replace it.

Most beers are in the $10 to $12 range for the 64-ounce growler portion, although some can reach as high as $20.

Unfortunately, samples are not available, so you have to rely on the recent University of Georgia grads’ extensive beer research and knowledge. New empty growlers can be bought for $5 – a one-time investment.

On my visit, I met Airich and secretly put him to the test.

I explained I don’t like beers with a lot of hops. I also mentioned my love of Bavarian hefeweizens. Both of these statements are true and probably will ruin my credibility with the beer-drinking world.

Being wintertime, their selection is geared toward a lot of stouts and IPAs.

Thankfully, Airich didn’t steer me toward any of these. I let him talk me into a highly-rated beer called Ommegang Abbey, a Belgian-style ale made by a microbrewery in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Twenty bucks later, I had paid for my beer and new growler. Yikes, this had better be good. How did I like it?

Airich didn’t lead me astray. The beer had a yeasty character, much like the hefeweizens I enjoy. I tasted a lot of rich flavor going on, including toasted nuts and honey. I can see why this brew wins awards.

It also had a higher alcohol content, something I’m not accustomed to. Let’s just say, I would avoid operating heavy machinery or writing my blog entries while enjoying this beer.

Airich and Anderson might make successful political lobbyists if this beer gig doesn’t work out.

I doubt that career change will be necessary, though. Crafty Draught is a cool little shop, and I wish these young entrepreneurs much success.

If this concept catches on – they already have some business competition popping up soon – they’re well prepared to face it.

For more, visit www.craftydraught.com, follow them on Facebook and Twitter @CraftyDraught or call 770-887-3153.