Monday Night Brewing was born out of a weekly Bible study, but that’s just one of the unlikely things about Atlanta’s newest craft beer company.
Since 2006, three self-described “white-collar guys,” Jonathan Baker, Jeff Heck and Joel Iverson, have been getting together on Monday nights to home-brew in Heck’s garage.
They invited friends, family and even total strangers over to share the experience and taste their beer, all the while dreaming of owning a brewery one day.
Last week, Baker, Heck and Iverson finally unveiled the first fruits of that five-year process: Eye Patch Ale and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale.
The pair of draft-only brews is available at metro beer bars, such as Leon’s, Ormsby’s and Taco Mac, and to take home in growlers from Hop City, Ale Yeah and other beverage stores.
“We put together a three-year plan that got stretched into a five-year plan,” Baker said, just before the first kegs were tapped at Hop City.
“We could have started three years ago, but the beers weren’t exactly where we wanted them to be. It’s not like we’re an Internet startup. We’re starting a craft beer company, and we just wanted to make sure we did it right.”
Right now, Monday Night beers are made under contract at Thomas Creek Brewing in Greenville, S.C.
Eye Patch is a 6.2 percent alcohol by volume pale ale with Columbus, Cascade and Simcoe hops, Maris Otter as the base malt, and a touch of rye malt. The result is an easygoing beer with an elegant malt presence, a citrus tang and a clean, dry finish.
Drafty Kilt features chocolate and oak-smoked malt, plus roasted barley. At 7.2 percent alcohol by volume, it’s also very easy to drink, with sweet, roasty flavors and very little hop bitterness.
“We wanted to come out of the gate with beers that craft beer drinkers were going to like and that the typical consumer would at least appreciate,” Baker said.
Baker revealed that there’s a third beer in the works -- a Belgian wheat-style with fresh ginger.
Other short- and long-range plans include putting their beer in bottles and eventually building a brewery in Atlanta.
“We started brewing out of a garage with lots of people hanging around, so we understand the value of a physical brewery,” Baker said.
The three Monday Night partners come from business backgrounds -- hence their motto, “Weekends Are Overrated.”
Baker, who recently was married, quit his marketing job to handle developing the Monday Night brand. Heck and Iverson, who are married with young children, still have day jobs. They all moved to Atlanta’s Westside to be close to one another while they build the company.
“It’s fun being a part of each other's lives and knowing the business side of things as well as the personal side,” Baker said. “It’s really fun doing this with your friends.”