Where did Orpheus Brewing’s Transmigration of Souls get its name?

Plus 12 more quirky questions for brewmaster Jason Pellett
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Pellett hanging out in a kettle (Courtesy of Jason Pellett)
Pellett hanging out in a kettle (Courtesy of Jason Pellett)

13 Questions is a weekly series where we ask industry folk 13 questions to get to know them outside of their work. Jason Pellett is the brewmaster at Orpheus Brewing.

What’s one beer trend you’re sick of?
I am not a big fan of making beer taste like specific foods. If I want that [food], I’d rather just eat it.

What’s your guilty pleasure fast food?
I get out of the brewery late, and I drive by Cook Out on the way home. I regret every time I turn in. I get a double bacon cheeseburger.

Where do you like to drink in town?
Steinbeck’s is the closest bar to my house. We also go to the Porter, Brick Store, and Leon’s. Atlanta is actually a great beer town.

Describe how you feel about the three-tier system in one word?
Conflicted.

If you weren’t a brewer, what would you be doing?
I’d still be a trumpet player. I was freelance trumpet player until opening the brewery. I played whatever gigs I was hired for. I grew up as a jazz player, got a master’s in orchestral performance at GSU, and most gigs were salsa. The first style I got into was bebop, so I want to get back to it.

What’s the best city to travel to for beer?
We just keep going back to Portland. There are a few great breweries there, like Cascade and Hair of the Dog, and great bars. Oregon gets good distribution, so there are lots of great West coast beers.

What was the last TV show you bingewatched?
Jessica Jones a few weeks ago, but we watched The Wire again recently. You get a lot more of a Shakespearean arc the second time through. I’m ready for a third time.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever brewed?
We’ve been pretty lucky at Orpheus. We have a barrel-aged here called Minotaur. It’s designed to go in a whiskey barrel as a sour beer. When we made it last year, we made more beer than we had barrels, so we kegged it, put it in taproom, and called it Centaur. It just tasted like incomplete beer without barrels, but the staff loved it. They want to make it again and sell it.

What was the last great book you read?
Water from the Brewer’s Association ingredient series [laughs]. I really haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to lately.

What’s your hangover cure?
Fortunately, I don’t really get bad hangovers. I try to just drink a whole lot of water before I go to bed and take a couple ibuprofen.

What’s the first thing you remember drinking?
It would’ve been some really cheap beer my dad had; it was terrible. But I didn’t drink regularly until I was over 21. I didn’t know what to order on my 21st birthday, so I ordered a Manhattan randomly because someone next to me had one. My girlfriend finished it. I haven’t had one since.

How do you name the beers, like Transmigration of Souls for example?
Transmigration of Souls was from reading through Wikipedia. It was a description of Orphic mythology and the name of a John Adams [the composer] piece from one of greatest concerts I’ve ever been to.

You grew up here. What’s Atlanta missing?
Density, mass transit. It still doesn’t feel dense, despite all the great places here. One reason I love to travel is to be in a dense place where you can get around without a car. But that’s why Orpheus is located on the BeltLine.

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