From Orpheus to Wild Heaven to Eventide to Torched Hop, new breweries are perpetually arriving (and thriving) in Atlanta. But unless you’re really entrenched in the beer scene, you may not have heard of Scofflaw. The brainchild of owner Matt Shirah and brewmaster Travis Herman, Scofflaw Brewing Co. released its first beers in restaurants and bars around town last summer and opened a tasting room to the public in September. Next Monday, it will begin making its brews available in cans in package stores and groceries throughout Atlanta.
Specializing in IPAs, Scofflaw offers two main varieties: Double Jeopardy, a higher gravity, caramel malt-based West Coast style that Shirah describes as “a little darker, a little bitter,” and Basement, a lighter, crystal mat-based East Coast style with “a crisper flavor with more of a tropical hop profile.” All in all, Scofflaw has created 16-18 beers, but only eight of them are made regularly. “Twenty percent of brewing time is spent developing new product,” Shirah says.
A former corporate restructurer and West Coast gastropub owner, he decided to leave corporate America after having his first child and reconnected with an old friend, Herman, who had just left the pharmaceutical industry to attend brewing school. They named Scofflaw after the Prohibition-time term referring to those who drank the alcohol bootleggers created. “It’s come to mean the people who don’t consider themselves bound by norms and are willing to take risks,” Shirah says. “The way we brew and approach our business may not be industry norms. We are more concerned about the quality of the product than the time, resources or energy it takes. We spent two years developing products in my mother-in-law’s basement.”
Atlantans can usually find Scofflaw beer at My Friend’s Growler Shop, the Tap on Ponce, and Hop City, among other locations. They can also visit the Scofflaw tasting room (1738 MacArthur Boulevard) Thursday through Saturday. There, $14 tours include 36 ounces of any of six beers. Basement and Double Jeopardy will be the first canned varieties.
As for the future, “We’ll continue research and development to expand our portfolio while trying to keep up with what the market demands. We probably come up with a couple new beers a month—sometimes they make it, and sometimes they don’t,” Shirah says. Scofflaw may soon open its tasting room on Sundays as well.