Photograph by Heidi Geldhauser
Good news for the Westside: the build-out at Second Self Beer Company is on track to open mid-September. The forthcoming brewery by Jason Santamaria and Chris Doyle is tucked away on Logan Circle, in between Monday Night and Red Brick. The breweries are so close to each other that Second Self founders hint we might very well see a 5K race with three heady pit stops in the future. But for now, the focus is on completing construction. And brewing beer.
Four core styles will hit select accounts throughout the Atlanta area this fall, brewed in a 9,800 square-foot space with a 2,400-barrel annual capacity. During launch week (date TBD), look out for their refreshing Thai Wheat, the bright session IPA called LIPA, the Red Hop Rye, and Saison, their take on the classic.
Santamaria and Doyle met at Georgia Tech, where they graduated in 2006. Santamaria has a degree in business with a background in software sales. Doyle finished undergrad with a degree in management, then returned for an MBA. While students, the frat brothers also became roommates and started brewing beer after one go-round with a kit.
Santamaria, beer architect, liked to cook and his outlook on beer was inspired by food. Doyle, resident alechemist, also spent a year and change at SweetWater and studied at the Brewer’s Guild. They brewed so often and got so much feedback from friends, they say they have 30-40 “fairly polished” recipes on deck, including a Mole porter inspired by Santamaria’s family recipe.
During my chat with the duo, I tasted the freshly brewed Thai Wheat and LIPA (pronounced lie-pah) right off the tank. Atlanta, we have much to look forward to.
How do you describe Second Self?
Doyle: We’re an alternate style brewery. The premise of Second Self is layers of duality. We want to challenge palates and add complexities of flavor. We come up with a flavor profile, then build a recipe around it, as opposed to throwing a bunch of ingredients out and hoping it tastes like “X,” or going for an IBU count.
Santamaria: We only use fresh ingredients, there are no extracts here. That makes a huge difference.
Talk about the Thai Wheat.
Doyle: It’s brewed with ginger, lemongrass, and blue ginger, which is a spicier ginger. It’s 5.5 percent ABV.
Santamaria: This was inspired by a trip I took to Thailand in 2010. The goal was to create an encompassing Thai flavor, not to brew a wheat beer then add ginger.
You take a more holistic view.
Santamaria: Right, that’s how we approach all our beers. We’re not trying to create the world’s best American pale ale and say it’s unique. We’re creating what we think is good, and there’s always a reason why we’re making a recipe a certain way.
You’ve got these unique flavors happening, but your Saison seems pretty straightforward.
Santamaria: Yes, the saison is a little different. It’s the last style we approached—in our opinion, it’s probably the most respected style, and it’s my favorite. We wanted something that was crisp and clean. I didn’t see a reason to mess with it. This is one we brought to our friends at Brick Store. They said it was one of the best saisons they’d ever had.
Talk about LIPA. It’s super smooth.
Santamaria: This is a true session IPA, 4.5 percent alcohol. We worked on it for years. We’d be brewing outside all day when it was so hot we couldn’t really drink the beers we were brewing. It’s flavorful, but you can only have a few.
Doyle: We’ve got Cascade, Amarillo, and CTZ hops in there.
New brewery, new beers—what else have you got planned?
Santamaria: We plan on doing a lot of collaborations. We have a recipe with Chase Medlin and Brad Davis from Twain’s. It’s going to be a session saison with citrus.
Doyle: We’re also looking at food collaborations with restaurant owners and chefs.
Santamaria: We haven’t finalized it yet, but we’re talking to Kimball House about doing something. They’ve been tasting our beers for years so we are excited about that.