5 Seasons Brew Pub – Still afloat in a sea of beer

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday. Today we feature a review from Mike Christensen. Follow Mike on Twitter @SCSA31274.

5NorthlogoSince I have been writing for this blog, I have become the de-facto beer guy.  I’ve chatted with nearly everyone in the north Fulton/Forsyth area.   I would be amiss to leave out the old guy on the block, 5 Seasons.  How has Alpharetta’s first brew pub weathered the storm of growler stores, breweries, and other brew pubs?  Have they been affected?  The short answer is yes.  And no.

5 Seasons was started by chef Dave Larkworthy back in 2001 as an avenue to offer fresh, local food paired with fresh, local beer.  At that time they were the only player in the game.  Dave’s friend Crawford Moran joined the show in 2004 as the brew master.  Crawford was exposed to beer early on, and he quickly developed a passion for brewing.  After a classic back packing through Europe trip, Crawford came back to his native Georgia with a mission; to brew the beer he fell in love with across the pond.

At that point in Atlanta, there wasn’t much of a choice beyond the mega beers, so Crawford took matters into his own hands and make what he wanted.  He started Dogwood Brewing Company in 1995 and closed it in 2004.  Crawford has a passion for brewing, and he is always excited to get hands on with some new styles, different hops and creative barleys.

The Alpharetta location opened about ten years ago on Old Milton Parkway, really all by itself.  The brewery sits right as you enter behind a large wall with windows.  The problem is, once you’re in the dining room, it’s easy to forget that there is a brewery there.  It’s just hard to see it.  It’s not so much 5 Seasons’ fault.  Per the law, a brew pub has to keep the actual brewery behind a barrier from the public.  For those wondering, Hop Alley skirts this a bit by having their bar declared a “barrier”.

The biggest change that has affected 5 Seasons is the 6% ABV law, where people can now brew and sell beers above 6% ABV.  That allowed Crawford to really open up the types of beer that he could make.

The thing that really sets 5 Seasons apart is the amount of change you’ll find in both the food and beer menu.  The lunch and dinner menu changes daily, and the beer menu changes nearly as often.  Locally sourced food from nearly a dozen farmers supplies the restaurant with the freshest meals available.

The million or so growler stores that have opened over the last couple of years have exposed a whole new population to craft beer, which is good for 5 Seasons.  Educating the public on new beers is a recurring theme in the Alpharetta beer scene.  The more people want beer, the more beer everyone will sell.  Sure, the growing number of options and outlets for beer is cutting into 5 Seasons’ business, but that’s offset by the quality food that’s available there.

One the biggest changes that would affect 5 Seasons hasn’t happened yet, and may never happen.  Crawford is helping work toward changing Georgia law to allow breweries and brew pubs to sell beer to go in growlers.  If that comes to fruition, then Crawford feels it would be a huge shot in the arm for business.  Also, look for more beer education, one-off styles and whatever else Crawford can get his hands on.

5 Seasons Brewing Company North on Urbanspoon

The guys at 5 Seasons are kind of out on their own without a lot of help or relationships with the other local Alpharetta beer folks.  They’ve been around the longest, but their location might have them left out of the discussion.  Don’t fret for 5 Seasons.  The ever changing menu and the passion for brewing will carry them far into the future.  You never know what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be good.

8 Responses to “5 Seasons Brew Pub – Still afloat in a sea of beer”

  1. Travis Allen September 20, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Remember to that 5 Seasons didn’t build there, they ended up occupying a space that had been built out by the previous tenant, so they had to make do with what was already there.

  2. SCSA31274 September 20, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    That is true. Wasn’t it the Buckhead brewery before that? They had to follow the laws and so does 5 Seasons, so they can’t change it. It wasn’t a knock, just how it is with the laws.

  3. Brent "Guru of Glaze" H. September 20, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    It was Buckhead Brewery, then briefly an awful “steakhouse” called Embers Grill, before it became 5 Seasons North.

  4. Travis Allen September 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Yep, Buckhead Brewery. Just pointing out that there wasn’t much they could do about it. There was also a brewpub type place near Northpoint Mall at one point, if I remember correctly it was called Hops and there was also a location in Johns Creek at one point. They had their brewing equipment behind a wall of glass.

  5. A September 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Been here many times since they opened even though it’s a bit of a drive coming from Milton (I hate that stretch of Old Milton Pkwy from 400 down to Kimball Bridge) and we’ve always had the best service, great food and a nice ambiance. It’s too bad they are sort of out there by themselves, but whenever we go there are a lot of full tables, so they are obviously doing something right!

  6. J September 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Hops was a great place and was surprised when they closed.

  7. Cool Papa Bell September 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Hops was an okay chain. They had one in Gwinnett. I believe they used to have to brew out of state and bring it in. John Harvard’s I believe was the first on local microbrewery in the deep burbs.

  8. Raj October 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I was surprised when they closed that mini shopping center where Hops and Copeland’s were, tore everything down, and converted it to an office complex. And then it sat empty for years. I would much rather have kept the restaurants.

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