Hughes' Views & News

Jittery Joe’s and Terrapin: Two of my favorites

Posted in Beer and brewing by tahughesnc on March 28, 2010

Recently I had the chance to visit two of my favorite small businesses:  Jittery Joe’s coffee and Terrapin Beer Co., both in Athens, Ga.

Picture of Charlie at Jittery Joe's

Charlie Mustard, roasting coffee at Jittery Joe's

I’ve been a fan of Jittery Joe’s since I first heard of them in 2004. They sponsor a pro cycling team, and one of their riders, a Colombian named Cesar Grajales, attacked Lance Armstrong on the climb up Brasstown Bald to win that day’s stage in the Tour de Georgia.

At the time, I thought two things:  (1) who is this Grajales fellow and how come I never heard of him before? and (2) Jittery Joe’s — that’s gotta be the coolest name for a coffee store in all of human history.

My exposure to Terrapin Beer came more recently. After trying — and being disappointed in — several small beer samples at an Atlanta pub last fall, I ordered a bottle of Terrapin’s Big Hoppy Monster.  I so loved this brew that I immediately took out my iPhone and tweeted, “Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster is the real deal, baby!”

A week or two after that, I had a chance to sample the Terrapin/Left Hand Depth Charge, which is made with Jittery Joe’s espresso. A match made in heaven! It was, without a doubt, the best stout I had ever tried. Since then I have sought out and tried every Terrapin beer that I could find in the area where I live.

So, on Monday, March 22, I got to visit both Jittery Joe’s and Terrapin. I volunteered to interview the brew master at Terrapin for a new Web site called Know Your Brewer. And, since I was going to be in Athens, I figured I should go visit Jittery Joe’s as well.

The guys at Jittery Joe’s could not have been nicer or more accommodating to me. They roast their coffee in an unheated, un-air conditioned metal shack on the edge of downtown Athens, down the hill from the center of town. They let me take lots of pictures, ask lots of questions, and sample their Terrapin Wake and Bake blend (which is used in Terrapin’s Wake and Bake Stout). And there are bikes absolutely everywhere in there. I loved it!

Photo of Spike Buckowski

Spike Buckowski pours a glass of Terrapin Capt'n Krunkles.

I had a similar experience over at Terrapin, later the same day. Terrapin’s founder and brew master, Brian “Spike” Buckowski, took about an hour out of his busy day to show me around the brewery and talk with me about his company and its brews. He sent me off that day with a six of Hopsecutioner and two 22-oz bottles of Capt’n Krunkles, a black IPA which is No. 10 from Terrapin’s Side Project Series.

All in all, it was a very good day! Watch for my interview with Spike to be published on Know Your Brewer, in two installments, during the week of April 12th,  ahead of the company’s 8th anniversary celebration on April 17th.

April 14 update:  The first installment was published on Monday (April 12), and you can read that here.

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