Skip to main content

Everything You Need to Know About Pretoria Fields Collective

The southwest Georgia town of Albany is known as “The Good Life City.” Home to legendary vocalist Ray Charles, baseball player Ray Knight, and country comedian Ray Stevens, Albany just might be able to boast the highest concentration of successful “Rays” in the country. To add another feather in the Good Life City’s hat, Albany recently gained its very own brewery: Pretoria Fields Collective.

Lee Heidel/The Manual

Pretoria Fields is a working farm brewery and blends in perfectly with its rural surroundings. It was founded by Dr. Tripp Morgan, a vascular surgery specialist who had a longstanding passion for craft beer and wanted to make a way for the local flavors of Albany (including those grown on his family’s own farm) shine for locals and travelers alike. Former Russian River brewer Eric Kirchner joined the local founders in 2015, and the beers are now hitting wider distribution throughout the state of Georgia. The brewery strives to grow as many of its ingredients as possible, from organic grains to its fruit additions. With a wide-ranging initial lineup, Pretoria Fields is out to prove that it can make solid beers in a variety of styles.

Lee Heidel/The Manual

Here are four of our favorites. All of these beers are available right now in cans and on draft throughout Pretoria Field’s distribution area.

Shoalie IPA

Pretoria Fields

In 2019, you’ve got to have a good IPA. Shoalie pours a beautiful golden orange with a thick white head. A sweet, floral, and resinous aroma paves the way for more of the same on the flavor. It’s a nice mix of citrus and pine with a considerable malt base.

Walkers Station Stout

Pretoria Fields

The presence of flaked oat gives Walkers Station its creamy mouthfeel. A bit on the dry side, hints of dark chocolate and toffee add complexity to this solid stout.

Flowing Well Gose

Pretoria Fields

Refreshment is key on hot summer days in the south. With low alcohol by volume percentage and a bright, bouncing carbonation profile, Flowing Well is perfectly suited for thirst quenching. Sea salt and coriander seeds dress up the malted wheat base for a perfect warm weather beer.

Skywater Golden Ale

Pretoria Fields

Crisp and smooth, Skywater is an extremely versatile beer. It’s ideal for a post-workout cooldown, relaxing with friends at baseball games or any time you want a good, easy drinking brew.

Visits to the tasting room promise samples of these beers as well as limited seasonal offerings. While there, you can also get a tour of the brewery, play games, and maybe catch some live music. Learn more at

Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
The Other Bud: What to Know about the Budweiser Budvar Brewery
Budweiser Budvar Brewery Bottle

A brewery in the Czech Republic has been at war with Budweiser for generations, although you probably haven’t noticed.

The Budweiser Budvar Brewery in the lager-centric region of Bohemia presents a few obvious issues. First, the name, which InBev (and previously Anheuser-Busch and others) have rallied against to protect their similarly-named American brand. Then, the brand itself, which bears a striking similarity to the Bud we know here, from color scheme and design to slogans (Budvar was once dubbed “the beer of kings”). It may not have the majestic Clydesdales or annoying frogs, but there is a certain likeness.

Read more
Getting to Know the Lithuanian Beer Scene
lithuanian beer lithbeer

The fact that beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage isn’t that remarkable. What’s more impressive is how exceptionally vibrant beer culture has remained across different eras, with locals giving it documented props and shout-outs as far back as the 11th century. Lithuania is the eastern European nation most famous for amber Baltic shores, Charles Bronson, and its own scent. Beer, however, should probably join that list.
Instead of copying the numerous varieties developed by neighboring countries — Czech Pilsners, German Lagers, Belgian Krieks, etc. — Lithuanians source ingredients locally and produce their own unique genre. Earthy and yeast-driven, the most distinctive beer, dubbed kaimiskas, is most comparable to a farmhouse ale.
The country presently houses about 80 breweries, roughly half of which are micro in nature. Lagers remain popular there, as in most parts of the world, but Lithuanians seem to know they’re sitting on something indigenous and special with their kaimiskas. Born long before industrialization, they are living relics of an old agrarian way of life, and very much taste like it (in a good way). As Draft eloquently stated, these beers are “flux capacitors in liquid form.”
Much of the brewing activity takes place in the northern reaches of the country. The beers are made from distinctive strains of yeast, alongside a smattering of hops and often unboiled wort -- something of a rarity. The result is beer that’s decidedly rustic and beaming with Lithuanian terroir.
This is the kind of Old World beer brewed for and by farmers, at least initially. It survived wars, revolutions, ebbs and flows in the economy, and nationhood. It has remained mostly on the back burner but, at least within Lithuania, is a great source of pride and something that’s passed down from generation to generation. Villages always had, and still do to some extent have, brewers. And the good beer was treated like any great feat from a true craftsman, with respect and adulation. To drink one of these beers is to pay tribute to something much bigger and engrained than you might originally think. And, who knows, perhaps with a little nudge, Lithuanian Kaimiskas can at least be the next White IPA.
Lately, the Lithuanian craft beer scene has struggled against alcohol advertising bans and beer curfews. It’s a strange reality in a country that has been more or less supportive of the stuff for a thousand years. The capital city of Vilnius, especially, is known for going against the grain, producing micro-focused bottle shops and maintaining a general reverence toward the more creative local brews.
There are some options for getting the stuff here in the states and, earlier this year, one of the country’s famed yeast strains landed stateside. It never hurts to pester your favorite bottle shop, urging them to bring some of these wildly unique beer options to your neighborhood. Neighbors like Poland get more of the tourist limelight but next time you’re considering eastern Europe — in actuality or by the power of the internet or your most diverse bottle shop — consider Lithuania and its signature beer.
Want to try a Lithuanian beer? Here are three to seek out:

Rinkuškiai Zhiguly Grande 9.5

Read more
What is a gruit, and where can you find one?
Gruit, the beer made without hops that you need to try
Beer snifter chalice glass

Most beers you know and love today have four primary ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. That’s largely due to the centuries-old German beer purity law, or reinheitsgebot, which demanded that beer be made exclusively using these ingredients and set the standard for today’s brews. 
But beer is an ancient beverage — historians believe its story stretches back to 5th millennium BC in Iran and went on to be enjoyed by the likes of Egyptian pharaohs and the Greek philosophers. However, if Socrates or Tutankhamun ever enjoyed a pint in their days, the beer was likely missing one of those four critical ingredients: the hop.
In today’s hop-hungry climate of India pale ales (and hazy IPAs, New England IPAs, as well as milkshake IPAs, and others), it seems impossible that beer could exist without hops. The fact is that many other natural ingredients can serve as substitutes for the bittering, aromatic, and flavoring characteristics of hops. Today, if a beer relies on other herbs to fill the "hops" role, the beverage is classified as a gruit.

Gruit is the German word for herb. Instead of depending on hops, these brews use exotic additives like bog myrtle, horehound, elderflowers, and yarrow to offset the sweetness of the malts and create a more complex beverage.
Thanks to the creativity of modern breweries, you don’t have to travel back to the Middle Ages to find a gruit (though if you can, please let us in on your time travel technology). You can try them right now, but you will have to do some detective work.
“Authentic” gruits can be tough to find in the mainstream marketplace. That’s because some laws require hops to be present for a product to be sold as beer. Not having the “beer” title would limit distribution and sales channels for some breweries.  To illustrate how rare gruits are in the current marketplace, there are currently 32,576 American IPAs listed on the Beer Advocate database and only 380 gruits.
But don’t despair — this list will help you get started on the path toward discovering modern versions of the ancient ale. Start your gruit journey here:

Read more