Happy Ending from SweetWater’s Nick Nock

Nick Nock, head brewer at SweetWater Brewing Company
Red Bull Race 2012 - SweetWater 1st Place
The SweetWater team after winning the 2012 Red Bull Race. Photo Courtesy of SweetWater Brewing Co.

With the extreme growth of SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta, Ga., we decided to connect briefly to discuss its current seasonal, “Happy Ending.” With the company’s growth we had Head Brewer Nick Nock answer our questions via e-mail so that everyone could learn a little more about how to experience their own Happy Ending.

BM: What was the inspiration in creating Happy Ending?

NN: The inspiration for Happy Ending came when Georgia raised the limit for alcohol in beer. We had to celebrate. Luckily, we were in a spot where we had some wiggle room and we had some time, and tank space, where we could create a seasonal brew. We already had our Festive Ale in the lineup — which is a spiced porter and that comes out before the holidays — so we decided to do another seasonal for the end of the year. We knew it had to be something big and something that works with the season. Imperial stouts were rare to the Southeast at the time, so it seemed like a perfect fit.  Big, robust, flavorful and warming, how could we go wrong?

Nick Nock, Head Brewer at SweetWater Brewing Company
Head Brewer Nick Nock. Photo Courtesy of SweetWater Brewing Co.

BM: What is it that separates Happy Ending from other seasonal brews?

NN: The thing that separates Happy Ending with other stouts is that it’s packed with a bunch of hops. Stouts are known for their dark, dry, malty flavors. Like all of our beers, well most of them, we used a lot of hops. In our Happy Ending recipe we use the hops to give it a slight citrus kick. We also dry-hopped it with Cascade and Simcoe hops to give it great aroma.

BM: How do beer consumers react when they get a first taste of Happy Ending?

NN: I think consumers have a natural excited reaction when they first drink a Happy Ending. A lot of them really do not know what to expect, and it kind of shocks them when they realize how smooth and flavorful it is. The mouth-feel is velvety and there is a great chocolate flavor. It is a really nice sipping beer because although it is camouflaged, it packs a punch.

BM: How did you all arrive at the name Happy Ending?

NN: I am responsible for the inside of the bottle, not the outside.

BM: What are some of the most enticing aspects of drinking Happy Ending?

NN: I think the most enticing aspect of Happy Ending is the fact that it is seasonal, so you can only get it a couple of weeks out of the year. It is a great table beer that pairs well with food that you can enjoy with friends and family throughout the season. The fact that it is a high gravity brew means you can cellar it and crack one open for special occasions a year or two later.

SweetWater Brewing Company, Atlanta, Ga. Photo Courtesy of SweetWater Brewing Co.
SweetWater Brewing Company, Atlanta, Ga. Photo Courtesy of SweetWater Brewing Co.

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