Something feels wrong about telling the Halfway Crooks story. The unorthodox air of mystery that surrounds the brewery is part of its charm. You can ask questions, but they only provide some answers. Did these brewery owners ooze from a speaker as sonic sludge and assume human form? Did they emerge from the hills on a moonless night beneath a thick woollen cloak? Is the brewery’s Instagram account actually powered by artificial intelligence? What is even going on here?
Alas, evidence points to them just being men. Men who, for the longest time, wanted to do something illegal. Something impossible. But impossible is a transient state. Just as the laws of physics are eroded by the whims of the mind, so too are the laws of man by the will of the people.
That’s the way it goes. Things that were not possible suddenly are. Things that could not be suddenly can.
“At the time, breweries here couldn’t sell direct to consumers, so our ideas were kinda pipe dreams,” Shawn Bainbridge admits. “But we started throwing stuff out there, just talking about what we felt would make a good brewery, about what we felt was missing from the Atlanta beer scene.”
Part of what was missing was a small brewery experience. In 2015, there was no such thing. It was still strange times in Georgia. Own-premise breweries were illegal. Brewers could not sell beer to drinkers. There were workarounds, sure, like charging the equivalent of two beers for a brewery tour and pouring some “free” beer into a pint glass that the drinker could take home as a souvenir. But that’s truly as stupid as it sounds.
Words and photos by Kyle Kastranec, Good Beer Hunting