Opened in April 2014 in the artistic-leaning college town of Athens, Ga., Creature Comforts Brewing quickly emerged as the cool kid on the block. But its artsy vibe goes beyond the hoodies, watch caps, and man buns you might brush past in the taproom. The brewery name, its best-known beer, Tropicália, its handsome can designs, and several of its community endeavors are all arts-inspired.

Creature Comforts seems to earn accolades for everything it does, from its reclaimed taproom space to its flavorful beers to its sustainability efforts. Its fast success is no surprise considering its founders’ collective backgrounds, which include stints at area breweries SweetWater and Twain’s brewpub.

This brewery to watch has been called the best in the state and nation. Here are 9 things you need to know about this progressive trend-setter of the South.

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Creature Comforts is a beer-making beanstalk.

Creature Comforts was so successful when it opened, it couldn’t keep up with demand.  So it did what any brewery would (hope it could) do: It grew.

In four short years, and with the opening of a second location in Athens this June, Creature Comforts jumped from brewing 2,000 barrels in 2014 to having an annual production capacity of 50,000 barrels in 2018. The company claims to be among the top 3.5 percent of production brewers in the U.S.

Speaking of beans, you can probably get them here.

Creature Comforts hosts the Athens Farmers Market every Wednesday from from April to November, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Creature Comforts is a benevolent beast.

This craft brewery not only makes great beer, but great strides toward bettering its community. When the brewery launched in 2014, so too did its Get Comfortable campaign, a fundraising effort to benefit Athens-area nonprofits. Between November 2015 and April 2016, the campaign raked in a value of more than $65,000, which it distributed among five organizations. Between 2016 and 2017, the campaign generated more than $121,000.

Creature Comforts is all about the can-vas.

In June 2018, Creature Comforts launched Get Artistic, a nonprofit community outreach program as well as a beer. The beer, a saison-style beer-wine hybrid, is inspired by the ubiquitous art gallery reception tipple, white wine. It’s brewed with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice and its June 22 launch involved art-related activities, including exhibitions, performances, and events.

Good design is at this creature’s core: “I always thought that beer was an ultimate creature comfort. I also had an artist friend that drew these incredible creatures, and so I started calling my homebrew Creature Comforts, and using his art for the labels,” David Stein, co-founder and head brewer, told in 2017. Creature Comforts works with local artists on its can designs, too. Koko Buni, a seasonal milk porter with toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, and coffee, won CNBC’s Battle of the Beer Labels in 2016. In 2017, Cosmic Debris, a double IPA, was recognized by the Huffington Post.

Creature Comforts’ top beer is named after a 1960s Brazilian art movement.

Tropicália, Creature Comforts’ top-rated beer, is more than a 6.6 percent juicy IPA available in Georgia gas stations. It’s also the moniker for a 1960s-era Brazilian mutidisciplinary art movement spanning the visual arts from poetry to music. As for the beer, deliciously citrus-forward hops get the tropical treatment with an easy, breezy bitterness that softly balances fruit flavors without coating your palate.

The Creature Comforts HQ has a vintage past.

Located in a historic warehouse in downtown Athens, Ga., Creature Comforts is housed in what used to be a 1940s Chevy dealership. The brewery opened up shop in 2014, using original wood from the ceiling as the bar tops, picnic tables, and wood paneling on the walls. For its reclamation efforts, the brewery was honored with an Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation Preservation Award. Between Chevy and Creature Comforts, the space was (weirdly) a snow tire company until 2012.

Creature Comforts wants to keep the Earth 100% content.

Backing up the brewery name, Creature Comforts wants to keep critters, and the planet, happy. In addition to throwing an Earth Party in April, the brewery has sustainability at its core. Those snazzy cans are packaged in 100 percent recyclable material; 100 percent of water used to chill wort in the brewery is reused as brewing water; and the brewery donates 100 percent of its spent grain to a local farmer to feed livestock.

Creature Comforts is serious about service.

You won’t have to worry about a dirty beer or disinterested server here. Every member of the tasting room staff at Creature Comforts is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server.

Creature Comforts is a friend with benefits — mental health benefits, that is.

For many craft breweries, being a small business can make employee benefits (other than beer) tricky to provide. One unique benefit Creature Comforts provides is mental health support through an employee assistance program (EAP) that subsidizes the cost of counseling. An employee’s allotment of counseling sessions can be shared with family members and is 100 percent covered by the brewery.

Creature Comforts also hosts a variety of team-building activities, from monthly staff outings called “Creatures of the Night” to movie nights, concert tickets, beer education and training courses, and even — gasp! — dental benefits.