November 12, 2015

Jailhouse Brewing Company in Hampton, Georgia

Today’s historic bar makes its own beer behind prison bars. The Jailhouse Brewing Company may be quite new (est. 2009), but it is housed in a historic jailhouse and makes great use of that theme.

For Glenn Golden, a native of Hampton and owner of the brewing company, using a historic jailhouse wasn’t part of the original plan. He was in the right place at the right time to purchase and make use of the building.

“We didn’t know what it was until we started renovating it,” Golden said.

The structure was commissioned in 1911 and served as a municipal building, not only as a jail but also as a fire station, a courthouse, a mason lodge, and a sandwich shop. Once he uncovered the building’s past, Golden decided to use the jailhouse concept as part of his company brand, and the rest is history.

This adaptive reuse is a breakthrough for the building. The brewery inside the Jailhouse operates throughout the week, but during the weekend it welcomes local and distant visitors for tours and beer tastings. “Lockdown Thursdays” and “Bail Out Fridays” give visitors a chance to have informal hangouts with the brewers and to taste a few samples.

Golden and his employees are always happy to talk about the brewing process, as well as their discoveries about the historic building. “Visitation Saturdays” usually welcome more visitors, which allow for more brief tours and tastings.

Whether it’s a casual visiting hour in the brewing cells or the arresting aroma of the its latest concoction, the Jailhouse Brewing Company offers the most unique experience you’ll find in a historic jail, bar none.

Location: 8 Cherry St., Hampton, GA 30228

Hours: Thu. 5:30-8pm, Fri., 5:30-7:30pm, Sat., 2-6pm.

Don’t Miss: Tours and tasting, “Lockdown Thursday,” “Bail Out Friday,” and “Visitation Saturday.”

You’re Having: Mugshot IPA or the Slammer Wheat.

Best Yelp Review: “What a great place! Great vibe at this Thursday's "visitation!" Brewer Kevin (and the rest of them) make awesome beer and demonstrate southern hospitality to all who walk through the gate. I walked in expecting to taste a beer, buy a glass, and be on my way. Kevin had other plans. Brewers, regulars and first timers alike created a great atmosphere, and before I knew it I'd been there for two hours. I haven't had that much fun in ages. Can't wait for my next trip to Atlanta so I can visit the Jailhouse again!”–Scott W.

A patron with a drink from the Jailhouse Brewing Company

photo by: Adam Walker Cleaveland, Flickr

The Jailhouse often experiments with different ingredients to produce many new drinks for its visitors.

“The first step to becoming a jailbird is simple: Work next to an old, rundown city jail that happens to be for sale and buy the darn thing. That, or you could go out and get arrested, but I prefer my way.”

Glenn Golden, owner, Jailhouse Brewing Company

Editor's note: Jailhouse Brewing closed permanently in March 2020.

Nick Totten was an editorial intern at the National Trust. He takes particular delight in historic museums and libraries. In addition, he enjoys performing music, playing with words, and appreciating the local sites and views on foot.

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