Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Atlanta for the Holidays

Every second holiday season, my wife and I make the journey south to enjoy the company of friends and family in historic Roswell, GA and hip Midtown, Atlanta, GA. I look forward to every trip south, but this trip always bring multiple opportunities to dive head-first into Atlanta's beer culture because friends and family are more willing to sample and indulge.
I began my dive with my brother-in-law, Jamey, in the comfort of my mother-in-law's home with a beer I have always wanted to try, Wake n' Bake Oatmeal Coffee Stout from Terrapin Brewing Company. I love stouts and this beer delivered on all its advertised hype. It poured a pure oil black with ruby red highlighting. With my mouth absolutely salivating, I sampled with utter delight. The taste profile began with an initial flood of coffee that subsided to leave a hint of chocolate and bitterness. The oatmeal created a silky, creamy mouthfeel, which bordered on divine. This is one of finest constructed stouts that I have had the chance to taste.  
The second wave of my sampling occurred in Little Five Points, a section of Atlanta that is east of downtown. We began the day with at The Wrecking Bar. As we entered, I was transported back 300-400 years to medieval tavern (minus the leather sofas). There was beautiful hardwood floors and exposure brick on the walls. Granite and brick columns added both support for the second floor and ambience to the downstairs bar. We decided to start with a sampling tray of eight beers. All the samples were very delicious, but the Jemmy StoutVictor Squared IPA, and Golden Nelson Ale were the stand-outs. After we had completed the tray, we had the opportunity to speak with the brewmaster, Bob Sandage, which was a true delight. He was very nice and extremely knowledgeable about his beer. If you ever find yourself in Atlanta, the Wrecking Bar is a must stop - it will not disappoint.
Feeling great, Jamey and I walked two minutes to a very hipster section of Little Five Points to the Porter Beer Bar. Every time I have been to the Porter the draft list is amazing and this visit was no different. After contemplating for far to long, I settled with the Moonraker Ale from JW Lees Co. and Brewers. It was a very interesting take on the winter warmer style with hints of gingerbread and cinnamon with a very delicious tart finish. My second and final beer was the collaboration blend of seven different beers from three New York breweries: Shmaltz Brewing CompanyCaptain Lawrence Brewing, and Ithaca Beer Company. This beer is easily one of the best beers I have ever had the opportunity to drink with its dark fruit-figgy quality interwoven with deceptively sour notes.
To complete this amazing beer day, we stopped off at Hop City Beer and Wine. This was my third visit to this store, but Jamey's first and he was blown away by the tremendous selection of domestic and import craft beer and the quality of beer available at their "Growlertown". The haul this time was full of Russian Imperial Stouts from Scandinavia with a single from both New Zealand and Germany.

Throughout the remainder of the week, cool family outings took place culminating with The Roswell Ghost Tour. Following these great events, Jamey, my wife (and his sister), Emily, their step-brother Chris and my father-in-law, John ventured to a local Taco Mac. Everytime I go to Taco Mac, I always think, we don't have anything like this in Boston! Taco Mac is a family-friendly bar beer with good bar food and a great beer list. Throughout the multiple discussions, appetizers, yelling at Brian Kelly and Notre Dame Football, I sampled: Duck Rabbit Porter, Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate Stout, and Highland Brewing Company's Oatmeal Porter.

What follows is all the beer I had the opportunity to sample, Oh buddy!:

Bell's Brewery: Best Brown
Bierbrouwerij Grand-Cafe Emelisse: Triple IPA
Brooklyn Brewery: Brown AleThe Companion
Duck Rabbit Craft Brewery: Porter
Fort Collins Brewery: Double Chocolate Stout
Harvieston Brewery: Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18
He'Brew (Shmaltz Brewing Company): Genesis 15:15Geektoberfest
Highland Brewing Company: Oatmeal Porter
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company: Brown AleHoney WeissBig Eddy (2011)Creamy Dark
JW Lees Co. and Brewers: Moonraker Ale
Kona Brewing Company: Pipeline Porter
Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company: Southern Pecan
New Belgium: 1554 Black AleRanger IPA
Scuttlebutt Brewing Company: Tripel 7
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company: Celebration Ale
Southern Tier Brewing Company: Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout
Sweetwater Brewing Company: 420 Pale AleFestive AleHappy Ending Stout
Terrapin Brewing Company: Wake n' Bake StoutMoo-Hoo StoutSo Fresh and So Green GreenRye
Victory Brewing Company: Headwaters Pale Ale
Wild Heaven Craft Beers: InvocationOde to Mercy
Wrecking Bar: BaDunkeldonkColin's Wee HeavyGolden NelsonHale Street HefeweizenJemmy StoutVictor IPAVictor Squared


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