Atlanta's Microbreweries Create
Small Batches of Great Beer!
By Katie Kelly Bell
From pilsners and ambers to stouts and porters, Atlanta’s microbreweries and pubs offer tastings of flavorful handcrafted beers. Microbreweries are just that: small breweries with no food involved, just tours and tastings. Brew pubs, by comparison, concoct small batches of beer onsite and serve delicious accompanying fare.
Regardless of where you go in the city for a few drinks, you can sample the heart and soul of the brew master. Following is a sampling of pubs in and around Atlanta.
Atlanta Brewing Co.: Brewed with pure Georgia spring water, this 12-year-old brewery is the proud home of Red Brick Ale, Red Brick Blonde and Peachtree Pale Ale. Enjoy live music during the free weekly brewery tours and tastings. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Atlanta Brewing Co. (404-275-6701 or www.atlantabrewing.com) is at 1219 Williams St.
Five Seasons Brewing Co.: Warm and friendly, this isn’t just a brew pub but what’s more properly characterized as a “gastropub” – because it serves fine food versus the snack and sandwich fare served at many other pubs. The main restaurant is noted for its seasonal, primarily organic cuisine. In the Zagat ratings, an annual customer survey, Five Seasons posted a 22 rating in the good-to-excellent range.
As for the brews, Five Seasons uses specialty ingredients. Travelers who land here will savor unique flavors in the Terrapin Rye, Copperhead ESB, Velvet Heaven Oatmeal Stout and Big Blonde HefeWeizen (made with red wheat). Five Seasons (404-255-5911 or www.5seasonsbrewing.com) is located at 5600 Roswell Rd.
Max Lagers American Grill & Brewery: Max Oktoberfest, Max Gold and a winter bock are some of the many specialty brews crafted at Atlanta’s oldest independently owned brewery restaurant. The fare is as hearty as the beer, so come hungry too. The wood-fired steaks are a must. Max Lagers (404-525-4400 or www.maxlagers.com) is at 320 Peachtree St.
Park Tavern: This local brew pub is situated on a hill overlooking Piedmont Park. Popular selections include Druid Hills Pils, Park Trail Ale and Piedmont Porter. Sunday nights are best, with the “Unplugged in the Park” sunset concert series.
If you are really pinching pennies, save your visit to the 500 10th St. pub for a rainy day . It offers $1 drafts to keep the social scene hopping even when the patio is washed out. Call 404-249-0001.
SweetWater: This 40,000-barrel microbrewery specializes in producing aggressive West Coast-style beers. An informal and casual good time are the theme of every tour and tasting at SweetWater. Bring your dog. Grab a bratwurst from the ad-hoc barbecue in the parking lot.
And, for a mere $6, taste six beers. Be sure to try an Atlanta favorite, “Sweetwater 420.” Microbrewery tours leave at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. SweetWater (404-691-2537 or www.sweetwaterbrew.com) is located at 195 Ottley Drive.
Twain’s Billiards and Tap: Outside of Atlanta in Decatur, you can enjoy a game of darts, foosball, shuffleboard and, of course, pool at this pub. This recent newcomer to the art of custom brewing offers such creations such as Murphy’s Cousin Pale Ale, Sloppy Squirrel ESB or Hell for Society Stout.
Twain’s (404-373-0063 or www.twains.net) features a new dining room, bar and game room. It’s located at 211 E. Trinity Place.
Katie Kelly Bell is a professional freelance writer covering wine, dining and travel. She writes for a variety of local, regional and national publications including the Atlantan, Where Atlanta, Private Air, Flavors and others.