Tuesday, November 13, 2007


With this new job I managed to snare a few months ago, all of sudden I'm back on the road for a work adventure every few weeks. What a great opportunity to discover the beer drinking pleasures that await in every American city, and when there's time, a willing co-worker and/or some "me time", that's exactly what I do. Last week I was shipped off to Atlanta, Georgia for one night. I only had a few hours before my flight, so I consulted Beer Advocate's "Beerfly" beer-n-travel resource, and tried to figure out if there was gonna be anything halfway decent near the event I was attending. Turns out there was. Beerfly contributors had mostly good things to say about a restaurant/bar called THE VORTEX in midtown Atlanta, and wouldn't you know it, that was 3 blocks from my thing.

THE VORTEX is a place that might not fly too well in San Francisco. Gazing down upon you from every wall are "Vortex girls", who are magenta-haired, pierced-tongue hotties dressed primarily in dominatrix wear. The whole theme seems to be a gaggle of “Suicide Girls” who overlord over beer dork nirvana. Strange, too, because these girls seem to only exist on the wall and on flyers scattered around the club. I got my dinner served by a hippy (male). The food is standard pub fare - burgers, wings, unhealthy salads - that sort of thing. Beer selection is fantastic. Not only do they have at least a dozen Southern microbrews, many on tap, they have a great Belgian menu to boot. It was a hard call, but I decided to go "all Atlanta".

First up was something from SWEETWATER BREWING, the only Atlanta brewery I was at all familiar with. Because it was pre-event, and I didn't want to roll in with my buzz on, I ordered a SWEETWATER BLUE, their, um, "blueberry wheat" beer - which I quickly regretted. Remember in the mid-90s, when everyone was trying out fruit beers for the first time in a bid for the "female market"? Well, this reminded me of what many called "girl beers" back then (many of which I secretly liked) - a bland, watery, ultra-pale beer that tasted like something Michelob would have made. It wasn't even sweet enough, to add insult to injury. Seriously one of the most anticlimactic beers I've ever downed. 3.5/10.

After the event was over, I returned to The Vortex for a nightcap. This one went much better. I tried an imperial pint of RED BRICK WINTER BREW from the so-local-it-couldn't-be-more-local ATLANTA BREWING. The barkeep told me they just got these in, and man was it good. A deep reddish-brown ale, with really heavy malts and a long, lingering aftertaste. I tasted caramel, and it worked well with high carbonation. It was almost like a souped-up, hardcore brown ale, not necessarily a "holiday" beer per se. I'd absolutely have one again should I ever make it to "the windy city" again. 7.5/10.

Come back later this week and you'll find out where my work sent me later in the week, and what I drank once I arrived!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the Vortex. As my friend would call it, the Hot Topic version of TGI Fridays.