Monday, June 02, 2008


Last week I had a short one-day trip to Atlanta planned for work, and this time, rather than going to THE VORTEX, I did my homework. I went back to my two posts I did about drinking in Atlanta from earlier this year, and read the comments. They were unanimous – everyone said, “if you’re coming to Atlanta, you gotta go to the BRICK STORE PUB in Decatur”. As it turns out, Decatur is only a mere 10 minutes outside of Atlanta, and despite being in another county entirely, it was closer to my hotel than the places I’d gone in Midtown in previous trips. So needless to say, once I looked at the Brick Store Pub’s website and menu, I was pretty stoked. A full-on Belgian beer bar, with tons on tap and bottles like you wouldn’t believe! So I pulled into Decatur after mapquesting the place, and it’s a totally beautiful little upscale Southern town – rolling green grass, a cool old courthouse, giant homes, and loads of modern restaurants. But when I drove into the parking lot of the Brick Store Pub & peeked in the window – hey, now why are chairs stacked up on tables? Hey, it sure is dark in there……ugh, turns out I picked the day for my big beer-off in Decatur to be the day the place had decided to renovate. If I’d come on a Thursday, say, rather than a Tuesday, I’d be regaling you with tales of new Belgian conquests as we speak.

So there I was, a thirsty stranger in a strange town. Ah, but as I pulled into town I noticed a restaurant called CAKES & ALE – could the “ale”, in fact, be the sort of ale that I was craving? Indeed it was. CAKES & ALE is a Southern-style upscale restaurant that, rather than focusing on fritters & hush puppies, serves up high-end deviled eggs w/ pickles, and wild trout from North Carolina with greens. That’s what I had, in fact. Expense account, baby! They were having a bit of a problem with their taps, and as it turned out the only one of the 5 advertised beers on tap was ALLAGASH WHITE, a beer I’ve declared on this site to be “the North American wit bier standard”. No loss at all – in fact it was excellent, as this beer always is. I needed more, though. Down the street was the bar/restaurant “TACO MAC”. Having done my homework, I knew this TGI FRIDAYS-like chain restaurant had an amazing beer selection, something like 75 taps and another 150 bottles or so. As advertised, it had all that. It wasn’t just American macros and bigger-name micros – there were at least a couple dozen beers I’d never heard of. I ended up going with the HOP WALLOP from VICTORY BREWING, a beer some of you have told me is a good ‘un. Thanks! It was. It has a very intense hoppy bitterness that primarily manifested itself on the back of my tongue. Not as intense as some of the boundary-pushing west coast double IPAs, but absolutely strong enough to drive a big-hop newbie away for a while. I really liked it (7.5/10) – great for a humid evening at “Taco Mac”, and a good consolation prize for the night’s missed opportunity.

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