Astute readers will note that HBJ takes a lot of trips to Atlanta for business, and after a couple exploratory searches around the city’s “beer scene” (here, here and here), we’ve finally been able to hit the pinnacle of Atlanta-area drinking. That would be Decatur’s BRICK STORE PUB, a place we tried to visit a couple months ago, only to find it closed for remodeling on the one & only night we happened to be in town. That was a “total bummer”, but thankfully, downtown Decatur is hopping with ale-centric activity, and we rectified the situation in short order. So this time, in early September, we called ahead. They were open, and the place, in fact, was totally packed. The BRICK STORE PUB now joins Chicago’s MAP ROOM, Toronto's BEERBISTRO, Brooklyn’s THE GATE and San Francisco’s TORONADO as one of my quote-unquote “places you must drink a beer before you die”. Fantastic ambiance, with an olde-world, stone-and-brick motif to the architecture and lots of cool, weird art on the walls. When I visited it was skateboards, used as colorful art canvasses. The bottled beer selection is amazing, with just about everything you’d ever want from Belgium, Germany and the US at a fairly reasonable price, notwithstanding the $200 bottles of aged beer that were also on display just for fun.
Having just stepped off a long flight from San Francisco, I guess I wasn’t ready to dive into hardcore barrel-aged big-ass ABV beers. That’s for the next trip. Tonight it was about enjoying a couple of lower-weight beers in lingering fashion, making sure that I’d be able to drive to the hotel afterward. I debuted my Brick Store experience with my very first glass of DUPONT FORET from Belgium, which was actually on draft (!). Nope, I’d never had the beer before, and yep, I’m sorry about that. This saison was a very cloudy deep yellow, and was full of yeasty flavor from the word go. Sparkling mouthfeel, a bit tangy actually, with tastes of cardamom (look it up!). Slightly bitter and zingy while going down. Totally unique and very enjoyable. 7.5/10. Next up was a WEIHENSTEPHANER HEFEWEIZEN, which has been called “the best hefeweizen in the world” by none other than the excellent SUMMER OF BEER blog and by the Brick Store’s menu itself. This, too, was on tap. Far less wheat-centric than I expected, this beer is very clean and smooth, tasting amazingly fresh on tap. A little bitter, like the Foret. Truly not as amazing as I’d heard, but something I’d definitely have again. 7.5/10 on this bad boy as well.
Without so much as a buzz-on, I ventured into the warm Decatur night to find my hotel, totally satisfied that I finally got to drink at a place that, you, the Hedonist Beer Jive readers, had hipped me to. Got any other good Atlanta-area suggestions? I’ll be back again before the year’s done, and Brick Store Pub’s definitely a repeater on the agenda.