Critics' Corner

"BEER TREKKER explores the Gateway City by way of Atlanta!?"!

By Nick the Baltimore Beer Trekker

My second attempt at documenting my further treks across this great beer producing land will be considerably shorter as my fist attempt was not "accepted" by the mainstream beer media. Plus the fact that I only visited 8 BPs.

On the lighter note, I did get several positive comments from fellow beer drinkers and web surfing--e-mail listing "friends" that I have only talked to on the computer. I guess I will just have to be happy with that, but it seems odd that ASN, Celebrator, Barley Corn etc. did not even acknowledge receipt of my article on San Francisco Brewpubs I wrote a few months ago when it is the everyday good beer drinker that keeps those beermags in circulation, and use and drink their advertisersí products. Readers are reminded that I did not ask for a dime to be printed-just the by line! I guess I will just have to start my own site like Stephen Beaumont-- in the true spirit of Sam Adams (beer rebel- not the beer)...

Nuff bitchin...

BEER TREKKER (aka Baltimore Beer Trekker, Nick) strikes out to Atlanta, Cleveland, and St. Louis in just two weeks...

Monday night, late February, I arrived in Atlanta for the first time, again with Net search results in hand (this time as Realbeer only listed A.Busch for St. Louis (ughh). Finding out that, unfortunately, the only place to get real beer in Atlanta is far north in a suburb called Buckhead. Luckily there is a light rail line that stopped very close to most of the BPs. My SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN AND PEER REVIEWED RATING SYSTEM ---THE **** SYSTEM WAS USED (sure would be nice to have a real star on the keyboard huh?)

Nice place. Very cookie cutter like most Rock Bottomís but found a stool right away and started talking to two guys with the same intentions--drink every beer they had and stuff our guts with pub grub.
Five Points Mild Ale *, Southern Flyer Light Lager *, the Loop IPA ***, Big River Amber ***, Pilsner "their specialty"-maybe not *, Sweet Magnolia Brown Ale *, and Iron Horse Stout **

Wow! not at all like the other Harvardís Iíve been to. Very nice decor with lots of stained glass and plenty of seating.
Lite **, Pale Ale*, Gold *, Scotch Brown***, ESB***, Raseberry Stout**

If you like fishing, fish decor, and eating seafood, and more fish this is the Atlanta Mecca and the beer wasnít bad either. I had to have a huge plate of crawdads with:
Buckhead Blonde*, Deep Sea ESB *, Wahoo Wheat**, Cutthroat Red**, Blackbeardís Bock***, and Skipjack Stout***

Nice place. A must stop. Especially since its next to FADOíS IRISH PUB 3035 PEACHTREE (the most authentic one Iíve been to outside Ireland even though its a theme bar with other locations including D.C. at the new MCI Center)
Lunatic Lite*, Buffalo Skull dark lager***, BuckRed Ale**, Stone Mountain Stout****, Bohemian Pilsner***, Lunatic Lager**, BeerGarten Alt***

PHOENIX BREWING CO. 5600 ROSEWELL RD (Actually Very far from Percyís-take metro to Dunwoody stop and catch a cab)
Small strip mall BP, with great soup.
Seven Sisters Munchner**, Lionhart Pale Ale*, What-N-Helles***, Nut Brown Ale***

TACO MAC 5830 ROSEWELL RD (short walk from Phoenix)
Actually a sports/beer bar with several locations. Overwhelming! Thee place for draft and bottled beer. Over 100 taps and several hundred bottles. They offer a small 6 once sampler glass for $1 so I had several drafts and they all tasted fresh. Got to see this place to believe it. More beer than the famous Brickskeller in D.C., but less atmosphere. Very much into beer decor but lots of corporate brewmania too...still a must stop and right across the street form THREE DOLLAR CAFE bar and restaurant with a few 100 bottles.

Went to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame so we had little time to explore but we managed to go to:

The old warehouse turned hip bar and club district on both sides of the Cuyahoga River just outside of downtown Cleveland. Located in a gigantic old red brick factory turned upscale entertainment/eating complex., The BP was over top of a Jazz club, and it was one of the most large and open BPs Iíve been to. A Blues band was playing about 50 feet above us from a loft as we sipped on about 7 styles. Beer was basically the same as Atlanta, just different names, but the Stout was the most noteworthy. Missed CROOKED RIVER BP and another JOHN HARVARDíS (looked through the window) but heard the beer is good. (Canít do it all I guess?!)

The very next week. I was in K.C. about a year ago and was a little disappointed in the brews, so I was hoping the "Show Me" stateís other big city would be redeeming. But the fact that the word Budweiser appears here as much as Coke does in Atlanta, I figured that anybody willing to open a BP in this town better have a dam good product and not back down to olí AB !!

Whatís with this retrofitting old warehouses/factories to become BPs? It seems to be thee trend, but Iím not knocking it as the atmosphere of these places is far more original and comfortable than the strip mall glass and steel approach. I was with a bunch of friends so I did not concentrate on writing anything down, but the beer was great. They have a Doppelbock at 8.5% abv that you may want to pace yourself with because its smooth taste fools ya. There were 5 on tap. Pool tables on the second floor and good food-- except anyone from the east coast would have to take offense to what people out there call a crab cake!!

Did not realize at the time that I was entering a history making BP. The famous Taproom put BPs on the map by successfully lobbying to get them legalized in Missouri. "Oh yes, Michael Jacksonís been here many times" the bartender tells me. Newspaper articles of the struggle for legal micro libations adorn the walls. Even AB workers come here after work to taste what they secretly wish they could make. You can bet they donít spill this stuff ! Another converted factory of some sort with two floors currently undergoing an expansion that looks like it will double the BPís existing size. Several beers on tap and all better than the one before, so I just relaxed and enjoyed them with the best cheese soup Iíve ever tasted! I think I had 10 styles with the ALT and Hand pump ESB being most noteworthy. Took home a growler of the ALT...boy was that hard lugging around at the airport for an hour before the flight and having a few people ask me to share it--even the flight attendant wanted some. The critics would agree...the best BP in St. Louis and I would add all of MO! Missed TRAIL HEAD BP due to its long distance west of the light rail and airport, but heard mixed reviews.

Well there ya have it...a regular guy, who has the great opportunity to travel around to taste the BEST BREWPUB beers in America. But as you all know Iíve only scratched the surface and many more await. Hope this info helps you with your quest!

Beer Trekker