A few days prior to my visit to Atlanta I checked the various brewery web sites and discovered that Monday Night brewing was releasing some new barrel aged stouts the weekend of my visit. They sounded lovely and a few friends expressed interest in trading as soon as I showed them the list. I was hesitant because I had never tried anything from this brewery before but after the first taste of the beers, I immediately bought as many bottles as they would sell to me.
Given the high alcohol of the beers they had just released, and many others on the board, I only ordered a full taster of one of the beers in the Situational Ethics family. From my few sips having a splash of each, they were some of the most complex barrel aged stouts I have tried and would easily compete in San Diego’s crowded market. While other breweries aim for loading their beers with tons of adjuncts, subtlety was the name of the game here. The rum barrel aged stout with maple for example did not have an overpowering maple character. And they are better for it.
Near the end, I ordered a full taster of Situational Ethics aged in Sherry barrels. This is one that may initially put some people off by the powerful jammy wine character that you taste up front. But once you explore beyond the first tastes, it develops character of caramel and dark chocolate. While the beers were all excellently balanced in flavor, the Situational Ethics series was the most flavorful of the bunch.
I also tasted three other big beers, a barrel aged scotch ale, a barrel aged stout aged in tequila barrels, and an imperial porter. The BA Scotch Ale was delicate and had prominent notes of marshmallow and raisin with a dry finish and the perfect amount of sweetness. Overnight Celebrity, an imperial porter was roasty with notes of dark chocolate and a super smooth mouthfeel. This was what my husband enjoyed at the brewery because it was slightly lower alcohol than the big barrel aged stuff. Finally, Como Te Llamas, aged in tequila barrels had a nice blend of spices, dark chocolate, and mild tequila.
The only lighter beer I tried was their brett IPA, which was one of the better examples of the style I have tried. It was super fruity with notes of ripe guava and candied lemon with just the right amount of funk and low bitterness on the finish. I considered trying other beers while I was there but other breweries awaited so we moved on. But after visiting other breweries in this trip, Monday Night stands out as the best by a long shot. If there is one must-visit brewery in Atlanta, it is Monday Night Brewing.
A few notes about the space, the Garage location is a massive warehouse space with some outdoor seating as you walk up to the door. There is limited seating and most of it is bar seating but thankfully we managed to snag a couch.
Come for big barrel aged stouts. This seems to be their forte though they did have other standard styles as well.
Dancing Gnome brews nothing but IPAs. Or at least that seems to be the primary focus. Everything is half pours or full pours with the occasional can release. I tried two beers while I was there and they were quite good though still a step below Brew Gentlemen. The tasting room is a bit smaller but still a good size.
I started with Dakota Line, a 9% triple IPA because that was the one available in cans. It was a bit green so I will revisit the beer in the cans after they have had a chance to mellow out. The beer had notes of tropical fruit and citrus with a good thick body and a lingering hop acidity on the finish. Asteroid, a single IPA had a mix of citrus and earthy hop character with a lingering acidity. This was also properly thick and creamy. I might have tried more at Dancing Gnome but I was already at my limit for hazy IPA for the day.
Dakota Line did mellow out a bit after a week or two and was quite impressive for a triple hazy IPA.
Dancing Gnome doesn’t brew anything but hazy IPA so if you aren’t into that style you might want to go elsewhere.
Insurrection Ale Works
Our last stop for the day was Insurrection, a bit West of town, closer to the airport. I had their Panama Red, red IPA. It had a nice dry finish with onion and light herbal hop notes with a light bitter finish. This was just what I needed after the hazy IPAs and was quite well done. My husband had a taster of their breakfast stout. It was bitter and quite smoky with prominent notes of coffee and burnt toffee. I thought the beer was a bit thin. Though well-done, I would have preferred it without the prominent smoked malts.
Normally I write about breweries over bars but in Pittsburgh the breweries all close on Monday and Tuesday except for one that opened at 5PM. Piper’s Pub came highly recommended and it made for a great spot to have a few pints before catching our flight home on a Monday evening. It has the feel of an English pub with a nice tap list that is a mix of Pennsylvania beers and imports (mostly English, Irish, and German).
Most beers are served in imperial pint glasses for $7.50 a pint. If you aren’t able to make it out to Brew Gentlemen you may get lucky and find one or two of their beers on tap here. After trying one beer from a brewery we didn’t get to visit, I ordered more Brew Gentlemen because they were that good. Thankfully they had Recertified on draft, my favorite hazy double IPA from visiting the Brew Gentlemen.