Category Archives: Tasting Room

Atlanta Breweries – Wrecking Bar, Three Taverns, Atlanta Brewing, and Orpheus

Wrecking Bar Brewpub

Wrecking Bar is not too far from New Realm. They also limit parking to valet and there is not a lot of parking nearby. They had a variety of beers but by the time I got there I was craving something different so I ordered their oaked ESB and coffee brown ale. Both were excellent.
The oaked ESB had notes of caramel and toast with hints of raisin and a vanilla oak finish. The coffee brown had tons of coffee flavor up front with a nice blend of roasted malts, light smoke. I could feel the caffeine coming through nicely as well. In the unlikely event you didn’t care for any of their house beers, they had a few guest options and cocktails as well.

Three Taverns

Three Taverns is a bit East of downtown Atlanta and in an area where you have to take small four lane roads most of the way. It doesn’t seem that far but you commonly get stopped by people turning in one lane or another. I read about their focus on Belgian styles but now it seems they have gone fully into the milkshake sour area as well. While I wasn’t expecting much from the sours, they let me taste a few and they were quite well done.
I started with the pilsner, which was crisp and dry with notes of citrus hops and a rustic finish. It had light pepper notes and a mild bitter finish. If I didn’t already have a bunch of bottles from Monday Night I might have brought home some pilsner. The sour I ended up ordering was the blueberry pie one and it really tasted like my mom’s blueberry cobbler. The beer had a bright pink color and subtle lactose that gave a light sweetness to the blueberry and spices.
Though Three Taverns had some great beers, I suggest buying cans or bottles elsewhere unless you live nearby due to the drive to get there. It really tests your patience.

Atlanta Brewing Company (FKA Red Brick Brewing)

Atlanta Brewing is not far from Scofflaw Brewing. They have a large tap room in a warehouse. I tried four different beers, two saisons and two dark beers. I didn’t care too much for the saisons.
The first saison was brewed with serviceberries. It was funky with notes of white cake on the base with lingering bitterness and notes of honey. While it was the better of the two, I wouldn’t order it again. The second beer I should have avoided because it was brewed with figs and orange. I found this one a little sweeter and less funky but neither beer did much for me.
My husband ordered tasters of their porter with coffee and barrel aged stout. The porter was dry and bitter with notes of cherry and chocolate. It was too bitter for me and I let my husband finish it. The bourbon barrel aged stout was nice and balanced with notes of vanilla and caramel with a nutty finish. The beer had a good medium body and was not overly sweet or boozy.
I likely tried the wrong beers at Atlanta Brewing so I’m not going to judge them too harshly by the few beers i tried. But I wouldn’t try their funky beers again.

Orpheus Brewing

Orpheus had a good variety of beers but I went for the sours. Noise and Flesh, their barrel aged sour was thin and funky without a lot of flavor or complexity. The berliner weisse was equally bland with light tropical fruit notes and a lingering bit of tartness and acidity. My husband ordered the imperial stout, which was quite lovely. It had tons of coffee and dark chocolate with a nice thick body and light raisins on the finish. I might have tried their barrel aged stout but the price was way too high for me.
I didn’t try more beers while at Orpheus because it was quite loud inside and too cold outside to comfortably sip beers. I don’t suggest stopping by Orpheus for their sours but if you like a good stout the imperial stout was quite impressive.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Monday Night Brewing – The Garage – Atlanta, GA

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.

Known for:
Come for big barrel aged stouts. This seems to be their forte though they did have other standard styles as well.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Pittsburgh Part 2 – Dancing Gnome, Insurrection, and Piper’s Pub

Dancing Gnome


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.

Known For:
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.

Piper’s Pub


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.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Brew Gentlemen – Pittsburgh PA

The main reason I visited Pittsburgh was to visit Brew Gentlemen. I have been seeing their beers rated highly in blind taste tests done by Paste Magazine for the last two years. Mostly this has been their hazy IPAs but occasionally other styles as well. They only serve six and twelve ounce pours at the tasting room plus growlers to go. While you can find their beers at a few bars around town, you will only find the wide variety at the brewery itself. If you already have some 750ml growlers from other breweries, bring them with you to avoid buying new ones.
I started with momo, their hazy pale ale and a mexican coffee stout for my husband. Momo was soft and creamy with a nice thick mouthfeel. The beer had notes of tangerine hops with a low hop acidity and low bitterness. It was one of the more flavorful hazy pales I have had. The mexican coffee stout was soft and nicely balanced with notes of cinnamon, nutty coffee, and mild roast. The mouthfeel reminded me of Tree House’ stouts, which suggests they use similar water to Tree House.
After the first pour, I was so impressed I got six ounce pours for the rest of the beers. I did those two at a time so I could compare different beers. For the first two half pours I compared General Braddock with Kaizen. Both had that lovely pillowy mouthfeel though they had distinctly different varieties of hops and hop flavors. General Braddock was bursting with papaya and light vanilla. Kaizen had a more herbal hop bitterness to it balanced with notes of ripe tropical fruit. I didn’t care for the hop varieties but it was still quite well done. Thankfully as it warmed up, the herbal notes mellowed out.
Next was Recertified Double IPA. This was my favorite of the bunch. The beer was bursting with notes of tropical fruit and could easily be mistaken for a hazy double IPA from Monkish or Tree House. I was quite tempted to fill a growler to bring back but I didn’t want to buy any more glass. Chocomatic Imperial Stout was my final half pour. The beer was roasty with prominent chocolate and a good thick body. Despite the higher alcohol, it was not boozy and avoided getting too sweet or thick. My husband still preferred the Mexican coffee.
Brew Gentlemen lived up to the hype and then some. The hazy IPAs were all excellent and they are making fantastic stouts as well. Though the tasting room is in a shady part of town, once you are inside, it has a nice relaxing, homey feel to it. They don’t serve food but they tend to have a food truck outside. While it was slightly disappointing that they didn’t have cans, I like their choice to limit to-go to growlers and the occasional bottles so that they always have beer at the tasting room.
You can find one or two of their beers on draft at bars around town but if you want to have the full experience, it is worth a visit to the brewery directly.
Top 2:
Recertified
Mexican Coffee Stout

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus

Helix Brewing – Sourworx and some non-sours

I had not previously visited Helix Brewing until they announced their Sourworx program. I was glad to see that they ensured they had a variety of beers available for the launch. Their goal of having the entire three boards full of barrel-aged sours is impressive. I tried two that were fruited and two that were aged for the longest to get a general taste of the quality of the sours released. From what I tasted, I would sooner make the drive to Helix over visiting my neighborhood California Wild Ales because they have the complexity and level of flavor that I crave. They also have enough to differentiate their sours from others on the market to draw visitors. They are one of the few breweries that allows for growler fills of sour beers and they currently have no plans to start bottling.
I started with a raspberry and a passionfruit sour. The raspberry was a light red color as expected while the passionfruit was hazy yellow and closer in appearance to a hazy IPA. The raspberry was a bit more subtle than I would have liked and restrained on the fruit. It had a good balance overall with nice caramel base and low acidity that at times resembled raspberry pie. I like the decision to add cherries to an already red base beer. The passionfruit sour was juicy with strong passionfruit flavor at the front and a nice mild funk on the finish combined nicely with medium oak and mild vanilla. This was my favorite of the day and I am excited to see how they work this style into future versions with other fruit.
On the non-fruited side, I asked for the two beers that were aged the longest and was suggested the Walking Through Windows and Betting on Stars. Walking Through Windows was intensely oaky, dominating over other flavors. In the back it had mild caramel and notes of brandy with a lingering tart finish. It was interesting to get the prominent oak when many breweries choose to blend various beers together to reduce it somewhat. Betting on Stars, a dark sour aged in port barrels, was smoky on the nose with notes of cherry and roasted malts. Flavor wise, it resembles more of a sour stout than anything else and the wine barrel gives it a unique flavor. It is refreshing that they chose not to simply make their attempt at a Belgian style Lambic but instead chose to do their own versions of an American Wild Ale.
Clean beers next door 
After the four sour beers I was ready for some more classic styles. With my palate already used to the sours, I found both beers to be quite sweet, likely more so than I would have if I started there. I decided to order a half pour of Prague Nosis, a red lager in the style brewed in Prague, and 1492 IPA, the freshest IPA they had and also one they described as the most balanced.
The Prague Nosis was delicious and easy drinking with notes of crackers and caramel and a light sweet finish. The IPA was nice and balanced with notes of pine and light herbal hops with a subtle bitter finish. I enjoyed seeing the contrast between the two buildings next door to each other. This allows for a welcoming atmosphere that the sour fans can drink with others who may not be interested in sours. The Sourworx side had a much more sophisticated feel to it as compared to the homey tasting room feel of the main brewery.
Top 2: 
Future Futures, passionfruit sour
Walking Through Windows, golden sour

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterPinterestGoogle Plus