Saturday, August 18, 2007


The bank sign read 109ºF Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia. And this mannequin in a store window in nearby Athens was keeping cool sporting a Heavy Seas eyepatch.

In fact, Atlanta had just set its record for most days ever in August over 100ºF. (I heard radio host Sean Hannity mentioning this, mocking, "I bet that makes Al Gore happy!" Attack the messenger and avoid the reality.)

I was there, working the Atlanta area for Clipper City Brewing Company.

Roxy's, a beer/wine/liquor shop in the neighboring town of Marietta, had this sign in its front window. The shop's owner, a retired physicist, chuckled as he was telling me about the puzzled patrons who have asked him just what he was selling. (Hint: it's the formula for the intoxicating ingredient in beer.)

On Thursday, there was no air-conditioning in the vehicle in which I drove around. By the end of the work day, I was hot and thirsty. So I headed over to the Brickstore Pub, a fabulous draft and bottle pub in the square in Decatur, just east of Atlanta.

I didn't sample the food, which I'm told is quite good. I'll try the fare on a return visit. But I did sample the beers.

Brickstore's bar is split between two levels. The downstairs is the main dining area, with several tap stations and two cask beer engines. The upstairs is more of a Belgian draft beer bar.

The system itself seems to have been purpose built. Burnished copper and and quite unique, not looking like any other I've ever seen.

It's my own opinion, but I've never quite liked the look of a blizzard of tap handle markers. The overall effect is visually cacophonous, and even from a few feet away, a customer can't really read the labels. The owners at the Brickstore have substituted with unmarked short black handles. The effect is aesthetically pleasing, and a benefit is that the bartender must know his products. He tells you what's on tap - or hands you a well-written beer menu. Bartender Mike did both: very knowledgeable.

(I did something similar at Sisson's, but used stained bowling pin style wooden handles, leaving them unmarked.)

In the photo, that's Simon on the left, a representative of Savannah Distributing, the wholesaler which sells Clipper City beer in Georgia. On the right, it's bartender Mike.

They're examining the language on the side of a bottle of Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown Ale. (Jump here to my tasting notes - scroll way down when you get there.)

(A couple of days earlier, I had run into Lagunitas' national sales director, Ron Lindenbusch, elsewhere in Atlanta on beer business. His business card, reflecting the the wonderfully wacky aura of the brewery, lists his title as beer weasel.)

Later we were joined by Grey Martin, the past Sales Manager for the Atlanta Brewing Company, and by Henry Monsees, the owner of Savannah Distributing. By that time, we had progressed to an 11% abv Italian Draco beer, served with an artisinal cheese plate (I only remember the Minorcan Mahon - tart, spicy, and piquant). We were all quite happy!

The greater Atlanta metro area, by the way has quite the selection of good beer joints: Taco Macs, Summit Stations, Charlie Mopps, here, and many more.

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