Monday, August 2, 2010

Southern Misconception

Living in San Diego, I tend to forget, or my biases let me assume, that there is no good beer outside of California or the Pacific Northwest.  In my enlightened moments I'll acknowledge that there are quality brewers and good places to get a beer in other parts of the country, such as in the Midwest or the Northeast.  But the South is always excluded from my brief periods of beer magnanimity.   I like it when my beer myopia is turned upside down, especially in a resounding fashion. 

The beer selection at Taco Mac in Atlanta amazed me.  The weirdly named chain, with twenty-six restaurants in Georgia and Tennessee, proves that craft beer is flourishing in the South.   The menu is typical bar and grill food - salads, sandwiches, burgers and burritos - but I think its specialty is Buffalo Wings.  Don't waste time on the food menu, go straight to the tap list.

I counted seventy-plus taps at the Taco Mac I visited.  The tap list is not like a Yard House that also boasts about seventy taps, but that has only a half dozen beers that would interest a serious beer drinker.  Taco Mac had good craft beers from around the country, and included Stone, Southern Tier, Bells, Founders, Dogfish Head, and even The Bruery was on the list.  It carried local beers from Athens' Terrapin Beer and Atlanta's Sweetwater Brewing, along with European beers.  

I tried Magic Hat's Number 9 because the Southern Tier tap had just finished and I had liked it earlier in the year.  Plus, I was still curious about Number 9's strange, floral hints.  It still had the floral hints, and I am no closer to figuring them out now than I was in April, but it seemed much more malty than I remembered, and was almost too malty for me. 

You can find good beer in the South.  Taco Mac's are a great place to start and they are readily available around Atlanta.  Examine the tap list and enjoy a few beers with some wings.  On a side note, another Southern Misconception buster is the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.  This pub is currently ranked as the number two beer bar in the world by BeerAdvocate magazine - not Atlanta, or the South, or even the United States but the world.  So take that elitist West Coast beer snob.

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