269 West Washington St., Athens
Run by people passionate about gourmet beer, Trappeze Pub in downtown Athens features the city's widest selection of the best draft and bottled beers from around the world. The pub offers a quiet lounge area to the left and main bar on the right. Pick a brew from the massive draft board to sip alongside a plate of scrumptious fish and chips, bratwurst or beer marinated barbeque.
1235 S. Milledge Ave., Athens
Settle into a comfy chair near the rock fireplace and choose from ten taps featuring the most unique and flavorful craft beers available in the state. Owned by the beer fanatics at Five Points Bottle Shop, Aromas serves up an eclectic range of brews not often seen in other pubs around the state. The cakes and desserts are to die for, and tapas include olives, prosciutto & melon, cheese platters and sundried tomato feta spread.
Copper Creek Brewing Company
140 E. Washington St., Athens
Brewer Matt Buley cranks out a solid range of classic beer styles in the tiny brewhouse situated inside the front window of Athens' only brewpub. Small, quaint and cozy, Copper Creek offers a bar area on the left (with a bar top covered by hundreds of pennies) and seating space for diners on the opposite side of the pub. Munch on tasty pub grub while enjoying a sampler tray of all of Matt's well-crafted ales and lagers.
Chops & Hops
2 S. Main Street St., Watkinsville
Keeping in mind that gourmet beer pairs extremely well with excellent food, Richard Miley, chef and co-owner of this hot new beer bistro, chooses the restaurant's fine range of draft and bottled beers with a great deal of thought and care. When visiting, try a Rochefort Trappist Ale paired with Richard's flat iron steak or go with a potent Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale alongside the juicy lamp chops. For the brave or foolhardy, there's the option of a spicy India Pale Ale to accompany Miley's fiery Waiver Burger that's topped with ghost, habanero, jalapeno and chipotle peppers.
5 Seasons Brewing
Atlanta, Alpharetta & Sandy Springs
Ranked among the best brewpubs in the country, the Atlanta-area's three 5 Seasons locations produce a diverse range of epicurean brews and European and Asian-inspired haute cuisine -- all served up within attractive, inviting environs. Adventurous brewers experiment often with oak barrel aging, special ingredients and inventive seasonal beers, while the kitchen plates up daily food specials, focusing on the finest locally-sourced ingredients.
Brick Store Pub
125 E. Court Square, Decatur
Hands-down the best beer bar in the entire Southeast, Brick Store showcases an enormous range of craft beers from the USA and abroad in their downstairs pub, while the Belgian-themed, upstairs room offers a dozen amazing Belgian ales on draft and more than 100 bottled versions. The beer-obsessed owners even went so far as to lease the basement of the old bank building next door in which to "cellar" several hundred cases of gourmet strong ales for future tastings and food pairings. Yummy sandwiches and fish and chips highlight the food menu.
Max Lager's American Grill & Brewery
320 Peachtree St., Atlanta
This perennial brewpub favorite, located in the heart of bustling downtown Atlanta, is known for crafting flavorful beers such as Max Black Lager, Max Gold, Hefeweizen, Hopsplosion IPA and a variety of delicious seasonals. The award-winning new chef has produced a menu filled with goodies such as wood-fired pizzas, lemon basil salmon, Georgia trout, burgers and a Cowboy Steak marinated in beer and whiskey.
Melton's App & Tap
2500 N. Decatur Rd., Decatur
A neighborhood pub favorite since 1994, Melton's success stems from serving delicious, hearty food paired with great beer at reasonable prices. Melton's serves cooked-from-scratch pub fare with an exuberant twist of originality, and the pub's 16 rotating beer taps and 100+ bottles come from outstanding regional, national and import microbreweries. The atmosphere is homey, comfortable and strictly unpretentious.
Porter Beer Bar
1156 Euclid Ave., Atlanta
Owner Molly Gunn turned this cozy space in Little Five Points into one of the best craft beer destinations in Georgia. Patrons enter at the long, front bar area -- with booths and tables for dining located in the back. Expect almost 30 brilliant draft beers served alongside beer-appropriate food items such as Belgian-style mussels & fries, Buffalo shrimp po-boys, half pound cheeseburgers and kraut & beer brats.
Summits Wayside Tavern
Cumming, Snellville & Woodstock
Head over to any of the three Atlanta-area Summits locales to experience a staggering array of draft taps, interesting pub menu fare and a ever-changing lineup of beer dinners and special beer promotions and tastings. Work your way through 150+ different draft beers in the Summits Passport Club to earn beer discounts and your own personalized pub mug.
SweetWater Draft House & Grill
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport - Concourse B, Atlanta
During your next flight delay, instead of hitting Starbucks, try a local microbrewed beer at the SweetWater Draft House. Atlanta's popular SweetWater Brewing Company stocks this enjoyable airport restaurant with their 420 Ale, IPA, Georgia Brown Ale, Sch'Wheat and beguiling seasonal brews. Decorations and knick-knacks from the brewery's history adorn the walls.
Several Atlanta-area Locations
There's no better place in Atlanta to catch the big game on widescreen TV, enjoy succulent wings and nachos and sip a flavorful craft beer than one of the numerous Taco Mac locations. Several Taco Macs house 100+ draft lines and sell small taster glasses, allowing customers the palate-expanding opportunity to experience a considerable range of new brews.
This article from Owen Ogletree appeared in the last issue of Athens Magazine.