There’s a massive uptick in one Atlanta industry, and that’s beer. Not only are new breweries opening on a seemingly weekly basis, existing brands are opening second locations, some attached to the original like Sweetwater’s The Woodlands but in some cases they break new ground.
In the West End part of the Beltline, you can discover Monday Night Brewing’s The Garage, where they are brewing experimental beers, some that you’ll only get at the brewery and others destined to join their regular year-round lineup, their seasonals and of course the high-end Black Tie series.
We arrived on Tuesday night to attend an event called Lit Atlanta. My wife recently started a podcast named Literary Atlanta and no this wasn’t just a chance to scout out the competition.
We entered right before sunset. The location is open every day from at least 4-9, although this event said 7-10. You walk in on an unpaved path, following arrows and the ubiquitous faceless man in a tie holding his fist in the air that is the “mascot” of Monday Night. There are string lights on the path leading up and some outdoor seating. I saw some families with pizzas.
The inside area is a cavernous space. It’s hipster central, with neon signs “The Garage” outside and “Crunkship” just inside. There’s some merchandise, dibs on the flannel shirt before you get to the bar. You can order from Monday Night’s year-round menu, Drafty Kilt’s Scottish Ale being one of my favorites, or you can experiment. Georgia law changed on September 1, allowing breweries to sell beer directly to customers. They used to be able to “sell” tours that gave visitors a set amount of beer.
I did my research. Lately I’ve been into barrel-aged stouts. Monday Night’s Bourbon Barrel Drafty Kilt is a favorite, but this evening I spied something called Situational Ethics. They had three different variants and the one that I wanted was aged in rum barrels with coconut and Ugandan vanilla beans. It’s a pitch black beer, although as I made my way through the sweet, dark beer, I wondered if I got the maple syrup/cinnamon version instead. My wife had the Dr. Robot, a blackberry/lemon sour that’s one of their year-round beers. It tasted more wheaty and wasn’t quite her style. I also sampled four-ounce pours of the Ante Meridium, which is a brown ale aged on coffee and vanilla. Usually I stay away from coffee-based beers but every once in a while I appreciate the roasty flavor. Brown ales tend to be in the middle alcohol wise but this one was at 13% (the Situational Ethics was what at the agreed-on maximum of 13.9% since the state top is 14). I finished with another four-ounce pour of the Excolatur. It might take a paragraph to describe this one, or you could just see the handy picture.
The rest of the space had a shuffleboard table (duh), some white chairs in front of a mobile home (the wife wondered if it formerly belonged to local writer and raconteur Hollis Gillespie), a room with barrels (yum), some scattered equipment, a wall with what looked like whitewashed animal heads, and the far wall had some mounted beer bottles (some of which I had tried), one that encouraged visitors to scrawl on and some local art that included a couple of dinosaurs. There aren’t a ton of tables there, and these looked like the kind of tables you’d get at a yard sale.
The Lit Atlanta event occupied a corner, where there’s an auxiliary bar that was not in use. There was a DJ. The event was called Literary karaoke, and people would come up to the microphone and read from books, covering this month’s theme of monsters. There was a kid’s cart in which people donated “gently used” books, so good cause.
The space wasn’t great in the sound department, so other than the guy running the show, it was hard to hear the speakers clearly. The DJ spinning tunes to the reading was interesting but ultimately distracting.
We took off before our bed time. I’d like to explore the brewery when I have more time, and apparently Wild Heaven is opening their second location nearby as well. What a glorious time to be alive.