While not as refined as wine, or even champagne for that matter, an ice cold beer at just the right time can be the cure for what ails you. Whether housed inside a mug, a bottle or a can, the American craving for beer is age-old. Atlanta is well-prepared for lager aficionados as there are many prime spots to have a brewski (or a few) where local, domestic and imported mildly scratch the surface of the many ways to properly savor your favorite brew. Here are the top places in Atlanta where beer is the main attraction. Cheers!
The Vortex Bar & Grill
With two locations in Midtown and Little Five Points respectively, it’s not hard to see why The Vortex is one of the best places to have a cold one. The Midtown location makes our list because it has a slightly better bar and the selections are vast. Once voted “Best Overall Liquor Selection in Atlanta,” their comprehensive beer list includes hundreds of brews from all around the world. Some menu standouts include the Laughing Skull amber ale, which is the house beer, Sweetwater blueberry wheat, Victory Gold monkey blonde ale, Xingu black beer and Red Brick porter. The spirits menu is also pretty good, so you are bound to find something to quench your thirst. Take time to enjoy the highly entertaining bartenders that are always amusing and good for a laugh.
The Vortex Bar & Grill is located at 878 Peachtree St. 404-875-1667
5 Seasons Brewing Company
Owners Dennis Lange and David Larkworthy opened the first 5 Seasons in Sandy Springs in 2001 and the success was so great that locations in Alpharetta (2007) and West Atlanta (2009) ultimately followed. They wanted to fill the void of world-class beer offered in Atlanta and they delivered. The theory behind this hot spot is a simple one, “real food paired with real beer,” and their approach to beer is quite fascinating. With all beers brewed in-house and hand-crafted beers by request, you can guarantee some of the best you’ve ever had. Each location has a distinct on-tap menu and the Sandy Springs location reigns supreme. Munich helles, Kilt Lifter scotch ale, Kartoon Brune, Two Pence porter and Hopgasm are currently what’s pouring at the Sandy Springs bar in The Prado plaza. The food here is definitely not an afterthought; all dishes are expertly paired with beer to bring out the flavors in both. Do yourself a favor and order something from the menu.
5 Seasons Brewing Company is located at 5600 Roswell Rd. 404.255.5911
The Porter Beer Bar
Let’s start by stating that The Porter arguably has the most extensive beer list in Atlanta. Yeah, it’s not as flashy as some of its’ competition, but if it’s beer you want there is no better place. This cool spot tucked inside the Little Five Points neighborhood is fun, intimate and hip. The Porter hosts several events during the year and even has special beer classes ($20 gets you six tasty beers) that are given to provide first-hand knowledge of the origins of your choice brew. It is a true “beer bar” with so many offerings you will have a hard time choosing your favorite. Here is just a teaser of all the different beer offered: Oud Beersel Framboise, Dogfish Head chateau jiahu, JW Lees Moonraker, Fischer Biere Blonde, Hitachino Nest white ale and Moa original. Be prepared to have a designated driver because you will certainly need one after sampling selections from this brewski haven.
The Porter Beer Bar is located at 1156 Euclid Ave. 404.223.0393
Sweetwater Brewing Company
Sweetwater is the most unique entry on the list because it is a genuine brewery where tours are given. Every Wednesday through Saturday you have a chance to tour the authentic brewing house and see all the work that goes into getting an ice cold one to your table. Each tour is free, but if you want to sample the beer (of course you do) then you must purchase beer tickets which also include a souvenir glass for your memories. Sweetwater also has several fun events, both holiday-themed and charitable, so it’s a great opportunity to visit throughout the year. The IPA (India Pale Ale) is the most popular selection and it sells out fast. Other notables include: Blue, Sch’Wheat, Happy Ending, Motor Boat, Road Trip and Georgia Brown. You couldn’t make these names up if you tried, which adds to the fun and whimsy of a trip here.
The Sweetwater Brewing Company is located at 195 Ottley Dr. 404.691.2537
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
The premium beer brand has several restaurants around the country that showcase their awesome beer menu. The Midtown Atlanta location boasts two-stories, a banquet room, billiards area and an outdoor patio with breathtaking views of the city skyline. This is definitely the most upscale spot on the list and the decadence is welcomed, right along with cathedral-like ceilings. Recently a “Diner’s Choice” honoree, Gordon Biersch features their beer as well as brands from all over. Hefeweizen, Czech Pilsner, Schwarzbier and the signature Golden Export are menu highlights. The food is an asset and adds to the overall experience. This place definitely requires repeat visits.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant is located at 848 Peachtree St. NE 404.870.0805