Saturday, June 22, 2019

Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative - Cumming Georgia



You can find Cherry Street Brewing in Cumming (and yeah I can hear you snicker) Georgia at 5813 S Vickery St, Cumming, GA 30040. Having spent some time there, I can say that there's currently not much to see in the area. Parking is plentiful out front, to the side (it's on a corner, sort of) or down the other areas in front of shops but you may have to walk a bit, as this brewery is very popular.





I first came across Cherry Street having sampled a Chief Sawnee's Coconut Porter many years ago - I really didn't know anything about the brewery but knew right away that this porter was special and would frequently claim it to be the best beer brewed locally, at least at the time. Since then are are many, many contenders but as of around 2015 this was still true - I think of it as the start of the "real" craft brew scene in Atlanta (and yes I know of several that have been around much longer, but in thinking about relatively small batches being made for keg distribution only Cherry Street was (unconfirmed) probably still in that Nano-to-Craft transition category. I next saw the same beer with one other at a Beer Festival (don't remember which one) being poured from a tapped job box (I still have the stickers they were handing out) and then it started showing up at the various bars I frequently visited.

The first time I visited the brewery, I decided to drive up from my then job near 400 and perimeter - I think it took about 45 minutes with some traffic. Two things I remember: 1. ) Driving into the middle of nowhere - really, you come off 400 and go through big expanses of nothing then finally hit a few elementary schools before coming to Vickery St (which leads you into the shopping center - I kept thinking that I was lost or that Maps was directing me wrong or something. 2.) The taproom was closed - this was pretty early and they had limited days/hours. Luckily I was able to go to Tanner's next door and enjoy a couple of flights (The Tanner's own both the Brewery and Pub). I found out later that this was the same Tanner's that used to be closer in as a rotisserie chicken place - from what I remember, I've visited one of those locations back in the day and liked the chicken quite a bit.

In any case, the taproom is something special, with a space that runs into a long room and a bar to the left. There's a newly opened (at least for me) area to the right full of barrels and extra seating plus a decent patio for drinking and watching the the locals shop. There's a well trained and knowledgeable crew pouring beers and providing advise on what to drink next. There's a clipboard available with 25 or so things on draft with a bottle list and maybe a guest tap or two. The beers here are extremely tasty, have great variety and a bit of experimentation - overall I can't think of one that I didn't at least find palatable, with most being exceptional. According to Untapped, I've had 25 different beers from this brewery so I won't bother to list them all - you'll need to come by and sample them yourself. You'll be glad you did - just make sure you have time to do a couple of flights and grab a bite next door before leaving - oh even better, have a designated driver - it really is in the middle of nowhere.


(also published on Yelp)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Six Bridges Brewing - Johns Creek Atlanta Georgia

You can find Six Bridges Brewing at 11455 Lakefield Dr STE 300, Duluth, GA 30097 at the end of a small industrial park across from the Atlanta State Farm Operations Center - basically the southeast quadrant made up from the intersection of McGinnis Ferry and Hwy 141. I think it's along the northern edge of John's Creek and to the east of Alpharetta, but fairly close to both. Parking is in front next to the patio, along the front edge and wraps around to the left facing the front door - there seems to be plenty but you may need to walk around the building.







I've been aware of the creation of Six Bridges for some time as there have been several posts about it on the Atlanta Beer Community Facebook group - that's a good source for local brewery happenings. The good folks at Six Bridges also have a FB page where they post updates frequently so you may consider following them - also a fairly new website. Tyler is their social media guy and is quite active. They did their soft opening over Christmas 2018 week and have had limited hours since though they seem to be settling in - currently open from 3:00 or 4:00 to about 9:00 with extended hours on Saturday and as with most Atlanta breweries, closed on Monday.

 

The interior of Six Bridges has a in industrial modern vibe with tall ceilings and concrete floors. There's some lounge seating as you enter that opens to long tables, a few tall smaller round tables around the edges and the taproom/bar along the back edge - some windows allow you to see the operational tanks in the room beyond. It's not as noisy as many similar industrial setups so you can still carry a conversation. There's a large mural right when you walk in that shows the locations of John's Creek's 6 bridges (thus the name - some explanation on the website). I immediately liked the vibe of this place and felt quite comfortable there. You can see the large patio with tables out front - so far a bit too cold to enjoy but I'm sure it will be filled to the gills once they get cranked up.




I've since visited twice - the first time about a week after the soft opening and the second time a couple of days ago - they aren't that convenient to me but when traffic is really bad it's sometimes worth it to go east then south from my work in Alpharetta to my home near Doraville. On the first day business was brisk with about 20 customers in the taproom - I ordered two flights, tasting all 8 of their initial offerings. They've since added another IPA with a new sour scheduled for next week. Here are my initial impressions, recorded while drinking into the Untapp app:



* Shelby Golden Ale 4.8%ABV - 3.75/5 Super light, crisp golden ale, more like a session with good mouthfeel and a touch of hops, nice lacing plus a dry finish. 



* Newtown Pale Ale 5%ABV - 4/5 Lightweight, citrus nose and initial, nice lacing. A well rounded pale ale. 



*  Read 'em and Wheap Wheat Beer 5.6% ABV - 4/5 Easy drinking comes to mind - mouthful of wheat, tropical notes and fairly juicy. Well balanced and very slammable. 



*  Sour Continuum with Boysenberry Cream Berliner Weisse 4.3% - 4/5 Delicious, more sour than tart with great mouthfeel. Amazing hazy beer red color with berry throughout and a dry finish. 

* Medlock Chapter 2 (Amarillo, El Dorado, Citra) NEIPA 6.2% ABV - 3.75/5 Fairly classic NEIPA with citrus and some initial hops bitterness. More dry than juicy. Hazy with great lacing, still a bit green. 



* Hardcore Parkour Porter 6.4% ABV - 4/5 Coffee initial, nice smoky malts, full bodied with cocoa and a dry finish. Nice lacing, you’ll be happy. 


*  State Bridge Stout 5.8% ABV - 4/5 Awesome stout with all the best features, creamy, smooth and full of oaty goodness. Opaque with great lacing, be great nitrode. 


* A Silent Accord Imperial Stout 7.8% ABV - 4.5/5 Boozy, almost BA in flavor and consistency. Great mouth feel and raisiny flavor - an instant winner with coconut and vanilla notes. 

* Medlock Chapter 3 (Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe) 5.5% ABV - 3.5/5 Easy drinking tropical with some decent citrus notes. Quite slammable. 

A few notes:
* The above reflect my own personal preferences of stronger, darker beers. I can appreciate beer with lower ABV but since that's not my preference I tend to lose some of the subtlety. 
* When I've noted that the beer is green it means that there needs to be just a bit of aging on the beer to clarify out some of the esthers and produce more mellowing - a bit more conditioning. For an operation like this, once they get into the groove of production the beer will become liquid gold. 
* My favorite was the Imperial Stout - unexpectedly quite good. I also liked the Boysenberry Cream and have had it since the initial tasting - I like it better every time I've had it.

Service here is quite good - they have a good mix of new pourers and a couple of old-hands. I think they'll work into the most efficient mechanics of taking orders and serving beers. Prices range from a couple of bucks for a taster pour to around 6 for a full pour with flights of 4 glasses available - quite reasonable. Both times I was there I recognized several faces in the crowd from other beer or brewery events. 


In closing this is a great addition to John's Creek and the Atlanta beer community - great taproom, service and beer. I'm looking forward to see what they grow up to be.

(also posted to Yelp)
Six Bridges Brewing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tempo Doeloe - Doraville - Atlanta Georgia

You can find Tempe Doeloe at 5090 Buford Hwy, Ste 110, Doraville, GA 30340 in the Intown Plaza shopping center. This plaza is also home to Spicy Ga Ga Duck and China Hot Pot (aka Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot). The parking for this plaza is pretty tight but I've been able to find a space near the front - might be a good idea to carpool just in case. 






This is an interesting restaurant featuring the cuisine of Indonesia presented in authentic flavors, ingredients and combinations. Most restaurants that are similar are more a fusion of Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc. The experience is fast casual where you order at the counter and get your dishes delivered as they are prepared - my sense is that this is a family run business and in conversations with the people here the effort is to bring more "at home" styles of cooking to Atlanta as a dining experience.












In general the dishes were very simply prepared - nothing fancy - but the flavors were really distinct, on the strong side, with multiple layers. There was more turmeric than I expected and the flavors are really earthy - they reminded me a bit of Ethiopian cuisine but that may have more to do with the stewed chopped greens - I could just see myself eating this with injera.







  On the night we attended (this was part of my regular weekly Buford Highway "Clawr" restaurant group) it was empty except for us - so we had the full attention of staff (a woman, maybe the chef/owner?) who was great at answering questions. We discussed the food for some time and enjoyed it immensely.




(also posted to Yelp)
Tempo Doeloe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar - Chattanooga Tennessee

You can find the Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar, as the name would suggest, at 1459 Riverside Dr, Chattanooga, TN 37406 overlooking the Tennessee River. The views, especially from the deck and many windows, were quite good - you can see the touristy duck boats plying the watery sights, a neighborhood across the river and part of a park. Parking is out front and to one or more sides (building sits on a hill) - there seems to be plenty, at least during this late afternoon visit - I imagine they get quite packed in the evenings.










I was here with with local family (niece, nephew, pair of small kids, Mother-in-Law and father) and my also visiting brother and his wife and the restaurant had no problem seating us quickly, we waited less than 10 minutes while they got a table ready. The interior is very comfortable with rustic wood wainscotting and red painted walls - the theme is nautical and the full bar expansive. Menu offers up what you would expect in local catch (trouts and other fresh water fish like catfish) and an assortment of shellfish, shrimp and ocean catch. They also have chicken in various forms, salads and sandwiches.










I started with a Bloody Mary  and asked for it spicy - it wasn't very but you could tell they at least tried - it came with an bouquet of things to much on - Spanish olive, lime wedge and whole celery stick - I in general liked the mix but a bit more Tobasco would have made it perfect for me. I paired this up with some oysters on the half-shell - they were quite fresh but probably could have used a dunk through some brine to rinse off the silt.





The plates were all very large and filled to the gills, especially with the string fries. I tried everyone's selection and as you would expect, the fried fish was excellent. The Trout Almondine was better than expected, one of the best I've had in a while. They also serve up a big slice of sourdough bread - crusty on the outside, chewy full of air pockets on the inside that was quite good. I also liked their black beans and chimichurri which came with some of the grilled and fried items. The slaw was the super-fresh style, more cabbage than mayo - I liked it but it probably could have used either more acid (my preference) or more fat to make it creamy.











Service was good if not exceptional - good when the server was around but she allowed some water glasses to empty. Very kid friendly but I suspect this becomes more of a drinker's world in the evenings, especially late weekend evenings hanging out on the decking, drink in hand. I'd rate the overall experience, ambiance, food, service close to 4/5 so rounding up to 4.

(also posted to Yelp)
Boathouse Rotisserie & Raw Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato