Friday, October 11, 2019

Schoolhouse Brewing - Marietta Atlanta Georgia


You can find Schoolhouse Brewing at 840 Franklin Ct Ste 100, Marietta, GA 30067. If you're coming from I75, take the Delk Rd Exit to the west and drive to Franklin Gateway (the old Franklin Rd) and turn right (North) until you hit Franklin Ct. This is a short street with a series of commercial buildings - Schoolhouse is at the end in what amounts to a wide parking-lot cul-de-sac and there are several small signs to help you find the path. There's plenty of parking out-front and in the parking lot as it extends to the side, with overflow across the street.

I don't know if I can adequately articulate how much I love this brewery, but I'll make an attempt. It's not just the beer, the location, the brewers, the staff or the taproom, it's the entire concept. Let me explain.

Schoolhouse is the brainchild of brewers Thomas Monti (who has become "the face" of the brewery that you'll see out-and-about) and Justin Waller, two former high school science teachers who shared a love and passion for homebrewing beer. They went into business together with a bottle and growler shop by the same name, where they eventually started selling homebrew supplies - it was this ever changing repertoire of beer recipes, tastings, experimentation, collaborating with other home brewers and everything else that led to the concept of Schoolhouse Brewing - a place where visitors can enjoy an ever-changing series of about 20 taps, infinitely producing beer almost at whim, with a focus on innovation. Not only will you experience new beers every time you visit, you'll also be able to access and read the recipes you like with their concept of open-source beer. That's right, all of their recipes are offered up for free for you to try or modify for your own use. So you can see how this can appeal to me, both as someone who likes to try all different styles of beer, and as someone that's a big proponent of open-source (software in my case).

The space is super inviting with high ceilings and plenty of space to either sidle up to the bar or to occupy tables in small or large groups, plus there's a patio for when the weather is nice. The interior is industrial-modern with school themes everywhere, concrete floors and wood-slab tables. Behind the bar are the 20 taps (one usually has hard seltzer) where you can sample pretty much any style of beer at any one time, lagers, IPAs, Belgians, stouts, kettle sours - you get the idea. According to Untappd I currently have sampled 19 different beers there and from my ratings, I've given 9 of them at least 4/5 stars with 6 above 4 stars. My favorites thus far:

* Golden Goose Fairy Tale Belgian Tripel
* Smoothie Queen Berliner Weisse
* Advanced Social Stouties on NITRO
* Halfway to Hefen Wheat Beer
* That is Sum Juicy Chit Double New England IPA
* Sac Lunch Brown Ale

My favorite has been the Smoothie Queen Fruited Berliner - I hope they make several variations - Super tasty fruit infused Berliner - tons of berry in a hazy reddish-purple body. Super easy drinking and awesome mouthfeel.

The brewery does tasters (4-5 oz I think) including flights, half-pints and full pints. They have some in between pours for the higher ABV stuff and they also fill growlers or provide crowlers if you're in need. The staff here are pretty awesome, especially the taproom manager and if either of the brewers are there let him know what you liked or didn't like - they're super receptive to feedback. The only downside is that you may need to wait in line to get your pours as it seems to be quite popular.

If you're really feeling venturesome, this area has become a bit of a local brewery row, with Red Hare and Ironmonger just down the street. I like how close to I75 these breweries are - makes it super quick to access from the interstate and yeah, it's OTP but only by two exits - they're really not that far out. I don't believe any of them serve food, but Schoolhouse does have food trucks and other food vendors regularly scheduled along with some snacks (the flavored pretzels are quite good).

(also posted to Yelp)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Hankook Taqueria - West Midtown Atlanta

You can find Hankook Taqueria at 1341 Collier Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. I think someone told me that technically the area is called Underwood Hills, but most recently anything west of Midtown, since Atlantic Station has been developed, usually gets referenced as West Midtown (makes sense, right?). The restaurant is in a standalone building next to a railroad overpass. There's limited parking out front and to the sides but I believe you can safely park on the side street. Nearby is the very good Piece of Cake main facility (also worth visiting for a slice or cupcake, so save some room).

I'm not quite sure how I first came aware of Hankook - I think someone said "Have you had a Korean Burrito?" and I was like "Where?!" and that's what it took. I believe Hankook was the first Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant in Atlanta, or at least the first I can remember. The two styles blend together so well, more like marriage made in heaven. Sweet Korean BBQ with a bit of gochugang (Korean hot sauce) in a taco? I'm there! This restaurant spawned the local Takorea chain which is still owned by the came people I believe. One reason you come here is because of some of the unique dishes and specials that are on the menu not found at Takorea. The other reason is that you've spent the day at one of the nearby breweries and need to eat something (nearby you have Atlanta Brewing, Second Self, Scofflaw and Monday Night).

The menu is pretty simple - Choose 1-n number of Tacos, a Burrito or Bowl and choose a protein: Beef, Chicken, Pork, Tofu, Veggie, Fish or from the Premium List: Shrimp, Calamari, Tong Dak or one of the Daily Specials. This will have a mixed-garninsh: Lettuce/green cabbage mix, green/white onions, cilantro and sesame soy vinaigrette. Of course all the meats are done Korean style so combinations of sweet/spicy Korean BBQ sauce. The burrito is served with Kimchi rice (which you can also order as a side). Next, add one of the Street Snacks like the Bulgogi Kimchi Fries or Man-Doo dumplings to the order. Can't be simpler and the prices are very affordable - eat a little or a lot.

Things I've had here:
* I'll skip the Tacos and Burritos as you get the idea and they're all good - use one or multiples of those as the base of your meal.
* Sesame Fries - Crispy Fries with Chipotle Ketchup - quite good - crisp twice fried (they seem to have a light tempura? coating).
* Bulgogi Kimchi Fries - Queso, roasted kimchi, fried egg with gochujang - love these, more like totchos and good for sharing
* KoKuma - Tempura Fried Asian Sweet Potatoes wth Sweet Chili Aioli - sweet, slightly crunchy with mild spice from the creamy sauce
* Man-Doo - fried dumplings with pork, ginger, scallions and ponzu (I grew up with something similar so always get an order of these) - quite good
*Quesadilla - Bulgogi Beef with cheese and spicy sauce or cheese only
*Chips  Queso - chips with melted cheese - personally I'd skip these and get the Kimchi Fries
Nachos - Bulgogi Beef on chips, queso, salad mix, jalapeno and sour cream (as above)
* BiBimBop - rice, bulgogi beef, bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and a fried egg, topped with gochujang - good but I've had much better (super cheap here at $8)
* Smoked Wings - think these were on the specials menu, you get a pile of chicken wings, chipotle-smoked in my case with a spicy BBQ sauce - I recommend these highly if they're being offered.

The place is a bit of a hole in the wall and is more cafeteria-like than fast-casual. You order at a counter and walk along the front edge to pay - once you pay they bring the food to your table. Drinks are along one wall on the left with options for fountain soda, tea and water. It's super simple. The interior is a bit dive-ish - more like something you would find in Little Five Points or East Atlanta Village.

Service is good but very limited - the place gets packed during lunch, best time to go is early afternoon.

(also posted to Yelp)
Hankook Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato