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

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Wild Heaven Beer - West End Brewery and Gardens - West End Atlanta


From Parking - walk around on the left then turn left
You can find Wild Heaven Beer - West End Brewery and Gardens at 1010 White St SW, Atlanta, GA 30310 in the building to the right (from the parking) of Monday Night Garage, ASW Distillery, Hop City West End and the Boxcar - this will be on the Westside Beltline. This complex is becoming quite a brewery row destination with the upcoming Best End Brewing opening soon. You'll be able to sample and enjoy beers from several purveyors. Parking is in the fairly large lot out front - thus far I haven't seen the lot filled and have attended one very large event.



Soft Opening Day

Main Taproom

20 Main Taproom Taps

8 Patio Taps

I attended the first day of Wild Heaven Beer - West End Brewery & Garden's soft opening, which will continue for a couple of weeks  - seems the grand opening will be in another month (target is September 7). In the meanwhile the facility is being opened to the public to work out any kinks, receive additional glassware and continue populating areas with furnishings - the interiors are industrial modern with high ceilings and large vistas. Currently there's a main taproom with tables and about 20 taps, an outside patio with about 8 taps (not open on this first day), a smaller event space or maybe spill-over room (20 or so taps) with stairs to a mezzanine, and a large event space towards the back. The facility is about 21000 sq ft of space if earlier reports are right and the brewing system can do batches up to 15-barrels on a 7-Barrel system.


20 Second Room Taps

Double Line Kitchen

I spoke at length with Nick Purdy (who showed us craft beer nerds around in a short tour) who indicated that the idea is for this facility to create smaller batches - think of experimental beers - that can be bottled or kegged for the local craft beer scene and sold direct to the public in this facility. Also the kitchen will serve up food for visitors and as a catering facility to the main event space. They have a huge pizza oven so look for something special spun out as various pies.


7 Barrel System

Conditioning Tanks (Brights)

Large Event Space


Soft Opening Beer Menu

While there I sampled two beers (only had about an hour before another event):


Westy American Wild Ale

Westy American Wild Ale - Mixed fermentation with golden raspberries and service berries - tart, a bit apple-juicy and easy drinking - brewed especially for this event this. is a new beer not available in the Decatur location.

Wild Monster Fruited DIPA


Wild Monster Fruited Double IPA made with cactus fruit - Hoppy fruited NEIPA, brilliant red hue, fruity nose and finish. Surprising how good this is.

The people behind the bar are still learning the systems and are a bit disorganized but I think they'll come up to speed soon. Overall I had a great time and have high hopes for this new location!

Wed July 31 – 4pm-10pm
Thur/Fri Aug 1/2: 4pm-11pm
Sat Aug 3 – Noon-11pm
Sun Aug 4 – Noon-6pm
Mon Aug 5 – Closed
Tue/Wed Aug 6/7 – 4pm-11pm
Thur/Fri Aug 8/9: 4pm-11pm
Sat Aug 10 – Noon-11pm
Sun Aug 11 – Noon-6pm
More Info here: https://wildheavenbeer.com/west-end-brewery-and-gardens

Here's to Wild Heaven Beer!

Cheers! John

(also posted to yelp)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Monday Night Brewing Garage - Atlanta Georgia

You can find Monday Night Brewing - Garage at 933 Lee St SW, Atlanta, GA 30310 between West End and Capitol View (bit of a commercial no man's land by the railroad tracks). Nearby you have Boxcar at Hop City West End and soon, the new Wild Heaven and Best End Brewing locations (currently under construction) so this will become a new brewery row. Parking is plentiful with wide-open parking lots that extend around the large, warehouse-sized buildings.







I first visited the Garage back in early 2018 for a charity event, back in the courtyard and private event space towards the east-end of the building - the place is huge with multiple bars and a deck that extends along the south end of the building - there's also a patio in the area between buildings leading up to the main entry. To give you an idea of scale, there's an Air Stream trailer inside the building. I figured with the Anniversary Party coming this weekend now would be a good time to comment on this great Atlanta brewery.





The interior is on the industrial side, a bit no frills but there are things to look at including conditioning tanks and the various bars - if they're all open it's a bit of a Universal Studios experience with doors opening into new wide-open areas and taps at each bar to discover. Typically the main area (you walk in through a patio, there's brewery swag and a bar on the right with windows opening to the outside and tanks on the left) is open most weekdays and really, there's a lot of space. You continue towards the back to the bathrooms and the next bar which seems to only be open on weekends or during special events.




Monday Night Brewing - Garage was set up, I believe, to have more room to focus on sours and barrel aged beers - the menu certainly reflect this, with classic old favorites and a whole list of specialty stouts and beers normally found in limited release bottles (which are also available for take home). The bartenders are quite attentive and know their shit, always good for recommendations - but if you want mine, start with short pours of each of the barrel aged beers and work your way backwards into those that are lighter (normally I would do the opposite but when I do I end up getting too hammered to taste all the delicious specialty beers).


 


 


(also published to Yelp)
Monday Night Garage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato