From tastings to taprooms, Atlanta breweries changing for the better


In September, Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing opened its second location, dubbed the Garage, along a recently completed section of the Beltline in the West End.

The ambitious 22,000-square-foot warehouse space at Lee and White streets includes a taproom and private event space, and a facility dedicated to a new sour and barrel-aged beer program, complete with a coolship for open fermentation and multiple foeders.

Adding to both the ambiance and utility of the project, there’s a landscaped urban orchard that offers a shady place to relax, and will soon provide fruit and wild yeast for a crop of new and experimental beers.

What’s less obvious observing the crowds that gather every day of the week to drink and hang out is that the Garage would not have existed without the recent changes in state law that allowed Georgia brewers to sell beer directly to consumers.

“There is no way that opening the Garage makes economic sense without the law changing,” says Jonathan Baker, who serves as Monday Night’s marketing and creative director.

“The ability to market ourselves and sell a pint of beer directly to the consumer, and to do small-batch stuff and test our recipes is the premise this was built around.”

As it turns out, that premise has already proved to make perfect sense.

“The Garage has exceeded all of our expectations, so far,” says Baker. “We’re only a few weeks in, but it turned out kind of beautiful. It’s really stunning inside, and the reaction to the new beers has been great.

“But what’s really nice is that the neighborhood has really embraced us. They’re starting to treat us like we’re a brewery you’d see in any other state, where you can pop in for a beer and then go hang out after that.”

The Beltline also was an important part of the design and allure of the Garage, Baker says.

“There are so many areas to just hang out,” he says. “We’ve got a great space, and we purposely built things like paths and fire pits to take advantage of that. Inside, we have big tables, little tables, and you can spend 30 minutes in one area and pick up and go to another area and almost feel like you’re in a different bar.”

And what does the future hold for the Garage?

“Since we’re open seven days a week, we’re working on programs like biking and running clubs, and having a lot more food trucks and pop-ups here for the neighborhood,” Baker says. “The future is more and better everything.”

Monday Night Garage. 933 Lee St. SW, Atlanta. 404-352-7703, mondaynightbrewing.com/locations/garage.

More beer at Atlanta taprooms 

Under the old Byzantine system of Georgia beer laws, guests were required to take a tour and buy tickets for limited tastings. Now you’re free to enjoy a pint, and tour or not tour, as you please.

As a result, many Atlanta breweries are expanding or remodeling to add taprooms, along with new glassware and other amenities. Here are four to visit to take full advantage of the new freedoms.

Red Brick — Georgia’s oldest craft brewery recently marked its 24th anniversary with a celebration at its newly remodeled tasting room. Try its flagship Hoplanta IPA, seasonal favorite Vanilla Gorilla Imperial Porter, or new Penguin Pale Ale. 2323 Defoor Hills Road NW, Atlanta. 404-355-5558, www.redbrickbrewing.com.

Reformation — Known for its Belgian-style beers, such as Cadence Dubbel, the Woodstock brewery also offers Atlas and Oren IPA, and more. The “Keeping Room” is a cozy taproom to hang out and try them all. In 2018, a second location is set to open downtown. 500 Arnold Mill Road, Woodstock. 678-341-0828, reformationbrewery.com.

Scofflaw — Atlanta’s hottest brewery recently celebrated its first anniversary. Its family-friendly, far Westside taproom is always busy, hosting football viewing parties and even a mini petting zoo. But the beer nerds go for the Basement, Double Jeopardy and Westside IPAs. 1738 MacArthur Blvd. NW, Atlanta. 404-343-2832, scofflawbeer.com.

The Woodlands — Both a new barrel-aging and sour beer program and a new brand for SweetWater, the taproom is housed in a sleek new two-story brick building filled with oak foeders and all manner of barrels. Look for fruited sour beers and lots of experimental offerings. 195 Ottley Drive, Atlanta. 404-691-2537, sweetwaterbrew.com.

Check out what the AJC Fall Dining Guide 2017 has to offer:

•What do you think of these restaurants? 10 reader-requested reviews for Atlanta and beyond 

•How can I meet people who love to eat? Atlanta dinner clubs combine chatter with chow 

•What’s your favorite metro Atlanta restaurant? AJC food editor Ligaya Figueras answers 

•What are the hottest cocktail trends in Atlanta? 

•Which Atlanta bars are best for a classic cocktail? 

•Which new bars in Atlanta will most tempt you? 

•How are Atlanta breweries changing for the better? 

•What’s the deal with...all the metro Atlanta food halls? 

•What’s the deal with...all the metro Atlanta rolled ice cream?

•What’s the deal with...the metro Atlanta steakhouse boom? 

•What’s the deal with...all the poké in metro Atlanta? 

•Video: Burning questions with Bob Bost

•Video: Burning questions with Tiffanie Barriere

•Video: Burning questions with Bryan Furman

•360 Video tour of Bacchanalia

•360 Video tour of Kimball House

•360 Video tour of Gunshow

•360 Video tour of Spring


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food

Barcelona Wine Bar employee killed during robbery at restaurant
Barcelona Wine Bar employee killed during robbery at restaurant

A woman died after a robbery in which she was shot, police said. An employee of Barcelona Wine Bar Westside was shot and killed during a robbery at early Sunday morning, and three suspects are on run, according to police. Chelsea Beller, 29, of Atlanta was shot in the shoulder after being forced to open a safe in the upstairs...
There soon will be new ways to know if your wine is environment friendly 
There soon will be new ways to know if your wine is environment friendly 

More and more of us are looking beyond the wine in our glass and demanding to know how the wine is made. Whether we want wines that are "natural," biodynamic, organic or sustainable, increasingly we want to know that winemakers are doing their best to protect the environment and not relying on chemicals to ripen their grapes. And the wine...
Blending can help you learn what you like
Blending can help you learn what you like

Sitting in a room full of wine barrels, winemakers and sommeliers seemed like a dream come true until such terms as “sub-appellations,” “malolactic fermentation” and “diurnal fluctuation” started being bandied about with abandon. It was like I had landed on an island where the natives speak a different language,...
African spice a key ingredient in ‘Power Lunch’ salad
African spice a key ingredient in ‘Power Lunch’ salad

From the menu… The National, 232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens. 706-549-3450. thenationalrestaurant.com A friend and I made the trip from Atlanta to Athens to shop at Plantapalooza at the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia and to have lunch at The National. The “Power Lunch” was delicious. Is it possible they’ll share the...
Use fresh ginger in shrimp sambal
Use fresh ginger in shrimp sambal

You expect ginger to be growing in tropical climates like Hawaii and Southeast Asia. And for many years, any ginger you could buy here was from those locations. But in the past dozen or so years, farmers in metro Atlanta have been growing ginger, first as an experimental crop and now, with more years of experience, as a standard part of their farm...
More Stories