Random Tasting

A business trip to Atlanta put me on the road last week.  I used to travel extensively, now, not so much.  But traveling gives me a nice excuse to try some new beers.  While waiting for a delayed US Airways flight I stopped at TGIF in the Pittsburgh airport and ordered a Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale, and was I disappointed.  I’ve had this beer before and recall enjoying it, but this was harsh and not well balanced.  Now it was probably too cold, but still the combination of Northern Brewer and Cascade hops just did not do it for me.

The next evening I was in Atlanta and a colleague of mine and I visited Max Lager’s Wood Fired grill.  The place had a great aroma (lightly smokey, which I admit at first pass sounds bad, but it wasn’t) and served wood fired food.  We ordered pizza, and it was good. It wasn’t the super thin crunchy crust I love (Piece, Chicago, I gotta get back!), but it was thin crust and the ingredients were fresh and tasty.  I sampled three of their beers including the Amber Lager, IPA, and Scotch Ale.  All were good.  The IPA had loads of hop flavor and the menu claimed it was 70 IBUs, but it tasted nowhere near that to me.  My colleague who is leery of super bitter IPAs loved it.  The Scotch Ale was maybe a little too sweet but it made a great dessert beer.  All of the beers had a rich mouthfeel.  At the time I did not consider it might be diacetyl, which I don’t really taste but feel on my tongue.  I was wondering if the water might be high in sodium and/or chloride ( a quick search shows Atlanta water to be very soft and low in minerals – I wonder if they add?).  Anyway, if you are in Atlanta give them a shot.

Also I went to the Brick House Pub in Decatur.  A large number of taps including a very nice selection of Belgian and US beers.  Plus a ton of bottle selections.  I did not eat much here, but the few bites of the muffuletta were very good.  The other great thing about this place is that the Marta light rail station is close by, so no driving required, you just have to stay sober enough to walk.

The last beer I had was a pale ale at the TGIF in the B concourse of the Atlanta airport.  The place was so busy I did not even get the name of the brewery, but it was satisfying.  That is what is great about the US beer scene – almost anywhere you go, you can get good beer.

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