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The Porter in Atlanta much more than just a beer bar

Nestled in a funky, somewhat grungy corner of Little Five Points in Atlanta, Ga., The Porter Beer Bar appears rather low brow form the exterior. When you step through the door the impression does not change much with its dark wood cabinets, grey concrete bar, and Mason jar light fixtures. But, you would be wrong in setting your expectations low for this pearl of the burgeoning Atlanta beer scene.

Upon entering, a tattooed and bearded man asked if we would like a table or to sit at the bar. Because I like to be able to see how the bar runs and chat with the bartenders, we opted to sit at the bar. The bar stools seemed mismatched and held together with copious amounts of duct tape, but perhaps that is part of the atmosphere and charm.

We were greeted cheerfully by the bar manager, Justin Wickline who handed us two clipboards; one with the beer list and the other the menu. The Porter boasts around 40 taps of brews that, in the crowded Atlanta beer market, may not sound like a lot when you consider the typical Taco Mac trumps that number with over 100. But, at The Porter, it is not the quantity but rather the quality of their tap choices that draw drinkers to the bar.

On tap the morning we visited was the likes of: Duck Rabbit Duck-Rabbator, Evil Twin Freudian Slip, Green Flash Le Freak, and Lost Abbey 10 Commandments. Along with the taps, imbibers have the option of two brews on beer engines. On our visit there was only one choice, but it was the excellent Allagash Curieux. In addition the bar has an extensive bottle collection ranging from obscure Belgian brews like Pico Alvine Gaspar to excellent American brews like Founders Red Rye Ale.

Wickline was a font of information and definitely knew his beer. As we sat and chatted he presented several beers for us to taste and gave a little information on each. We worked quickly and adeptly to fill orders, take orders, and discuss the finer points of Belgian IPAs. A better bartender would be difficult to find.

Beer, though, is not the only story at the Porter. The food at this quirky little slice of heaven is phenomenal, too. The menu contained such delights as Poutine – rosemary fries covered in parmesan cheese gravy, and cheese curds, Pork & Foie Gras Terrine served with drunken raisins, whole grain mustard, pecans, bacon jam, and bacon powder, and Brasstown Pork Belly served with arugula, cherry tomatoes, bacon vinaigrette, and roasted hatch pepper.

I chose the brunch special Hangover Hash, which was a potent combination of corned beef, potatoes, red peppers, and onions topped with Buffalo sauce and three fried eggs. My companion opted for the Porter’s Half-Pound Cheeseburger of house-made fresh Angus beef patty, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, homemade pickled red onions, and homemade pickles. The hash was delightfully spicy, but not so much so that the flavor of the corned beef and potatoes were masked. My companion’s cheeseburger was perfectly cooked and heaped with toppings; she could only manage to eat half of the monster.

All-in-all, The Porter, which was recommended to me by a brewer friend, was an excellent choice for a Saturday morning lunch before an afternoon of visiting breweries. The excellent beer choices primed us for later consumption and the food kept us nourished as well as very happy. On our next road trip to Atlanta, The Porter will definitely be on our must-visit list. It should be on yours, too.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Beer, Restaurant, Travel

 

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Belgian National Holiday Feestdag to be celebrated with tastings and special events

The original flag from 1830

The original flag from 1830 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often revolution is sparked by existing passions roused to a boiling point by a work of art, music, or theater. Such is the case with the Belgian Revolution of 1830 in which the Belgian people rose up against the Dutch to wrestle its independence from The Netherlands in part as the result of the opera La muette de Portici. The opera dramatizes the historical uprising of Masaniello against Spanish rule in Naples in 1647.

With the aid of French intellectuals and armed forces, as well as the Catholic clergy who were against the Protestant Dutch King William I, the Belgian people fought for full independence. Because the European powers of the time feared Belgian may become a republic or get annexed to France, a monarch was found to lead the country from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in Germany. On July 21, 1831 the first Belgian king, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg was installed and the date became the Belgian National holiday known as Feestdag.

Since Belgium is known as one of the world’s greatest beer countries, it seems only fitting to celebrate their national holiday with beer-centric celebrations. Here in Jacksonville, there are several events taking place that you will not want to miss including a tasting, beer specials, and a special Bier Garden event at the Jacksonville Suns game.

The first event, takes place tomorrow night at Total Wine and More in the St. John’s Town Center with a tasting of Belgium’s top selling ale, Palm. Palm is a Belgian Pale Ale that was originally produced as competition to the pilsners and lagers that were becoming popular throughout Europe. It is described as neither heavy nor bitter with toasty malt aromas, slightly bitter orange flavors, and a tart, refreshing finish. The tasting at Total Wine will go from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

In addition to the tasting, all four European Street Cafes are celebrating with several specials. Look for beer specials on all week, a happy hour all day on Saturday, July 21 starting at 10:00 a.m. on Palm and Bright Lights White, a new Belgian-style Wit from Intuition Ale Works.

The new Belgian-style Wit from Intuition was fermented with the Celis yeast strain, the same strain used in Hoegaarden in Belgium. Ben and his crew also used a combination of Belgian Pilsner Malt, German Malted Wheat, and Munich Malt along with some flaked wheat and oats. To that grain bill, the wizards at Intuition added acidulated malt or what the Germans call Sauer Malt to give the beer a subtle tang. All the spice flavors percieved in the beer come from the yeast, as Ben says no spices were added.

Estreet is also celebrating with the popular Beer and baseball event at the Jacksonville Suns baseball game Saturday night. Every month baseball fans and beer-lovers alike can spend a night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in the European Street Café Bier Garden located in the left field area. For one low price fans can get admission to the game, all the beer you can drink and all the Estreet food, including Monster German Wieners, Estreet sandwiches and wraps, cole slaw and chips from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p. m. The price is just $20 and tickets are available at all European Street locations.

In addition, the guys out out at Engine 15 along with Carolyn Graham of Brown Distributing are planning to pull out a few surprises, Carolyn says, “It’ll be delicious, I promise.” Festivities begin at 2:00 p. m.

 

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