Standing out among the neighboring nightlife attractions on Atlanta's Peachtree Street is the Atlanta Beer Garten. The busy, semi-covered outdoor patio is spotted first, music from its live band flooding the crowded sidewalks. Groups play Wednesday through Sunday. Inside, a light wood bar with padded dark wood chairs occupies the center of the building that accommodates 400. The low ceiling at the front creates a more cozy atmosphere where tall tables and chairs offer viewing of the numerous silent TVs and their sporting events. The rustic wood floors remind you "this ain't no disco", while the German, U.S. and Georgia flags hanging near the patio emphasize the cultures at play here. The rear of the building is home to two pool tables, more tables, dartboards, booth seating, and a projection TV.
Highly visible along the windowed left wall is the brewhouse, its copper DME brew vessels and 15-barrel stainless steel unitank fermenters shining brightly under the spotlights. Its output is consumed a few feet away, dispensed via three seven-tap towers featuring painted wood and ceramic tap handles. The Dunkel Weizen is dark amber with a tartness accompanied by a mellow maltiness and smooth mouthfeel. The Buckhead Ale comes in at 5% alcohol (abv) with its full mouthfeel, nice malty flavor and underlying hops that lead to a short finish. The 5.5% Beergarten Alt is a clear mahogany color and features a sharp, dry maltiness, medium body, and very smooth finish. The Buffalo Skull, 5.7%, is clear dark amber in color. Starting with a very malty flavor, an alcohol character becomes apparent just prior to the dry finish. The Lunatic Light, at 4.5%, is a clear gold color with a light body, but evenly balanced pale malt and hops flavors. A slight hop bitterness lingers well into the finish. The "big brother" of the Lite is the 4.8% Lunatic Lager. Also clear gold in appearance, this very clean beer offers a bigger body, more maltiness, and a mellow matching hop bitterness. The amber-colored Terminus Ale is on the dry, malty side. Medium-bodied, its hops tend to dominate the flavor balance and carry into the finish. Available at other times are the Big Yak and Buck Red Ale. Bud Light is also served on demand.
The food menu is basic pub fare at typical prices. The Starters list features Wings, Nachos, and Tenders that run $4 to $11; Entrées are $8 to $15 and include Ribs, Wurst, Steak, Pasta, and Fish; Burgers & Such are $6 to $8; while Soups & Salads are $2 to $8. The beer menu offers variety in both styles and serving sizes. Pints are $3.75, liters $6.50, 2 liter pitchers $12.50, and a sampler of seven four-ounce tasters $4.25. A common order weekend nights from young male customers is "A pitcher and one (glass)." Although smoking is commonplace among the 20-something crowd, the open front and patio doors provide a steady supply of breathable air flowing in. The fact that cigars are sold does not help the breathing situation any. Merchandising opportunities are not overlooked, a gift shop offers branded souvenirs. Even with all the nearby competition for this same target audience, the top-notch beers and the Rock & Roll atmosphere of the Atlanta Beer Garten keep its business going strong.
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - April,
Atlanta Beer Garten
3013 Peachtree St.