We chilled out during the day, something I’d sorely lacked on the trip thus far, and with my parents, headed to Maddy’s Rib & Blues for dinner. Maddy’s isn’t a craft beer destination but carries the local Sweetwater and Terrapin on draft as well as a couple other crafts. I ordered a Terrapin Rye Pale Ale and a half rib and chopped pork combo plate with mac ‘n cheese as the side. Maddy’s uses a tomato-based barbecue and is quite good. It’s a bare bones kind of place, with a long rectangular painted cinder block room and blues music on the speakers, and live music on the stage at the back of the room most nights. It’s a great place to sip a local beer, eat ‘cue & listen to the blues, and it’s on the way to Decatur from my parent’s house, my favorite craft beer area in Atlanta.
Sated, the five of us (my brother had met us at Maddy’s) drove a short way to Twain’s Billiards and Tap. Twain’s became a brewpub only a year and five months ago, before that it was a bar/pool hall. This was my second visit to Twain’s, I’d been nicely surprised by the quality of their beers last year and was looking forward to trying them again. Twain’s is located in a huge, open warehouse-like space with large front windows. Georgia brewery logo murals are painted on the walls, large model planes hang from the ceiling, breweriana, artwork, and book pages decorate the walls, chandeliers made of tap handles dangle overhead, booths constructed of concrete blocks & wood, while wood champagne racks hang above the boots and half oval-shaped wood bar with sixteen padded backed chairs. The chandeliers, bar, and much of the artwork hanging on the walls was made by the brothers that own the bar’s retired physician father. The brewer, Jordan brewed at the defunct Dogwood Brewery. Seven of his beers were on tap: Sleepy Conscience ESB, mad Happy Pale Ale, Randalized Mad Happy (oak chips tonight), Irreverent Liberty IPA, Billiard Brown, 3 Lies Cocoa Stout, and Stormy’s Trippel Ale and one on cask, the Applewood aged Stout. My favorites were the ESB, very nice toasty aroma, light sweetness, nice biscuity/toasty flavor with bitterness increasing after the swallow, the Brown, beautiful toastiness, a sweet light molasses balanced with hop bitterness, and the stout with its big cocoa nose, roasty with more chocolate in the mouth and a nice bittering balance. I was underwhelmed by the pale ales and IPA, although they were all very drinkable, just not as impressive as the others. The tripel had fresh fruit and alcohol heat dominate the nose, honey and more fresh fruit and alcohol heat in the mouth and a pretty big body, a smooth beer at a whopping 12% ABV, would never have guessed it was that high. The cask was also a favorite, with tons of chocolate, dark fruit and a bit of heat in the nose, woody smokiness in the mouth, very flavorsome. Twain’s also offers 44 craft bottles and 5 micros. There’s a live music stage in the front, thirteen pool tables, two shuffleboard tables, four dart lanes, a foosball table and various arcade games for entertainment. Twain’s is a funky, comfy and spacious joint to hang out in, and with the fine quality of beer offered, a place I’d be hanging if I ever find myself living in Atlanta again.
Brick Store Pub was calling, though, and we drove over, lucking out with a parking space out front. It should be noted that both Twain’s and Brick Store are within walking distance of the Decatur Marta station, making them even more attractive to a public transportation junkie like myself. This was my 4th or 5th visit to Brick Store and it was still as natty as on my first visit. You walk into a room with a two-story high dark ceiling with exposed brick walls on the right side, rough painted walls on the left, wood floors, wood tables and chairs up front and a large u-shaped bar with around sixteen stools in the back. Stairs to the left of the bar lead up to a small loft area overlooking the main room with more exposed brick and walls composed of wood doors, fitted with wood tables and chairs. Continue walking once you reach the top of the stairs, hang a left and you enter the Belgian bar and its adjoining room, low-ceiling with exposed rafter ceilings, more exposed brick, walls lined with doors, skylights, wood booths, tables and floors. The whole place is cozy, intriguing and utterly cool. We started at the bar upstairs but were quickly moved to a table. 25 draft beers are on offer, broken down into seventeen American craft and import from the downstairs bar and eight Belgian or Belgian-style from the upstairs bar plus around 200 bottles. Mom ordered a bottle of Troublette, Dad a cask Victory Storm King, JB a Flying Dog Gonzo Baltic Porter, and I a DeProef Signature Ale and a Schlenkerla Fest, completely breaking my local streak. The Signature was beautiful, sour, sweet, and fruity while the Schenkerla was smoky goodness. We ordered Brunswick Stew (a Southern specialty I don’t see much up north), soft pretzels, and a cheese plate, going local here as well, as all the cheeses were from Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia: Green Hill double cream cow’s milk, Sevenwood 3 month aged raw cow’s milk and Georgia Pecan Chevre aged goat’s milk with organic pecans. Everything was yummy. Brick Store can get quite crowded, but that’s the only drawback as far as I’m concerned, it’s a must when in Atlanta!