Sunday, December 21, 2008

Beering in Atlanta: Max Lager's

I'm still out here on the water, trying to get that oil and will be flying back in on Christmas Day. Offshore guys typically do not get holidays, but as an engineer I usually could work it to get the holidays off. I probably had a chance 4 weeks ago to set it up to go in on Monday, but I plan on going to Obama's Inauguration, and I want to carry over the vacation for that trip. It's really not so bad being out here for holidays, you just celebrate the holiday either before or after with the family when you are home. Plus the cooking crew breaks out the lobster tails and whatnot. The thing that makes it hard is that everyone keeps asking me "why are you working up to Christmas Day?" That doesn't make it any better. I'm here b/c that's the schedule. Funny thing is the guy wanted to send me in early and said he had me down on the Monday flight though I thought they had me on the Thursday flight. I kinda let myself get excited, and even told my boss back in Houston that I'll be coming in early. Turns out the helicopter guy hadn't read the manifest correctly and I was in fact scheduled to go in on Thursday, and the Monday flight is full. I should have ordered a drug test.

My wife and I are already ready for me to get back home on Christmas afternoon, and she has been racking up the Christmas/Winter Beer for me. Selections such as Widmer Brrr and Winterhook, as well as a St. Arnolds Winter Stout await me in Houston. Not to mention the Sam Adams Chocolate Bock and Abita Christmas. That woman knows how to treat her man.

But I still have some Atlanta posts to go, so here we go...
Beer Log: December 11, 2008

Max Lager's
I'm taking a couple of Georgia Tech students to dinner and I wanted to try this brewpub nestled right on Peachtree street, in a picturesque part of downtown Atlanta. It was only 0.8 miles from my hotel, but I drove anyway. I should have just enjoyed the walk, as it took me 20 minutes to find parking. The brewpub had some of its vessels right up front, with a old style log cabin kind of decor. Nice little bar up front with an upstairs that houses the fermenters and more seating. The students have not arrived yet, so I belly up to the bar for their first beer.

Not too creative with the names. Dark mahogany with an off white head. The nose is full of citrusy hops and caramel malt, rather piney as well. The head is very strong and I kinda have to wait it out. The taste is not too exciting, but it is rather hoppy with a slight malt. In fact the hops are pretty damn good and the beer has a strong lace sticking on the glass. I'll give it a 3 Stars. It is nice to have a hoppy beer in Atlanta.

The students have arrived and I take my beer to the table. We forgo the appetizers as they are all weary about spending my money, isn't that cute. In a few years, they'll be ordering bottles of wine on my dime. Next beer...

This one had a belgian wheat ale smell. There are some hops in there, but it's kind of plain. 2 Stars. I actually crossed out IPA and wrote in Abbey, as I thought this was their belgian, but they assured me it was their IPA. Could be something with the beer lines or whatever, but it seemed like the belgian to me. As I continued drinking it, I got more of the hop character.

I did not write much text on the review as I'm supposed to be talking to the students, not sampling beer.

After some conversation about Tech life, work life, and whatnot, the owner or GM of the place comes by to ask how we are doing. The steak I had was excellent. I asked him about that IPA and if they used a belgian yeast. He reveals to me that he is not the brewer, but the brewer was upstairs. A few minutes later, the brewer (a man they call J.R.) comes down and we talk beer and yeast for a little bit. As cool as this is, I'm trying to cut it a little short as I'm sure the students were thinking "WTF". He said he used a California Ale Yeast on that IPA. Oh well.

We get back to chatting it up with the students (the guy ordered a miller lite and the girl ordered a hard lemonade, how sweet). I go ahead and get a chalice of Max's Abbey Ale to finish out the night.

Abbey Ale
Good wheat and banana smell and taste. Cloudy with a white head. EXCELLENT on the flavor, carbo, and drinkability. Certainly a 4 Star. After downing about half of this brew, the waitress tells me that it is actually a Grand Cru. Fantastic, I'm going to drunk in front of the kids. I explain to them that this type of belgian is very good yet high in alcohol. It wasn't killer on the ABV, and I was fine.

We hung around for quite a while longer talking engineering, their hopes and dreams, as well as mine. A very good experience for Max's. I did not get all their beers, but I had a great experience, and the food was great. Come to think of it, I don't think any of the stuff I had was a lager, yet they call the place Max's Lager. Go figure.

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