With eight rotating draft taps and a huge collection of Belgian and Belgian-style beers in the bottle, the intimate, rustic room with exposed brick and old wood-paneled doors recalls some of the great beer bars of Europe.
As Blanchard likes to point out, all Belgian beers at the Brick Store are poured in brewery-specific glassware — a detail, he’s proud to add, that is something not seen in any other pub outside of Belgium.
“The way we take care of the beer, and store it, and serve it, just made it a whole new and exciting experience for folks who were sort of going to the next phase of beer in Atlanta,” Blanchard said. “And because of this bar, we began selling crazy amounts of Belgian beer, which certainly got noticed by the distributors.”
Soon, the Belgian Bar earned a reputation as a go-to destination for visiting importers and brewers, such as Boon, who have hosted a series of tastings and beer dinners there.
“Over the last 12 years, I’ll bet we’ve met 20 or 30 owners of Belgian breweries who have come to Atlanta to visit and say thank you,” Blanchard said. “I think we’re still the No. 1 St. Bernardus account anywhere. And in 2010, we became only the fourth pub in the United States to receive the Orval Ambassadeur award — an award we’ve received each year since.”
Recalling the moment he was knighted in Brussels, Blanchard is still a tad thunderstruck.
“Obviously, it was a big deal,” he said. “But I don’t think I realized how big it was until I stood there that day. Just the majesty of it all. It was so well done. And it was so great to see beer treated in such a reverent way. They want us to be a living, ongoing ambassador for Belgian beer. That’s a really great thing.”
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