New Realm Brewing opens tonight at 5 p.m., just in time for the broadcast of the CFP National Championship game live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium — which is interesting because the word most often heard from beer aficionados is that this place will be a “game-changer,” too.
The craft beer destination from former Stone Brewing brewmaster and IPA expert Mitch Steele and his veteran beer business partners Carey Falcone and Bob Powers is situated in Poncey-Highland, steps from the Atlanta Beltline , with dramatic panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline, and equally stunning multilevel vistas inside.
The former warehouse space was designed and reconfigured by Atlanta’s ai3 to accommodate a new restaurant with a rooftop bar and beer garden, state-of-the-art pilot and packaging breweries, and a growler bar with merchandise and beer to go.
Executive chef Julio Delgado, a native of Puerto Rico and a veteran of hotel and resort kitchens at the Ritz-Carlton and Château Élan, was most recently the opening chef at JP Atlanta, the Hotel Indigo restaurant in downtown Atlanta designed by architecture icon John C. Portman Jr.
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“I worked for the Ritz-Carlton for 14 years, and I was privileged to open nine hotels with them,” Delgado says. “This is a very different operation. But I’m super excited because not only am I working with a fantastic brewer, but Mitch is a very humble person who I talk with about how he makes beer and how we can combine that with food.”
Delgado’s extensive menu at New Realm takes on pub grub, as well as more sophisticated dishes with a local and Southern focus — from Georgia Peanut Hummus, and the Thomasville Tomme in a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich, to a Springer Mountain Farms beer can chicken, and Rice Flour Crusted Trout with pecan hop brown butter.
And besides keeping an eye toward beer pairings, Delgado is using some of Steele’s beers to flavor items like a French onion soup made with IPA.
“We’re actually even using his hops in some dishes,” Delgado says. “I’m sure that’s something that’s going to grow over time. But overall, we just want to make sure we have something for everybody, including vegetarians and vegans.”
In keeping with that, the New Realm logo is the face of Radegast, the Slavic god of hospitality.
Falcone, who lured Steele and Powers to Atlanta to open New Realm, says the big ideas for the brewery and restaurant came from a variety of sources in America and Europe.
“We started out visiting breweries across the U.S. and gathering best practices and putting the concept together,” Falcone says. “After visiting different small breweries across the world, Bob and I sat down and talked about how it would be cool if we took the beer garden we saw in Munich and put that with the rooftop we saw in London.”
Interestingly, Falcone, Powers and Steele saw Georgia’s backward brewery laws, which until last year were among the worst of any state in the U.S., as a distinct advantage rather than a disadvantage.
“The beer laws were horrific here, so you had a huge population center with very few breweries,” Falcone said. “You had more breweries in Asheville than you had in the entire state of Georgia. But it’s an amazing community here, with bars like Brick Store and Porter and Argosy, and a lot of consumers that love craft beer.
“The restaurant is marketing for us. We’re a brewery first. We want people from all over Atlanta and Georgia to come in off the Beltline, taste incredible food in a cool environment with incredible beers, then leave and go to other on- and off-premise places and enjoy Mitch’s beer.”
Among Steele’s opening beers, you’ll find special releases such as Radegast Triple IPA, and mainstays such as Hoplandia IPA, Perun Pale Ale, and Euphonia Pilsner, each brewed with blends of new and classic hop varieties.
“I’m an IPA fan for sure, and I want to brew a lot of IPAs, and do a lot of fun things with hops,” Steele says. “But I looked at this also as a chance to get back into brewing some classic styles, so that’s been a lot of fun for me.
“Variety is important. Having various beers to pair with various foods and for people who have different tastes was important. Having the pilot system was the best thing we could have done, because it gives us the ability to brew small batches of beer and test them out here.”
550 Somerset Terrace NE, Suite A, Atlanta. 404-968-2777, newrealmbrewing.com.
More images from a First Look at New Realm