In Search of ... beer

Fads come and go, but trends help us foodies take the temperature of our restaurant climate. The past year has brought us pizzerias, taquerias and burgerias. Also in vogue: beer. Beer paired with everything from brownies to foie gras. But don’t take it from me. “Beer Town’s” Bob Townsend agrees, “I’ve been writing about beer for nearly a decade, but the past year or so has been by far the most exciting time for beer in Atlanta.” See? ‘Nuff said. Here are some spots that Bob and I both agree will whet your ‘buds for beer.

BookHouse Pub (not rated)

736 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta, 404-254-1176,

The fare at this faux book nook on Ponce teeters toward that of a gastro pub, with inventive oddities such as collard green egg rolls rounding out a menu of burgers and beef cheek pot pie. And the beer list is just as eclectic and satisfying, with nearly 20 taps, plus more than 50 well-chosen offerings in the bottle.

Brick Store Pub (not rated)

125 E. Court Square, Decatur, 404-687-0990,

Buddies Dave Blanchard, Mike Gallagher and Tom Moore opened the Brick Store Pub in June 1997. In the 12 years hence, their pub has become the beer geek gathering place in the area. Why? Because everyone loves these guys. They make a mean corned beef on rye. And they have the best selection of beer in the city specializing in English, German and Belgian beers. Beers on draught: Atlanta’s Red Brick Chocolate Oatmeal Porter, velvety Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock plus the “Belgian Bar” of Belgian ales. In the bottle: everything from Bard’s Tale gluten-free beer to Anchor Steam. Belly up to the bar.

Leon’s Full Service

131 E. Ponce de Leon, Decatur, 404-687-0500,

Take the guys from Brick Store Pub (see above); add a menu of gastro pub-grubbish gobbles and a cocktail list from up-and-coming barkeep extraordinaire Miles Macquarrie and you’ve got a stylish joint in Decatur that easily rivals its sister spot for popularity. But wait — the beer list includes geeky pours such as McAuslan St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Saison Dupont, and Atlanta’s own soon-to-be bottled Terrapin’s Hopsecutioner.

Porter Beer Bar

1156 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, 404-223-0393,

This prime spot in Little Five Points serves hip bar food (think goat cheese fritters, not fries, though they have fries — very good fries) and has 29 beers on tap plus more than 200 in the bottle. According to Draft magazine, chef Nick Rutherford’s menu “ups the ante for beer bars in the city.” Tastings of Belgians and IPAs, as well as beer cocktails, abound.

Taco Mac Perimeter Place (not rated)

1211 Ashford Crossing, Atlanta, 678-336-1381,

Maybe it’s the 100 beers on draught and 305 in the bottle. Maybe it’s the 30-plus television screens. Naahhh. We all go for the hot wings, right? Not so fast. Townsend places this location of Atlanta’s most ubiquitous beer joint as one of the top on his list.