Atlanta Orders In: Distribution in cans an advantage for New Realm Brewing

Birria-style braised beef brisket tacos, with sofrito black beans, and hopped chili-lime elote corn. 
Bob Townsend for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Caption
Birria-style braised beef brisket tacos, with sofrito black beans, and hopped chili-lime elote corn. Bob Townsend for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

When New Realm Brewing opened in January, 2018, the description heard most often was “game changer.”

The craft-beer destination, from former Stone Brewing brewmaster and IPA expert Mitch Steele, is located steps from the Atlanta Beltline in Poncey Highland, offering panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline from both the open-air rooftop bar and the sprawling beer garden. But, the brewery restaurant also offers an extensive menu, with imaginative pub grub and a focus on local and Southern ingredients.

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New Realm's house-made, hand-twisted Bavarian pretzel comes with beer cheese and jalapeño mustard sauces. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
New Realm's house-made, hand-twisted Bavarian pretzel comes with beer cheese and jalapeño mustard sauces. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

And, New Realm is a production brewery, too, with canned beer on sale in package and grocery stores, and to go at the shop in the taproom. That’s made a big difference during the pandemic.

“That’s been incredibly helpful,” Steele said. “Our business in cans saved us. We were able to transition over to doing mostly cans. But, the first couple of months, and the shutdown, were very tough on the restaurant. Fortunately, over the summer, with our outdoor areas, we did pretty well. Not back to normal, but it was encouraging to see.”

Wood-roasted Beet and Carrot salad with cashew chili crisp yogurt, miso verde, Euphonia pickled mustard seeds.
Bob Townsend for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Caption
Wood-roasted Beet and Carrot salad with cashew chili crisp yogurt, miso verde, Euphonia pickled mustard seeds. Bob Townsend for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

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Safety measures that New Realm has undertaken include masks for employees in both the restaurant and the brewery, strict sanitizing procedures, and COVID-19 testing every two weeks.

“Everybody on the team has been incredibly flexible, and cooperative with what we’ve tried to do,” Steele said. “Our big focus is making sure our team feels safe and is taken care of. That was our first priority when things shut down, and it still is. And, it’s nice to see that people are comfortable coming here.”

As far as day-to-day production in the brewery, he said, that hasn’t changed much.

New Realm's buffalo chicken pizza is made with Alfredo, buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan reggiano, and ranch. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Caption
New Realm's buffalo chicken pizza is made with Alfredo, buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan reggiano, and ranch. Bob Townsend for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

“We listen to what the managers in the restaurant tell us works well for them,” Steele said. “Back in the early spring, we were doing a lot of crowlers. Now, we’re selling a fair amount of beer to go in cans. And, the mixed packs and 12-packs seem to be doing really well.”

Overall, Steele said New Realm was in a better position than a lot of small breweries.

“That’s because we put our focus on distribution very early on,” he said. “Plus, we’re walking distance from the Beltline for a lot of people, who can just pop in and get a beer or some food to go.”

The person in charge of all of the food at New Realm is Executive Chef Megan Brent, and her job has been a bit more difficult since takeout became an important part of the business.

“We were more of a destination, to go and visit, because of the brewery and the Beltline,” Brent said. “People were more apt to come and see us while they were out and about. Now, things have taken a bit of a turn to takeout. And, we have the beer window, where people can order food outside.”

Brent noted that her menu is “not just food that goes with beer, but food that’s made with beer — including beer-pickled mustard seeds, beer vinegar and beer vinaigrette. We have all these beers that Mitch is making, and they’re all so different and complex, it brings something to each dish that is unique,” she said. “I’m trying to get people who don’t normally drink beer to get those aromas of beer.”

Like Steele, Brent paid tribute to her team, and the hard work they’ve been doing.

“I’m really proud of the staff, and how they’ve been able to adapt to the changes, and still be motivated,” she said. “It’s really hard on anybody who is a line cook right now, because you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day. But, they’re coming in every day, dedicated.”

NEW REALM BREWING

Menu: creative, beer-focused

Alcohol: beer brewed on-premises available on tap, and to go in cans and crowlers

What I ordered: The house-made Bavarian pretzel, which came with beer cheese and jalapeño mustard — and instructions to finish baking it in the oven — was a treat with a New Realm IPA. Both the wood-roasted beet and carrot salad and the Buffalo chicken pizza were really good, too. But, the birria-style braised beef brisket tacos, with El Milagro tortillas, black beans and hopped chili-lime elote street corn, was a standout. I also appreciated the sturdy, biodegradable containers.

Service options: indoor or outdoor dining; QR codes; takeout with online ordering

Outdoor dining: sprawling patio areas along the Atlanta Beltline, with a to-go window for beer and food; open-air rooftop

Mask policy: employees and customers wear masks

Address, phone: 550 Somerset Terrace NE, Atlanta; 404-968-2777

Hours: noon-10 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays.

Website: newrealmbrewing.com

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