In June, when I first met the Davieses for a peek inside Biggerstaff, the brewery and kitchen equipment were in, but most of the space was still under construction, though they hoped to open in late July or early August.
“We want the food to be as important as the beer,” Clay Davies said at the time, echoed by Sarah Davies, who said, “We want people to be excited by tasting and pairing food and beer.”
They also explained that the coffee bar would be a major component of the concept. Their son, Cole Davies, who worked at Octane/Revelator, Spiller Park and Steady Hand, is in charge of the program, which features Intelligentsia Coffee, tea, and house-made seltzer, along with pastries from Alon’s.
The three Davieses make Biggerstaff a family business. But the name comes from Sarah’s mother’s side. They were farmers in North Carolina, with lots of characters, and colorful stories. So the beers are all named for Biggerstaff family members. Hence, Aunt Hattie is a New England IPA, while Redus is a West Coast IPA, and Uncle Clarence is a wheat kettle sour.
The Davieses are longtime homebrewers, and they brought in longtime Atlanta homebrewer, turned commercial brewer, Chris Collier as director of brewing operations. Davis King, who worked at a string of Atlanta fine dining restaurants, including Seven Lamps, Tavernpointe, Bacchanalia and the Optimist, is the executive chef.
Recently, the team got together at a table next to the bar at Biggerstaff to talk about the food and beer, and the design.
“I think the important philosophy behind the menu is hitting on Southern regional cuisine,” King said. “Pickles, cornbread, things that you might find in the South that ties into the Biggerstaff family. And then, also, trying to get away from greasy spoon brewery food.
“It’s a kind of lighter approach to food that pairs well with beer, rather than food that just soaks up the beer. But it’s also about using the highest-quality ingredients. Sourcing our beef and pork locally. And for the pickle plate, all the vegetables are seasonal, the way it was when people were preserving and canning.”
The menu is divided into snacks, small plates, sandwiches, large plates and desserts.
Across those categories, you’ll find Cornbread Bites with whipped sweet onion butter; the six-minute Atlanta Egg with lemon pepper chicken sausage and house dill dressing; Smoked Vidalia Onion Rings with barbecue sauce; a Smoked Brisket sandwich with sweet peppers; and Honey Butter Ribs with fingerling potatoes and mushroom salad.
“We’re doing lots of hop-forward beers,” Collier said. “Not necessarily bitter, but obviously we have two IPAs, we have two pale ales, and we have a coffee session ale.”
“We came out of the gate wanting to make beers that we knew we could make well, and that we wanted to drink right now,” Clay Davies said. “Some of the recipes Cole and I developed over years of homebrewing, and Chris has his own recipes, as well. So we just collaborated, and we’re really happy with how all of them have turned out so far.”
Along with the food and beer, the wide-open, indoor-outdoor space may be the most important part of the concept.
“Our goal from the very start was that we wanted it to be something that was different from the typical brewpub,” Sarah Davies said. “We didn’t want a tavern kind of dark and dingy look, so we worked with our architect to come up with an industrial-slash-vintage farm-themed look.
“And I didn’t want it to just be a masculine setting. I wanted it to be a place where families could come in, and everyone would appreciate the design. We have a mix of wood and metal and lots of plants. And with the open design, we really wanted people to be able to see into the brewery and the kitchen.”
Coffee Bar: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. Kitchen and bar: 4-10 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
537 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-796-9919, biggerstaffbrewing.com.
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