One Fine Meal: Pub grub, beer garden add to fun for all ages at Tucker Brewing

The expansive beer garden at Tucker Brewing is a popular outdoor gathering space that is family- and pet-friendly. Courtesy of Tucker Brewing
The expansive beer garden at Tucker Brewing is a popular outdoor gathering space that is family- and pet-friendly. Courtesy of Tucker Brewing

Credit: Tucker Brewing Company

Credit: Tucker Brewing Company

Situated in an industrial park and obscured by a dense row of narrow pine trees and a tall wooden fence, Tucker Brewing’s expansive beer garden is a hidden gem among the area’s outdoor gathering spaces.

When CEO and co-owner Ashley Hubbard added a kitchen last summer, it paved the way for a full-service dining experience, to better enjoy the atmosphere while sipping German-inspired beers.

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Ashley Hubbard, seen in the kitchen window, is owner of Tucker Brewing. Courtesy of Eliana Barnard, Tucker Brewing Co.
Ashley Hubbard, seen in the kitchen window, is owner of Tucker Brewing. Courtesy of Eliana Barnard, Tucker Brewing Co.

Credit: Eliana Barnard

Credit: Eliana Barnard

“Our menu reads a little like pub food, but I think it’s a little more elevated than that,” said Hubbard, whose degree from the Culinary Institute of America gets a regular workout as she tweaks the menu, learning “what works, what doesn’t work, what makes people happy or unhappy.”

A signature giant pretzel made at least 1,737 people happy in May — perhaps more, if any of those patrons who ordered it were willing to share. The massive buttery, salty, chewy knot is tasty on its own, but a dip into warm cheese spiked with the brewery’s Georgia Red Lager makes it doubly satisfying. Deliciousness aside, credit Hubbard’s marketing skills for some of the pretzel’s popularity: It comes to the table dangling from a hook affixed to a stand. “We wanted it to be a showstopper, and it is,” she said.

Other dishes, including fish and chips, sauerkraut bites and a cheeseburger with fries, might not be as head-turning, but they are proven winners.

Sauerkraut bites — crispy kraut-filled fritters with horseradish cream for dipping — are a shareable appetizer that’s nicely aligned with the brewpub’s German bent.

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Seared jumbo asparagus with house-made burrata (foreground) and sauerkraut bites are two shareable plates on the Tucker Brewing menu. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Seared jumbo asparagus with house-made burrata (foreground) and sauerkraut bites are two shareable plates on the Tucker Brewing menu. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Although entrees like pork schnitzel and its vegan counterpart, a chickpea schnitzel, are mainstays, Tucker Brewing keeps things fresh and seasonal. An order of pork schnitzel currently brings the pounded, breaded, pan-fried cutlet on spinach spaetzle, in a pool of artichoke cream. But, by mid-June, the spaetzle will be replaced with German potato salad and sauteed green spinach. Likewise, the gumbo and potatoes that accompany the chickpea schnitzel soon will be nixed in favor of steamed rice, sauteed asparagus and tomato chutney.

It’s really about “listening to customers and what they want,” Hubbard said.

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A Tucker Brewing employee manages the walk-up window in the beer garden, where patrons can purchase items not on the regular food menu, including kielbasa, bratwurst and all-beef hot dogs. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
A Tucker Brewing employee manages the walk-up window in the beer garden, where patrons can purchase items not on the regular food menu, including kielbasa, bratwurst and all-beef hot dogs. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

The Beer & Bites walk-up window — in a shipping container tucked in the corner of the 8,500-square-foot beer garden — is where they test food items. Currently available there are a brat, kielbasa and an all-beef hot dog.

“For the longest time, people were telling us they wanted a brat,” Hubbard said. “If they like it enough, we’ll add it to the menu.”

Tucker Brewing doesn’t push food boundaries, but, at a time when restaurantgoers are encountering long waits to be seated or fed, the kitchen and front of the house deliver — despite not being fully staffed.

Tucker Brewing’s 8,500-square-foot beer garden features a stage for live music, and a play area for children. Contributed by Gabriel Chapman
Tucker Brewing’s 8,500-square-foot beer garden features a stage for live music, and a play area for children. Contributed by Gabriel Chapman

Servers are attentive, and the menu is designed for speed (I’m pretty sure that pretzel was brought to the table within 5 minutes of ordering). Hubbard said 95% of the items are made from scratch, which equates to “a lot of labor on the front-end to prep, so the customer doesn’t feel that long delay for food.”

Other factors make this place a worthy destination: live music on alternating Thursdays, every Friday and Saturday, and sometimes on Sundays; a pet-friendly policy; and a beer garden that, to a child’s eye, looks like a romper room.

“Just because you have kids doesn’t mean your life stops,” said Hubbard, whose three children range in age from 4 to 1 year old. “That was the premise behind doing a kid’s area. I wanted it to be a community space, kids included.”

TUCKER BREWING CO.

Menu: brewpub with German inflections

Alcohol: beer

What I ordered: giant hot pretzel, sauerkraut bites, seared jumbo asparagus, pork schnitzel, lemon cheesecake. The giant pretzel is gratifying. Whatever else you order, start with that. The sauerkraut bites were moist inside, with a crisp exterior; I enjoyed the briny pungency of the kraut, coupled with the sharpness of the horseradish cream dipping sauce. The asparagus is topped with a knob of creamy house-made burrata, the real star of this appetizer. The pork schnitzel was on the dry side; spinach spaetzle lightened and brightened the plate.

Service options: dine-in, carryout; no delivery; order in person, online or via phone

Outdoor dining: front patio and 8,500-square-foot beer garden, both with some overhang cover and umbrella tables

Mask policy: not required of employees or customers

Address, phone: 2003 S. Bibb Drive, Tucker; 833-752-2400

Hours: 3-7 p.m. (beer only; kitchen closed) Mondays-Tuesdays; 4-9 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays; 4-10 p.m. Fridays; noon-10 p.m. Saturdays; 12:30-7 p.m. Sundays

Website: tuckerbrewing.com

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