I had the opportunity to attend a little slice of heaven in the form of a beer brunch. Well, it was actually more like I stumbled into the wrong place because Atlanta addresses still confuse me. But regardless of how I was able to sit and dine in a warming atmosphere of open-mindedness, the experience was something I’ll reminisce about as one of my best discoveries in The A.
The brunch, presented by The Atlanta Beer Boutique, was held at a tea shop called Just Add Honey (171 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, G.A.). It is a cute and intimate store and venue, stocked with hand crafted and customized tea flavors. Though I didn’t get to try any aromas, the smell alone was enough to justify the relaxing powers the teas possess. I do plan on revisiting to rack up on some flavors (#supportindies). The store was arranged for this occasion as a Thanksgiving dinner layout, with each patron sitting side by side, close enough to be comfortable and spark entertaining conversations. The amount of laughs I had waiting between courses was unbelievable. I really felt like I was having dinner with close family.
As the brunch commenced, owner and operator of ATL Beer Boutique Jen Price began to give us tidbits and history lessons on the beer pairings. For instance, the way to tell if a beer is too old is by looking for chunks of flakes at the bottom of the glass. Flakes indicate that the beer isn’t fresh and shouldn’t be consumed. She also broke down bitterness, aromas, and dry hopping, very detailed attributes and processes that result in the beverage many consume. Though the information was intriguing, the food pairings are what really blew me away.
We started our courses with a “small bite” as the brunches chef Glenn Lyles explained. It was a tomato bacon cheese toast: sour dough bread, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, applewood smoked bacon, all lightly toasted. Our beer pairing was a beer mimosa or a “Beermosa”. As a light beer drinker, it would never cross my mind to replace champagne for beer in a mimosa, but coupled with the appetizer, it gave of the perfect rounded tastes. It wasn’t too acidic, add some sweet flavors and the bread was the toasted just right. Plus, any dish with bacon in it is a winner in my book.
Our second was a crowd and chef favorite. The dish was a homemade biscuit topped with smoked salmon and scrabble eggs. Inspired by “Nana”, the chef wanted to create this dish as a tribute but with a modern twist. Glenn described the process, starting from scratch and executing many trials until this final result (“We did this about 10-11 times to get the perfect recipe”). It had the right amount of balance between such extreme tastes: the biscuit and salmon gave off a very sweet and fluffed taste while the lemon cream sauce countered it with a sour finish.
Our third course for dessert was my dream come true. I love this time of year specifically because pumpkin inspired ANYTHING comes back in style and this course didn’t disappoint. It was a pumpkin bread pudding, made from organic ingredients from the Farmer’s Market: dried cranberry and walnuts, bourbon glaze and pumpkin flavoring. Coupled with the beer pairing for this dessert, the taste really exploded in my mouth. The intensity of the beer, Jekyll Barley, was enough to amplify the rich flavor of the pudding, accenting each ingredient to produce a very warm and filling dessert. I was telling some people sitting next to me that I felt like this course took me to a cabin in the woods: very robust and woody aroma that heats up your insides on the way down making you feel cozy on the outside.
After all the good drinks, amazing food, and tons of laughs, I got to chat with owner of ATL Beer Boutique to ask her how it all started and what the future held. “I always had a passion for beer and my appreciation and love for it has developed over the years…I really want to educate and expose people to bear.”
Being one of the many she tries to target, the person who’s beer experiences haven’t always been great, I assured her that my mind and perspective of beer was completely altered by that event. And that’s all she’s aiming to accomplish, stating that the mission of the boutique is “to elevate beer among people who are beer curious to beer conscious.” She goes on to explain what her experiences have taught her about those skeptical about beer, “Many come to beer hesitatingly because of past experiences, so we try to hide beer within a whole experience to make it more interesting and appealing, like parents do with vegetables.”
Great metaphor. If you’d like to stay updated on the next event, check out all the links below and sign up!