One of the great things about visiting new cities is trying new, regional beer. On a business trip to Atlanta, I jumped at the chance to try a handful of beers I can’t find in my native Texas.
On one evening, looking for food and drink within walking distance of my downtown Atlanta hotel, I stumbled on the listing for Max Lager’s Wood Fired-Grill and Brewery. As it was generally well reviewed, and seemed reasonably priced for a downtown establishment, I figured I’d give it a try.
Upon arrival, I found Max Lager’s to be absolutely packed. Considering I visited at 7pm on a weeknight, it was a great sign. The interior of the restaurant has an industrial theme, a common theme of eateries in urban areas. Bedecked with TV’s and playing mostly alternative music, I knew I had found a place for me. And then I saw the beer menu….
While technically a brewpub and not a straight up brewery, Max Lager’s had a surprisingly robust list of craft beers. Unfortunately, the White Oak White, a Belgian Wit, was not available that evening. As a fan of Belgian beers, I was disheartened but still eager to sample the other wares.
Visiting Georgia, and as a fan of sour beer, it only made sense that the Pechetree Tart was my first stop. The bartender checked in to ensure sour beer was my thing, and it’s a good thing he did. This beer was tremendously tart and sour, but in a great way. While the flavors were robust, they weren’t overwhelming and they conceded to the relatively gentle flavor of the peach.
The sourness of the the beer lingers in the aftertaste. It does dwindle a little between mouthfuls, but its definitely present. Keep this in mind if pairing with food, as I could see it drowning out or competing with a number of meals.
For my second option, I conferred with the bartender. As someone who has slowly grown to appreciate IPA’s, I still maintain reservations and actively avoid “hopbombs”. Despite my worry, I took the bartenders advice and ordered a Hopsplosion!!! IPA.
Well, the name leaves little to the imagination. This is a very hoppy beer. An intense, hoppy rush met my tongue immediately. I like to think my tolerance for bitterness has increased markedly, because I firmly believe I would not have enjoyed this previously. If you’re not a hop fan, it’s probably best to avoid this one.
What I did appreciate, due to my aforementioned love-hate relationship with the powerful flavors of hops, was that the intense flavors subsided in the aftertaste. The beer paired well with the Max Burger.
The Max Burger was reasonable as far as pub-food is concerned. The beef is angus quality, and the other ingredients were fresh. My only qualm is that it was somewhat bland. Of course, I don’t really expect overwhelming flavor from a burger, but this one just didn’t have the “it factor” I might have expected from a place clearly designed to cater to craft beer fans and, implied by extension, foodies (of some degree). Still, my impression of the burger was better than neutral.
I rounded out my Max Lager’s experience with the Proclivity Pilsner. I was impressed by the flavor profile of this one. Whereas it’s easy for pilsner style beers to be fairly bland and particularly watery, I felt that Proclivity had an appropriate mouth feel and weight of flavors. It’s considerably more hop forward than many of this style, and also had a pleasant malty flavor.
All in all, I was very happy with my experience at Max Lager’s. My opportunities to visit other local businesses were somewhat limited, but I was thoroughly impressed by the overall experience at Max Lager’s. If you find yourself in the city of Atlanta and are seeking a quality beer experience, give Max Lager’s a try.
- Pechetree Tart: 8/10
- Hopsplosion IPA 7.5/10
- Proclivity IPA: 8/10
- Max Burger: 7/10
- Overall Experience: 8/10
So There You Have It
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