As part of my full-time job, I have to do a bit of travel. I typically don’t get to see much of the cities I visit beyond whatever sights can be seen through the car window during the drive between the airport and the hotel, but once in a while the opportunity presents itself to make a side trip to a local bar or grocery store. This has been one of those trips.

As I write this post, I am currently find myself in Atlanta, Ga. I am here to shoot a bit of video, but my evenings have been largely free. This has provided me with a great chance to not just see some sights, but to also sample some local flavors.

While I certainly haven’t had the chance to sample all the craft brews that Atlanta has to offer, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to try a few beers that just aren’t available in the STL. Each has been delicious in its own unique way, and it is clear that the craft brewing scene in the dirty south is alive and well.

Among my samplings have been Red Brick Brewing’s Hoplanta, Monday Night Brewing’s Eye Patch Ale, the Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale and Terrapin Beer Co.’s Rye Pale Ale (which I am currently enjoying a six pack of in my hotel room).

First and foremost let me say that each of these brews were excellent. To call any one of them enjoyable would be an understatement.

The Hoplanta was my first opportunity to delve into the ATL craft beers. They claim that it’s “hoppier then a bullfrog with a stubbed toe” I found it to be pretty darn hoppy, but not over poweringly so. It finished smooth, and left me wanting more. I had two with dinner (blackened grouper if you were curious) and would have had more, but my coworkers were in a rush to get back to the hotel. Boring.

Upon my return to the hotel, stir craziness kicked in, and I was filled with the strong desire to drink some more. I was dying to try some of the offerings produced by Monday Night Brewing. I have been an avid reader of their blog for quite some time, and I was super excited to learn from their site that a bar just a few minutes away had their beer on tap. I made a dash to said bar (Firkin and Gryphon) which was a pretty cool place in its own right. Great beer selection and a cool ambiance.

I tried the MNB Eye Patch Ale, which they describe as a “crisp, drinkable IPA.” I found the first few sips to be very bitter, but once it was on my palate it went down smooth, and all the subtle notes began to come out. It was a darn fine beer. I was hoping to try more of their brews, but alas, this was all that the fine firkin folk’s had.

Tuesday night’s dinner provide me with the chance to try some additional Gerogia brew. I had a few, but my favorite of the evening was the Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale. It was very similar to the Regular Guy APA and kind of made me a bit homesick.

Once back to the hotel, I had to go run a couple errands, including one to the local Publix grocery store. While there, I took the opportunity to peruse the beer aisle.  It was here that I came across the Terrapin Rye Pale Ale that I am drinking at this moment.

I don’t know that Justin or Brian would enjoy this beer, but I sure do. It is much more bitterer than our APA. It is apparently brewed with rye, which is a huge seperation from most pale ales which are brewed with 2-row barley. It’s a dry beer, but it still has a bit of sweetness to it. I like it…I like it a lot.

So long story short, Atlanta has some darn fine beer. It gives me a great deal of hope for what Regular Guy Brewing might one day become. I know we are in a whole different market, and that St. Louis is a very different animal than Atlanta, but if all these craft brewers can succeed here…why can’t the same happen back home?

It further invigorates me to brew some truly kick ass beer. Can’t wait to get home, and brew that next batch!