Is there anything better than a cold beer on a warm summer day? How about sipping a really good beer on the patio or deck of a great pub?
Happily, that’s much easier nowadays, with many more places around metro Atlanta featuring impressive beer lists and inviting outdoor spaces.
At the Bookhouse Pub on Ponce De Leon Avenue in Poncey Highland, you’ll find 18 draft taps pouring plenty of American craft brews, along with Belgian and German imports, plus a good selection of bottled beers.
Hidden in back of the cozy, uber hip main bar area, a terraced patio covered with strings of Chinese lanterns offers a whimsical sort of secret beer garden.
On a recent evening, an ad hoc group gathered there to toast the unofficial start of the summer beer-drinking season.
Hugh Acheson, chef/partner of the soon-to-open Empire State South restaurant in Midtown, sipped a keen Reisdorf kölsch. Adam Tolsma, the beer buyer for nearby Green’s Beverage Stores, tipped a tall glass of Weihenstephaner hefeweizen. Rob Martin, the Bookhouse’s resident beer consultant, drank an old school Carlsberg pilsner.
While different in style and flavor, each of the beers proved a fount of crisp refreshment, perfectly tuned to the easygoing nature of the season.
Acheson said he’s always enjoyed Belgian-style wheat beers in summer, especially the bright, bubbly Unibroue Blanche De Chambly. Tolsma name-checked easy-drinking Bell’s Oberon, Harpoon Summer and Sierra Nevada Summer as among the best-selling beers at Green’s this time of year.
But everyone agreed that summer isn’t any reason to abandon more robust, hop-heavy beers.
“On a typical summer day, I’ll start with a beer on the lighter end of the scale, such as a pilsner or helles or other lager style,” Martin said. “But as the evening wears on, I’ll gravitate toward bigger beers, like double IPAs and Belgian strong ales. They make great after-dinner drinks.”
The Bookhouse Pub, 736 Ponce De Leon Ave., N.E., Atlanta. 404-254-1176 www.thebookhousepub.com
More beers of summer
Be on the lookout for wheat beers from local brewers, including Terrapin Sun Ray Wheat, Red Brick Summer Brew and the new Sweetwater Sch’Wheat.
Ayinger Bräu Weisse is a delicious German wheat beer that’s become more readily available on draft in Atlanta.
The new draft-only Duvel Green is a light Belgian ale for people who can’t stand the thought of light beer.
Four more places to find the beers of summer and enjoy them outdoors:
The Midway Pub, 552 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E., East Atlanta. 404-584-0335, www.themidwaypub.com
A sprawling front patio and a beer list that seems to get better every week make the convivial and sports-friendly Midway a go-to sunny day destination. Beer to try here: Allagash White Belgian-style wheat.
Taco Mac Prado, 5600 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 404-941-1503, www.tacomac.com
The newest Taco Mac boasts a covered patio with 140 seats and 29 HD TVs. The beer list includes 200 beers in the bottle, 140 on draft, plus a beer engine for pouring cask ales. Beer to try here: Sweetwater Sch’Wheat American-style wheat.
The Prado parking lot will be home to the first annual Beer Connoisseur/Taco Mac Beer Festival, 3-8 p.m. June 12, with more than 50 breweries and 150 beers. www.beerconnoisseurfestival.com
Young Augustine’s, 327 Memorial Drive S.E., Atlanta. 404-681-3344
Open since February in the space formerly occupied by the Standard, Young Augustine’s in Grant Park has a serious draft list with about 30 beers, and several outdoor seating areas, including a cool covered patio. Beer to try here: Palm Belgian pale ale.
Leon’s Full Service, 131 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-687-0500, www.leonsfullservice.com
Super sophisticated draft and bottle beer offerings, a gracious sidewalk beer garden and a bocce ball court keep the crowds coming to Leon’s from lunch until late. Beer to try here: Ayinger Bräu Weisse German wheat.