The Skull is back! Originally contract-brewed by the Atlanta B.C. for a local restaurant, Laughing Skull was a local favorite in town that disappeared in 2005. But now the skull has the last laugh, returning, albeit in modified form. Instead of a Bohemian pilsner, the beer is now an amber ale. Expect a great balance of spicy, peppery hops and floral aromatics. Citrus, spice and grains are prominent—this reminds us of the old school, high quality microbrew that led the craft-brewing charge of the 90s. Look for some crackery notes, much like toasted saltines. These also come through in the flavor profile, especially the saltines—with deeply toasted malts (not roasted, but toasted… very different things). Complex maltiness comes from the use of 11 different malts, complemented by plentiful citrus and pleasingly spicy, peppery nips from the hops. It finishes only mildly bitter with a long lasting fade of grassy hops and toasted caramel malts. Overall, this is nicely hopped, expertly balanced, just plain good beer. Great with medium cheddar cheese, it’s even better with some mesquite smoked grilled chicken.
The Atlanta Brewing Company (ABC) is the oldest operational craft brewery in the state of Georgia. Like numerous areas of the south, restrictive prohibition-era "hangover" laws have meant slow momentum for the craft beer scene. The fact that this is the oldest of the state's craft breweries, and was founded in 1993, kind of gives you an idea of not only what type of pace the beer scene has been developing at, but, really, how far ahead of the curve ABC was when they decided to set up shop. In late 2005, new ownership and management joined longtime ABC Brewmaster Dave McClure. Robert Budd, President, and Dave Weil, Director of Operations, have been hard at work with Brewmaster Dave in building their brands and getting more people turned on to good beer than you can shake a Georgia peach at (yes, we do reserve the right to create our own ridiculous expressions over here in the newsletter department.)
Their Red Brick Ale was the first beer they brewed and it remains their flagship brand, but this month we're featuring their Red Brick Blonde Ale and the back-from-the-dead Laughing Skull. The brewery also serves up a traditional, German-style Hefeweizen in the summertime, a hearty double-chocolate Oatmeal Porter in the winter, and an American-style Pale Ale all year round. Then there are their limited release beers like their Red Brick Barrel Select, a beer that took home Gold from the World Beer Cup in the Wood and Barrel Aged Beer category. This is their Red Brick Ale aged in Jim Beam Bourbon barrels for 10 months. Now that's some southern comfort!
In 2006, the Atlanta Brewing Company was named one of "10 great places to see what's brewing in beer" by USA Today. We agree—especially amidst the awakening of craft-brewed beer's collective consciousness that's currently happening in the South. Turns out ABC also has a great guided tour and beer tasting every Wednesday and Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Four to six beers are offered on tap, and a tasting room with all the creature comforts one needs for such an affair is currently in the works. Pay 'em a visit and say "Hi" for us.
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (404) 355-5558.
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