in Atlanta

Where he's going

I replenished my parched, arid kegerator after work yesterday. The sun made a rare appearance late in the afternoon, and it felt good to tear ass around Atlanta, windows down, chucking CDs I don’t like at people who look like people I probably wouldn’t like, and giving everyone else the stinkeye. My destination, as per usual, was Green’s on Ponce. Like Harry’s in Marietta, Green’s is far enough from the norm that it represents an escape from Atlanta, or, at least, from some of Atlanta’s cultural defecits, which is why I have no problem driving all the way to midtown in rush hour traffic just to buy some beer.

My creative juices haven’t been pumping with much ferocity lately, and, as I was preparing to leave the house, the prospect of doing a killer review of Green’s excited me a little. Sad. I only decided at the last minute not to bring the camera. I spent the 30-40 minute drive pondering various potential story arcs. I even thought about putting together a piece worthy of publishing somewhere other than a website I own. I thought about all the ways I would praise Green’s heroic beer buyer, Adam Tolsma, and his courage for not only stocking a lot of freaky, imported beer, but for fully committing to the craft by installing a climate-controlled beer cellar and for dedicating what seems like half of Green’s floorspace to beer.

This week, Bob Townsend wrote an article about Atlanta’s growing popularity as a city wise to good beer. Townsend’s article focused on Atlanta being chosen as the lead-off city for the American reintroduction of Belgian ales from Abbaye St.-Rémy, Rochefort. I don’t think it would be presumtuous to say that a combination of two things were all but wholly responsible for this accolade. 1) The Brick Store Pub’s Belgian beer bar, and 2) Green’s pioneering selection. (A note for you PDX boobs: Green’s isn’t quite at the level of John’s yet, but they get closer every time I go. I’m serious.) What I’m trying to say here is that I’m a big fan of Green’s and I was all prepared to (foreshadow much?) bathe them in praise. Even remembering not to neglect the balls and all that.

Part of my trip included returning the two previous kegs I purchased, which have been sitting empty on my garage floor for months, taunting me. Upon arriving, I dragged them out of the truck and up to the door. There’s a turnstile inside the front door that can get congested, so I left the empties on the sidewalk and approached the first available cashier. “Do you have your paperwork?” She was referring to my carbon copies of the bureaucracy in which one must participate to buy a keg in Georgia.

“Uh … no?” Admittedly, my tone indicated that I thought she was being silly and that surely she’s still going to help me even though I don’t have the stupid paperwork. I was probably smirking.

“Well then I can’t help you. You can’t return kegs without the yellow sheet.”

I probably said some naughty words, which always make things better. This is also the part where, upon discovering that I’m not following the rules, I argue that the rules are stupid. When you buy a keg you fill out a sheet that indicates who you are, where you live, where the keg will be consumed, and that you understand certain laws applying to keg-owners. The cashier places a serialized sticker on the keg and writes its number on the aforementioned sheet, of which the store and the customer each retain a copy. I’m still not quite sure why she insisted I have my copy of the sheet to make the return. In her defense, the yellow copy does say THIS SHEET MUST BE PRESENTED UPON RETURN OF KEG, but I’ve never needed it in the past. Besides, they have their copy on file. Why not just pull it up and verify that my driver’s license matches the one on file? Like I said, rule-breaker arguing about stupid rules, but still, is the customer not always awesome? I mean … look at me …

The real loser here is the breweries. New kegs cost well over $100 each and I’m sitting on two perfectly good empty ones that aren’t doing anyone any good. Additionally, homebrewers like myself are just itching for excuses to keep empty kegs and use them for various brewing shenanigans. They’re solid stainless steel fer chrissake! I was being ONE HELL of a good samaritan by returning BOTH kegs, and here I found myself loading the two empties back into my truck.

Returning the empties, however, was but a very small part of my trip. After wandering around the vast selection with my mouth open for a few minutes (during which time I was trailed by the in-store-off-duty cop, presumably for giving the cashier a healthy smattering of lip) I filled out a new sheet, procured my reserved half-barrel of Sweetwater, and got in line with the same cashier. “Oh. You’re getting another keg?”

“Yup.”

“So then you’ll have three to return?”

“Yup.”

The look on her face was a mix between, “I admit it is pretty silly for you to take empties home, only to bring tham back later,” and, “You continue to give me attitude. If I didn’t need this job I would slap the shit out of you. I might slap you anyway.” Steamy romance, indeed.

I loaded up the keg(s) and returned to my role of spitting road-menace. Since the whole experience was annoying, stressful, and expensive, the brown-nosing Green’s review will have to wait. I will say, though, that it’s a good feeling to see people point at the three kegs in the back of your truck and nudge their friends, “I wanna go where’s he’s going.”

  1. Good to hear that you’ve got a John’s-caliber beer store. I think every city should have one. It’s also good to hear that the ATL has at least one person who champions good beer (I’m talking about you, Mr. Simon). Life is too short to drink crappy beer.

    That said, Bob Townsend seems to have taste for overstatement. “Beertown”? Atlanta!?! Puhleeze.

    “Suddenly, it seems, Atlanta has become a mecca for the greatest beers in the world.”

    Double puhleeze.

    Tell Townsend that it’s great that y’all are getting the heavy stuff now that the alcohol limit has been abolished. But that doesn’t a “beer mecca” make. A thriving local beer scene, where imports are secondary because every style you could possibly want is readily available at your local brewpub – now THAT’s a beer mecca.

    Granted, I’m a little overprotective of PDX’s status as “Beertown” and a “beer mecca”.

    Speaking of – you coming out for brewfest? We could use your unique brand of shinanigens again…

  2. Fufats, you took the words from one of next week’s posts right off my keyboard. Saying Atlanta is a beer town is like saying Atlanta is a hockey town, which they actually announced the first time the Thrashers took the ice back in 1999. “Congratulations, Atlantans! You now live in a hockey town!”

    Right.

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