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Atlanta is more than just the name of an Emmy Award-winning TV show and home to the Super Bowl 51 Champions (for the first 3.5 quarters).
....That was probably a little too soon. We’re sorry, Falcons fans.
Anyway, what we’re trying to say is that Atlanta is a fantastic city that also has one of the fastest growing culinary scenes in the country. And that includes, beer, too!
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One guy who knows this as well as anyone is Atlanta-native chef Kevin Gillespie. While perhaps most famous as a finalist on Top Chef (and voted as Fan Favorite for the entire sixth season), Gillespie is also a cookbook author and owner of restaurants Gunshow, Gamechanger, and Revival. Did we mention he’s also a beer nerd? Which is why we’re thrilled to have had Gillespie pair for us five essential ATL-area beers with delicious dishes you can now find within city limits.
For a guy who could seemingly make a living cooking anywhere in the world, it says a lot that Gillespie has spent his entire life in the ATL (minus five he spent in Oregon). “I love that it’s a very manageable small city,” he explains. “It’s a nice balance -- it’s nice to live in a small place and work in a big place. You get the diversity of restaurants you’d get in a big city, but the people don’t have the same edge as you’d expect in a big city.”
Nice people, solid restaurants, and great beer? Crap, maybe we all need to move there. Or at the very least, visit and try the five following beers and their accompanying food pairings:
Belgian-style saison, 6% ABV
“I really like this farmhouse-style saison. It’s dry and crisp. So refreshing! I like the addition of pink peppercorn, which gives it a mysterious spicy note.”
Recommended food pairing: “This beer is great with curries, Thai food, and anything spicy.”
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English brown, 5.8% ABV
“This brown ale is an old standby for me. For many years it was my go-to beer. There are a lot more selections out there now, but it’s still one of my favorites.
Recommended food pairing: “It’s perfect with classic whole hog BBQ.”
Berliner Weisse, 4.5% ABV
“This is the best Berliner Weissbier made in the US! I can’t find a flaw with it. For a beer intended to go wild, it’s incredibly restrained. It’s the perfect summer beer. Period. It also has a stomach-settling effect due to the lactobacillus.”
Recommended food pairing: “It goes with all summer foods because it’s super dry and refreshing. Well, maybe not with high acid foods. But everything else.”
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Scotch ale, 7.2% ABV
“Scotch ales are so hard to make, but [Monday Night] nailed it. This has all the hallmarks of a traditional version, but it’s much more drinkable.”
Recommended food pairing: “This is a meaty beer...in that it goes great with steak, brats, and anything cooked over charcoal.”
Oktoberfest-style beer, 5.5% ABV
“This is my favorite of all their beers. It’s brewed to be a marzen or cask ale traditionally served at Oktoberfest. It has low carbonation and a nice rich flavor without being overwhelming. It tastes like the change of seasons, when it’s starting to get a little colder.
Recommended food pairing: “This beer goes with everything you’d eat at Oktoberfest: sausage, pretzels, kraut.”
[Editor’s note: Why yes, he did select two Wild Heaven beers in his list of five favorites. But since we’re big fans, we’re gonna let it slide.]