Beer of the Night: Pauwel Kwak at The Porter

Just got in from The Porter where I had dinner with my buddies Jimmy and Elric.  This was my second trip to The Porter. I am beginning to really like the place and, if I ever open my own beer joint, it’s a place that will certainly serve as an inspiration, as will  Brick Store Pub. Both have great beer lists but The Porter, I think, has a slightly better atmosphere and is in a better location, at least if you live in Atlanta proper. If you’re just considering the beer list, Brick Store is probably the place to be.

The Pauwel Kawk pint glass, free with purchase
The Pauwel Kawk pint glass, free with purchase

Tonight was Pint Night and the pint in question was Bosteels’ Pauwel Kwak or, simply, Kwak. Kwak is a Belgian ale that comes with it’s own special glass. Part of the attraction of Pint Night at The Porter is that, while supplies last, the beer comes with a glass that you can take home with you. That was enough of a reason for Jimmy, Elric and me to visit The Porter on a Tuesday night.

The company, as always, was excellent. As brothers in Christ, we talked beer, Bible study and zombie movies, not necessarily in that order. We tend to cover a lot of ground when we get together, beer notwithstanding. It’s always a good time.

The beer was, to me, somewhat indifferent. The glass is unique and was a lot of fun but the beer itself was nothing to write home about. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t memorably good either. I remember it as fairly spicy but without distinguishing marks. I would drink it again but I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again either. I followed it with a He’ brew Rejewvenator that was just as forgetable. Maybe I just wasn’t in the beer tasting mood.

Whatever the mood, I definitely enjoyed the Apple Bacon Hushpuppies and the Kraut and Brats.  As everyone knows, bacon makes everything better and you just can’t go wrong with ‘kraut and brats. Them’s good eatin’.

If you’re ever in Atlanta and you’re a big fan of beer, seek out The Porter. It’s newer and maybe not as well known as Taco Mac or Brick Store Pub but it’s got a great atmosphere, a good menu and an eclectic selection of beers from which to choose.

Of the three establishments, I think it may rapidly become my favorite. It doesn’t have the rare beers you’ll find at Brick Store but it’s not as crowded either. And Little Five Points is at least as hip as Decatur.  Maybe more so. The Porter might not have breadth of selection you’ll find at Taco Mac but, then again, you won’t find the beer list padded with crap either.

Anyway, it was a good evening. I enjoyed a few beers and some good company. And I got a free glass. Life, for a while at least, is good. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Review: Flip Burger Boutique

Flip Burger Boutique
Flip Burger Boutique

Just got in from dinner with my buddy Jimminy (a.ka. “Jiminez“). He just got back from New York with the Missus and it’s been a while since we caught up so we decided to hit up the fashionable new burger place off Howell Mill, Flip Burger Boutique. I read about it a few weeks ago on Chow Down Atlanta and have been wanting to try it out ever since. A group of us tried to go weekend before last but we’re unable to brave the two hour wait to get a table.

My initial impression? As fads go, this too shall pass.  It’s a unique concept that is well done but …I expected to be knocked out by the burger and I was mildly underwhelmed. I’ll go again but won’t brave a huge crowd, even though the tables turned over pretty quickly.

Our wait tonight was about 20 to 30 minutes, if that tells you anything. Tuesday night at 8 o’clock and the place was hoppin’. We bellied up to the bar to have a beer before dinner. The first point of judgment came from there. I always judge a place on the selection of beers they have on offer.

I can’t say this place was Brick Store Pub or The Porter, but they had some notable beers. The beer list wasn’t huge but it was decently select.  They have one of my favorite beers, Three Philosophers, in a bottle. Good way to score points, that, but I’ve noticed Three Philosophers popping up in more and more places these days. God forbid, I think it’s becoming trendy. Ditto for Allagash White, the beer of the night. I forewent the Three Philosophers on the theory that a lighter, crisper beer would provide better accompaniment to a heavy burger.

As it turned out, by the time we were seated, we’d pretty much decided to move away from beer and over to the house milkshakes. Flavors run from “Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow” to “Pistachio and White Truffle” to, get this, Foie Gras. I kid you not. They have an actual Foie Gras milkshake. They swore up and down that it was surprisingly good. For $9 dollars, it should be. But I just couldn’t imagine drinking any kind of duck liver milk shake.

I can vouch for the Nutella and Marshmallow shake, however. I’m sure it was at least a thousand calories, but it was great.  Ditto for the “Krispy Kreme” milkshake.  I didn’t try it but have it on Jimmy’s good authority that it tasted like several Krispy Kreme glazed donuts in ice cream. In other words, it was no kind of bad.

What turned me lukewarm on the place was the burger. They had some really interesting burgers on the menu and they certainly are crafted with attention to detail. But they weren’t all that great, honestly. They were good, but not wait-thirty-minutes-on-a-Tuesday-night great.  The meat was fresh and of the choicest cuts. The ingredients were interesting and a good mix of the traditional and non-traditional. The sides were unique and everything was well presented but…the burger itself left me wanting a little more.  I guess the burger just didn’t live up to the hype.

That’s why I think the place will simmer down to normal crowds in a few more months. Trendy is great but people will soon move on to the next big thing. When that happens, I’ll go back again. It was a good atmosphere and there are several more burgers I’d like to try. And I just have to find out what that Foie Gras milkshake is all about.