Flanked by rustic stone columns and carved lions, 5 Seasons Brewing's entrance looks like the secluded front to a Napa Valley villa, belying its cozy atmosphere and community-focused mission to provide tasty, affordable food and drink. Founded by chef David Larkworthy—son of a pioneering advocate of using organic food in restaurants—Five Seasons Brewing carries its commitment to community to its ingredients, cooking with a cornucopia of regularly shifting local produce from a gaggle of affiliated farms. The menu features such fusion dishes as crispy alligator served with a blackened chili glaze and Remoulade. At tables, guests dig in to home-baked bread, whose warm crust exudes tangy scents from the brewery's spent beer grain.
In the towering tanks that skirt the pub, brewmaster Kevin McNerney creates a kaleidoscopic selection of unique small-batch beers. The cofounder of flagship Georgia brewer SweetWater, McNerney brings two decades of experience to his craft, making refreshing brews such as the Chug Monkey and turning to ancient Belgian traditions to make his crisp, orange-infused witbier.
The kitchen at Max Lager's grills fresh game, wood-firing it with North Georgia oak and hickory, within the oldest independent brewery in Atlanta. Burgers formed from fresh ground Angus beef or bison nestle neatly on a bun bearing lettuce, onion, and tomato, alongside crisp fries or zesty corn salsa. The traditional Max burger conveys cheddar and bacon on a vessel of meat ($11 for beef; $12 for bison during dinner), whereas the Fiesta burger incites a mouth-bound mosh pit of pepper-jack cheese, sautéed onions, and bell peppers ($9 for beef; $10 for bison), providing excitement without the threat of being head-butted by someone in a bandana. The Skillet burger, topped with fried egg, ham, and bacon ($10 for beef; $11 for bison), eliminates the need to serve brunch on a smartphone to make it more portable. Salads come on board as a substitute side ($1 extra), and whole-wheat buns do a guest performance on request. The lunch menu offers more iterations of the luscious meat patty than the dinner menu, so eaters can plan accordingly.
Once you’ve bellied up to the cozy tasting room’s bar like an urbane, sophisticated cowboy, you’ll be treated to a few flavorful wafts and quaffs of Montaluce's finest 2008 and 2009 red and white wines, fermented from the carefully maintained fruits of its 35-acre vineyard. The 2008 chardonnay massages the nose with aromas of green apples, pear, and lemon zest mixed with smoke, walnut, and honeysuckle. And the 2008 risata (Italian for laughter) will put your palate into hysterics with notes of cherries, raspberries, cranberry, savory herbs, and just the faintest hint of Joker venom. Otherwise, go snorkeling for the dark chocolate notes buried in the oaky, deep violet, kraken-filled deeps of the cabernet sauvignon. Much like wine itself, your experience at Montaluce will be different depending on the exact point in time you partake of it. Gracious guests who arrive for their wine flight Tuesday through Saturday will be treated to a complimentary guided winery tour at 2 p.m. Likewise, Sunday sippers can tune their taste buds to live musical performances on the veranda from noon to 5 p.m.
Vino Venue, the brainchild of Atlanta Wine School founder Michael Bryan, corrals a wine bar, wine school, and wine emporium under one roof. With its 200 wines by the bottle, 50 wines by the glass, wine accessories, and mouthwatering menu of tapas and cheese, Vino Venue ensures that oenophiles don’t have to look any further to satisfy their wine needs.
And that includes their wine-education needs. Atlanta Wine School classes continue at Vino Venue in a new demonstration kitchen and event room, where a crack team of vino experts host private parties ranging from one-on-one wine classes to socials and mixers.
Inside the cozy wine bar, guests gather around a rustic hardwood table to enjoy cheese and charcuterie plates of prosciutto and ubriaco or tapas of duck confit and braised beef short ribs. The dishes pair with an extensive wine list that includes a nebbiolo rosé, bonarda, tawny port, and gewürztraminer. That may be part of what's earned the wine bar so much acclaim. Gayot named them one of the 10 best wine bars in the United States.
The end of Prohibition signaled the start of the Greenbaum family's dream to enter the beer and spirits industry—and a few years later, they realized this dream with the opening of Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits. Since then, the founders' descendants have earned praise in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and INsite magazine for its diverse selection of drinks and a trained squad of wine spectators. Staff members guide visitors through samplings of their craft and domestic beers, international spirits, and North American, European, and South American wines at weekly and often bi-weekly tasting events held at the long wooden tables of the private tasting room or inside of a keg. They also expose participants to the finer points of beer through sponsored dinners with beer pairings.