Three Taverns Brewery Tour

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On a cool blustery day, do you hide inside or do you get out and go somewhere?  Well, if you’ve already bought concert tickets and made a supporting game plan, you go with it... especially when, after a 10 minute walk, you wind up in a brewery.

Hello, Three Taverns, in Decatur, GA.

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$12 gets you a cool “Bolleke” Goblet and six wooden tokens, each redeemable for a tasty beer.

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Three Taverns reflects a rustic simplicity.  The metal clad building is entirely suitable for stainless steel vats, piping, and a bottling line, but how a brewery chooses to adorn it’s tasting room is something else entirely. 

Plain utility?  Hipster psychedelia?  Overgrown home space? Quirky art gallery? A game space? Whatever it is, it usually represents something about the owner(s)... as it should.

Three Taverns, despite a pilsner, otherwise focuses on Belgian beers, which happens to be my favorite single style.   I’ve never been to Belgium, but the namesake beer heritage goes far before Belgium was founded, to the French and Flemish abbeys in the 1100 A.D.s.  Their practices evolved over the centuries. 

So, if you intend to make a drink style that harkens of that heritage, brick makes sense.  And wood.  And a certain sparseness of furnishings.

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Mission accomplished.

First up, costing two tokens, was Heavy Bells, a bourbon aged quadrupel (formerly their excellent Quasimodo before said barrel).  Two tokens, and half a pour, based on measures by other local breweries.  This is because 1) the 11.5% alcohol content and 2) the founder’s goal of “dangerously drinkable” beers. 

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Wisdom.  Judging from the cask room, there’s ample more to come.

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Time for the tour.  Meet Brian, a Reformed advocate of Belgian beers, who began, as most do, with home brewing.  He hired one of only three Belgian brewers in the U.S., and off to the races.

The story is similar to most, at least for good tours, that tracks malted barley, mills, grist hopers, mash, wort, separating grains, boiling, wet and dry hopping, sugars, fermenters, bacteria, yeasts, and CO2.  New information was that the Belgian name for “yeast” is “God.”

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It’s all quite the formula for delicious beer.  After the tour, it was time to test Brian’s stated expectation that their beer should be easy on the stomach.  So, time for Theophan the Recluse, a Russian imperial stout, at 10% alcohol.  Again, two bits.

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For a Saturday, it was probably the lightest attended brewery I’ve visited in Atlanta.  Maybe it was the weather.  But, less crowding allows more chat, with friends as well as other patrons.  So it was that my concert buddy and I met Streuss, who within seconds states, “Can you smile?  You don’t smile much.” 

So, Streuss is a clairvoyant from Norway who happens to like the music of an elder, but not old, generation.  She’s a partner, I think, at Simply Seoul Kitchen, whose site easily speaks to trying some Kimchi.

I smiled, too, but someone had to take the picture.

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All in all, a brewery tour doesn’t make or break my opinion of a brewer’s beer.  It’s an opportunity to sample beers that (usually) are not available readily through other outlets.  But, the feel of the place and the way that any proprietor represents their business can influence buying choices, and given a choice of Three Taverns over other Belgians, I’ll choose these.

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