Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Travel Day: Sweetwater Draft House & Grill

On a recent trip back from visiting my family in Florida, Sj and I found ourselves with some time to kill in the Atlanta Airport between flights.  In need of sustenance on this busy New Year's Eve, we stopped in at the jam-packed Sweetwater Draft House and Grill.  Sweetwater is an Atlanta brewery that opened in 1997, named after the local Sweetwater Creek.  It started up after I was done with college at Emory, so I never got to try the beer before I moved back north.  I have tried a couple of the beers here and there since, with the 420 and the IPA being most commonly found, and would love to get to the brewery itself!

This particular tap-house was crammed full of people, but we were able to get a small two-top table during the lunch rush.  Loud R&B music and the chatter of patrons thundered through the small space. The food options were limited to a small selection of salads, chicken wings, burgers and sandwiches--pretty standard pub fare.  We ordered beers, and IPA for me and a Georgia Brown Ale for Sj, but it took nearly 20 minutes to get them.  I was starting to feel glad we had a long lay-over as this wasn't looking good for actually getting food.  The IPA was fair, but to me seemed more like a pale ale, lacking the strong hop aroma and flavor I expect from the style.  When we ordered food our server seemed like he was having a hard time remembering what we wanted (boneless wings for me and a quesadilla for Sj) despite a distinct lack of complexity to our order.  A few minutes later he returned to clarify Sj's order again.  Twenty minutes later our food arrived: room temperature wings for me and a chicken salad for my wife.  Yup, despite re-checking with us our order was still fouled (fowled?) up!  A while later the quesadilla arrived and we were able to eat.  The silver lining to the extreme time-lag was that I did get to try a pint of the Festive Ale, a pleasantly spiced holiday ale.  When our bill came to us it was done incorrectly (chicken salad's revenge!)  Do I expect an amazing dining experience in an airport?  Not really, but there is an understanding that airport restaurants should be used to moving people through quickly and problem free.

I will not be stopping here again, but still want to visit the brewery itself.  When in the Atlanta airport I would suggest trying the small bar in the food court area--they had Sweetwater IPA and a Clown Shoes IPA on tap there without the loud music and poor service! 

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