Review of Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery in Atlanta, Georgia

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Max Lager’s is a great choice for drinking and dining in Downtown Atlanta. In an area of the city crowded with generic national chain restaurants, Max Lager’s is a welcome unique destination.

In the chain restaurant-heavy section of Downtown Atlanta, Georgia, Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery provides a welcome fresh and unique location for enjoying quality food and drink. Established in 1998, it is the oldest independent brewery restaurant in Atlanta, offering their own freshly-brewed beer along with a full wine and cocktail menu, and delicious food options. Whether you are seeking a location for a business lunch or a comfortable dinner while in Atlanta for a convention or vacation, Max Lager’s is a great choice to consider.

Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery is located on Peachtree Street in a historic 10,000 square foot building, one block north of the Hyatt Regency hotel. The atmosphere is industrial yet warm, and spacious enough that typically you can get a table with only a short wait, even on busy weekends or when a large event such as Dragon*Con is in the area. Upon being seated at Max Lager’s, you will quickly be greeted by your server and presented with both food and drink menus, where the diverse offerings may make it difficult to decide what to order.

Max Lager's

Max Lager’s

Beer lovers should be sure to try one of Max Lager’s handcrafted brews, of which a half-dozen may be available at any given time. Options may include their “Gimme Shelter Bock,” a German style beer, or the “Resurgens Rye Strong Ale” which is brewed with a large portion of Rye Malt. Bottled microbrews from around the world are also offered. If you’re not a beer lover, don’t worry – Max Lager’s has a very nice selection of international wines by the bottle or glass. Just as with their beer, the emphasis in their wine choices is on small wineries with a commitment to quality. Most of the wine options are attractively priced as well, with many bottles under $40 and glasses in the $7-12 range. Fresh-squeezed margaritas and hard lemonades are a feature of their cocktail menu, along with a full line of single malt scotch.

maxlager2But the drinks aren’t the only reason to check out Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery. The food menu offers a great variety of small and large plates, all a cut above your typical “bar food” offerings in quality and presentation. Max Lager’s uses a hickory and oak fired smoker to amp up the flavor of their steaks, seafood and chops, while also offering pizza, sandwiches, salads and more. Their “Maxatizers” include a wonderful version of Spinach & Artichoke Dip ($9) with freshly fried tortilla chips topped with melted Swiss and Fontina cheeses, spinach and artichokes and accompanied by roasted tomato salsa. It’s great for sharing. Brick Oven Focaccia ($4) is simple yet tasty, with freshly grilled focaccia topped by rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar. Other tempting small plates include a Gulf Coast Gumbo ($5 for a cup), Georgia Quail ($11) and Lamb Sliders ($11).

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken

The larger plate selection is diverse and sure to have something to please everyone, including vegetarians. Max Lager’s offers a number of salads and pastas with or without meat, and several vegetarian pizzas such as the Mushroom ($12) topped with shitake, portobello, parmesan and truffled sheep’s milk cheese. Southern food is emphasized, such as with the Pecan Crusted Catfish Salad ($14) and the Southwestern Caesar ($12) served with a chipotle Caesar dressing. Crescent City Pasta ($16) showcases Jambalaya crawfish, house-made andouille sausage and peppers in a spicy Cajun sauce. Southern Fried Chicken ($18) is an absolute must to try at Max Lager’s, featuring a large, juicy chicken breast in buttermilk batter with bacon braised collard greens and charred corn whipped potatoes.

Indeed, it is recommended to stick with the great comfort food and Southern food offerings at Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery. They are somewhat less successful with more international offerings such as the

Sesame Tuna

Sesame Tuna

($24). While the tuna was of good quality and cooked perfectly to my request, the strong sauces served with it somewhat overpowered the flavor of the fish. Much better is the Max Beer Basted BBQ Ribs ($24), a generous rack basted in Max Lager’s own beer and served with tasty horseradish cole slaw and french fries.

It may be difficult to save room for dessert at Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery, but if you do, try the Caramel Pecan Crunch ($7) or the Fried Cheesecake ($9) decadently served with two scoops of ice cream.

Overall, Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery is truly one of your best bets for quality food and drink in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. There’s no need to eat the same old chain restaurants that dominate in the area; visiting Max Lager’s instead will provide you with an opportunity to savor quality hand-crafted drinks and fresh, Southern-themed cooking. The prices are right as well, making Max Lager’s both affordable and worthy of being considered destination dining.

This review was originally published at the Yahoo! Contributors Network on March 1, 2011.

Max Lager's Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery on Urbanspoon

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