For those of you unlucky enough to live outside of the reach of the Atlanta Brewing Company, I weep.
These guys are a walking, talking tale of resurgence that only seems to get better the more you tell it. Not only are they the oldest continually operating brewing in the State of Georgia, but they’ve managed that through some of the roughest hardships that anyone in the craft beer world could possibly endure.
Their stint as “Red Brick Brewing” from 2010 to 2018 appeared as though it would absolutely annihilate the legacy of the ABC brand, but, thanks to the influx of heavy-hitting talent and a rebirth as Atlanta Brewing Company, these malt mavens are once again creating liquid gold for the fine people of the southeast.
Thanks to our friends in the ATL beer scene, we were able to get our dusty paws on a tallboy of their latest concoction: A golden stout called Hard Money.
I’ve always been a sucker for good can design, and maybe I have been spending a little too much time gallivanting around the old west via my Xbox lately, but I’ll hand it to the boys at ABC for the stellar artwork on this one. I feel manly just opening the can.
In the glass, Hard Money is copper to gold in color, and brilliantly clear – something that comes as a relief given the chewy, almost chunky IPA’s being Frankenstein-ed by the haze bois whose time on the craft beer throne can’t end soon enough.
The off-white, creamy head rises from within the glass with a real gusto, belying some classical training by the brewmaster and a penchant for nailing those sort of geeky details.
The first taste is a shock to the senses.
A beer with this appearance should not be as smooth, sweet, or creamy as this. The “golden stout” moniker is absolutely, unequivocally correct, but let me tell you: It is a shock to the ol’ tastebuds.
Hard Money fires on a lot of the same mouthfeel cylinders as something like Boddington’s or Guinness, but without the use of nitrogen, which is incredibly impressive. It lulls you into that strange feeling that the beer is warmer than it is thanks to the calming effect on the tongue.
Of all the striking facets of this beer, nothing really astounded me the way that the sweetness did. The additions of coffee, vanilla beans, and cinnamon is certainly the culprit here, and the nuanced way in which they intertwine is pure genius.
The cinnamon is hidden, nay, buried under the vanilla bean, with the coffee just barely peeking out around the corners of the 3rd or 4th sip. It doesn’t have a very dessert-like, upfront sweetness, rather, it reminds me of a very well made, from scratch pie crust.
I can only hope that Atlanta Brewing Company set some aside in a whiskey barrel somewhere. The idea of this bad boy sitting on some of Buffalo Trace’s or Basil Hayden’s oak has me giddy.
Now, for the requisite tie-in to disc golf:
I’d throw one or two of these in the bag for a cold, Sunday morning round somewhere, but I fear they’d be far too sweet for sweaty fairways in the sunshine.
Perfect scenario: Finish up a round with the posse, grab a pizza with lots of round, savory flavors, (mushroom and spinach maybe?), and smash a few Hard Money’s around the post-frolf campfire.