So there I was,
returning from the heart of downtown Atlanta, belly full of burgers from
The Varsity and eager to satiate (if only temporarily) my never-ending
desire to visit breweries and brewpubs. As luck would have it, I was only
minutes from Dogwood Brewing Company, tucked away in a busy
industrial park off Howell Mill road on the outskirts of the downtown area,
and so decided to take founder Crawford Moran up on his offer to visit. Even
before moving to Georgia I had been a huge fan of Dogwood brews, so you can
imagine how excited I was about getting the grand tour.
The first thing that greets you inside the brewery is the “tasting room”,
where brewery fans meet every Thursday for a sort of happy hour to enjoy a
few brews and each other’s company. There’s a bar and a few tap handles,
couches, chairs, and a collection of breweriana that includes bottles,
labels, caps and the like. A cozy, friendly atmosphere that matches the
personalities of the employees at Dogwood.
Just beyond the tasting room is the brewery itself, where all that delicious
Dogwood beer is made. The brewhouse is a twenty-barrel system, and there are
rows of 40 and 80-barrel cylindro-conical fermenters and conditioning tanks
to your right. After pouring me a delicious Dogwood Pale Ale, the staff was
only too happy to chat about beer with me.
Dogwood is doing very well, and though currently in the slowest portion of
the brewing season, every one was hard at work. I’m told that in the summer
time it’s very difficult to keep up with demand on their beers, especially
the very popular Pale Ale.
Dogwood is definitely a beer enthusiast’s brewery. Recently, the Atlanta
Journal Constitution conducted a non-scientific poll on its website to see
just which brewery in the city was their favorite. At last count, fully 71%
voted for Dogwood over Sweetwater and Atlanta Brewing (aka Redbrick),
neither one slouches themselves. As Bob Townsend put it in his Beer Town
column which appears in the Constitution, “Atlanta is fortunate to have
three viable microbreweries, including Atlanta Brewing Co. and Sweetwater
Brewing Co. But Dogwood remains the most inventive and consistently
I must agree. Dogwood puts out the most robust beers of the three, including
their regular lineup of a pilsner, pale ale, stout, and India pale ale as
well as truly exceptional seasonals the likes of Dogwood Bock. Brewed with
generous portions of Munich, Vienna, German Pilsner malt, and Hallertau
hops, Dogwood Bock is a wonderfully authentic example of the style.
Dogwood Bock pours to a bright mahogany color with a thick foamy head
and a sweet malty nose. The palate is so big, thick, satisfying and chewy
you could have this as a meal replacement drink if you wanted to. There are
notes of chocolate, molasses, toffee, Munich-malt toastiness and rich,
nutty, sticky sweet malt here that lead into a sweet, slightly warming
finish. Subtle grassy hops are present and intensify slightly to balance the
finish. You would swear this was brewed in Germany. It’s that good. One of
Dogwood’s best brews, and definitely one of the best bocks I have ever
tasted bar none.
The first time I tasted this beer it was right out of the lagering tank off
the zwickel, which is a small faucet for obtaining samples. There’s
nothing quite like tasting beer that incredibly fresh, though this is a beer
that will keep longer than many styles do. As of early March of 2003, spring
has sprung and it’s officially bock season. Dogwood Bock is now on the
shelves and it is a steal at only $5.49 a six pack. If you’re in Georgia
anytime soon, don’t miss it.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.