Friday, May 28, 2010

Special Feature: Summits Wayside Tavern

525 Lake Center Pkwy, Cumming, GA

I love Summits Wayside Tavern. Absolutely adore it. It's my favorite pub in the whole state of Georgia.

Here's the rub: I can't technically review it because there are 3 locations (Cumming, Snellville and Woodstock), so it's officially a chain.

So, I'm going to make it a special feature for the benefit of all of you who imbibe.

Why is Summits so great? Here are just a few (of many) reasons:

1. The draft beer selection. Summits offers a greater variety of beer on tap than any other bar in Georgia. As you can see from the pic, one entire wall is lined with taps. They don't always have everything that's listed on the menu (which is updated every few weeks, but sometimes they run out of certain brews), but they're guaranteed to have something you'll like.

2. The bottled selection is almost as great. Four huge cases in the Cumming location, organized alphabetically by brew. You'll find beer from all around the world, including Latvia, which produces Zelta Gold, my all-time favorite beer.

3. If you're not into beer (which makes you crazy, of course), you can partake of a whole slew of liquors, seen at the top of the pic above the taps.

4. The Passport Club - Try 100 draft beers, get a mug with your name on it, and a t-shirt. From then on you'll get 24oz of draft beer for the price of 16oz. There are 2 more levels to worth up to - you get more apparel and a larger piece of drinkware each time. It cost $2 to join - which goes to Habitat for Humanity. How cool is that?

5. Summits has a free lending library. Only the 2nd time I've ever seen that in a bar (the 1st time was at Fox and Parrot in Gatlinburg, TN).

6. September is usually burger month. The chef invents burgers "from around the world", such as my absolute favorite, the Russian Czar burger. Think sour cream and caviar atop a huge patty. Yes, it was delicious. A portion of every burger purchased goes to a local children's hospital.

7. Great specials, like pint night and Summits University, which is basically a beer tasting. Summits also has a special relationship with Rogue out of Oregon, so sometimes you get to try all new brews from this great brewery before anyone else.

I won't comment too much on the food here, although I will say that Summits' food is better than most. I'm a big fan of the shrimp corn chowder. It's got a nice, spicy kick. Kyle enjoys the wings. Summits also serves bison burgers and some decent quesadillas.

Summits also formerly had a location on Roswell Rd., just off of 285. This was highly convenient and by far my location of choice. Sadly, they sold the business a few years ago and it's now Charlie Mopps, which is a far, far cry from the glory that was Summits.

While all of the Summits locations are outside the perimeter now, I still try to get up to the Cumming one about every 6 weeks because the beer selection is just that freakin' good. I know some Atlantans are vehemently opposed to going anywhere OTP, but if you are a beer fanatic, I promise the drive will be worth it. Just be sure to bring a designated driver along so that you can sample to your heart's content.

Verdict: #1 best draft selection in Georgia. My choice for best Georgia pub.

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