Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/20/19
Wild Heaven West End and Gardens introduces new beers and in-house fine foods: FINA.
There was a time we had never been to West End, but with the recent trend to open restaurants, bars, and breweries down there, it’s becoming a must visit locale for anyone interested in Atlanta’s food and drink scene. Case and point: Wild Heaven West End and Gardens. Now with their second brewery and internal FINA fine food, you can sit for a drink, grab a bite, and enjoy the gardens and atmosphere this location has to offer. What we enjoyed most was the hospitality, of course, they have great food and great beer, but their moto is Serve Your Neighbor and they take that to heart. Eddie was so personable, and we really got to chat with him about his passion for Wild Heaven’s beer, as well as their new FINA restaurant. Beyond that, nestled next to Monday Night Garage, Boxcar ATL and Hop City, as well as another brewery coming down the road, you could make a day of it. Did someone say day trip?
Let’s start with what Wild Heaven is known for, their beer. They have staples from their Decatur brewery like Eschaton (Liz’s all-time Wild Heaven favorite), Emergency Drinking Beer, Ode to Mercy, and a ton of others, but what Eddie expressed to us was this location was going to be their more exclusive beers, almost like their “lab” to create and try new things. Garden Beer is a good example! While we were there, Westy was one of their exclusive brews, as well as the Garden Beer series in collaboration with the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The first Garden Beer was lemon, this one called Season Two was peach. That was my (Liz’s) favorite beer we had all day. It was one of those you could work in your garden and sip on all day with a light sweetness, but nothing overbearing. With light peach notes, but enough hop back-bone to support it. The other beer, Westy, almost came off with some Granny Smith apple notes, followed by some hop bitterness. It was well-balanced! I (Liz) don’t usually like IPAs but their Wild Monster Double IPA with prickly pear, which makes it red, is one of my favorite IPAs ever! It’s slightly sweet with the pear, but also has a good balance. I’d get any of these again. John’s favorite was Altair IPA. He said it was smooth and drinkable for an IPA. He got two. That tells you something. Solid beers, check!
Before we get to the food, we’d like to share a story Eddie told us about how Eschaton became a staple beer for Wild Heaven. Back in Athens, Eddie mentioned that he and Eric had an underground supper club called the 4-course man. Clever. One of these nights, Eric did an beer dinner and Eschaton was the one that really caught on that night, and these years later, is still being brewed in the original Wild Heaven location. We loved hearing about how it came about, since that is my(Liz’s) favorite Wild Heaven beer!
There are two words you need to know about FINA, Wild Heaven West End’s in-house fine food establishment: Walking Taco. Yes, they have deliciously creamy guacamole, their Al Pastor Mexican Pizza is creamy, dreamy, and loaded with delicious pork, and their pork rinds are crisp with a KILLER salsa. We’ll get to some of that, but we’d like to highlight the Walking Taco. Eddie mentioned that this comes out of Chicago and is all the rage. No one we’ve mentioned it to has ever heard of it, even one of my friends whose boyfriend lives in Chicago, but it’s really going to catch on. Mark our words, this will be a huge deal! Why you ask? Think about this: take a bag of Fritos with all their salty, crispness, and smoosh all that good taco meat, cheese, pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, and sauce into that bag. Grab a spoon. See where we’re going? It’s crispy, crunchy, salty, sweet, creamy, dreamy, spicy all in one place and if we were asked if there was one food you could have every day for the rest of your life, THIS would be it. Plus, it’s only $4. We’re in love.
Beyond the Walking Taco phenom, we really enjoyed the chicken wings. They were crunchy, large, and had a lemon-peppery dry rub that was tangy, salty, sweet, and had a good bite to them. We were told they were brined for 2 days, roasted, and then dried. Yum. Also, the Salsa Macha that they have with their pork rinds is KILLER. Pork rinds tend to be very salty and take-on whatever dip you put with them. That’s the beauty of using them in that way, this sauce was sweet, very spicy on the back, and so rich that it cut through that salt and really left a meat flavor on the tongue. We want to buy this sauce to go on all our meats! Eddie, are you listening? Put it in a bottle? Finally, we’d like to mention they have a wood-burning pizza oven that Eddie said would NOT be used for pizza. We look forward to the future culinary surprises that FINA will offer, and don’t be surprised if something Lebanese or middle eastern comes out of it.
Whew, we’re stuffed and happy until next time.