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First Draft with Midway Pub co-owners Jonathan McIntyre and Carsten Green

East Atlanta duo talks about beer scene and favorite brews

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Four years ago, you might not have thought East Atlanta's scrappy populace was desirous of a fancy-beer place in its hood, but the Midway Pub has proven sustainable by scratching several itches at once. Its vast array of televisions ensure the sports lover is satisfied; its beer list, with 32 taps and more than 100 bottles and cans, rivals most any ATL-area bar; it's a five-minute-or-less walk to three music venues; its dog-friendly patio is arguably Atlanta's best and a summertime necessity; and its menu is ideal for afternoon/late-night snacking — tater tots, pretzels, a ridiculous grit cake barbecue stack — but features some more substantial fare as well, including Southern fried chicken and the unmatched Sandtown Trail Burger.

Co-owners Jonathan McIntyre and Carsten Green recently took a moment to chat with Creative Loafing about some of their favorite brews, Atlanta's ever-changing beer scene, and how they plan to continue their success in the years ahead.

Describe your first beer experience.

Carsten Green: I've always liked beer, going back to when I was very young, when my dad would let me take the occasional swig of his Old Milwaukee. My first real drinking experience involved lots of Budweiser in a barn, watching the Iron Bowl with my cousins around age 15.

Jonathan McIntyre: If this counts, I was 9 or 10 years old, riding around town with a friend and our fathers. Our fathers went into a store, but before they did, they told us not to touch their beers — which, of course, is exactly what we did as soon as they went into the store. We loved it.

What is your favorite beer style, and why? An ideal pairing for that style?

Green: This is tough, but if I had to pick just one, I would say a really well-made pilsner. It's such a versatile beer style that goes with so many activities and foods. For my perfect pairing, I go to my Danish roots with a Danish koldt bord, which is a type of smorgasbord, and a shot of Akvavit after a round of golf.

McIntyre: I know it may sound lame, but I really enjoy every beer style. It's just like music, film, or food — there is so much variety that there ends up being a time and place for every one. I do find myself, though, enjoying a nice stout with a whisky every now and then.

When it's time for a beer run, where do you go?

Green: For package, I usually go to Green's on Ponce or Ale Yeah! By the glass, I'd say Brick Store or the new Octane in Grant Park.

When you opened Midway, what were you hoping to accomplish? Four years later, do you feel you've done it?

Green: We wanted to open a casual neighborhood bar with a solid beer list and the best bar-slash-comfort food we could make. Chef Travis [McClellan] has done an awesome job with the menu, and I think our 32 taps and 100-plus bottles/cans represent craft beer quite nicely. I think we've been successful not because of any one thing Jonathan or I have done, but because of the amazing people we work with every day and the fantastic neighborhood we're fortunate enough to be a part of.

As Atlanta's beer scene becomes increasingly active and competitive, with new bars and breweries opening up on the regular, how do you plan to keep Midway relevant?

Green: By investing in our employees and our neighborhood. It's the people you work and socialize with that makes a business successful and life rewarding.

Next: Atlanta's best beer events in March

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