Chef's Table - Mac Daddy

The Tappan Street Restaurant Group owns 11 Taco Macs across metro Atlanta. For 26 years they have been a go-to spot for beer lovers. Mike Pankow is the purchasing manager for all food and beverages for the chain, which sells about 10,000 kegs and 7,000 cases of beer a year.

Creative Loafing: How many beers are in a typical Taco Mac? Does it vary by location?

Pankow: Our main priority is to keep our selection as diverse as possible. About 25 percent is consistent at each location, but the managers have a lot of leeway for their neighborhood and demographics. Consumers in Decatur, for example, are a little more educated about beer.

Depending on the age and size of store, from 25 to 40 up to 108 on draft, and a minimum of 200 up to 260 by the bottle. We try to keep it fresh; 50 percent of the draft wall changes month to month. Guinness is one of the few mainstay brands.

What's big in beers right now?

There's a lot of demand for American craft breweries, like Bridgeport out of Oregon, or Terrapin. We've recently started bringing in flavored beers, like vanilla cream ale and oatmeal porter. The trend in the market for low-carb beers is kind of over, but we have Beck's Premier Light.

What are some of the more unusual beers you've tasted?

A beer called Duchess Abe Dordogne, a Flemish red ale, which tastes a little bit like apple vinaigrette dressing. It's one of the more interesting products we carry. Bar Harbor is made with fresh blueberries.

What are the best sellers?

The big-name domestic beers and Corona and Paulaner Hefeweizen, Sweetwater and Terrapin.

What's the price range of your beer?

From $2.75 to $13.50. The small-batch Belgian imports are definitely worth the money, but they are more for the connoisseur.

It's a shame I don't like beer. I'm a wine and bourbon drinker.

We'd turn you into a beer drinker if you gave us a chance.


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