"When I think about the summer we sweated in here with no A/C because we were so poor we didn't want to turn on the air conditioning and waste a single penny, and we opened with not enough money for payroll, that seems like a long time ago," Gunn tells Creative Loafing, "The work was so hard, but the pain fades with time."
She and husband Nick Rutherford's Little Five Points watering hole has since transformed into a world-class craft beer destination - one with A/C and payroll money. And it's time to celebrate, which is what they'll be doing Sept. 4-8, with five separate beer events for their five years of business. After that, well, there's more work to do.
"We would like to be the bar that you come into and find beers that you can't find anywhere else," Gunn says. "Find them on draft, taste them, and go, 'Whoa, I've never tried a beer from Italy or France.' It's great that there are so many inexpensive, tasty, American craft beers, and I expect to see them everywhere, but I'd like to be the bar that keeps pushing people's boundaries. Where you know you can come in and have a beer you've never had before."
Below, Gunn gives the lowdown on each anniversary day's special beers.
Wed., Sept. 4
"We're starting out with The Big Lebowski, because The Porter abides. Nick wanted that on a T-shirt, so we made the T-shirt. All our staff are gonna wear them that night. We've always had a cocktail on our menu, The Dude, which is essentially a White Russian with coffee as a breakfast twist. We'll have plenty of that flowing. And we love that he bowls, so we have some little casks, which are called pins. We weren't able to get quite 10, but we'll have five pins, and they're almost all local beers. SweetWater's doing a dry-hopped IPA, Monday Night's doing their Eye Patch with serrano peppers, Terrapin's Road Warrior, and a Thornbridge/Terrapin collaboration called Coalition."
"We have over 30 New Holland beers, which I believe is the largest New Holland lineup, if not ever, than at least outside of Michigan. A lot of the beers are Michigan-only. Six of them are brewpub-only. Beers that we've never seen before, beers we've had before but are now barrel-aged, some vintage beers. It should be really exciting. I've ordered some wild hats. It gets my staff in the spirit since they have to work their butts off."
Fri., Sept. 6
"Barleywine fest. Stone came out with some great ones this year. We'll also have Avery, Duck Rabbit. Barleywines have such a range. Some of the American ones are so hoppy and intense. We have some Belgian-style that super traditional and sweet. That should be super fun, and people can try a whole spectrum. Nick had always wanted to do it. It's nothing compared to Toronado's barleywine fest, but maybe it's a start [to a recurring event]."
"Saturday is the day we historically celebrate the anniversary, so we always give out a gift. We start at eleven, and we always give out a gift. For our three-year, we gave away a growler, and this year we're giving out a cool bag for the growler. We found a gal on Etsy, and she hand-sewed it for us, and it's burlap with our logo on it, and it's beautiful! We'll give out a hundred to the first people through the door. That day will be a very epic draft lineup. Lots of stuff you don't frequently see in Georgia. A lot of Imperial Stouts - [Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout] will be on right when you walk through the door. We've been saving beers for years for this, so it should be pretty amazing. I encourage everyone to get here early for this."
Sun., Sept. 8
"We're doing a Trappist flight day. A lot of people talk about Trappist beers and give them a lot of lip service as being important to the beer world, which I agree they are, but how often do you get to sit down, try them and talk about them? So it's kinda like 'make your own flight' with six or 12 four-ounce tastes. And there will be some very special, hard-to-find beers, that you can add on for a certain price. Off the top of my head, there will be at least 20. I've never sat down and tried a lot of Trappist beers. I have an idea of which ones are my favorites, but this will be interesting to line 'em all up."
The Porter Beer Bar, 1156 Euclid Ave. 404-223-0393. www.theporterbeerbar.com. Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-midnight. Weekend brunch, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
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