Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve!

New Year's Eve used to be a big deal for me, but now I am kind of an anti-climactic NYE celebrant. My plans to see a concert in San Francisco were shot down by the fact that I was broke from my whirlwind fall travels the previous 3 months. So tonight, it's all about taking it easy with a couple of friends. The fridge is packed with some interesting items, some of which are new for me. There are 3 Mikkeller beers; a coffee stout (Black Hole), an IPA (Stateside) and a Belgian style beer made with spice and cocoa (Santa's Little Helper). I have a Gouden Caroulus Noel 750 ml, a Smuttynose IPA from Maine, a Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel from Montreal (quite possibly the greatest stout of all time), various 1 & 2 year-old barley wines from Bell's & North Coast, and 2 De Dolle beers-an Oerbier and an Oerbier Reserve. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Matt & I are working on the next few beer dinners next week. The menu for January's dinner with Duck Rabbit should be up on the web site tomorrow. President and brew master Paul Phillipon will be there. February will be Sierra Nevada, and the beer that I helped make in November will be featured. March is Allagash, and head brewer Rob Tod will be in town from Maine for that.

Let's get down to what beers are going in around Taco Mac land. There is a lot, so you need to plan on drinking a lot of beer this week. I know that you won't let me down.

  • Dark beer is great all year, but really gets a lot of attention in the winter. You can find Sweetwater Happy Ending at Dallas Hwy, Woodstock, Windward, Perimeter, East-West and Lindbergh. Terrapin Wake 'N Bake has arrived at Mall of GA, Windward and Dallas Hwy. The curiously delicious Holy Mackerel Mack In Black has gone on at Johns Creek, Peachtree City (they have the HM Belgian Gold as well), Decatur, Lindbergh. You can find Allagash Black at Johns Creek and Kennesaw. The Mall of GA store also has North Coast Old Rasputin, Victory Donnybrook and Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy for you dark beer lovers. Cumming has Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Stone Smoked Porter (a Fred favorite, also available at Kennesaw) and Red Brick Porter. Like beer in the morning (it's OK, I won't tell)? Then hit Lindbergh for Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout.

  • Just because you already opened your presents this year, that does not mean that winter seasonal beers are gone. Rogue Santa's Private Reserve is available in Decatur and Kennesaw, Breckenridge Christmas can be found at Woodstock, Cumming and Crabapple. The new Red Brick Winter (a dark Belgian style) is on at Perimeter, and V-Hi has Avery Old Jubilation (awesome beer). The rare and delicious Highland Cold Mountain is about to start flowing at the Mall of GA (heretofore referred to as G-Mall).

  • Can't get enough Belgian and Belgian-styled beers? Allagash Grand Cru is on tap at Kennesaw, Woodstock, Metropolis and G-Mall. Old Milton Pkwy and Kennesaw also have Ommegang Three Philosophers on draft. Hurry. Metropolis is pouring Delerium Nocturnum, which is out-of-this-world good beer. Woodstock has a keg of Maudite right now. I drank a year old bottle of Maudite the other day that was just about as delicious of a beer as you can get. Go buy some and put it in the fridge for a year. Wow. Don't miss the Jewbelation 12 at Dallas Hwy and G-Mall. Once it is gone, we are just going to have to wait for the Jewbelation 13 next year.

  • Are you just an old-fashioned hop head? We have beer for you too. Lagunitas Imperial Red (another 100%, satisfaction guaranteed, Fred favorite) is at Decatur and V-Hi. Decatur has Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, and G-Mall has Weyerbacher Hops Infusion. Haven't tried Left Hand Warrior IPA yet? Peachtree City and G-Mall are waiting for you. Metropolis has Avery Maharaja for the midtown hop heads. Ellard Village has DFH 90 Minute IPA. Don't forget about some of these old favorites that were new favorites a few years back. Those guys need your business, too. Did you like Sweetwater's "The Creeper"? G-Mall has Houblon Chouffe, which is the Belgian inspiration for "The Creeper." It is beyond awesome.

  • Last posting or two ago I mentioned some special Rogue kegs getting tapped. Windward, Perimeter, Cumming, Johns Creek and Metropolis are getting into theirs now. The rare Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yellow Pils is going on at Perimeter and East-West this week. Two kegs of Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale surfaced somehow. If you missed this beer the first time around, head over to East-West or G-Mall. During the hop shortage in '08, Sierra bought hops from New Zealand, which has a totally backwards harvest season from the USA, to make this beer. Pure genius. Last but not least, the Southampton Double White had some production issues, and the brewery is now scaling back distribution to our area temporarily. If you can find it, get one now. It may not be around again until spring.

I hope that everyone has a happy, healthy and prosperous '09. I promise that I will learn how to put photos on here a little better, like this one of the barrel-aging room at Russian River Brewing C0. in Santa Rosa, and get some fresh material for you. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Creep-ing Up On Vacation

For those of you who missed the article in Thursday's paper, Sweetwater's hopped up Belgian tripel, aptly called "The Creeper" came out last week. Each Taco Mac (except Philips Arena and our Tennessee store) received at least 1 keg last week. The problem is, they are only 7.75 gallons each. The good news is that this beer, at 10% ABV, gets served in an 11 oz. glass, which will help keep it around a little longer. If you are interested in this beer, I suggest that you hurry. This is the first release from Sweetwater's "Dank Tank", which will be providing random releases of odd-ball beers. "The Creeper" may not be seen again for a long time. It is also a very impressive take on a rarely seen style of beer.

Another impressive beer is Lagunitas' Cruisin' With Rueben And The Jets, the latest in their Frank Zappa series. It is a stout made with light hints of white pepper and chocolate. Sounds stranger than it tastes. Limited release, so get moving.

Lakefront Brewing Co. from Milwaukee has made it into GA lately. Many stores are picking up all 5 bottled beers that are available. These are well-made beers from a brewery who was making micro-brewed beer before it was popular to do so.

Today marks the first day that on-premise Sunday alcohol sales are legal in Newnan. Our store is celebrating that with Holy Mackerel's Belgian Gold and Mack & Black. These are from the Gordash Brewing Co. in Florida, and are really interesting. The Belgian Gold is pretty self-explanatory, but very good. The Mack & Black is a very unique beer, in that is dark without being super heavy, yet high in alcohol, but with a fruit addition that is barley detectable. All I can say is, it works. Newnan is also tapping Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yellow Pils, Rogue Santa's Private Reserve (also available in Decatur and Johns Creek), Victory Donnybrook Stout and a well-aged keg of North Coast Old Stock. Hopefully there are a few extra taxis on the streets of Newnan today.

Suwanee has just plugged in their Rogue Paul's Black Lager. They also recieved some 2007 Anchor Christmas bottles from their distributor. Apparently they did not sell out of last year's batch, so we are able to buy it now. That beer ages beautifully for a few years, and the 2007 was very spicy, so the age has done it justly. Peachtree City also has these bottles, along with some 2004 Schneider Aventinus. If you have never had an aged Aventinus, you frankly have not lived. It ain't cheap people. I'm just warning you.

I mentioned Houblon Chouffe last week. It is in at Decatur, Mall of GA and Lindbergh. This beer is the inspiration for "The Creeper". Try them side by side. Just a suggestion. Lindbergh is also one of the few stores selling Highland Cold Mountain. Did you know that Highland Cold Mountain is named after an actual mountain near Asheville called Cold Mountain? In fact, the movie "Cold Mountain" was set in the area. However, they shot it in Romania or somewhere in eastern Europe, much to the chagrin of the film company in Asheville who thought they easily had the contract. This film studion is next door to Highland Brewing Co., whose owner, Oscar Wong told me that story. Anyway, the beer is great. Some Gwinnett area stores got draft, and others only got bottles.

Can't get enough hops? Decatur is pouring Weyerbacher Double Simcoe. I am headed there today to watch some football. After last night's Cowboys game, I would say that "bitter" adequately describes my mood today, so maybe I will have one. They also have Allagash Black on draft, and "dark" also typifies my mood.

Did I say dark beer? Woodstock has Left Hand Imperial Stout, Duluth has Victory Baltic Porter (a Fred favorite), and Johns Creek has Victory Old Horizontal barley wine.

Ellard Village is the only store to pick up Southampton Double White on draft so far. This is another new brewery to make it to GA recently. They also have bottles of IPA and Altbier, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

Lastly, Crabapple has installed Butte Creek Organic Pilsner. Many of you may not be excited or impressed by that, but I am. I am hoping to lead the push for this beer to be our go-to recommendation for people who want to try a quality beer without going too far from their comfort zone. When I arrived in Portland last year, my friends took me to the beer bar in town called the Horse Brass Pub. It has been their since the 70's, and is renown on the West Coast as a destination for beer lovers. My friend John is a bartender there. Check it out sometime. Anyway, my friend told the bartender on duty when we got there that I had just gotten off a 5 hour flight from Atlanta. He responded with, "Oh, well then you need something you can put down in a hurry. Something to freshen you up." And he poured me a Butte Creek Organic Pilsner. Clearly this man was a genius, and it was exactly what I needed: cold, crisp, and hoppy, without any cloying bitterness to slow you down. We have always used imports like Stella or Peroni for customers looking for something in this department, when there is a perfectly good alternative made right here at home. As import prices continue to rise, it is time to put our foot down and tell them to take a flying leap. Peroni is owned by SAB/Miller/Coors now, and Stella is owned by InBev, who just bought Anheuser-Busch. I think these people have enought money. Butte Creek is this tiny little brewery in California with about 5 people working there on a busy day. The pictures above are of one of their brewers and my friend Jason, who is a normal sized person. Look at the size of that guy! He could eat Jason. The other picture is of an old bottler which they still use. Seriously, I assumed that it was just too big to move, so that they just worked around this monstrosity in the middle of the brewery. No, that is what they use to bottle beer.

Anyway, I will be back home in Michigan for week celebrating Christmas in a winter wonderland. Have a happy and safe holiday season. Thanks for reading.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holy Seasonal Beers!

'Tis the season to really step up your beer drinking. "But, Fred, I don't know if I can possibly drink any more beer than I already am!" you may be thinking. Nonsense. The stakes are way too high for that kind of thinking. Quitters never win.

We recently received a bunch of odd-ball Rogue kegs, and here is the scoop:
  • Love & Hoppiness- Kennesaw
  • Paul's Black Lager- Suwanee & Mall of GA
  • Brewer- Old Milton Pkwy, Dallas Hwy
  • Old Crustacean- Metropolis
  • Glenn- Woodstock, Metropolis, Crabapple
  • Yellow Snow- Suwanee, Perimeter
  • Latona- Cumming
  • Juniper- Peachtree City
  • Double Dead Guy- Duluth
These kegs ship out next week, and I have no idea when they will be getting tapped. I have never had 5 of these on draft before, and I am sure that these are rare to you folks as well, so check with the stores who have the beers that you are most interested in drinking for when they will be tapping.

Dank Tank? Yes, Sweetwater has a fermenter dedicated to weird offerings, and it is called "The Dank Tank." The first DT issue, a 10% ABV Belgian tripel called "The Creeper" is shipping out to all 21 GA area Taco Mac stores that I represent next week. Look for it soon, because it will be gone in a hurry.

Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yellow Pils is coming soon to Newnan, East-West, Perimeter and Kennesaw.

Victory's new Donnybrook Stout (nitro poured Irish style) is going to be featured at Old Milton, Duluth, Decatur and Newnan in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

Ayinger Celebrator draft is going in at Kennesaw and Lindbergh right now. SW Festive '07 is being poured at Dallas Hwy, and small kegs of He'Brew Jewbelation 12 (12 malts, 12 hops, 12 % ABV) are at Kennesaw, Suwanee and Peachtree City. The PTC store also has a Stone Double Bastard keg, as does Metropolis. Feeling like a stout? Hit Ellard Village for Victory Storm King and Rogue Shakespeare, or Crabapple for Great Divide Yeti, and PTC for Left Hand Imperial Stout. Ben and the gang are gettin' their hops on at Kennesaw. Grab a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid, Gordon IPA or Left Hand Warrior Wet Hop. Lindbergh and Decatur are waiting for kegs of 3 Philosphers to come in next week, and multiple stores are praying for inventory of Houblon Chouffe to show up next week. Red Brick's Winter Ale is a Belgian-style now (the old Winter recipe is now a year-round Porter), and going in at Kennesaw and Woodstock. Johns Creek is putting in Victory Hop Wallop, Tommyknocker Rye Porter and North Coast Old Stock to warm you up. Decatur has the Hop Wallop now as well, plus Lagunitas Brown Shugga'. Our facilities manager is currently working on installing a beer engine in Decatur for cask ales to be available at all times. Hopefully that is operational by Jan. 1. If you never got to taste the Belgian tripel from Lagunitas, you can find 22 oz. bottles of We're Only In It For The Money at Newnan and Metropolis. It is the latest in the series of beers named for Frank Zappa albums. Cruisin' With Rueben & The Jets is next and should be in next week. It is a stout brewed with chocolate and white pepper. Hmmm.... If you love Lagunitas beers like I do (the back bar from their employee lounge is pictured above), head out to Woodstock for Lucky #13 on draft. While you are out that way, hit East-West Connector for Lagunitas Gnarly Wine and Left Hand Snowbound Spiced Ale. Then call a cab. Ouch. Mall of GA has probably the last keg of Terrapin Oak-Aged Big Hoppy Monster yet to be tapped in town. They will be getting into it this weekend. They have also brought in about 25 new bottled beers over the last few weeks. So if you are a Passport Club member looking for credits, dodge the craziness at the mall and treat yourself to some refreshments.

The week before Thanksgiving I was invited, along with representatives from 3 other beer-centric establishments (all from CA) to "Beer Camp" at Sierra Nevada in Chico, CA. The event was basically a seminar in beer making, beer culture and Sierra Nevada history. After a day of that, including an extensive tour of their facility, we were tested on the information we were given. The top scorer in the group (me) got to work with one of their brewers to develop a recipe for the pilot system. The following day we all helped to brew the beer, and when it is done, the batch will be split between all of the participants. So, keep your eyes peeled for Hop Secret 393 to show up around the first of the year. Why the funny name? There was a bale of experimental hops there that Sierra was given by one of their growers to play around with. It had never been used to brew beer with before, and did not even have a name. It was simply called "Hop 393." It smelled great, and the temptation to use it was impossible to resist. The beer is designed to showcase this hop (along with others) in a medium bodied red ale. Think Celebration Ale with more body, and the hops toned down a little. It should be interesting, and with the help of their employees, you know it is going to taste great. I will have a full recipe and technical specs when we roll out the beer. We should receive about 10 kegs, and I will be on hand with photos of the whole thing for each keg tapping. The Sierra staff photographer and archivist just sent me his pictures, and I will post some here very soon. Have a great weekend, and get out there and drink some beer already!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Calendar

I am trying to put together a Taco Mac special events calendar that can be posted and viewed via the blog.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm Back & Don't Miss This Cask!

Loyal Readers!

Thanks to Patrick, the Albequerque Beer Geek, for helping with the legibility of my blog's heading. What an improvement.

I apologize for my recent absence. The Thanksgiving holiday was nice in regards to having a little time off, but it put me behind in my administrative work something fierce. You may be asking yourself, "What kind of 'administrative' work does this guy do? He drinks beer for a living!" Well, I have been hard at work putting a ton of new beers into the computer system. Our IT department is handling their end of this procedure today, and a plethora of new beers, vintage-dated cellar items and casks are going to be available. I have also just finished placing a handful of special/rare Rogue kegs around to our stores.

The main thing that I have been working on however, has been in-store training. 3-5 days a week I have been in a store teaching our employees about beer and administering tests. The results have been positive in most cases, and hopefully the general level of beer knowledge continues to improve. The difficult thing is to try to get people to be passionate about something that they normally are only casually concerned with. Now I know what anyone who ever tried to teach me math or science felt like.

I will be giving you a list of new beers that are getting tapped around town as soon as I sort through all of the e-mails from the last 2 weeks. But, in the meantime, try to get down to the Metropolis store on Wednesday for a very special cask tapping. We have an Oskar Blues Old Chub, aged in Stranahan's whiskey barrels. It is going to be awesome. Stranahan's is made in Colorado from the mash from the Oskar Blues beers (Dale's Pale Ale). They used to use Flying Dog mash, but Flying Dog recently moved all brewing operations to Maryland. The whiskey is very mellow, and compares closest to bourbon, but does not have any corn or wheat in the mash, so it has a fuller mouthfeel, and less smokiness than bourbon. I have met the distiller, Jess Graber, and this is a real Colorado mountain guy, dusty cowboy hat and all. I really like the whiskey, and I think that it will enhance the taste of the Old Chub perfectly. We will have a bottle of Stranahan's on hand for tasting purposes as well.

I will be back this week with a beer update, as well as with photos and stories from Beer Camp at Sierra Nevada (entrance pictured above) last month. It was a blast, and the beer we made at camp should be here just in time for the new year. More on that later.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Headin' Up To A-Town/Next Week's Cask!

I took Friday and Saturday this week to visit Asheville, NC for the first time. This college town, nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is full of small breweries. It took Bob (Ellard Village's GM) and I just 3 1/2 hours to get here from Atlanta yesterday, and we arrived at Highland Brewing Co. around lunch time. We got to see them finishing the hand-bottling of their Cold Mountain 1 liter swing-top bottles. Watch your store shelves for these rarities. Highland president and all-around great guy, Oscar Wong, told us he is seriously considering not doing this special package again in the future. Then he pulled a pitcher of Cold Mountain off of the packaging line for us to try. Can you say "fresh beer"? It was great, and all lips were sealed about some of the top-secret herbs and spices in this year's batch. If you ever get a chance to be in Asheville, don't miss a chance to visit these people. We missed the peak fall colors by about 3 weeks, but the scenery here is still beautiful.

After Highland, the head brewer from Asheville Brewing Co. picked us up and took us to his downtown location. They also have a location closer to campus that houses a movie theater. The beers, ranging from Golden Ale to Porter (the Stout was out of stock yesterday), were all really good. Doug (the brewer) was a great guy, and we got to see his small copper-coated brew sytem out back. The ESB was our favorite, and the Red-Light IPA was worth another trip as well. This was also another batch of really friendly people. Good vibes abound in Asheville.

We were able to walk about 4 blocks to the converted garage that houses the Green Man Brewing Co. and thier pub. A very rustic bar and beer garden show where the emphasis lies with these folks: true English-style ales, no pretensions. The Pale Ale was tasty, there was a beer engine serving cask-conditioned Porter, and 4-5 other taps of Green Man ales. The brewery was exposed beside the bar. No glassed-in display here. The brewer was separated from the patrons by a rope and a sign asking for "Employees Only" beyond the rope. We were treated to a lengthy discussion on yeast propagation and history while getting a sneak peak at a "new" release: Green Man 2007 Russian Imperial Stout, aged 11 months at this point. Brewer John Stuart was a very knowledgeable and hospitable guy. Unfortunately he had to rush off for another appointment, which was not hosting Comedy Central's The Daily Show. That's John Stewart.

After Green Man, we checked out some of the many bars around the Patton Ave./Commerce St. corner. Local beers are everywhere. Scheduling conflicts are going to keep us from going to Pisgah Brewing, which is about 30 minutes outside of town. However, their beers were available at Jack O' The Wood and Yacht Club, just to name a few. The Thirsty Monk has 2 levels: American craft beers upstairs and Belgians downstairs. One visit was not enough, and we are going back tonight. Also tonight we are going to Barley's, which specializes in NC beers, and is rumored to have 20-25 local beers on tap at any given time. I will scope it out for you.

We are going to visit French Broad Brewing and Wedge Brewing today. There are apparently 2 more breweries opening soon/just opened, and we are going to try to find out where these are located. This brewing community is very close-knit, and they are happy to share information about each other. The evening is going to include the stops mentioned above, plus a sit-down with local Belgian beer expert Chris Dotson. The other highlight of today will a stop at Bruisin' Ales, the legendary beer store downtown here. We are going early, in order to prevent spending a small fortune on exotic beers after we've had a few. Tomorrow we head home to rest. This is hard work, people!

Here are some new beers that are getting tapped right now at Atlanta area Taco Mac stores:

  • Breckenridge Christmas is going in at Windward, Newnan & Lindbergh.
  • Corsendonk Christmas has arrived at Lindbergh & Suwanee.
  • Look for Tommy Knocker Rye Porter at Windward and East-West Connector. The Cocoa Porter is available at Perimeter as well.
  • Getting cold? Warm up with Great Divide Hibernation Ale at Decatur or Johns Creek, a Left Hand Snowbound Spiced Ale at Ellard Village, Peachtree City or Metropolis.
  • Hop heads, start your engines! Burn rubber to Perimeter for Great Divide Titan IPA, to Ellard for the Great Divide Fresh Hop, or Windward for Left hand Warrior IPA.
  • One of my all-time favorites, Lagunitas Imperial Red, can be found at Lindbergh and Ellard.
  • RJ Rockers Patriot Pale Ale is arriving at Peachtree City, and their First Snow Ale is about to be tapped at East-West.
  • Suwanee has one of the last Terrapin Oak-Aged Hoppy Monsters going in now.
  • Many more stores are getting their Anchor Christmas this week.
  • Woodstock has the He'Brew Jewbelation 12 right now. They also have 450 bottled beers, so if you need some unusual passport credits, you can defiantely find something there.
  • Lastly, if you have never had a Schneider Aventinus, get over to Winward. You can thank me now or thank me later. This beer is incredible. Manager Jason Everett is very passionate and knowledgeable about beer, so if your there, definately ask for him.

Cask Beer at Metropolis!

  • The cask program continues with our new beer engine at the Metropolis store. If you recall the Vanilla Gorilla from a few weeks ago, we are going to have another Red Brick cask this coming Wednesday. Their Peachtree Pale Ale will exhibit more of its true hop flavor when the beer is served cask-conditioned and hand-drawn. If you can be there, we tap the cask at 5 pm. The last one was empty by 6:30, so don't delay if you are interested in this unique beer experience.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Beer Update 11-8-08

Here are some of the new kegs getting tapped around the metro-Atlanta area Taco Mac locations. Remember, some of these are in small quantities and will go fast, so please call the store before heading over there if you really have your heart set on something. Also, if you are heading north on I-75 this holiday season and find yourself in Chattanooga, you will find many beers at our location there that you can't find in Georgia. Also, we are installing 14 new draft lines up there this January. Can you say, "Road Trip!"

Red Brick Porter- This used to be called "Winter" and is a double-chocolate oatmeal porter. It is now going to be available year-round. It is going into Old Milton Pkwy., Crabapple, and Lindbergh Center right now. Many other stores have already had it for a while. There will be a new Red Brick Winter coming soon. Allegedly this will be a Belgian-style ale of some sort.

Left Hand/Terrapin Terra-Rye'Zd- If you have not had this beer yet, get going to Johns Creek or East-West Connector (Austell). We only received 6 of these kegs, and it is a very rare style of beer as well. If you don't know anything about it, read last week's blog post.

'07 & '08 Festive are pouring at Dallas Hwy. in Marietta. The '07 is a small keg, and the word is out, so don't delay.

Terrapin Oak-Aged Big Hoppy Monster- There are limited numbers of these kegs as well, but you can find two of them at Duluth and Metropolis. More are coming. The Duluth store will start selling this beer after our Terrapin beer dinner there on Tuesday. Many stores also have the regular, un-oaked Big Hoppy Monster. Austell is receiving theirs this week.

Beer Dinners- Didn't know that Taco Mac does beer dinners every month? Click on the "Beer Dinners" link at If this is not the best beer experience for the money in Atlanta, someone please tell me.

Other notable keg arrivals are:
  • Crabapple has Allagash Black & Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. Get some!

  • Suwanee is hooking up Left Hand's 400 lb. Monkey and Snowbound Spiced Ale, plus Great Divide Hibernation. Felling festive in Gwinnett apparently.

  • Metropolis has got a GD Hibernation going in as well.

  • Lindbergh is tapping the He'Brew Jewbelation 12 (made with 12 malts, 12 hops and is 12% ABV) & Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter.

  • Ellard Village is where you will find fresh Sierra Nevada Celebration, and Great Divide Fresh Hop IPA. I already hear tires squealing, headed for the Fresh Hop, but slow down. It is going to be another week on that. I just want you to get prepared.

  • Kennesaw has received/will be receiving Highland Cold Mountain, Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti, Corsendonk Christmas, and Avery Ale To The Chief.

Special Notes:

  • Anchor Christmas kegs have been delayed. I expect them to ship out to every store this week. We are waiting with open taps for its arrival.

  • We will have more Avery Ale To The Chief, probably releasing them around the presidential inauguration in January. No politics, just beer.

  • I have a keg of '06 & '08 Duck Rabbit Barley Wine at our Suwanee store. The '09 comes out in January. The guys at the brewery are looking to see if they have any '07, even if they are bottles, so that we can do a 4 year vertical Barley-Wine tasting this winter. Stay tuned and cross you fingers for that '07.

  • The menu will be ready Monday for our December beer dinner. This event will be different in that not one, but 6 breweries will be represented. We are going to feature 6 winter/holiday beers, plus we will be serving homemade eggnog spiked with Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum. Yes, in case you did not know, Rogue makes spirits also. The beers are mostly classics that you are familiar with, and one soon-to-be holiday classic. The date is Tuesday, 12/16, and it is being held at Lindbergh Center.

  • In a few weeks I will be in Chico, CA for Beer Camp 3. Myself and 7 other guests will be learning the process for brewing beer at Sierra Nevada, and then assisting in the brew on their pilot system the following day. I will be sure to get some photos to post. The good news for you is that once the beer is packaged, some of the kegs will be coming straight to a few Taco Mac locations in Georgia. Needless to say, this is like being a kid on Christmas Eve for me.

If anything else comes up unexpectedly, you will read it here first. Thanks for your participation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's Tappening At Taco Mac

Here is a listing of some special kegs, where they are, and when we plan on getting into them. I intend to update this calendar weekly at least, or as availability necessitates. This is the time of year when a lot of great beers come out, and there is a lot of activity on draft walls company-wide. Always be advised that beers come and go quickly, so if you have your heart set on something, please call to check availability first! Stay tuned, and enjoy.

Terra-Rye'Zd: This black lager with copious amounts of rye is a collaboration between Left Hand and Terrapin, brewed at Left Hand's facility in Longmont, Colorado. Taco Mac has 6 kegs spread across Atlanta, and here is where they are and when we are pouring them.
  • Pouring now: Windward Pkwy.
  • Friday 10/31: (Halloween! Tomorrow!) at Metropolis
  • Tuesday 11/11: Kennesaw and Perimeter
  • TBA: Johns Creek and East-West Connector

Sweetwater Festive Ale: We have some stores with 2007 vintages, being served alongside the current batch. Some of these '07's are in small kegs, so hurry.

  • Old Milton Pkwy. is pouring 2007 right now.
  • Ellard Village is pouring both very soon (call 770-518-5565 for exact date).
  • Crabapple is pouring both right now.
  • Most stores have the current batch now, and more '07's are coming soon.

Left Hand 400 lb. Monkey IPA: This is a test batch, and Atlanta is 1 of 6 markets nationwide to get it. The beer is not overpoweringly bitter, which I found to be a refreshing surprise.

  • Kennesaw and Crabapple are tapping this week.
  • Lindbergh, Cumming, Duluth and Peachtree City already tapped theirs and may be out already.

Terrapin Oak-Aged Hoppy Monster: A new monster is on the loose! Don't run for your life! Run to Crabapple and Decatur; they are getting it this weekend. Other stores will follow.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout: At just over 10% alcohol, this is the beer that cold weather was meant for. Get one at Perimeter and Kennesaw now. Those same stores also have Breckenridge Christmas on draft.

Suwanee will be getting a keg of 2006 Duck Rabbit Barley Wine. We will probably start selling that in early November.

Most stores are also serving the new 2008 Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. I had one yesterday and it was outstanding, as usual.

Eight stores will be serving Terrapin's All-American Imperial Pilsner on election night. If you want to cast your vote for great beer and watch the election returns with a Terrapin in your hand, head down to Metropolis, Old Milton, Decatur, Crabapple, Lindbergh, Dallas Hwy., Perimeter or Kennesaw. The TV coverage will be on the election, and the sound will be audible. Terrapin is only going to make this beer every 4 years now, so get one while you can.

East-West Connector has just brought in on draft: He'Brew Jewbelation 12, Rogue Festive, Sierra Nevada Double DeBockle, St. Bernardus Tripel, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin. If you live near Austell, you need to go check in on Nathan and his crew. They have a great looking selection right now.

Decatur is also getting into a Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout this week some time. If you are looking for a beast of a stout, you found one.

Many stores are picking up Red Brick Porter now as well. This is their old "Winter" seasonal, which is a double-chocolate oatmeal porter, now being made year-round. It is delicious.

That is it for now. I hope this keeps everyone busy for a while. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vanilla Gorilla Attacks Metropolis!

The new beer engine that we installed at our Metropolis location sprang into action tonight for the first time. The last pieces of the puzzle came together at 4:59 pm for the 5:00 pm tapping (great work Charlie!), and after a few minor adjustments, Donald was drawing hand-pulled pints like a pro. The Atlanta Brewing Co. provided their Double-Chocolate Oatmeal Porter, cask-conditioned with real vanilla beans. The crowd was just as outstanding as the beer, and we killed the firkin in just under 1 1/2 hours. I got the last one, and the temp and flavor were just right. The vanilla was a great compliment, and nowhere was there any excessive sweetness. We are anxious to make this beer engine a regular Wednesday night occurance, firkin supply willing. Stay tuned.

Above is a picture of Donald and Anthony pouring a pint, and look a little further down for a snapshot of my trip to California. More to come!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

First Post

I am launching a blog to keep all of our beer-loving friends out there in Taco Mac land informed about upcoming beer-related events and happenings. Eventually, I will also include photos of my beer travels and adventures, as well as links to any interesting things I encounter along the way. I hope you have as much fun with this as I will.