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.