Saturday, December 26, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
- Bell's Two-Hearted Ale firkin at Old Milton last Wednesday? Killed it in 1 hour, 3 minutes. Great showing by the Alpharetta/Milton area folks. I am scanning the horizon for another cask for that general area in the next month or so. Probably not go back to that exact store, but we have a lot of properties and a lot of customers in that part of town, so we'll find a place that they can all get to comfortably.
- The invite-only event at The Fred on Saturday was a huge hit. We were featuring the Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head collaboration beer called Life & Limb. We only had two small kegs of this beer, which was made with hops grown on the Sierra estate grounds in Chico, CA, and maple syrup from (DFH owner) Sam Calagione's family farm. This dark strong ale (10% ABV) was naturally carbonated using birch syrup from Alaska. It was outstanding. The alcohol was hidden by the rich, malty flavors and steady hop background. You could really pick up on the different aspects that each one of these breweries is famous for. Since we were only going to get 100 or so 11 oz. pours from these kegs, we invited all the Brewniversity members over 750 beers. Once they all had a chance to RSVP, I invited some beer lovers from my personal contact list. We packed The Fred with around 75 people, and it was a perfect fit. Once everyone had a chance to have a Life & Limb, we also had a 2008 Sierra Bigfoot, Sierra Brown Saison, Sierra Celebration (I had 2!), DFH Burton Baton, Midas Touch and Chicory Stout ( a perennial Fred Favorite) on draft. A good time was certainly had by all. With most of these beers weighing in around 9% ABV and higher, it was quite an attitude adjustment for a Saturday afternoon. It was raining and crappy outside, but the people in attendance stayed in great spirits quite easily. Thank you to everyone who came, and yes, we will do it again soon.
- And for those keeping score, our company holiday party was last Tuesday, and virtually everyone behaved properly. I cannot accurately express how disappointed I was. I mean, really people. I need some material here. Get drunk and act stupid already! These are restaurant people, and if you know restaurant people, then you know two things about them immediately: They work really hard, and typically party harder. There was an enormous bottle of Jagermeister, and if that is not the international symbol for trouble brewing, I don't know what is. That thing was huge. Speaking of Jagermeister, as many of you who know me may have observed, I am fond of it. OK, "fond" may be a bit of an understatement. I have been know to deride people behind their back for obscuring the peculiar deliciousness of Jager with abominations like Red Bull. That's like putting ketchup on a steak people. Ugh. Nasty. Hey, if you don't like the taste of Jager, why do you drink it? You can drop plenty of other bland or fruit-infused liquors into your energy drink and get the same effect without offending people with actual taste. And I don't think you need a doctor to tell you that mixing a depressant with stimulant is a bad idea. You know, if you want to get drunk quickly with no regard for your health, they have a name for that: it is called a bum. See also "hobo", "wino" and the always delicate "street person". Hang out with some of them for a while and see how you like it. Hey, maybe hepatitis is your thing. But, back to the matter at hand......Jager is awesome, but I stopped drinking it two weeks ago. An actual sales person who represents the green bottle in which the devil resides refused to tell me how many calories are in a shot of Jagermeister. Ever wonder what makes it so thick? Hint: It's not the herbs. If you guessed sugar, you're our big winner. So not only will Jager help you get falling-down drunk, arrested and/or butt naked in an inappropriate place, it will give you diabetes. Mmmmm......diabetes. Any way, I switched to Bulleit Bourbon instead. Just in case some of you thought I was getting soft.
Tonight is the big Matt & Fred's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza beer dinner. Tomorrow I will be back at The Fred for the release of the New Belgium Fall Wild Ale and La Folie drafts. It looks like every store should be pouring both of these tomorrow with three exceptions: the Virginia-Highland store will be pouring one tomorrow and the other one when that runs out (their draft system has 24 taps, vs. around 50 or more everywhere else), and it looks like the distributor that handles Newnan and Peachtree City is going to be a week behind. Sorry folks. I just heard about this yesterday. I will be at The Fred with some glassware if anyone wants to stop by. First come, first served. There are only about 50 glasses to go around, so 1 per customer will be the house rules as always.
Next week we will be featuring the new Terrapin Side Project called "The Dark Side". This is a Belgian-style stout that comes in at around 8.5%. The beer may debut at some stores late this week, but we will have a special cask of it aged on cherry wood at The Fred at 6 pm on Tuesday the 22nd. We will also have the regular Dark Side for a taste comparison, plus Spike the brewer from Terrapin and some of his guys will be on hand, etc. However, there is one requirement to get your hands on the secret stash: a 'stache. You must have a moustache, real or fake (you too ladies!) to partake in the cask. No exceptions. Does a goatee count? I will have to check the rule book on that one. You goatee wearers may need to trim the chin for a special beer. We will need someone to physically tap the cask. Show up early, and it could be you. Show up early with an especially unique or unusual 'stache, and you definitely will be able to say to all of the people enjoying this beer, "Yeah, I tapped that." Rick did a good job on the Two Hearted last week. He might have been a little nervous, but who wasn't a little nervous their first time?
Also, for those of you who are particularly organized, you can add Tuesday, 1/19/10 to your calendar. The owner and brew master of Bell's, Larry Bell, will be at our Metropolis store for a meet & greet with folks like you. We will have some special Bell's beers available, plus some surprises from Larry's personal stash. No facial hair will be required for this event.
That's all for now. Hope everyone has a great week. Talk to you soon. Happy holidays, now stop playing that god-awful Christmas music before someone goes totally mental and shoots a bunch of innocent people. Did I say that out loud?
Monday, December 7, 2009
- Wednesday @ our Old Milton Pkwy location we are tapping a firkin of Bell's Two Hearted Ale around 6 pm. As stated last week, we may tap it earlier if anyone is there (most importantly the guy with the special tap we need!). This beer is going to be great, unless classic, well-hopped, cask conditioned American IPA's aren't your thing.
- The holiday beer dinner next week is full. I am very sorry to anyone who did not sign up that wanted to come. Get ready for our next dinner in February at Lindbergh on 2/23 though. It will feature an extended reception that will be a multi beer-and-cheese pairing (4 different "stations"), followed by a 3-course meal. The beers will be hand selected by me from a variety of breweries. The educational aspect will be more on beer and cheese pairings that on the beers from one particular brewery. If that bums you out, consider this: the beers will represent the pinnacle of each style that we are pairing with the cheeses and 3 seated courses. Stay tuned for more info as it develops.
- Next Wednesday the 16th we are going to be tapping into New Belgium's Fall Wild Ale and La Folie (see previous post regarding "foeders" to see La Folie's wooden fermenters). Some stores with smaller draft systems may choose to pour one at a time, whereas others will pour them both at once. Call your home store for details on what their plans are. Or just show up. I will be at The Fred with Chip from New Belgium. He will have some glassware to give out. I don't know how many he will bring, so don't get bent out of shape if you show up 2 hours late and there aren't any glasses left. I have no control over these things.
- Be on the lookout for some special Harpoon kegs coming around. They have a new UFO Unfiltered Pale Ale hitting some stores that is nice, their Winter Warmer is back in ATL after 5 + years' absence, and the 100 Bbl. Ginger Wheat is rolling out this week. There is also a keg of the 100 Bbl. Glacier Wet Hop coming to The Fred soon.
- Lastly, get the Metropolis store in your GPS stat! Donald has been sending firkins all over the place to get filled. Starting first of next year he is going to be pouring cask conditioned versions of Left Hand Fade To Black, Wyerbacher Hops Infusion & Dbl. Simcoe (same day, side-by-side) and something from Smuttynose's big beer series. These will all be on Fridays at 6 pm. Exact dates TBD, but these are going to be special. More to follow as well.
I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I was out of communication Saturday because I was finishing my Christmas shopping. Oh yes, it feels great to be done by 12/7. Don't hate on me. Then I watched the SEC Championship game like the rest of the southeast. I am sorry, but whose fault is it that Tim Tebow's swan song did not live up to expectations? He was crying because everyone told him that the movie was not going to end that way. The hero always rides off into the sunset a winner right? No, sorry pal. You know why the first Rocky was such a good movie? Rocky loses in the end. It's real. It's not contrived Hollywood schlock. Sure, Rocky II-VII or whatever sucked, but the first one? Oscar winner for Best Picture and Best Director 1976. Look it up. It beat out Taxi Driver, undoubtedly one of the greatest movies and most incredible performances by any actor in any era (if you don't know who, I'm not telling you-you need help). So suck it up Tebow! Welcome to reality, where life kicks you in the crotch sometimes and fairy tales don't come true. You got your ass beat, now go be a millionaire in the NFL. What are you crying about? Rocky didn't cry did he? No, he came back with a sequel, and the Eye Of The god-damned Tiger, didn't he. "Risin' up, straight to the top. Took my time, took my chances....." You knew he wasn't going to lose once you heard his anthem. Either way, I felt bad for the guy (Tebow, not Rocky-he isn't real). He got beat by a superior team who kept him off the field, so I understand his frustration. He had to sit back and watch his dreams erode in front of him, and there was nothing he could do about it. That's rough.
Have a great week, and get out there and drink some beer already!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Sorry for my absence, but not too much has been going on lately. Two Tuesdays ago Chad from Sierra Nevada & I went to Smith's Olde Bar to see Steve Kimock (pictured). Smith's is a great place t0 see a show, and I got to meet the owner, Bo. Classy guy all they way. If you feel like getting out to see some live music, see who's playing there first. It is a small enough place that you can see the band from anywhere, but big enough to draw some great acts. Never heard of Steve Kimock? That's OK with me. This guy sells out the Fillmore in San Francisco, but plays small clubs in the southeast. Let's keep it that way. One more great thing about Smith's is that it is non-smoking upstairs. You can actually enjoy watching a band without second-hand smoking a pack of cigarettes. I quit smoking in 2005, and now I can't stand it. I know smokers, I'm one of those people. But face it, it's a nasty habit, it stinks everything up, and it doesn't make you look cool. I mean, Fonzie didn't smoke. Elvis? Non-smoker.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
- Nicknamed "The Fred". I am flattered that my name was chosen as the reference for this cool spot, naturally. But make no mistake folks, I still have a day job, so don't expect to see me there all the time. Katy is the manager, not me, and she and her crew are capable beer freaks. I am still the beer guy for our company, which is a full-time job. I will however be helping make sure that the draft and bottle selections down there are top-notch. You can expect to see me there for all of the special events there to come. More on that later.
- The phone number is 404-671-FRED. Pretty cool. I can't take credit for that. If I knew how to do that, don't you think I would have had my own number spell out my name?
- You will need to have 50 beers on your Brewniversity list to gain entrance to The Fred after it has been open for 3 months. Will it go up to a higher number later? We'll have to wait and see. If we decide to do that, you will be sufficiently notified, I promise. The idea is that this special little drinking spot is for our loyal customers, new and old, not just anyone off the street. So if your list is short, get to work. Don't say I didn't warn you. You have over 2 1/2 months from now, which is plenty of time. If your list is long, then it is doubtful that our required number catches up with your list, unless you start drinking the same beers all the time (unlikely) or go on the wagon (highly unlikely).
- If you have still not been by, remember that this place is only open at night W-Sun., and only serves appetizers as far as food goes. The entrance is down the hill along the patio of the Taco Mac. The best way to find the door is to go into Taco Mac and ask an employee to point you in the right direction. Basically, if you get to the sporting goods store on the left, you just missed it, if you are going downhill.
So, about the beer down there. The selection has some great examples of major beer styles, including brands you have probably seen. Like IPA? We have Avery. Are you an amber ale drinker? Highland Gaelic. German beer? We have three. Belgians? Three of those. Local beers? Yes, but not their flagship brands, their specialty beers. Want something unusual? Stone Vertical Epic 9-9-09, Smuttynose Small Batch Belgian Tripel, and Ommegang Adoration. Cask beer? Probably the star of the entire beer selection down there is the cask-conditioned Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin Extra. Is it as good as it sounds? Better.
Bottled beers range from must-haves (Sierra Nevada Torpedo) to bizarre (Hitachino XH aged in Shocyu sake barrels). Cocktails are top-notch, old-fashioned to funky (we have cucumber liqueur!). Six nice wines round out the spirits portion of the menu. Try the Black Cava for Two. It is two glasses that are one third sparkling Spanish wine (called cava), two thirds Bell's Kalamazoo Stout. That drink was introduced to me in 1994 by Larry Bell (owner of Bell's) at an employee party at his house (I am a former Bell's employee for any new readers). I have been wanting to break this thing out for 15 years. It is awesome, and everyone who has tried it is now a true believer. Sparkling wine isn't for sissies! Not if you put some heavy dry stout into it.
The food features some herbed steak fries with a secret sauce, a 5 cheese crab dip served with pitas, an olive and pickle jar, bratwurst egg rolls (you didn't expect that!), and finally some salami and cherry pepper (hot) finger sandwiches that are baked and crusty. Everything is delicious.
The special events I mentioned will begin with our holiday beer dinner. Matt & Fred's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza II is on 12/15, and will be a can't-miss event for the holiday season. The menu will be out soon (Matt & I are tasting beers Monday). It will feature six different holiday or winter themed beers, and Matt's home made egg nog, which will be spiked (duh) with Rogue Hazelnut Spice Rum and dusted with nutmeg. It was a big hit last year, so now it's a tradition. This thing will sell out quickly, so look for the menu and sign-up to get posted on http://www.tacomac.com/ by this time next week hopefully.
The picture is of my friend Jason who works at The Fred. He goes on a lot of my beer trips. Here he is at New Belgium, sporting some pretty sweet safety glasses. I have been meaning to show him the pictures from that trip. Here you go buddy! So that is what I have been up to. What about you?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
- Draft beers have a seasonal specialty from all three of the local breweries, a Sierra Nevada seasonal, three Belgian lines, three German lines, some rare stuff and some vintage beers. We also try to represent some major beer styles with strong versions from breweries we like. You don't need to like extremely esoteric beers to enjoy coming here. We have a great amber ale, a great pilsner, etc. But if you want an '08 Victory Old Horizontal barley wine or St. Bernardus Christmas, we have those on draft too.
- Bottles beers have a few old favorites and style representatives, but this is where we stretch out a little. There are many large, cork-finished bottles of Belgian beers, plus some 500 ml and 12 oz. bottles of wacky foreign beers. Don't worry though. We also have things like Anchor Liberty if you are looking for a nice old standard (I love that beer, so it gets preferential treatment. When is the last time you had one?)
- The liquors are focusing on some more unique brands. We have some signature cocktails, as well as some more traditional, classic drinks. Fresh juice and premium ingredients transform old mundane drinks into something special. When is the last time you had a real whisky sour? Good stuff.
- Now if you are into light beer, we don't really have anything for you, and you probably wouldn't be reading this if light beer is your thing.
The rest of the story is yet to be told really. The future direction of this little thing we are doing depends a lot on your feedback and patronage. We also plan on doing some special events there in the upcoming months, so if you are not familiar with where the old Frankie's was, we are on Roswell Rd. just south of 285. If you know where 5 Seasons in sandy Springs is located, we are about three doors down. Hope to see you soon, and get to work on your Brewniversity lists!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Here is a cask beer update for you folks who like fresh and unique stuff:
- This Friday there will be a cask of Terrapin Hopsecutioner (oaked?) at Metropolis. This beer debuted at last week's beer dinner and stole the show. This is your chance to beat everyone else to the punch, because kegs of this beer are not in wide distribution yet.
- Next Friday we are doing two casks. Metropolis will have a firkin of Allagash Curieux that Donald sent to the brewery to be filled a few months ago. For those cave dwellers out there, Curieux (cure-ee-o) is a Belgian-style tripel aged in bourbon barrels. It is phenomenal. Mall of GA Taco Mac has a cask of Heavy Seas Hang Ten. This is a 10% ABV weizen dopplebock, and is also outstanding.
- The new Prado store opens Wednesday. The beer engine will be pouring a cask-conditioned keg of Rogue Mocha Porter. We have some other kegs for that beer engine, but I can't reveal all of my secrets at once.
The picture above is of a "pit stop" on a tour of New Belgium Brewing Co. during GABF. Down in the underbelly of the brewery, about halfway through their tour, they put a cask of Hoptober for thirsty guests. Nice touch. Beer tasted great too.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
1. An old piece of crap car.
Features include: a plume of blue oil-soaked smoke coming from the exhaust - general odor of beer vomit and french fries - a Kraco stereo with a 10 year old Nirvana cassette stuck in the player - flat white, flat blue and Bondo red in color.
"Yes, I need a taxi to the Holiday Inn downtown Athens."
"Uhhh, I'm not working yet."
"Oh, OK. When do you start?"
"Well, not for like 45 minutes, maybe an hour." It must be nice to write your own schedule. This guy was a real go-getter.
"Alright, thanks. Bye"
"Hello, Much Luv!" By the sound of the woman's voice, apparently there is a ghetto in Athens. Who knew?
"Yes, I need a cab to the Holiday Inn downtown." Long pause.
"Uh, yeah, I'm gonna need like 10-15 minute to get a hold of the driver." That is not a misprint. This woman didn't say "10-15 minutes". I guess plurals are obsolete now.
"OK. So about how long?"
"I'd say about 20 minute baby. Whas yo name?" Great. Now I am going to be late for the reception. Good thing I stopped for that 6-pack. That's a lesson for you folks out there. You never know how long something is going to take, so you better have some beer on hand just in case. When have you ever said, "Oh my god. We have too much beer!" Never. You may be thinking, "Why doesn't he just call another cab company?" Well, I already had the ball rolling with these people, and I assumed it would have taken just as long with someone else. Plus it was Saturday, so there was football on TV. About 15 minutes later I get a call:
A man's voice this time, "Yeah, dis Greg? Dis Much Luv."
"No, this is Fred." Long pause.
"Well OK Fred, where you goin'?"
"I need to get over to Terrapin."
"The beer makin' place?"
"Yep, that's it."
"OK man. We be dere in about 20 minute. If you goin' by yourself, I gotta charge you 'bout twenty dollar." Well now I am going to be late, so I am not in a postion to haggle. I need this guy to get moving, and fast. So, fine, twenty bucks for a ten dollar cab ride. I told him my room number, hung up the phone and opened up another beer. Georgia was getting manhandled by Tennessee. About fifteen minutes later I get another call.
"Yo' man, we down front. I can't get the god-damned limo in the driveway, so we just park on the street. When you come out the front do', just look to the right." Like I could miss a limosine in front of a hotel. Thanks, Much Luv. Thanks for the help. Well, twenty bucks for a limo ride isn't bad. I guess I'll arrive in style.
"Oh, you know. We just doin' what we do baby. Tryin' to make a dollar." OK, so now I am pretty sure he is a drug dealer. Who rides around in a dirty-ass, busted up limo with a bra-less girlfriend, BO just kickin', no shoes, watching Bravo? What is the focus of your evening, when this is considered "doin' what we do"? So then he yells--this is my favorite part--at the top of his lungs to the scraggly-haired wino behind the steering wheel, "Go left up at the light, Doc!" As we pull up to the light, the driver is still in the right lane. Uh oh."God dammit, Doc! You make a lef' here. I done told you (....incoherent mumbling to himself....). Now someone is gonna come and take that lane like.......oh shit! Here come someone now. You dumb mutha fucker!" That was a real conversation. I had not gone a block from my hotel yet.
The wino, Doc, does not seem bothered by Much Luv's manner or tone. He calmly says, "I was gonna make a left from this lane 'cause the car's so long."
"Well OK then. Just don't miss this light. This man got somewhere to be!" I think he was referring to me. My guess is that he refers to himself in the third person. He would have said, "Much Luv got somewhere to be!" if he had somewhere to be. From there on out we just made small talk, he yelled directions to Doc, and I watched that Bravo movie until we got to Terrapin. Longest fifteen minutes of my life.
"That was Much Luv, and I need a beer. And a shower. Can I get a beer in a shower?"
The reception was great, of course. There were probably 8 Terrapin beers, a keg for Stone, Lagunitas, Left Hand and Bell's each. There was a special cask, cellared bottled beers, etc. Spike broke out some special things from his personal stash....you get the picture. It was, surprisingly, rather low-key though. Maybe I left too early, but everybody enjoyed themselves in a responsible manner. Odd for many people in that group to say the least, but it was a wedding, and nobody wants to be a bad memory for the happy couple on their wedding day.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Actually I came back, left again, returned a second time, left yet again, and now am back in Atlanta for a whopping 4 days. Then I leave again on Friday. Sound fun? Depends how you feel about airplanes. And drinking. And drinking on airplanes. If you don't mind those things, like me, then it has been great. D.C., Nor Cal, Denver, and back to Denver in 32 days by the time I get home next Monday. Why do I do it to myself? Some people like to climb mountains. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that very well. But, I know damn well there aren't many mountain climbers that could handle my month of September.
What have I been doing? Well first I visited my brother and his family in D.C. I know, it does not sound very strenuous or exciting. But, knowing what lay in store for me in the weeks to come, I had been avoiding sick people in Atlanta the whole week prior. Then I show up in D.C., and there is a sick 4 year-old that wanted to jump all over Uncle Fred. What can I say, I'm pretty irresistible. I managed to get out there in pretty good shape.
I then was home for one day before heading to California. This was an 8-day trip centered around The Skunk Train. For new readers, the Skunk Train is an old 1800's steam engine that you can ride through the redwood-covered mountains of northern California. It's basically a tourist thing. You pay money, and it takes you through some beautiful mountain countryside, over rivers, through tunnels, etc. Scenic and relaxing. Two of the train cars are open-air deals. Not impressed yet? Well on the Saturday after Labor Day, the train is reserved for employees, friends and family of 4 of the most dynamite breweries in northern California. Picture a raucous keg party, on a train, in the redwoods. Half-way through the trip we get off the train for a barbecue, and the breweries set up their kegs and coolers and all that. There's a live band, a bunch of crazy people that started drinking in the morning, and general awesomeness everywhere. The ride back into town is typically more subdued than the ride out. People are pretty......um, tired? You could call it that. In fact, many are so tired, that they are just taking a nap for the hell of it. You might say that they were passed out, but only if you wanted to be 100% accurate. Trust me, pacing yourself is the key to this thing. If you don't pace yourself, and you wind up "napping" on the ride back, there will be plenty of people having a lot of fun at your expense. Sounds childish, I know, but consider just how far your judgment can be compromised by alcohol. Playing with passed out strangers is amusing, I don't care what anyone says.
The rest of that 8 days involved visiting and touring breweries: Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic, Russian River, 3rd St. Ale Works, Lagunitas, Anderson Valley, North Coast, Moylan's and Magnolia. We watched football in Santa Rosa at a place called John & Zeke's. Early NFL games start at 10 am out there! To translate: After drinking heavily due to vacation excitement for 3 days, the Skunk Train has you drinking beer (I started w/ Lagunitas L'il Sumpin' Extra at 8-ish %) at 11 am, then the following day, football games start at 10 am. Let me see mountain climbers order Racer 5 IPA before breakfast. We went to a Chargers/Raiders game (opening Monday night game) at The Coliseum in Oakland--20-yard line, lower level. The game was won in the last 18 seconds. Pretty sweet. We attended a gourmet food show in the Presidio (thank you, Lagunitas for making us "employees" for the day), and bummed around San Francisco for a day. Did we go to Fisherman's Wharf? No. Cable cars? Try again. Coit Tower? Have you seen that hill? Do I look like a mountain climber? Right, we didn't go there either. But, if you would like to know about The Gold Cane, Zeitgeist, or many other weird SF bars, just ask. Then we came home. We met some interesting people along the way, took some great pictures, learned what the Cupid Shuffle is (worse than the Stankey Leg), and drank a god-awful amount of beer. Luckily the hotel in SF had a giant scale we could weigh our luggage with. We took on a lot of cargo (i.e. beer), and had to adjust our gear to avoid airline surcharges. Relax, all of the beer made it home safely.
Four days after that was over, it was GABF time. It was my 3rd year in a row. Great event, great atmosphere in town, tons of industry and non-industry events, some seedy places mixed in; GABF has it all. For those of you who have never been, let me warn you about one aspect of this thing that you may not be prepared for without my help. First of all, the number of beers and breweries there is out of this world. Look at the winners at www.gabf.org. Some local brewers brought home some hardware. Norm from "Cheers" speaks before the medals are given out. A carnival atmosphere, for beer lovers. I mean, what more can you ask for? Well, for one thing, I would like everyone to stop farting so much. All over the place. Thank god the ceilings are high and there is adequate ventilation. Are there that many people with unstoppable flatulence, and how did they all wind up in the same place? I mean, there is more crop dusting going on in that place than.....I can't even think of an analogy. Cut it out fellas. Be a little more considerate regarding your intake of beans, or sauerkraut, or whatever it is that you seem to be eating an awful lot of before this event. If you suddenly and unexpectedly walk into a noxious gas cloud, don't look around and try to guess who it was, because someone else is going to do it again before you can isolate who dealt the first one. Just be pissed off at everyone, because if they didn't fart in your general area, they did it in someone else's a few minutes ago. I figure, hey, all these smelly bastards are guilty. Other than the methane level, it really is a good time. Just don't say I didn't warn you. We also visited New Belgium, Oskar Blues, O'Dell's and Left Hand while we were there.
OK, now the title reference of this post. Tomorrow (Friday) at Metropolis, we have a cask of He'Brew Jewbelation 13. This beer debuted at GABF (it did not, to my knowledge, fart on anyone), and is outstanding. It was made with 13 different malts, 13 different hops, and is roughly 13% alcohol. Wow. This one comes in an 11 oz. glass, so if you are concerned about driving, just don't have two. Darren Quinlan will be on hand with the technical specs on the beer, and will be happy to talk about beer, GABF, bar mitzvahs, whatever. Great guy, go check him out.
There should be two beer dinner menus on the Taco Mac web site, with Pay Pal links if you are interested in coming. The first one (10/20 at Duluth) is with Duvel, and the other brands they own. You may have heard of Ommegang, Chouffe (yes, that one) and Maredsous. This dinner is going to be for Belgian beer lovers, and people interested in learning more about them, alike. The second one is a collaboration between Terrapin and Left Hand. It is the first of a four-dinners-in-four-cities tour they are doing together. It is 10/26 at Lindbergh, and there will be some specialty beers being served. What are you waiting for? Sign up already!
The picture is of our table at the pub at North Coast Brewing Co. in Ft. Bragg, CA. The beers are a whiskey barrel-aged Old Rasputin and their 20th Anniversary Ale, which is a barrel-aged strong ale brewed with agave. Both were outstanding. This is right before the platters of oysters, crab cakes and crab legs came out. We followed that up with prime rib. Memorable dinner to say the least. I will get a slide show together eventually, I promise. Anyone out there who can show me how to do that, I would appreciate the help. I am new to this whole digital picture thing. If I have to figure it out on my own, it is going to take an eternity.
I promise not to go so long between posts in the future. I have been busy trying to get caught up with my actual work in between these trips, and this blog became a casualty of my time limitations. I have to go now, because my flight leaves in the morning. Back to Denver for a brewery visit and a Cowboys vs. Broncos game in the Mile-High city. Don't hate me, but I love the Dallas Cowboys. I know.....I've heard it all.
P.S.- Michael Irvin was framed, and I can prove it.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
We did get to try the newest Terrapin/Left Hand collaboration called Depth Charge. What is Depth Charge? Oh, just an espresso milk stout. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. The coffee taste was a little heavy for some people, but I like my coffee black with twp espresso shots, so I was happy with the beer just the way it was. The coffee came from local roaster Jittery Joe's in Athens. Terrapin is all about keeping it local whenever possible. That is certainly a policy I think we all need to follow as much as possible.
We also got to try a cask of oak-aged Gamma Ray (delicious) and the newest Terrapin Side Project, Pumpkin-Fest. Are pumpkin beers too cinnamon-y and spiced for you usually? Me too. Terrapin cut that taste by blending it with an Oktoberfest recipe. Genius. The result is either a very drinkable, malty pumpkin beer, or a lightly spiced Oktoberfest, your choice. Either way, look for this to come out in early September. If you can find it in a cask like we did, get some of that for sure.
OK, now don't freak out, but I'm going to talk about cocktails for a second. We went to a bar called High Wire that is owned by the people who own Trapeze. But instead of a high-end beer bar, they have a high-end (but not stuffy) cocktail bar. It also has a tasty beer selection, but it's small. We were drinking Bulleit bourbon with Blenheim's spicy ginger ale from South Carolina. These bad boys are addictive. Bulleit is an old-fashioned, family owned Kentucky distillery, and Blenheim's is a beverage I've never even heard of, which is rare. I like ginger ale (Vernor's from Detroit is my favorite, of course), but this stuff is the spicy kind you usually associate with Jamaica. Anyway, it's damn good with bourbon. Just keep your eye on your phone when you're drinking them. I think this may be the culprit to my friend's lost Blackberry.
So, the Terrapin trip was fun. You know that you are off to a good start when the desk clerk hands you a 6-pack of Terrapin Rye Pale Ale when you check in. Ice those down, head out for the evening, and your cold night caps are waiting for you when you get back to the room. Those Terrapin guys are a class act all they way.
If you are wondering when I was going to tell you about this week's Duck Rabbit cask, I hope that you left your calendar open Wednesday. I heard from brew master Paul P. on Friday that the cask will be Duck Rabbit Porter with fresh cherries added to the beer. If you are available Wednesday, we are tapping that cask at 5 pm. I expect it to go quickly. I will be there to enjoy a few before leaving around 7 pm. Flaming Lips are playing at Chastain, so I gotta head over there for that. Should be a wild multi-media kind of a freaky rock-n-roll thing with people dressed up like giant stuffed animals. Outside, in August. This is fun for some people.
If anyone is planning on going to GABF this year and needs a hotel room, please let me know. I got the Westin down to $165/night plus taxes, etc. Usually this is a $250/night hotel, and it is 8 blocks from the convention center. We are not able to use all of the rooms we have, so if you need a room, please take one of these off our hands. I will charge you exactly what we pay, not a dime more. I may have festival passes available as well. I will know more on that tomorrow.
Have a great week out there people. Hope to see you at Perimeter for the Cherry Porter cask. You miss that one, you won't get another chance at it for a long time. Bring some Blenheim's with you too.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Hey folks. Not a ton of stuff to talk about today, but I just wanted to recap a few things from last week and remind you about this week's events.
- We had our first beer dinner in Newnan on Tuesday with the fabulous beers from Left Hand. The turnout was great in quantity and quality. Those folks always have a good showing. If I had to guess, I think the group was pretty split on their favorite beer between the 400 Lb. Monkey and the Nitro Milk Stout. Keep your eyes peeled for a keg of Coney Island Barrel-Aged Human Blockhead coming your way if Newnan is your home store. There are only two of them, and one should be there next week at the latest.
- We were also invited to Sweetwater on Friday to be present when the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper received their check from the proceeds we raised for them in June. We were not the only participants in the fundraiser, but Taco Mac alone raised over $25,000. So, if you contributed to that in any way, I watched your money get into the hands of the people it was intended for, and they were very happy. Great job Atlanta.
- This week is part of your "fall primer". The Falcons had their first pre-season game, Michael Vick is no longer unemployed(if anybody even cares about that anymore), and Oktoberfest beers are just starting to arrive. Remember that Red Brick has keg-conditioned some of these for our stores with beer engines, and we will be serving Red Brick Oktoberfest keller-bier style at those 5 stores. What 5 stores? Metropolis, Mall of GA, Canton, Decatur and Woodstock. This is the inaugural cask for the new beer engine in Woodstock. Also don't forget that Atlanta Brewing Co. personnel will be on had at each location to meet n' greet our customers. I hope that you can add this to your calendars this week, as this is a rare opportunity to taste a darker lager beer served in the old method. I have a thing at Philips Arena until about 6:30, so look for me at Metropolis around 7 pm. Otherwise, plan on these kegs getting tapped at 6:00 pm.
- Last but not least, if you are still unaware of the changes coming 9/1/09 to the Passport Club, you need to get up to speed. If you do not receive the Taco Mac newsletter e-mail that my co-worker and all-around goofball, Marie, puts out, then please let us know. We are making massive upgrades to the ever popular, yet slightly flawed system. There was a lot of planning and dial tweaking to get this thing right. So many new features will be available to make it more rewarding and interactive for the customers. We are very happy and excited to be releasing this for you current and future members. If you do not get Marie's newsletter, then e-mail us using the "Comments" section of the Taco Mac web site and we will make sure that you start receiving them.
Monday, August 10, 2009
OK, since everyone's schedules are so damn hectic these days, and let's face it, your memory isn't what it used to be, I am going to try to simplify the August calendar of beer events for you. "How, Fred, how can you simplify a dizzying array of events scattered all over metro Atlanta?" If you guessed the Bobby Brown Word Association Game (cue music), that is, um incredible really. I don't know how you came up with that, since I just thought of it myself. Or did I? Did I already think this up when I was drinking, told you about it, then forgot it myself altogether, only to remember it now as a completely original idea? That is the only logical solution. I gotta be more careful about who I tell my ideas to when I'm drinking. I have some pretty good inventions I'm working on to make my vast fortune. Or do you already know that, too? Hmmm. If you invent the pillow that always stays cold, I swear to god I will buy 4 or 5 of them. Seriously, I am totally willing to share that idea, in hopes that someone out there gets off his or her ass and invents a pillow that stays cold. Who does not love the cool side of the pillow? What if every side of every pillow was like that side of the pillow. I have shared my genius with the world, now somebody get to work. I will buy my own idea! I don't care how ironic that may be. I just want the pillow!! Enough already, let's get back to the Bobby Brown Word Association Game.
If you find yourself in a fog about the next August beer event, just think about what is probably the best part of your day, excluding sex, finding money, watching your boss get electrocuted, or personally throwing a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl: Having your first beer. Here's how it works. You're in quotations, I'm not:
Wanna open a beer?
OK, you're gonna open a beer. Use the common vernacular. You're gonna........"
"Crack open a beer?"
Right! Now think of crack....
Yes, now stay with me. Houston we have.....
"A problem? Tom Hanks, Apollo 13!"
No, not Tom Hanks. Whitney Houston's has a problem named....
Which reminds you of which day of the week?
Bingo! And there, friends, is all you need to know about the August special beer event calendar. Bobby Brown. Just think about cracking open a beer, and the rest just falls logically into place. As far as the locations go, well I don't know, write it down or something. I can't do all of the thinking for you.
1.) This Wednesday we have the owner of Uinta Brewing Co. in town from Utah (he's not one of those Utah people). He will be at Metropolis, and we have a keg of his Uinta Wyld on tap. It is a pale ale style made with a Belgian yeast. Tasty and not exactly easy to find. Metropolis has also agreed to release a case of their 2008 Uinta Barley Wine for the event. I will tell you, I had an '07 North Coast Old Stock from my stash last night, and August is just fine for barley wine. I hope you can come by and taste these beers and say hello.
2.) Next Wednesday the 19th is Red Brick Keller Bier-Oktoberfest day. A keller (cellar in German) beer is a term for cask-conditioned German beers, served from their conditioning vessel, a la olden days. German beers as we know them have mostly taken to modern engineering to perfect and stabilize their flavors. Keller beer is old, old-school. Red Brick is taking a test batch of this year's Oktoberfest and cask-conditioning them for a little experiment. We will be serving these casks at: Canton, Decatur, Mall of GA, Metropolis and Woodstock. Savvy readers may notice that Woodstock is a new addition to this list of stores with beer engines. Well, I have it on good authority that they will have one installed by Wednesday. Much rejoicing in Cherokee County I am sure. There will be Red Brick people at each of these locations to chat with you folks about beer, Whitney Houston, cold pillows, whatever you want really. I am not sure which location I will be at yet. That is, um, my prerogative. C'mon, you knew it was coming sooner or later!
3.) Wednesday the 26th we will have the president and brew master from Duck Rabbit Brewing Co. in NC, Paul Phillipon, at our Perimeter store. He will be bringing some special beers with him, possibly including some new things he is working on, and most likely a cask of some sort. If you have never met Paul, he is an extremely pleasant and gregarious person. We did a 3-year vertical tasting of his barley wines in Suwanee this past January. If you missed it, you missed out. I will give you more details on the beers once Paul gets them to me, I promise. Help make Perimeter's 2nd special event ever a success. Sorry, I just forget about that store most of the time.That is all I have for you right now. If anyone has any information about the Bobby Brown road that overpasses I-85 by the airport, I would love to hear about it. I truly hope that there was some important civic leader named Robert "Bobby" Brown that did some wonderful things for Atlanta in the past. Because if that road is named after that jail-bird, drug-addict freak of an ex-husband of the crack-head diva extraordinaire, that's sad. Imagine the people coming in from the airport from out of town, "Is that really a road named after.....that Bobby Brown? No, it can't be. Not after the time he......and then he got busted with the.........and that crazy-ass TV show with his wife yelling all the time? No way." Yes way. Welcome to Atlanta. Crack is whack.
Have a great week everyone.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
No, seriously, we had a great time. There was one bar we hit called Spinnaker's. They have a great concept. In each area of this cavernous bar on the beach, they have different types of music and dancing for different tastes. Great idea, right. No. Picture the hip-hop crowd in one room, the Latino crowd in another, and then the sandbillies in another, all decked out for the weekend. Then crank up the music, get them all drunk, and wait for the magic to happen. You might as well just stay at home, stab yourself and call your own ambulance. Save a lot of money that way.
Luckily there was Schooner's. This beachside bar had much more charm. Open air seating everywhere, ocean views, some guitar strumming guy, the whole package. Apparently they are short on sodas though. If you order a Seven and Seven, you get whiskey. Vodka tonic? All vodka. Can of Budweiser? I swear the bartender was trying to pour liquor into that too. Take is easy, Shawn. Not everybody is trying to come down from an all-week meth bender. Some of us just want to have a drink and look at the water. Good grouper sandwich though. And the She-crab soup? I think my friend wanted to make love to it.
Late night we found a cozy little place called Patches Pub. What a place. I was the youngest guy in the place by 20 years (I turn 39 this year). Those people loved us! We came in around closing time and livened that joint for real. You really get the feeling that no new customers had set foot in Patches for a long, long time. Now if want to do some shots at Patches, they bring out a tray of plastic cups of multi-colored Jello shots. Layer after layer of them, and they are made with wine-based liqueur (Wild Irish Rose?). Allegedly their license is only for beer and wine. I just think old folks like Jello. Nothing wrong with that. Plus they know if they let these grannies and codgers loose on a bunch of hard liquor, they might start making out or something gross like that. Anyway, 4 or 5 Jello shots later (What? They grow on you! I like green.), it was closing time.
So far my one friend (name omitted to protect the guilty) had managed to stay completely upright. This may not seem like a big deal, but the last time we took him out of town, well, see April's posting about a trip to Athens. Somehow in the middle of the night he walked right past the bathroom, made a right and....Woops! There's stairs right there buddy! Wipe out. Luckily there were only about 3 stairs this time, and a recliner broke part of the fall. This drop was only about one tenth the height of the last one, so he's making progress. Next time we go out of town I assume he'll just fall on level ground. Then after that he will bump into chairs, then walls, eventually working his way towards remaining completely upright the whole time.
Anyway, I'm ready for some beer events. How about you? Here is what I have coming up:
- Tomorrow we have a cask of Left Hand Jackman's Pale Ale to tap at Metropolis. I will be on hand, naturally. My equillibrium-challenged friend will not however. What a great way to end the week: Fresh hand-drawn American ale. Tap time is 6 pm.
- On Wednesday, August 26th Paul Phillipon will be in town for special appearance. Paul is the brewer and president of Duck Rabbit Brewing Co. in NC. He will be bringing some new beers that he is working on, a cask of something, etc. The details are still getting fleshed out. The event will be in the northern part of the metro area, and I will fill you in as we get closer. Stay tuned.
- Mall of GA will be getting a cask of Highland Kashmir IPA this month as well. This beer is not common in these parts, especially cask-conditioned. The date is still coming into focus. I'll keep you informed once I know something.
- Lastly, if anybody is interested in going to Athens this month, Saturday the 22nd would be a good day. That is Terrapin's "Back To School Bash". For those who may have missed it, read an April post about how awesome Terrapin events are. This one should be outstanding. Hot, probably, but worth it. My buddy should be up to just bumping into furniture by then. Leave the first aid kit in the car.
- We will also be doing a small run of Red Brick Keller beer. Keller is the German word for cellar, and it pretty much refers to old-world taste and serving methods. Expect beer engines to be pouring the Keller-Oktoberfest this month. Sooner that later on these kegs.