Saturday, December 26, 2009

“Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless.”

Well hopefully everyone had a merry holiday season so far. I know I did. It all started with the cask of Terrapin "The Dark Side" at The Fred on Tuesday. Good quantity and quality of attendees as usual. I meant to include a photo from the event, but all of my pictures turned out like crap. Sorry, I tried. We had a virgin cask-tapper that did an outstanding job, as well as having a pretty sweet 'stache. Nice work all around.


On Wednesday I received something unexpected and exciting from my employer: airfare to England. I am going with some beer writers, retailers and Terrapin people in February. We have a jam-packed week of brewery tours (Samuel Smith's, Fuller's, and some little ones), a cask beer fest, and lots of pub activity. I assume there will be a historical marker or two along the way as well, but I dig history quite a bit, so I look for ward to that. It may not be the most beautiful weather in February, but the places we are getting access to are worth a little chill and drizzle. Plus, if there are two thing I hate when I travel, one is being hot, and two is other tourists. You can have peak season and all of the crowds and long lines and screaming children. No thank you. So my southern California beer trip is getting postponed until March. I am very much looking forward to 2010 already, as you can imagine.


But it certainly has been a relaxing weekend so far. I now know why so many people have been talking about this HBO show "Eastbound And Down". I watched the first 6 episodes on DVD over the last few days. Absolutely hilarious. Now listen, before I hear from any angry readers, I want to warn you that unless you like foul language (a lot), and also enjoy jokes about sex, drugs, retarded people, and rednecks, you will not like this show. If it were a movie, it would be rated R. It contains more F words than many people would deem appropriate. But if Kenny Powers is not one of the funniest characters on TV in the last 10 years, I don't know who is. The show stars Randy McBride (who plays Red in Pineapple Express, another classic comedy), and is produced by Will Farrell. You may have heard of him. He also appears in some of the episodes.

Now you may be saying to yourself, "Duh, everybody watches that show." Well, I don't have HBO. Comcast is the biggest bunch of greedy bloodsuckers on the planet, and I already give them $120 a month for digital cable and internet. I refuse to give them any more of my money, and if I could dump them for satellite TV I would in a heartbeat. This company has a monopoly on cable TV service in this area, and they have the inflated prices and terrible service to prove it. Oh, and Comcast just bought NBC? That's right. Hey, if your regional cable company--not even a nation-wide corporation--has enough money to buy one of the three biggest networks in the country, chances are that they are ripping people off pretty badly. I mean, if their profits are such that purchasing NBC is remotely possible, do you think they are taking advantage of the fact that other than satellite, which is not available to everyone, they have no competition? Yeah, I think so. It is so unfair that the government has to be complicit on some level. There are strict anti-trust laws in this country, but for some reason cable TV is immune to them. I mean, I guess you do have a choice. You can take it, or you can leave it. Eventually you will get sick of watching the four channels that you'll get through your antenna and pay them their money. They know that, and they are laughing all the way to the bank. Evil crooks committing crime in broad daylight, with absolutely no shame or morals.


OK, deep breath.....need to let go of the anger....the bad cable people will rot in hell.....horrible pain.....endless torture.....ahhh, that's better.

OK, put Jan. 13th and 19th on your calendars. You should already have the 19th down for a special Bell's event at Metropolis. We will have a cask of Cherry Stout, Hop Slam on draft, and many other great Bell's beers on hand. In fact, (new development!) there is a beer that Bell's made in Belgium in collaboration with De Proef. We will have a keg of that, too. Very rare. The 13th we will tapping a firkin of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA at our Crabapple store. This beer is great any way you can get it, but the hops really shine when it is served from a cask. If you have never had it this way before, you really need to ASAP. If you have had it this way, then you probably won't miss this opportunity, and are writing it down right now.

That's all for now. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend. I am leaving Tuesday to visit family in the DC area, so I will see you in the new year. Bye.




















Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Long You Live And High You Fly...."

I am not sure if Terrapin's slightly eccentric brewer, Spike, was channeling Pink Floyd or Star Wars when he came up with the newest side project "The Dark Side". I am guessing a little of both. The beer is a Belgian-style stout, which basically means that it is a big, strong, dry stout with some Belgian yeast element that takes the flavor in a new direction. This style of beer is not all that common (think Allagash Black, with Terrapin personality). The beer is arriving in stores now. Many of you may have already tried it.

This coming Tuesday at The Fred we will be pouring this beer, along with Terrapin's Wake N' Bake (it is about cookies, what is the deal with all of the snickering?) and Hopsecutioner. Not impressed? OK, how about if we also have a cask of The Dark Side aged on cherry wood? If that didn't wake you up, what if I told you that Spike and the crew from the brewery would be there, and that they would arrive in a Darth Vader shaped hot air balloon? Would you be impressed then? Really, because that's not going to happen. Sorry. Spike and the gang will be there, but I think they are driving. The hot air balloon in the photo belongs to people who love Star Wars a little too much. Oh, it's cool. No argument there. But how much do you think that thing cost? I was 6 years old when the first movie came out. Let's just say that it had a profound impact on me, and every child in America for that matter. For my younger readers, this was before VCRs were available to the general public. For my really young readers, a VCR is how you watched movies before DVD players and On-Demand. So not being able to see this movie again after seeing it for the first time left us with one option: Go see it again in the theater. Ever seen a movie so good you went back to the theater to see it again? Sure, we've all done that. How about 8 times? That is how many times I saw Star Wars in the movie theater, and I still remember that over 30 years later. Eight times was nothing though. Some kids went and saw it 15 to 20 times. Their parents had more money, or maybe loved them more, than mine. Just kidding Mom & Dad! You were great. I am definitely not scarred by being way behind every other kid who got to see Star Wars more often than me. I'm over that. I didn't even mind getting teased about only having like 8 gimpy, half busted Star Wars men. I mean, sure, most kids had like 50, but you were right Mom & Dad, I had "plenty". I didn't need that Millennium Falcon either. Or the X-Wing Fighter. Just "cheap plastic" like Dad said. Who needs it? Not me. Incidentally, I went over to an old high-school friend's house about 15 years ago. I had not seen him in a long time, like 5 years. He was married, had kids, etc. But in his den he had a glass display case with all of these mint-condition Star Wars toys displayed like museum pieces. He had the figures and the aircraft and all of the accessories and everything. All his, that he somehow kept in this shape since he was a kid. A true visionary. I'm sure his wife was "enthused".

Anyway, I am not one of those people who is way too into Star Wars. I mean I was, but I am an adult now. I have other things that I am geeky about. Like beer. Head down to the Fred on Tuesday (6-8 pm) and find out just what Spike was thinking when he came up with this brew. If anyone shows up in a Star Wars outfit (you know who you are!) that represents The Dark Side (i.e. none of the good guys), you definitely will get to tap the cask. I am officially stating that Star Wars garb trumps wacky facial hair (see two posts ago if you don't know what I am talking about) for cask tapper Tuesday. In lieu of no evil Star Wars personages, we will go with the 'staches.

Have a good weekend. Thanks for coming out Wednesday. Good turnout for the NB Lips Of Faith beers by the way. See you Tuesday. If not Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Correction!

Whenever I try to add things to this blog while actually working, as opposed to being at home, I tend to make mistakes. For example: I misspelled "Adrian" recently in a post extolling the virtues of the first Rocky movie. I have also been having a difficult time keeping all of my special events straight. I posted yesterday that we have a Terrapin event on Wednesday the 22nd. Interesting fact here is that the 22nd is a Tuesday, and that is the day of the Dark Side cask aged on cherry wood. No clue what I will doing on Wednesday, but that definitely is not the 22nd. I got it now.

There is still a beer happening today, which IS in fact a Wednesday. So get it together and head out tonight. I will be at The Fred with some glassware and some delicious New Belgium specialties.

Anyway, I made the corrections, so if you read those posts, they are accurate. I apologize to all of the avid Red Bull fans out there I may have angered with the recent post. I am not disparaging your beverage of choice, just the inability for most people to appreciate Jagermeister without it. Hey, maybe it's me. I love lima beans. Not everyone else's favorite. I get that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Want You! (To Tap That Cask!)

First let's recap last week....
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Yo, Adrian!

Here is a quick reminder for you folks about upcoming events:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Lazy Holidaze





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.


Other than that I have had some less-than-exciting projects to work on, and only a few cool things going on. Mostly I have been excited to see how many folks came to The Fred last weekend. I have a good memory with faces and names, so it was great to meet all of the people I didn't know, who know me from reading my blog. Thanks to Samantha and Kimberly, I now know that there are actually females out there who read the Beer Page. Nice people too.

The truth is, November is the beginning, as I am sure it is for most of you, of the year-end wrap up business. December is a whirlwind, so November is the time to start tying up loose ends in preparation for the new year. December has a few cool things happening though. Our company holiday party is the 8th. Let's just say that every year, somebody is "that guy", and the challenge is to make sure that it isn't you. So far so good for me. I like to wait until everybody else starts getting loose before hitting it very hard, and then making a clean exit before getting too blitzed. This is a work function after all, even if beer drinking is part of what I get paid for, I can't be the guy with the lampshade on his head. Or like last year, the guy that actually got asked to leave. From a private function at a rented facility. That's not easy to do. Let's see what he does this year. Stay tuned.

Also, the following Tuesday the 15th is Matt & Fred's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza II. That is our name for our monumental December beer dinner, where we feature 6 winter or holiday themed beers from 6 different breweries and a gourmet meal. The traditional eggnog break takes place between the last course and dessert. Matt makes a specially crafted eggnog, dusts it with nutmeg, and I spike it with Rogue's Hazelnut Spiced Rum. Didn't know Rogue made spirits? They make a few rums, two gins and a rye whiskey. All very good.

In between these two events is a special invite-only event. If you are a Dean or Chancellor level Brewniversity student, you received an E-vite from me personally about 10 days ago. An RSVP is required for this event, so if you did not view this thing, you need to now. If you don't, you are going to be sorry. If you know someone who may have received it, but you are not of that level yet yourself, you need to remind them to check their e-mail. They can bring a guest, and if you tipped them off to check the E-vite, that guest better damn sure be you. Last time I checked, about half of the E-vites were not even opened. Who has over 750 beers on their list and does not open an e-mail from me? Hint: Chances are it is something good people! Hello!

That will be followed up with the release of two of New Belgium's Lips Of Faith series. This is the name for their top-tier specialty beers, and we have the Fall Wild Ale and La Folie. We should be tapping those company-wide on 12/16, and I will be at The Fred with Chip, who is our NB guy in the Atlanta area. I realize that there are many people who think that Fat Tire is the name of the brewery. Same people who think Anchor Steam is the name of the brewery. Taste why it is called New Belgium. They make Belgian-style beers really well. On that note, I have a pet peeve to air out. Please stop calling Belgian beers, "Belgium beers". Ugh! Makes me cringe. It is not called "America cheese", it is American cheese. The country becomes an adjective modifying "beer" or "cheese" in these cases, and therefore its spelling and meaning are changed. Whew. I feel better. Not that any of you wonderful people who read this would make that mistake. Clearly you are highly educated and prefer high-brow literature. However, I notice it being used incorrectly verbally and in print. Help stop the madness.

We also have a cask of Bell's Two Hearted Ale getting ready to be tapped at our Old Milton store. When? Not sure right now, but soon. If you have not tried this beer, then you must be dead, incarcerated or mentally ill. This IPA was created around '97 when I worked at Bell's, and has been taking over the world ever since. It is one of a few single-hop beers that I know of being available right now. What is a single-hop beer? One made with a single variety of hop, and that hop only. The hybrid of the famous Cascade variety called Centennial was relatively new in the 90's, and Two Hearted (named for a river in MI) uses it exclusively. Most beers are made with 3 or more different hop varieties. The beer is great, and the cask should be out of this world.

So that is a preview of December, leading into the Christmas season. I am not sure what January will have in store for us. I am planning a trip to San Diego for February, so I should have lots of pictures from Stone, Alesmith, Green Flash, Lost Abbey etc. when I get back from there. But first I am going to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. No, the game isn't in Las Vegas. But if you have never been to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend, you're missing out. If you don't like football, I guess you can pass, but if you love the NFL, trust me on this one.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Hopefully there were not too many explosive family arguments, burnt food or tryptophan-induced comas. I am off to a wedding tonight of my friends Jason and Stephanie. This a black tie wedding with a six-course wine dinner. Yeah, I am wearing a tuxedo tonight. Crazy. The reception is at the old stone courthouse in downtown Decatur. Should be a pretty swanky affair. I need to brush up on my "sophisticated" persona. That means that as far as jokes go, I have absolutely no material.

Have a great week everyone, and I will keep you posted on any cool events, especially that Two Hearted cask once we set the date. Peace.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Official.....Now Get Drinking.

It is official that the new downstairs bar at The Prado is:
  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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).
  4. 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

The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

OK, for those of you that did not already know, here is the secret that I have been hinting at lately. Underneath the new Taco Mac at The Prado is a special, separate beer bar. See photo above. The actual entrance is still being decided on, but if you are in the area and want to check it out, the managers in the restaurants upstairs will direct you. But wait! There's a catch. You have to be a Brewniversity member, and you have to have at least 13 beers on your list. Now here comes the disclaimer: We may raise the required number of beers for admission in the (possibly very near!) future. Why, you may be wondering, should you care? "Taco Mac is great!", you are thinking. "There's no reason for me to go anywhere else." Very true. Taco Mac has everything you need to have a good time drinking beer, watching the game, all of that stuff that we are known for.

The downstairs bar is a completely different animal. There are twenty draft beers, and about 40 bottled beers, plus some nice wine and high-end spirits. The beer selection looks like this:
  • 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.
As you can tell from the photo, the decor is different than a Taco Mac as well. The concept that we are working on is heavy on the intimate pub thing, with quality conversation and company to match the libations. The crew is composed of some of our best employees culled from every corner of Taco Mac land. If I stole your favorite bartender from your favorite store, I'm sorry. They were not stolen, just relocated.

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

Fall Beers Are Cask-ing A Spell

If anyone had problems with Pay Pal recently, everything is fixed now. Instead of selling 32 seats and saving 10 for me to use, it sold 10 and saved 32 for me. So if you tried to sign up for the Merchant du Vin dinner next Tuesday and got nowhere, that's why. People have been buying tickets just fine since Sunday. This is the last of the $50 beer dinners, and the last one in an intimate setting until February at the earliest. Our December dinner is in a larger, less secluded setting. We won't have any speakers to present each beer of the chef to talk about the courses. The holiday dinner is more of a big dinner party really. So if you want to learn about beer and beer/food pairings, next Tuesday in Duluth is for you.


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.
Lastly, because I gotta run and get this new store off the ground, is my Brewniversity reminder. I told you folks on Saturday about getting your membership up to at least 13 beers because of a "thing" I can't discuss right now. Depending how things go, your membership level may become more and more important. So my advice is to start drinking different beers when you are in Taco Mac. If you are one of those people, like me, who gets on a streak with certain beers, it is time for you to diversify.

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

New Haunts On Halloween

Happy Halloween readers! I am still alive, just busy with a new project these days. Since my last post we have had two beer dinners, with another one on the way. Last Monday was the Terrapin/Left Hand collaboration dinner. The beers were outstanding, with the menacing- sounding Terrapin Hopsecutioner making its debut outside of the brewery. It was great, and this new year-round beer should be hitting stores this week. We also saved a keg of their collaboration beer with Left Hand, Depth Charge It is the espresso milk stout that was around a month or so ago. It was tasty when it was fresh, but it really benefited from the time it got to mellow out. Great beer to go with a gourmet peanut butter cup with espresso ice cream to finish the meal.

The November dinner on the 10th in Duluth is with Merchant du Vin. If you don't know who MDV is, let me explain. They are an importer that carries some of the best European beers in the world. We are going to start with a relatively unknown Czech Pilsner called Zatec (crisp and delicious), then Lindemans Pomme (tart-apple lambic), followed by Ayinger Weizen-Bock, Samuel Smith's Yorkshire Stingo and Ayinger Celebrator dopplebock for dessert (pretty proud of that combo). The Stingo is a very rare strong ale from Samuel Smith's, aged in oak for a year. The state of GA received only 75 cases of 12 bottles about 4 months ago. We have been sitting on two of those cases in anticipation of this dinner. Go to http://www.tacomac.com/ to view the food that we are paring with these beers. It is going to be awesome.

For the record, this will be the last beer dinner in this format. We are going to be changing the program around in 2010, and they will be moving around to more locations. If you live in or around Duluth, we will not be there every other month anymore. You may want to jump on this one.

The "new haunt" that I referred to in the title is the new store that we are opening at The Prado. It is set to open on Wednesday, and the run-up to a new store opening is a busy time in my world. The beer selection is a matter of personal pride, so I have been pretty much living at the new place. I just want to warn everyone that is not a Brewniversity member that they really want to sign up now, and get to work on their lists. We have some special surprises at the new store for members above a certain level. I cannot divulge all of the details now. I have said too much already........

My only real adventure to speak of lately was last weekend on the 24th. I took a leisurely drive up I-85 towards Gainesville on a beautiful fall day. I was listening to a recording of a special concert I was at in San Francisco on 8-08-08. My friend Brittany was getting married in Dahlonega, and everything was going pretty darn alright so far. For those of you following my whereabouts, yes, this is a different wedding than the Terrapin guy's two weeks ago. You will recall my advice from that wedding, that it is always a good idea to have some beer on hand, because you just never know. And when have you complained that you had "too much beer"? So once I get to my hotel in Cleveland, GA, the lobby of the Days Inn smelled like a kitchen in Calcutta. Indian folks in Hall county? You are just as surprised as I was. Dinner time at 3 pm on Saturday? OK, whatever floats your boat.

So I check in, kind of hungry for some curry now, and called my friend who was also attending the wedding. He was about 30 minutes away, and we were going to take a cab together to the wedding. The group I would be with that night tends to drink a lot, and we were not interested to see the insides of any jails in that region. So, naturally I told my friend to take his time, and I would grab a beer somewhere. Anybody know where this story is going yet? I walked up the street a few blocks, no bars. No taverns, pubs, dives or saloons. Oh well, I'll just go over to this store and grab a six pack I thought. Go back to my room and watch a little football. Hmm....this store doesn't appear to sell any beer? That's odd. So I ask the guy behind the counter, "Hey man, where can I buy a little beer around here?"
He says to me, like I should know this already, "Umm...Helen I guess."
"But that's like another town."
"You in a dry county man!"

So it's true. Those places do exist. And people actually live there! Unbelievable. I failed to take my own advice, to have some beer on hand just in case, because I never factored this potentiality into the equation. Why is there not a liquor store on the border of that county with a huge sign that says, "Dude! You are not going to be able to buy any beer in this county if you don't stop here!"? And then a sign right after that saying, "Yes, I am serious. Dry county ahead!" Maybe that should be an app for those i-Phones. Dry country alert. You hear me Apple? Make it happen. Future customer over here!

The wedding was at a beautiful farm-type setting way down a country road and a mile up a winding dirt road into the mountains. Horses frolicking behind the bride and groom, live violinists, fall foliage on the mountains......not bad. Not bad at all. Congratulations Brittany and Vince (she is a blog reader). We had 420 and Yuengling on tap. Not sure if any booleggers or moonshiners were involved.

The picture above is from Left Hand when I was there in September. This is a smoker smoking malt for their Smoke Jumper Porter. Talk about hand crafted beer. I have been in a lot of breweries, and I don't recall seeing anyone smoke their own malt. I've smelled people smoking something at a brewery or two, but I don't think it was malt!
Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Got Much Luv For The Hooptie

Hooptie
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.

Warning! For historical accuracy, some quotes in this post are R rated! I apologize to the vocabulary-sensitive readers out there, but these are actual quotes from real situations.
The above definition comes from www.urbandictionary.com, which if you have never spent (wasted) any time reading explanations of terms you may have never heard of, or heard but never understood, check it out. Hilarity guaranteed. My recent experience with a hooptie is as follows:
The weekend of October 10th I was in Athens for the wedding of my friend Dustin from Terrapin. The wedding was at a really cool farm out in the country, and the couple were wed under a gigantic ancient oak tree. The ceremony was out of the ordinary in many ways (the officiant was the owner of the expansive 5 Points Bottle Shop in Athens, fresh form receiving an on-line minister title from some alleged "church" in California, for example), which set the tone for things to come.
Since the reception was being held at the brewery, with special beers galore, I dropped my car off at the hotel (picked up a 6-pack on the way), and got a list of local cabs from the front desk. Now I wasn't about to call the first cabbie on the list. They're probably the busiest and will take the longest, right? Plus, everyone calls the first one. Maybe these guys on the bottom need some business. I'm always looking to help the underdogs of the world. So I call the number next to "Mark - taxi" at the bottom of the list.
"Hello?" No mention of this being a professional taxi company.
"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"
Grunt.
So that was such a great experience, I called the next to last number on the list. With a name like "Much Luv" how could I go wrong? Ring, ring, ring.....
"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:
"Hello?"
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.
So as I head out the door, I get a call from my friend Bob. He is working, and he is having some sort of crisis with a keg acting up or something. I am trying to help him, but as I get closer to the limo, I sort of stop paying attention to the conversation. The limo, which appears to be being driven by a wino of some sort, is from the early 80's. There is rust around the window trim and door handles, a mirror was missing from the passenger side, the wheel wells were dented, the widow tint was peeling terribly. Thirty feet of dilapidated hooptie, tires needed air, wino driving, needing badly to be put out of its misery. This thing was a piece of shit. I walk around to the entrance, still on the phone with Bob, and when I opened the door, all I could say was, "Bob, I gotta call you back....or something," and hung up immediately. The interior of this car was filthy. The carpet had dirty, oily streaks covering 80% of it. The seats were ripped. Where a TV monitor used to be recessed into the console there was a huge smashed out hole. Now a 17-inch home TV set was somehow wedged in there and wired up. Here is this guy sitting in the limo smiling up at me, white tank top, fake diamond ear rings, and not wearing any shoes. He is acting like this situation is normal.
"Whas up, Fred? I'm Much Luv" he says as I get in and sit next to him. His woman is at the other end of the limo, ten feet away at least. She was wearing a black tank top and dirty pink sweat pants. There was a Bravo movie on the TV. How do they get cable? Not only does she not have any use for plurals when she talks, she seems to have no use for a bra either. Anyway, that's not important to the story. Much Luv gives me the bro' handshake. You know, where your elbow is at a 45 degree angle and your thumb is facing back at you. And then you do the little mini-hug. Yeah, we did that. And damn did Much Luv have much BO. Much stank if you ask me. So I say, "What's goin' on man?"
"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.
As it turned out, I was not late after all. In fact, there was a large number of people getting out of their cars as we rounded the last curve towards the brewery. Some of them looked at the white limo slowly approaching in the distance, and got out their cameras. They must have figured that this was the bride and groom, I guess. But as we got closer, and Doc methodically wheeled the enormous car into the parking lot, I could see the peoples' expressions quickly go from excitement to pure bewilderment. In short, they were totally puzzled. Eventually they looked away out of pity, I guess. I mean, who goes anywhere in a car like that? Then I get out. My friend Steve's wife, Melissa, was standing there She was one of the few people who didn't avert their eyes. She said, and I quote, "What the fuck is that?"
"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.

Yesterday was the Decatur beer festival. Great turnout as usual, and the beers were outstanding. Atlanta Brewing Co. really wowed everyone with a cask of their porter blended with their Belgian-style Winter, both aged in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels. The weather was a little chilly, but that did not stop anyone from having a good time. I took a picture for you in case you were not there. These folks do taxes for a living. Awesome people. I want my accountant to appreciate my beer expenditures, don't you? Thanks for reading, and the next time you are in Athens, call Much Luv. The memories are worth twice what I paid for the ride.

The Duvel/Ommegang/Chouffe/Maredsous dinner in Duluth on Tuesday actually has some open seats. I am confused as to why one of the best beer line-ups we have ever featured is lacking in attendance. Duvel glassware and pouring techniques will be available for take-home as well. November and December dinners are still in the planning stage. Have a great week folks!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! A big shout out to Rich! He is a reader from Atlanta who I just bumped into at Manuel's Tavern on Friday. If you see me out and about, say hello please. I am not hard to find. Just sniff out the good beer, and I am not far away.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Butt Jokes. Who Knew?

Thank you everyone for the feedback on last week's post. I guess farts are funny. Who knew? Apparently adults are still amused by flatulence, stories about flatulence, even the mere utterance of the word "flatulence", etc. In "Galapagos" by Kurt Vonnegut, the futuristic world is inhabited only by a species of highly advanced dolphin-like creatures. Their only similarity to humans as we know them, is that they still laugh when someone farts. Kurt Vonnegut was one of the brightest and most thought-provoking minds of the modern era, and even he had to give props to the humor of farting. If you have not ever read his "Slaughterhouse Five", you need to get yourself a copy. It isn't about killing animals for food. It's about war, and is one of the most monumental works of fiction in the pantheon of human creativity. A poignant message to humanity then, now, and forever. No farting in that book, though.

So, moving on.....Tonight there is a cask of Terrapin BIG Hoppy Monster at Metropolis. I am headed that way once I am through here. Saturday there is the 1st Annual West GA Beer Festival. Click on this link for more info: http://www.westgabeerfestival.com/. This is going to be a great event, with all of the proceeds benefiting Camp Twin Lakes, which is Taco Mac's main charitable cause every year. Beer people (that means you) have a superb history of supporting good causes while having fun. Doing good (i.e. drinking beer) never felt so good. Unfortunately I will not be able to be there. There is a wedding in Athens that I need to attend. Who? The guy in the viking helmet from April's posts. He's the sales and marketing genius from Terrapin. Reception is at the brewery, and the super-secret stash is getting broken wide open for this bash. Nope, not gonna suck.

Next Saturday is the Decatur Beer Fest. I have been known to make an appearance there, and intend to do so this year for sure. If anyone is having a hard time finding beer events these days, they are blind. In fact, next year I am thinking of sponsoring the 1st Annual Atlanta Beer Fest For The Blind, just to make sure that every man, woman and inner child in metro Atlanta has a beer fest just for them. But seriously, this town has gone beer crazy lately, and who doesn't like to get out and mingle with other like-minded people, drink beer and enjoy the sunshine?

My second trip to Denver in two weeks was great. I brought back a good amount of beer in my checked bag. The problem was that it was in the same bag as my computer, so I was especially nervous that if there was any breakage, my computer would be soaked in beer. Yeah, this is a work computer, so I would have to explain that. "I, um, have no idea why beer is dripping out of it. Total mystery. I mean, it was fine when I went to bed, and I woke up and it's like someone just poured beer all over it. ALL over it, and inside of it. Crazy. Hmmpff." So as I waited for the conveyor to start sending the bags crashing onto the roundabout thing, I was especially concerned. I was actually thinking about how I would in fact explain why I needed a new computer when I got to work the next day. "Holy shit! I got robbed. Guy just ran up on me and stole my computer. Didn't even get a look at him. Total pro. Wow. Thank god no one was hurt though, you know. I mean, that's what's important, right? Everything else, computers, it's just stuff. So, yeah. I'm gonna need a new one I guess." And all of a sudden, my bag was the very first one off the conveyor! Show of hands of who has ever had that happen. Uh-huh, that's what I thought. Bag was totally dry, all beers in tact, why did I even doubt myself? Like I don't cram beer in my luggage every time I fly somewhere cool. Some of that beer will accompany me to Metropolis tonight.

I'm really not in the mood to discuss how the Cowboys played on Sunday. It was a beautiful day to be at Invesco/Mile High, and the fans were almost as great as the seats I had. However, I can still smell Tony Romo's performance. He stunk worse than the GABF on Saturday night. He stunk worse than New Orleans in the summer. Oh yeah, that bad, because New Orleans reeks. Hey, Dallas Cowboys, you need to score more than 10 points to win on the road. Pathetic.

OK, so that's it for now. Cask tonight, wedding in Athens tomorrow, back to work on Monday. Enjoy the weekend people. And if Dallas loses to KC on Sunday, I'm going to need a deal on a new TV, because a beer bottle is going through the one in my living room.

Photo 1 is pretty obviously the start of the game last week. Photo 2 is of the casks and "foeders" at New Belgium. They are pronounced "food-ers", and are giant wooden wine fermenters from France. New Belg. ferments different beers in them, and blend them sometimes to create different sour ales, etc. They have a permanent spigot on the side, about 1/3 of the way from the floor. We got to pull samples from Foeder #13. It was the one that one a big award at GABF. Extra special tasty for real. Great people at that brewery that honestly love their work. More pictures to follow. You can probably tell that this Google blog thing is not treating me right regarding photos. It seems to have a mind of its own.

Dear Mr./Ms. Computer Engineer-

Here in the real world, where not everyone is some egg-headed genius, it would be totally awesome if you stopped making the machines do what you think we want them to do. You can go back to making the machines do what we tell them to do instead, and that would be great. Thanks.

Sincerely-

Every Other Person Besides Yourself.



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Return To Much "Jewbelation"!


That's right folks. Despite the many attempts by purveyors of many delicious alcoholic beverages, I have returned safely from a personal odyssey of sorts. Like Ulysses, I was beset with many pitfalls along the way. When you are surrounded by awesome beer after awesome beer, in the absolute ground zero of American craft beer brewing, there is only one way out. Start drinking, and don't stop until you find yourself back in an airplane, headed out of the belly of the beast. Once you are clear of the danger, accurately assess that everything--personal gear and actual person--is in tact. Then just recline your seat and hand that flight attendant $5 for a can of Heineken. It's almost nap time.

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

Left My Home In Norfolk, Virginia....


Last week was the end of a big month filled with lots of beer events. Unfortunately the Super-Wacky He'Brew/Coney Island End-Of -Month Keg-O-Rama got pushed back a little while. The truck had to roll from the brewery before the special cask was ready, so we will reschedule that once we get an ETA on that cask. The rest of the pieces are already in place (translation: We have the rest of the beer in house currently). Stay tuned.

The cask of Duck Rabbit Porter with cherries (sour ones from northern Michigan) was tasty last Wednesday. Great turnout, too. Vanessa (above, tapping the cask) set the record for the most bling on a cask tapper thus far. Nice earrings V! If you missed it, it was a who's-who of NC brewing. Paul Phillipon of Duck Rabbit there as expected, and Oscar Wong, owner of Highland Brewing Co. made a surprise appearance. Those are two of the greatest beer people you could meet, in a business full of great people. The Flaming Lips show at Chastain that night was eye-opening, to say the least. Confetti cannons, 5-foot diameter balloons, dancing girls in silver 60's-era Star Trek suits, a giant catfish in a Captain Kangaroo-type suit, white wolves, smoke machine, exploding things. You know, pretty much a normal Wednesday night. Nothing unusual there.....

Get ready for a whole new look on the Taco Mac web site starting Tuesday. New company, new bells & whistles, new format, etc. Preliminary peeks look great. Due to these changes, the September beer dinner has not been posted yet. Why? I promise to NEVER bore you with technical jargon. This is no exception. The only thing worse that reading that kind of crap is writing it. Just trust me, everyone will be happier once this new web company takes over for the morons who used to take our money for screwing up our business. We decided not to give them any more chances to mess anything up going into the stretch. So, if you are interested in signing up for the Cajun/Creole inspired beer dinner featuring Abita beers at Lindbergh on 9/22, you need to contact me. Use the "Beer Dinner" link on the web site, and I will get the e-mail. Once the new company launches our web site Tuesday, we will eventually go back to using the Pay Pal service, but until then, sign-ups go through me. The menu looks great, and I can send you a copy via your e-mail address. We have two planned in October: the first one is with Duvel/Ommegang/Maredsous/Chouffe (all owned by the same company, in case you were confused), and then a collaborative dinner with Terrapin & Left Hand (see last post regarding their collaboration beer-Depth Charge).

Lastly, this is the final time you will hear me say, "Passport Club". On Tuesday we officially announce the new Taco Mac Brewniversity. I offered everyone the newsletter describing the improvements to our current system a few weeks ago. If you are still in the dark, the news goes live with the new web site Tuesday. We are going to do some "Card Swap Parties" in the next few weeks. The first one is Thursday at our Crabapple store. If you are in the area Thursday night, stop in to get your info swapped from the old card to the new card, ask questions about the improvements, or just sign up if you are still not a card holder. We should be there until 7 or 8 pm, I am not really sure. I just go where they tell me to go.

I actually will be in Virginia on Friday, but not in Norfolk. I will be in Fairfax to visit my brother and his family for Labor Day. But the title of this post is a line from a famous song about travelling, and right after Labor Day, the Beer Travel season begins. Not familiar with the Beer Travel Season? That's is when I spend 8 days in northern CA visiting brewery after brewery, some days as many as 3. By the time I get my laundry done and caught up at work, it is GABF time. Five days after that I am back to Colorado for a brewery trip that spans into the beginning of October. That, folks, is what September is like in my world. Add into that my birthday and football season, and you could say that I am partial to this month basically every year. I promise to take lots of pictures with my new camera. Luckily it does not have any problems focusing while I am drinking. The downside to all of this travelling is that I may not have much time for writing here, so once a week will be about all that I can muster. The upside is the material I will have once I cool my heels.

Have a great week everyone. Let me know if you want to take a look at that Abita menu. Once we post it on the new web site, sign-ups will be brisk. Talk to you soon.


Monday, August 24, 2009

I Need A Bunny Suit- Stat!

The Terrapin visit on Saturday was fun. I must say that it was a little uneventful in regards to hilarious antics on behalf of my buddies, but I can't fault them for behaving and not amusing us at their expense. Sometimes the magic happens, sometimes it doesn't. I mean, one lost Blackberry doesn't really convey "wild & crazy". Plus housekeeping found the phone the next day.

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

No, Summer's Not Over. The Beer Just Got Better.


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.
That is all I have for you today. Sorry that it is all work and no play, but I have a 2-day training class Monday & Tuesday that is going to take up 2 full work days, so I am a little short on time tonight. Have a great week, and I will talk to you soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Drinking Affects Your, Uh, What Do You Call It?

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?
"Hell yes."
OK, you're gonna open a beer. Use the common vernacular. You're gonna........"
"Crack open a beer?"
Right! Now think of crack....
"Whitney Houston!"
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....
"Bobby Brown?"
Who sings.....
"Humpin' Around"?
Which reminds you of which day of the week?
"Hump day........Wednesday!"

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

J - E - L - L- Ohhhhh!

Well we made it back from Panama City in one piece. It was nice to relax with some old friends, drink a god-awful amount of beer, and just watch the waves roll in. People say there a lot of rednecks there. I didn't really see any. Sandbillies? Now those I saw. My god, is that what crystal meth does to people? There is this "brand new" field of medicine that apparently has yet to hit the Florida panhandle. It's called dentistry.


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.
Thanks for reading everyone. I hate to run, but I think my Jello is just about to set. "I'm coming Granpa!" He needs his "medicine" before Columbo starts. He likes orange.