Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Secret Is (almost) Out. Oh, & Smuttynose

A very excited hello to all readers. The beer that I assisted in making and writing the recipe for while at a seminar at Sierra Nevada last November is finally here. The local reps from Sierra just returned from their annual sales meeting, and this beer was a big feature of the week. I received many boisterous phone calls from the brewery during last week's beer dinner at Duluth, and the reviews were outstanding. If you have not been following this situation, let me get you up to speed:

  • Representatives of key accounts for Sierra Nevada are invited to the brewery to learn about beer, brewing, Sierra N. history, etc. They are then allowed to help write a recipe for a beer, with the help of SNBC brewers of course, to be brewed the following day.

  • The attendees of what is called "beer camp" then assist in the brew that next day, and when it is ready to drink, most of the kegs go to those accounts who participated. There are a random 2-3 kegs that the brewery keeps for special occasions. The kegs from my beer camp (the third ever) are at 5 places: the brewery's pub (already gone), 2 places in the SF Bay area, 1 place in So. Cal., and Taco Mac.

  • Did I mention that this beer was made with an experimental hop, so new that it was yet to be named? Did you know that this hop, called simply Hop 393, had never been used before? No. But, I did mention that the beer has received such rave reviews, and I have yet to taste it myself! The buzz on this beer is so wild, that the brewery is commited to using the 393's again very soon. I have heard "awesome" and "f*&cking mind-blowing" to describe this beer.

  • The 8 kegs that we have are being tapped at Taco Mac locations around the metro ATL area in February and early March. I apologize to the folks in NE Atlanta. The distribution of such a small amount of kegs had to be handled by 1 distributor, and Gwinnett and Forsyth counties are exempt. Sorry.

  • FIRST KEG IS TAPPED AT 5 P.M. ON MONDAY 2/9 AT WINDWARD PARKWAY! I will be on-site for this, and all of the future tappings of this beer. I will have a video slide show of my experience, a special video surprise, and the local Sierra people with me. I will also have the complete and hand-written brewer's log for this beer, listing everything from grain to glass! The rest of the schedule goes like this (get a pen and paper): 2/11 @ Perimeter, 2/13 @ East-West, 2/20 @ Decatur, 2/24 @ LBC (released at 8 pm, long story), 2/27 @ Newnan, 3/2 @ Kennesaw, and 3/11 @ Crabapple. There are only 110-ish beers/keg, so please do not be late if you are into this kind of thing (and why would you still be reading if you were not into this kind of thing?).

  • The last thing to mention here is that all of the participants of Beer Camp 3 had to take a test at the end of Day 1. The person who scored the highest got to decide what kind of beer we were going to make, and had final veto power on the recipe. I will give you one guess who made GA proud, and trumped the CA guys. They were cool people, but when the stakes were high, I had to shut 'em down. Not bragging, just stating a fact.

Before you get too happy with the 393, remember that Smuttynose Brewing from Maine is launching in GA this month as well. I know, it is awsome here in GA these days. And, you don't even know the inside info I received via phone this morning! No sh*t readers, there is more great releases on the horizon. 2008 was prety awesome, but 2009 is poised to dominate. Do not miss these 4 draft beers from Smuttynose at OMP on 2/18, and Metroplolis on 2/17! Actual flavors will be Brown Ale, IPA, Porter, and a TBD vintage/crazy offering.

Please pass this info on to any and all of your beer-drinking friends. These events are coming and going quickly. Most of the time, beer drinkers like us don't need to be poised on pins and needles, but when the bell tolls...you do not want to be left out, do you?