Monday, March 30, 2009

Is Europe Still Relevant?

Here are some important beer updates:
  • Tomorrow Duluth is tapping a small keg of Allagash Interlude. This beer gives me a reason to live. Enough said. They also have Great Divide Espresso Yeti, if any is left after this weekend. Johns Creek, Peachtree City and Metropolis will be pouring Stone Cali-Belgique starting tomorrow. No other stores will be receiving these kegs, unless another shipment comes in, which I highly doubt will happen any time soon.
  • Cask of Highland St. Terese Pale Ale dry-hopped with Cascade hops is the order of the day Wednesday at Metropolis. Come and drink a hand-drawn, cask-conditioned, dry-hopped version of a beer that is not even available on draft in Atlanta is its normal incarnation. Sandi from the brewery will be there, along with yours truly, for those of you that are not sick of me yet. No April's Fools jokes here. This beer is for real.
  • Monday-Wednesday of next week will see the preview of RJ Rockers' new Son Of A Peach wheat beer. You can be the first to try this beer (actual release is in a month or so) at Canton, Woodstock or Newnan on the 6th, or Lindbergh, Metropolis or East-West on the 7th, or Johns Creek or Duluth on Wednesday the 8th. You folks do a great job supporting local breweries (see below), and these guys are just up 85 in Spartanburg, SC. Show 'em some love.
  • Ellard, Duluth, Old Milton, Perimeter, G Mall, Decatur and Suwanee are about to start serving Dominion Millennium Ale. It is a once-a-year barley wine in the English style. That means that it is not so potently bitter as American ones. At 10% ABV, it is very deceptive and drinkable. Those are the only stores serviced by the only distributor to have these kegs. Ask your stores' managers about when exactly they will be pouring it.
Last but not least, here is your Snuggie update:
  • Out: Suwanee, Philips Arena, Metropolis, Kennesaw, V-High, Duluth and G Mall.
  • Last One: Dallas Hwy. (hurry!), Johns Creek (hurry!), Woodstock, Windward, Lindbergh, East-West, OMP, Ellard, and Perimeter and Peachtree City.
  • Still one back-up: Decatur, Canton, Crabby, Newnan and Cumming.
That info is pretty accurate. The reports out there are that the scene is pretty intense as each keg gets closer to the end. The Snuggies are being paraded about, and tensions are high as the drama unfolds. Who needs a nail-biter of a basketball game? This about beer, and a ridiculous fad that has taken America by storm. But more than that, it is a fun way to get out of the house and stop thinking about the freaking economy for a while. So this, my friends, really is The Final Countdown. But in the 21st century, is a reference to Europe really relevant? I hate 80's music. I lived through every bad second of big hair, glam-rock, and androgynous, one-gloved moon-walkers. You can send it all back to the toilet is came from, as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to have a nice turnout for these upcoming events. The better we show up, the more offers I will keep getting to do things like this in the future. I need you to keep up the good work out there folks. You set the bar pretty high in February/March.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Snuggie Countdown!

I hope everyone is ready for a big weekend. The Ron Burgundy is about to run out at a few locations, and some lucky winners are going to be pretty comfortable while they lounge around watching basketball all weekend. There arms will stay nice and warm while flipping between games with their remote. This photo was taken at our office yesterday. This is Rob, the GM of our Suwanee store, getting some well-deserved R & R, reading the Atlanta Business Chronicle. I didn't know the ABC was so funny, but he really seems to be getting a kick out of it. Odd. He is modeling one of the actual Sweetwater Snuggies that we will be giving away. His store looks to be the front runner right now. This morning's report suggests Ron doesn't make it through the lunch shift. Mall of GA, Perimeter, Kennesaw, Metropolis and Philips Arena are getting close as well. I'm going to see what kind of damage I can do to that keg at Philips on Saturday. The beer is tasting great, so if you still haven't got your hands on one, you may need to have your head examined.

Other notable beer happenings upcoming are:
  • Next Wednesday Metropolis will be tapping a firkin of Highland St. Terese Pale Ale that was dry-hopped with plenty of Cascade hops. Sandi from the brewery will be in attendance, and she is about as cool as they get. You ought to come check us out. I will be there. We will be breaking into it at 5 pm sharp.
  • Johns Creek, Metropolis and Peachtree City have kegs of Stone Cali-Belgique. I just sent the pertinent info to them this morning, and I expect them to be serving this rare beer this weekend, or early next week. Please call before you break every road ordinance in the book racing over there.
  • Crabapple is opening up their cellar this weekend. Drop by for a year-old Allagash Curieux and/or Oskar Blues Ten-Fiddy. Wow. If that doesn't lift your spirits, they are tapping a Weyerbacher Slam Dunkle too. Very timely placement, with the hoops reference and all.
  • If you dig cellared beer, Old Milton is pouring a year-old North Coast Old Stock. If you missed the barley wine vertical with Duck Rabbit in January, you should really check this out. Aged barley wine is so sublime compared to its fresher incarnations. If you did check out the DR vertical, then you are probably on your way over there ASAP. They also have a keg of Coney Island Human Blockhead. If that doesn't pique your curiosity, check your pulse.
  • Duluth has a Slam Dunkle going on as well, and a TON of new beers on top of that. Life is looking good on the east side these days. Duluth also has a keg of Allagash Interlude. Nobody else has that. I don't know how they got it, but they did. Same story as the Cali-Belg., call first. I just sent the info to the store, so they need to find a spot for it, get the line cleaned, etc. All I am saying is this: If you like Belgian-style beers, then you need to find a way to Duluth in the next few days. It is a little keg, and I can't say when or if we will see this beer on draft again. If you call the store, ask for Warren. He will know for sure when they are going to get into it.
  • I mentioned that Ft. Collins beers were arriving, and they have. Most stores have brought in their bottles, and many stores have them on draft. Their IPA and Kidd Lager (a black lager-very good) drafts are all over. Call your home store and see what's up. Same with Shiner Commemerator (dopple-bock). Their 100th Anniversary beer has been going in at multiple stores. Terrapin's Sun Ray Wheat beer is out now, and turning up all over town as well.
  • Did Ron Burgundy turn you on? I meant did it turn you on to scotch ales, what did you think I meant? Well, if it did, you need to get some Great Divide Claymore. Head over to Cumming, Metropolis, Canton or Kennesaw. I hear great things about this beer, but have not have a chance to try it. Note to self: Drink a lot of beer this weekend, and make sure at least 1 is GD Claymore.
  • Newnan has put in 3 new Smuttynose drafts and 2 new Redbrick drafts. That is a really good looking store with a great staff. I always enjoy myself when I get in there.
  • I can't explain it, but Weyerbacher seems to be all over the place these days too. Perimeter has the 13 on tap. It is huge stout that is 13.4% ABV. Fireside is available at Kennesaw & Woodstock, and the Merry Monk is about to start showing up next week.
  • In addition to the Sun Ray, V-High is also adding Avery 15, Coney Island Human Blockhead, and He'Brew Origins.
  • Speaking of V-High, they are 1 of 8 stores that are getting Terrapin's newest Side Project, Monk's Revenge. These kegs are small and will be gone fast. I do not know if the distributors who handle Terrapin in certain counties are getting any kegs or not, but the bottles should be available all over town. This beer is an American-style double IPA, made with a special Trappist yeast. They nailed this one. It should be arriving next week at Lindbergh, Newnan, Kennesaw, Metropolis, Decatur, V-High, Woodstock and Crabapple.
  • I am a huge fan of this milder tasting Belgian amber style from Ommegang called Rare Vos. Decatur is putting it in right now, and some other stores have it (or can get it if you ask about it).
  • Stores that are serviced by 1 particular distributor will be getting Dominion Millennium. It is a unique English-style barley wine. We have access to 7 kegs only. I will have the complete list next week. Stay tuned.
  • The beer engines that we have at Decatur, Canton and G Mall right now may go dry for a short period of time. You folks really took to the cask-conditioned beers with a purpose. I am impressed. These beers can't be poured by any old bar, so the inventory kept by the distributors in not like it is with other, more conventionally poured beers. We expected to run out from time to time. We have to create the demand to get the supply, so be patient. The orders are placed, in increased numbers, and the pumps will be pumping again soon.
Keep April 6-8 on your calendar. RJ Rockers has a new beer, Son Of A Peach, coming out soon, and you can get a sneak preview on those days. We are going to spread 8 kegs around to 8 stores, and release the beer at 3 of them on Monday 4/6, 3 of them Tuesday 4/7, and 2 stores on Wednesday 4/8. Someone from the brewery will be at 6 of these locations to answer questions and meet our customers. Got a great idea for a new beer? Maybe you should share it with a growing brewery doing business right here in the southeast. I will keep you updated on that more as it gets nearer.

I hope the "Return Of The Weekly Beer Report" was helpful. Watch for upcoming releases and cask events. I have a lot more stuff coming up, and new beers coming every day. Thanks for reading, now get out there and get a damn Snuggie already.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Snuggie Fever Grips Atlanta!

Yes folks, that's right. Snuggie fever has gripped the city. If you do not know what a Snuggie is, that's good. That means that you don't watch as much TV as the rest of the couch potatoes you hang around with. Now, go turn on your TV, wait 20 seconds, and you will see an ad for a Snuggie. Or, just ask ANY OTHER PERSON ALIVE. They oughta be able to help you out.
So, what is the cure for Snuggie Fever? You, in the corner?
"More cowbell?"
No, but Will Farrell is involved. Yes, you, sliding off the bar stool with the glazed expression and blood-shot eyes?
"Is it Ron Burgundy?"
That's right dad! It's Ron Burgundy. Tell him what he's won Bob!
"He hasn't won anything yet Fred. He has to be the person who orders the last beer from the last keg at any Taco Mac, and he will win a navy blue Snuggie with Sweetwater's logo on it!"
Oooh, that's too bad. Will someone please take my dad home. He's not getting lucky tonight. But you're always a winner to me pop!
(Note: My father is actually a very resp0onsible drinker, but that's not very funny now is it?)

Here, friends, is the kicker: This weekend was crazy with Ron Burgundy drinkers out there in Taco Mac land. Once again, nice job beer drinkers. You make me so proud (sniff). Now I'm getting all choked up. We thought that the number of kegs each store got would last 2-3 weeks. But no, without even knowing about the Snuggies, you put your foot in Ron Burgundy's you-know-what! Metropolis and Suwanee are on their last kegs right now! I expect the first prizes to go out at those stores tomorrow, 5 days after we launched this beer. Once again, I'm getting a little verklemt.

I am waiting for the rest of the stores to notify me when they tap their last kegs, and I will keep you posted. As we near the last store with the last full keg, we are going to save it until it is the last Ron Burgundy in town. And then, a kill-the-keg, last-Snuggie event will take place. The last keg of Hop Secret 393 went in 17 minutes at Crabapple on 3/11. Can we beat that record? Who will get the last Sweetwater Snuggie? Will we ever taste this beer again? Oh, the drama is unfolding before our eyes!

Bear in mind that Sweetwater's employees were not allowed to purchase these items. I don't have one, my bosses don't have them. There is 1 per store, and that is it. Wear it out in public, and watch everyone's envious expressions. And remember, if they laugh, hysterically and out loud, it's just a cover-up. They may have a blanket with sleeves of their own, but not with a Sweetwater logo on it, so there. This cultural phenomenon is not going to last much longer than, well, the last one, and I already forgot what that was, so let's have fun with it while we can. Also, if you Google "Snuggie Pub Crawl", there is one coming to Atlanta (proceeds go to charity), and Marie is going to try to get a Taco Mac on their route. I need as many of our winners on that crawl as possible. You win one, you need to call me.

Special teaser note: 31 gallons of Ron Burgundy is currently nestled inside a barrel previously used for Jack Daniels.

"When will that beer get kegged and served?"
I don't even know right now.
"Where will it be poured?"
Too soon to tell.
"Where do babies come from?"
It's not my job to tell you that. I'm just the beer guy.

I have more stuff for everyone, including the "Return Of The Weekly Beer Report"! That should be out tomorrow, hopefully, with more Ron B. updates. Stay tuned for a new and improved method for getting new beer info directly to you. Top secret info right now, but the 21st century is fully upon us, that is for sure.

Lastly, put April 1st on your calendar ASAP. We have a firkin of Highland St. Terese Pale Ale, dry-hopped with fresh Cascade hops, pouring from Metropolis' beer engine. Sandi from the brewery will be there (myself as well), and it will be a blast. No, this is not an April Fool's joke. If you don't believe me, then I guess you need to just show up and see for yourself.

PS- I do not know the guy in the photo, but he looks like one of our people: beer hat, beer belly, goofy expression, sense of humor at his own expense for others' enjoyment. Party on, Snuggie dude.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stay Classy, Beer Drinkers

Are you ready for some good lovin', Ron Burgundy style? Well then get ready, because tomorrow, Ron is going to start spreading his love all over Atlanta. Sweetwater's newest Dank Tank offspring, the love child commemorating our 30th anniversary, is going to be poured at all Taco Mac locations starting at 5 pm. This scotch ale style was delicious at pre-release tastings, and the finished product should be outstanding.

I will be at our Philips Arena location when Ron drops his robe. The Red Wings are in town, and for those of you who did not know, I am from Michigan. Not alot to be proud of up there sports-wise right now other than hockey. Oh, and the Lions can't, by reason of deduction, get any worse than they were last year. So they have that going for them.

The thing about The Ron Burgundy is that in addition to being a great beer, it has a special addendum to it. Being an anniversary beer to honor 30 years of Taco Mac in Atlanta, the brewery has attached a little memorial prize. Whoever orders the last glass from the last keg at each store, wins a top secret, totally exclusive token of appreciation that will be the envy of EVERYONE YOU KNOW! This prize is so timely, so hilarious, and so ridiculous that every man, woman and child you encounter will hate themselves for having seen how cool you are, only to realize that they can never, no matter how hard they try, be as cool as you. Fonzie himself would weep. "What is it, Fred? Please tell me!" No. I have been sworn to secrecy in a blood pact, where the participants were hooded and shrouded in darkness. Chants were chanted, incantations were incantated, candles were all over the place. Well, not really, but we drank a bunch of beer and I promised that I wouldn't tell anyone what the prize was. So I need to stick to that.

Each store received 2-5 kegs of this beer. So depending on where you hang out, and how much Ron you can handle, the prizes will start being handed out as each store runs out. As the number of stores with Ron on tap starts to narrow, the anticipation over the prizes should grow. Eventually, we will hopefully have a big group trying to kill that last keg, and award the final prize. How long will this take? That, my friends, is up to you. Also, as we near the finish, there may be a special appearance or two. I can't really talk about that either.

Terrapin and Atlanta Brewing Co. are also doing anniversary beers for us, and the details on those are just starting to get clarified. I do know that Terrapin's beer is called "30 Strong" and is made with 30 different ingredients. It should arrive in May. On the 11th of May, we will pouring 2 special casks of 30 Strong at our original Virginia-Highland location. Those casks will have a 31st ingredient (1 more for good luck!) added. The guys from the brewery tasted it from the tank yesterday and called me immediately. Apparently it is an inspiring experience. Can't wait. The ABC beer will debut in June, so it hasn't been brewed yet. Stay tuned for more developments on that.

If you are curious about beer dinners (Where did they go?), don't despair. We did our March dinner on the 3rd to accommodate the schedule of Allagash's brew master, and April's dinner is on the 28th to accommodate someone else's schedule. We are still on a monthly rotation, we just have a big span in between this time. The April dinner is called "Matt & Fred's Magical Mystery Beer Tour". The beers are from an importer who we have never done business with before, and they have some obscure beers I had never seen. The beers are awesome, and we will feature 2 German beers, 1 Belgian, 1 Italian and 1 from Sri Lanka. Crazy. Each one is unlike anything that you would expect from those countries. Be prepared to have your mind opened up a little bit if you are going to attend. Marie should have the menus on line very soon. She is playing around with some cool graphics, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Oh, one last thing before I go. There is a Jack Daniel's barrel full of Ron Burgundy at Sweetwater. We are going to do something with that beer too, but I'm just not sure what yet. Can you say "cask conditioned, whiskey barrel aged scotch ale served from a beer engine"? Not after about 2 of those beers you couldn't. Anyway, that's what I am thinking, we'll see. Thanks for your time today. See you soon, and most importantly, stay classy Atlanta.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

D.C./New Horizons/Symbiosis

OK, here is the scoop on the DFH Ale House near D.C.:

  • On tap was Shelter Pale Ale (a 5% ABV beer not sold in our area, but very tasty), 60 & 90 Minute IPA (combined they are called an "Ale House 75"), Chicory Stout (an all-time, top 10 Fred Favorite), IBA, Riason d' Etre, World Wide Stout, 120 Minute IPA, Aprihop, and the force to be reckoned with, Palo Santo Marron. You could also get a Black & Tan made with Chicory and 90 Minute.

  • I had a Shelter to start, and followed it up with a WWS. My brother had a Chicory and a PSM. The 12 oz. snifters of the WWS and PSM were $10.25, but worth every penny. Having never had the WWS before, I really appreciated the drinkability of a stout that high in ABV (14%, something like that). It was pleasant to drink, and not too oily and molasses-like as some other heavy duty stouts can be.

  • The food and service were very good. I had some fish and chips to go with my pale ale, and they were both clearly hand-made. The WWS was for after dinner. My sister-in-law was home by Sunday, and the kid was sick, so my brother and I had the evening to ourselves. I did not plan this, mind you. I totally planned on going on Saturday night and seeing what kind of action I could get with the ladies out of this charming 4 year old. I was not kidding, and told my brother as much. Once my nephew puked all over the car Sunday morning, I pretty much figured he was out as far as being a chick magnet went. Hey, when you gotta barf, you gotta barf. Let it out man.

I teased everyone a bit with the info on "The Ron Burgundy" last week. Here now, beer drinkers, is the nitty gritty:

  • Every corporate Taco Mac in GA will be pouring this 30th anniversary beer 30 days before Sweetwater's 420 Fest. What do all of those numbers mean? They mean that Friday (yes, this Friday), you can get your hands on it. Draft only. Each store is getting 3-5 kegs depending on the size of the location. This beer is a 1-time deal, so alert every man, woman and child over the age of 21, and get yourselves down to a Taco Mac posthaste. (For a definition of "posthaste", please refer to multiple appearances from C. Montgomery Burns on a popular TV show called The Simpsons. He likes to use archaic words because he is extremely old. If you needed me to tell you that, you need to get with the program. Mr. Burns is hilarious.) When it is gone, it is gone forever.

Did we learn anything about rare beer lately? Yes, we did. I truly apologize to anyone who was upset at Crabapple last Wednesday. Within 17 minutes of tapping the last Sierra Nevada Hop Secret 393, it was gone. Forever. We blew the keg in 58 minutes less that the previous record of 1 hr., 15 min. The lesson we learned it this:

  • Life is short, people. Strike while the iron is hot. He who hesitates is lost. Insert your own favorite adage about life's fleeting moments here! I had not even taken the first sip of my first glass of HS 393 on Wednesday before the keg kicked. True story. I was finishing a Sierra Nevada Pale draft, figuring I had at least 25-30 min. before I needed to get my 2nd HS 393. Woops. You know what I say about snoozers? Losers. I snoozed, and I will be dealing with those consequences until I either A.) die, or B.) Sierra makes that beer again.

  • I would like to recognize a few notable things regarding this 8 keg odyssey. First of all, major thanks to the brewery, its people in CA and GA, and all of their hard work and attention to Taco Mac and our clientele. Secondly, huge thanks to ALL of you who came out to be a part of something new and special. I hope that we met you expectations at least. Those of you who came to multiple appearances of this beer, it sure was fun, wasn't it? Charlie was at Windward for keg #1, and he got the last glass at Crabby. See, there is a sense of justice in the universe. Sometimes. Big Ron missed keg #8, but he was there in spirit. Lastly, I want to tell you that we will do something like that again some day. I don't know when, or whose beer we will have, but this was cool, and I am ready to fire it up again right now. I know that you all are too.

More 30th Anniversary beers for Taco Mac!

  • The release of Terrapin's 30th Ann'y beer (made with 30 ingredients!) will be in early May at all locations I am invloved with in GA (sorry, Chattanooga). We will be serving a special cask at our original location in Virginia-Highlands on Monday, May 11th. It will have a special 31st ingredient (1 more for good luck!) that is TBD. You can miss it if you want, but I wouldn't. Have you been around V-High on a spring day lately? Not a bad place to chill on a Monday.

  • Atlanta Brewing will have a TBD beer for our 30th, to debut on the 1st day of summer. That day is actually a Sunday, so we will probably bust it out the Friday before or the Monday after. It is a new recipe of something deliciously complex, yet suited for GA in the summer. Details will be coming as soon as they clear up.

Want something crazy? I knew that you did. So, 3 firkins of rare English beer are en route to the beer engine at Metroplis. The arrival date is up in the air. The beer is somewhere between Atlanta and a dock in England right now. I have never ever heard of any of these beers before. So, stay tuned.

Do the words "cask-conditioned" or "beer engine" get you excited? If so, a few Taco Mac locations have these items right now. Canton is pouring Victory Storm King Imperial Stout with their beer engine. The Victory Hop Devil they had at opening was fantastic. I bet the VSKIS is out of this world. I just had Rogue Shakespeare Stout from Decatur's beer engine today (twice!). Three words for you: phe nom inal. G Mall is installing their equipment currently, and Woodstock is next. We need to roll this program out slowly, because the availablity of these cask-conditioned beers is scarce right now. We basically have to pace the demand in step with the supply. Are you mad because your store does not have a beer engine yet? We need the beers first. Don't worry, we are on it. In addition, this equipment is not cheap, and they have been back-ordered for a month or so. True beer engines are not made in Tallahassee or Tuscaloosa. They come from England.

Last thing(s) before I have to split:

  • New Belgium Brewing Co. will be launching in Atlanta on Monday, 5/11. I do not have details on what will specifically be going on. They launch with 22 oz. bombers first, the draft in 30-60 days after that. If you do not know who this brewery is, they make a beer called Fat Tire. Apparently Fat Tire can allow people to attain spiritual enlightenment, cure cancer, will balance the debt, and restore the ozone layer. Just kidding, but a lot of people really seem to desire this beer, so get ready, because the wait is about to be over.

  • Bell's Brewing Co. from Kalamazoo, MI is going to be here, for sure, this spring/summer. I worked there for 7 years from '93 to 2000, and the beer is excellent. It completes me, like Mini-Me and Dr. Evil.

  • Another CO brewery, Ft. Collins Brewing Co., should be hitting Taco Mac shelves this week. I could only get them in TN until now, and I think that this line-up will find a good home here in Atlanta. "The Kidd" and "Z Lager" are my favorites. Do not expect the ordinary with these beers. I'm just

Thanks as always for reading, and drinking. Remember, if you stop doing what you do, we can't do what we do. Symbiosis.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

D.C. Bound/Tasting The First Ron

I continue to forget that winter lasts well into March up north every time I think that the coast is clear, pack up, and get off a plane in the middle of a blizzard. Thankfully, Washington D.C. is not too far north, and the weather looks clear for the weekend. I'm still packing for arctic conditions. I grew up in Michigan, so I know what cruel sense of humor mother nature can have when spring seems right around the corner.

My older brother (and only sibling) turned 40 last month, and I could not be there. So his wife suggested that maybe I visit the weekend that she is out of town, to "keep him company". Hmmm.....Keep my brother company while his wife is out of town? Sounds like mischief to me. I told her that I could probably "help her out with that." Now before you get any zany ideas, I do hold the title of "World's Coolest Uncle" to a 4 year old named Alex, so the weekend won't be much more than the three of us guys kickin' it family-style.

Did I mention that my brother was a chef? Yeah, we eat pretty good when he's around. I also need to send a special thanks out to the good people at Dogfish Head for building a DFH brew pub 10 miles from my brother's house in Fall's Church, VA. Nice work guys. World Wide Stout, here I come. Somehow I need to figure out a way to get this 4 year old out of the house, just the two of us. He is quite possibly the most powerful chick magnet in the world. Women are powerless against him. I've seen it. And, as "World's Coolest Uncle" (I have the t-shirt to prove it), who knows what could happen? These types of ideas would never fly when his mother is around. I need to strike while the iron is hot. I know everyone says these things about the kids in their family, even the funny looking ones. This nephew of mine is not one of those kids. His own parents don't plan on having another child, and I suspect that they are afraid that the second one won't measure up to the first. Neither one of his parents all that great looking, but damn their kid is handsome. Genetics is a crazy thing. I would show you a picture, but I'm pretty sure that you don't care to get to know me that well.

I will return with a full report of the DFH pub. My brother is psyched to go there as well, and the word on the street is that they have many special beers at their pubs (they have 2 outside of the actual brewery in Delaware) that are hard to find. Otherwise, I will be gone from Friday through Monday, and back in action in the ATL Tuesday.

I apologize if you were looking for more beer content here today. We had a full week already, with a 393 tapping in Kennesaw Monday (1 hr. 15 min.-NEW RECORD!), Allagash dinner Tuesday (oh, you missed it? Too bad. It was awesome!), and a manager outing to Sweetwater yesterday. We tasted the Taco Mac 30th anniversary beer they made. This scotch ale style, called The Ron Burgundy (don't get the reference? Call in a lifeline, it's not a hard one) is awesome. It comes out 30 days (get it?) before the 4/20 fest. You missed the cask of the Johnnie Walker seasoned Ron Burgundy. Delicious. Terrapin and Atlanta Brewing Co. are doing anniversary beers for us as well. Terrapin's comes out in May, ABC's in June. More to come on that.

Have a great weekend people. I gotta go. Tell Veronica Corningstone that I like her better than Kelly Bundy, and that means a lot. Not to her, to me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


"My eyes are blind but I can see
the snowflakes glistening on the trees."

An obscure holiday nugget trotted back out to commemorate this random March blizzard? No, that's from the song Snowblind on Black Sabbath Volume 4. Who knew that Ozzy had a flair for such touching illustration? Somehow I don't think he was talking about the kind of snow that freakishly dumped on Atlanta all day today.

Here is how I am taking this unexpected (sorry, not a Weather Channel junkie) winter deluge: What a great opportunity to spend some quality time indoors, curled up with a good beer. In fact, I am looking at some winter seasonals in the fridge that were dangerously close to being overlooked during the 10 months of summer in GA. I knew that the 750 ml Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper, brewed with herbs and holiday spices, had been anxious to get out of the fridge. How can I say no, when my lips keep saying yes?

Lately I have been busy with the back half of the HS 393 tour and the Canton opening. Let's recap, shall we?

  • The beer dinner Tuesday with Sierra Nevada was a blast. Chad from Sierra went out of his way to make sure that Fat Tuesday festivities were multiple notches above our normal drill at beer dinners. Thanks, Chad, for all of the extra effort. I think I speak for the whole group. The 393 was a show-stopper, and was only upstaged by Matt's beef pairing with the Imperial Smoked Porter, depending on who you ask.

  • The Canton opening the following night was great. Thanks to all of those loyal folks who drove out there for the event, and thanks to all of the customers, new and old, who just got a Taco Mac in their neck of the woods. Imagine their relief. The beer selection looked great, and lots of new items were available to Passport Club members.

  • Thursday was the grand re-opening of our Chattanooga store. They were closed Mon.-Wed. for internal upgrades to the building, plus the installation of 14 new draft lines! They have even more beers on tap that we can't get here. I keep telling you folks to head up there one day and check it out. Dale and the guys have a really cool store on their hands, and it just got 14 new reasons for you to make the trip. Load up the Family Truckster (Arctic Blue or Metallic Pea?), buy some carpet in Dalton on the way up (do not, I repeat, do not drink and shop for flooring!), and pay the 'Nooga Mac a visit.

  • Friday we took the 393 Road Show to Newnan to show some love to the folks down there. What a great group of people. They really showed the love right back, and the keg lasted until just before 8 pm, and I only had 3! Thank you so much to all who turned out, and I really hope that you enjoyed the night as much as Chad and I did. He concurred that the turnout was extraordinary. Lots of homebrewers down there, and serious ones at that.

So, tomorrow (Monday) we pour keg 7 of 8 of the HS 393 at Kennesaw. Did anyone see Bob Townsend's article in Thursday's (2/26) AJC? If not, look through the recycle bin, because the article is about the 393, my trip to Chico, etc. Bob did a nice job getting the point across in a medium-sized format. I was OK with page 4 of Food & Drink, but next time, the front page of section A is what I'm shooting for. It's OK to dream. So, to all of those people who never thought I would get into any part of the newspaper besides the police blotter or the obits, I just have one thing to say: "In your face!"

The last bit of news is about the exciting things that I am hearing about for 2009. Georgia should get ready to expect Moylan's Brewing (Novato, CA), Bell's (Kalamazoo, MI-I worked at this brewery from '93-'00), French Broad (Asheville, NC) and New Belgium (they make Fat Tire in Ft. Collins, CO) to be in our pint glasses by May/June. The beer guys say sooner, but they are typically optimistic. I hope that they are right about their claims to have these items in April, but I am trying to be realistic.

The April beer dinner will feature some unusual beers that most of you have not seen before. The breweries are: Lion (Sri Lanka), Amacord (Italy), Michael Plank (Germany), and Magus Belgo (Belgium). It will be 5 courses (M. Plank will have 2 courses), and Matt will have the menu ready very soon. This is a bit of a departure form the 1 brewery format we normally use, but wait until you taste these obscure beers. I am very anxious to see everyone's reaction, because I remember mine when I first tried these. I immediately thought of the beer dinner format to bring these to market first. Stay tuned.

Thanks as always for reading. And if you turned out last week for an event, or even if you just stopped by a Taco Mac for a beer once or five times, thanks again. People thank me for what I do, but I can't do what I do without you. Keep up the good work out there beer drinkers. We're in this thing together.

Obscure Reference Or Not? You Decide- In National Lapoon's Vacation, when Clark goes to pick up his new car for the trip to Wally World, it is not the color he wanted. He specifically said that he wanted Artic Blue, but the salesman only had Metallic Pea for the Family Truckster. This is my recollection, which is unsubstantiated at this point. If there are any corrections to this, please advise immediately.