Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

Wow, sorry for the long hiatus. This is supposed to be a slow time in the restaurant/beer business, but don't try to tell me that. Between weekend beer events and my actual job, there has barely been time to squeeze in weekday beer events. As expected, I prevailed. Here is a brief recap. The actual behavior of some of the participants has been omitted to protect the guilty.

Last week we went to visit our store in Chattanooga during Riverbend. That is the 11 day fair/concert/street party the city of Chattanooga throws every year. We picked a Thursday in order to hang out with some regulars, assuming they would congregate on pint night. Turns out most of them bailed based on the sheer amount of drunken weirdos that come out the hills during Riverbend. Apparently Riverbend is good time to play "Redneck Bingo". Basically, the rules of Redneck Bingo are if you spot a characteristic that typifies redneck-ery, you get a letter. First one to "Bingo" wins. Spotting a mullet is like the free space in the middle of the Bingo card. Pregnant lady smoking? That's a letter. Any type of shirt with sleeves cut off? Letter. Confederate flag on any piece of clothing? Yep, that's a letter. If you spotted the guy wearing the high-top shoes, Alan Jackson t-shirt, and drinking from a bottle of Evan Williams in broad daylight, you almost won the game on that guy alone. You get the picture. Don't get me wrong, I love Chattanooga. These people don't live in Chattanooga. There were plenty of regular folks around too, but they aren't fun to look at or make fun of behind their backs.

The big draw that day was The B-52's. Not my cup of tea, but hey, it was free. The area around the stage (which is actually in the water) was your basic county fair kind of thing: beer tents, Porta-Johns, various types of food on a stick, etc. We had already eaten some great pizza at a new brew pub there called The Terminal, so I didn't have room for the Pork-On-A-Stick. Really wanted one though. The beer at The Terminal was good (I had a Mai Bock & an IPA), but once we got to Riverbend, that was it for craft beer. Budweiser it is. What? I like Budweiser. You can be a hater if you want, but just take a long look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself one question: "Am I a Bud hater because it's cool to be a Bud hater?" No, don't look at me. Look in the mirror and answer yourself. If you really are a Bud hater, that's OK by me. I'm not here to judge. All I'm saying is that if you stick your nose up in the air at a cold Bud on a sultry Tennessee night, you are forgetting one important lesson about beer drinking that I learned from one of the all-time pros: Pinkies on the glass people. It's beer. Stop acting fancy, put your pinkie down, and drink some god damned beer already.

OK, so the big deal all day was who the surprise band was going to be after the B-52's were done. Earlier in the week we heard it was going to be The Beastie Boys. See, Bonnaroo was starting the following day or something, so every musician in the world was on their way through Chattanooga, allegedly. Once we got to town, the rumors had changed to Phish being in town, staying right down the street in fact! Then a bunch of tie-dyed kids starting showing up and wandering aimlessly around Chatty-town. It was looking like there was something to this rumor after all. But the Budweiser reps, who put the whole Riverbend thing together it looked like, were sure that Jimmy Buffet was the surprise act. Wow! Beastie Boys, Phish or Jimmy Buffet? These are 3 of the top drawing acts in the country right now. The tension was thick. As the B-52's put the finishing touches on "Love Shack" (what did you think they would close with? Duh!), everybody was on the edge of their seats. And then the surprise was....the lights came on and they kicked everybody out. Surprise! Nothing. No Sabotage, no Margaritaville, no Fluff Head. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here, etc.

Either way, we had fun. I think Marie learned how to do the Stanky Leg dance, so that was a plus. Our cab driver was so crazy that we kept calling him, and only him, all night wherever we went. Hollywood Howard. Want to hear about the web site he's working on? No. Trust me, you don't. Unless you too live in your mother's basement, and a computer screen is your only contact with the outside world. If that is you, I have Hollywood Howard's business card at the office. Call me. I'm definitely going back next year. Gotta get a Pork-On-A-Stick and see how that web site is coming along.

Alright, here is the important info for you beer drinkers out there. On Friday we are releasing our 3rd and final 30th anniversary beer. Atlanta Brewing Co. made Red Brick Solstice Roggenbock for us, and I can't wait to try it. Their Helles Bock is great this year, and this style is similar, with the addition of rye malt. It is going to be thirst quenching, but still full of flavor. All GA Taco Mac stores will have it, and I will be at Metropolis with some of the ABC guys. I may head over to Decatur after happy hour if I feel like it. We'll see. The name you ask? Sunday is the first day of summer, aka the summer solstice. Roggen means "rye" in German. What else happens Sunday? It's Father's Day! Let's make sure you thank that guy that's been putting up with you for all these years. Let's face it, being your dad hasn't exactly been a picnic. Remember when you did that one thing that time? Yeah, you remember. That was awesome.

Did I say picnic? Yes, the July beer dinner is Matt & Fred's Big Picnic. This will seat 60+ people on the mezzanine at Lindbergh. The beers are from all over. Matt made an incredible picnic-themed menu, and I picked beers to go along with them. It is usually the other way around. This is going to be a very casual affair, where we are not going to hush everyone between courses to talk about the beer and the food. We are just going to sit you down and feed you tons of great food and beer. We will be available if you have any questions about the offerings, but no formal speaking breaks, you dig? We have two surprises up our sleeves for this event. If you think you can figure one out by looking at the menu (Eric), there might be a curve ball in there you didn't think about. Either way, the excitement for this dinner is building. We are capping it at 66 people, and we are just over 40 now. Go to and click on "Beer Dinners" to view the menu and make reservations if you are interested.

Speaking of beer dinners, I just want to say that last night's dinner with Spaten was off the chain! Matt made all of these incredible German dishes, and the beers were a great match. Who is not happy with a glass of Optimator and a plate of weiner-schnitzel? Especially with 41 other people all saying "weiner-schnitzel" after a bunch of beers. Good times.

OK gang, that is it for now. Hopefully you have figured out the Twitter thing for your beer updates at the stores you like to frequent. Once I get out from under the mess I am under at my desk I will link those here. Dare to dream Fred! Otherwise, get out there this weekend and raise a toast to yourself, Red Brick, 30 years of Taco Mac, and dear old dad. Cheers.