Thursday, July 30, 2009

May The Schwartz Be With You!

Yes, I do think that Mel Brooks is a comic genius. History Of The World Part I? Classic. How long do we have to wait for PartII? Blazing Saddles? Top 5 all-time funniest movies. Spaceballs may not be his best effort, but it is still funnier than every season of Friends combined. We're not here to talk about how schmaltzy that whole load of drivel was, but....

We are here to discuss how the Schmaltz will be with me next week. Namely, on Monday the 3rd of August, Jeremy Cowan, president and brew master of The Schmaltz Brewing Co. will be in town. We are going to be at Perimeter at 5 pm, then heading to Metropolis for a 7 pm arrival. We will travelling with Darren, our local Schmaltz rep (great guy), and the MC and "Human Blockhead" performer from the REAL Coney Island Freak Show. His name is, are you ready.......Donny Vomit. Priceless. That's him in the photo with a nail in his nose. Now, before you get too worked up, I want to tell you that Donny Vomit The Human Blockhead will not be putting anything in his face besides beer at Taco Mac. He does have some appearances in Atlanta to showcase his talents, and you can find out from him where those are. I, personally, am going to attend one near my house next week. So, if you want to meet some beer people, ogle a freak, or maybe say "hi" to me, Monday is the day, Perimeter and Metropolis are the locales.

The fall travel season is about to start heating up. I am headed to Florida tonight to hang out with some friends for the weekend. I am going get my new camera out of the box and learn how to use it. I want to show you folks some great photos of the breweries and beer events I am going to be at coming up this year. I have 8 days of breweries in N. California again this year, GABF to cheer on the Hop Secret 393, New Belgium Brewing Co. in Colorado, and a huge Terrapin party 8/22. That is just August and September. More to come.

Tomorrow all eyes are on Decatur. The Ron W. Burgundy makes its second to last appearance, ever. The "W." stands for whiskey. This keg is from the bourbon barrel that Sweetwater aged some Ron in since March. After this one is gone, there is one little keg left in Austell. Tap date on that is TBD. If you appreciate bourbon, and love how it can contribute to the flavor of a strong, mellow ale, Decatur is the place to be tomorrow. Why am I, along with my group of seasoned veteran beer drinkers going south? Well, I wanted you guys to get some, so I figured it would be best to get these guys away from that keg.

So, I am out of here for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you get a chance to enjoy a Ron W., do it a favor and take your time. The flavors do interesting things at each stage of the glass. If lingering over a beer is not your thing, go ahead and slam a couple. I'm not your mother. Just make sure that you have safe transportation. This sucker means business. The police don't care if you think the schwartz is with you or not. You're going to jail Lone Starr.

P.S. I want to give a shout out to our newest Grand Poobah memebers, Michelle Davis and Terry Becker. If anyone needs to find these people, I have a pretty good idea where they hang out. Thanks guys. You worked hard, but your liver worked harder. It probably needs a beer right about now, and god knows it can't get one on its own.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"I'm Not Dead Yet!"

First of all, this is your reminder about the release of the Reunion Beer '09 By Terrapin at all of my 22 GA Taco Mac stores. I just sampled the beer, and it is delicious. Remember, double-white style. In the dark about this beer? Read last weekend's post. I will be at Lindbergh tonight for a little kick-off party, then I am headed back to my neighborhood for a going away party. My friend Lindsay is going to join her husband in Korea. This girl loves good beer (Terrapin mostly), but I guess she loves her soldier husband more. Anybody know if there is any decent beer in Korea, or available on a military base? You would think that you could at least get a Sam Adams on a military base. God I hope so. This girl gets cranky and nobody is happy.

There are also two notable resurrections of sorts. Ron Burgundy is not dead yet. Sweetwater had been aging a big bourbon barrel of the stuff since March. We had 2 big and 2 little kegs. The first one got tapped at Lindbergh for the Big Picnic beer dinner on Tuesday (both were awesome). There should be a little left if I had to guess. Please call first. The second one, a small keg, got tapped yesterday at Suwanee. They killed it in 1 night. Probably a few hangovers up in Gwinnett today. Decatur is tapping a big one a week from today, Friday 7/31. The last keg, a small one, before Ron Burgundy finally croaks, is going to be in Austell. Date is TBD. Might even be a mid-week thing.

The other beer that has been resurrected is.....DRUM ROLL PLEASE.......SIERRA NEVADA HOP SECRET 393!. Apparently the head brewer, there since the beginning in the 80's, loved this beer the first time around. How much did he love it? Enough to re-brew it in order to enter it in the Great American Beer Festival in Denver this year. They feel that it has a strong chance of bringing home some gold. I have been told that we will be getting 8, maybe 15 kegs. For those of you in the know, this is very exciting news. For those unaware of the momentousness of this news, please read some old blog postings about Beer Camp, and the beer tour that took Atlanta by storm last winter and spring. Here we come again.

That is it for now. Stay tuned as this develops. Enjoy a beer-filled weekend, and taste the Reunion when you get a chance. Do yourself a favor, and please don't put any fruit in this beer. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reunited, And It Tastes So Good

Big week last. Hopefully you got out to try the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon casks we had. Hugh the brew master was (and I assume still is) a great guy who was very happy to get out and talk to his fans/our customers. And of course, the beer was outstanding.

On Thursday I met with the Left Hand guys, 2 of whom were in from Colorado. They were in town to brew their yearly collaboration with Terrapin. This year they made an espresso milk stout called Depth Charge. Look for that in August maybe. Should be tasty. I got to drink their Jackman's Pale from a cask, along with Terrapin's newest side project Maggie's Farmhouse at an event Thursday night. That was after a private tour of the Atlanta Brewing Co. facility for some managers, bartenders and customers. Big thanks to the ABC staff for accommodating us. Great stuff. If you have never been down there to visit them, you really should. If you need free tour passes, contact me through the "Contacts" section of the Taco Mac web site. I have at least 20 on my desk. But, if you are just thinking about going, but probably never will, please let me keep the passes for people who are truly going to use them.

This week is our mid-year, multi-brewery beer dinner on Tuesday. At holiday time last December we assembled 6 winter/holiday themed beers from different breweries and planned a dinner around them. This year we planned a picnic-themed dinner, and chose good beers to go with the meal. There is only 1 beer heavier than a brown ale, so summer temperatures are definitely taken into account. And, unlike other dinners, we do not introduce each course with verbal beer and food descriptions. We just seat you and feed you. It will be great. The 66 people who are attending should be really looking forward to it. Unfortunately for anyone else, it is sold out. There is one mystery beer, which will be revealed that night. Very few stores (3) will be able to get this beer the following day, so stay tuned for that.

Speaking of Left Hand and beer dinners, you can sign up for our August Left Hand beer dinner in Duluth if you are interested. It is on Tuesday, August 25th at 6:30 pm. The menu is on the Taco Mac web site. As I have said before, if these are not the best value for the experience in town, please let me know. Actually don't, because you will be wrong.

This week also will feature the release of the Reunion Beer For Hope '09. This beer, a double-white style made by Terrapin, is to help raise money for and awareness of myeloma and bone cancer. The force behind this is Alan Shapiro of SBS Imports (De Proef beers from Belgium-outrageously good) in Seattle. A good friend and co-worker of his from his Pete's Brewing Co. days (Wicked Ale, remember?) succumbed to this illness a few years ago. He usually uses a California brewery to make this beer, but decided to concentrate on our market, based on the growing appreciation for craft beer in the area right now. Conveniently enough, there are 22 locations ready to sell the draft beer for him, Taco Mac. So, get out this weekend and try this new beer at any of our locations that are participating. That would be all GA stores except Douglasville, Lawrenceville, Stockbridge and Tucker. Those stores are independently owned. A double white is basically the Belgian-style wit beer that is so popular these days, but with more body, flavor and ABV.

I have a lot more fun stuff for you guys coming up. I bought a new camera so that I can take pictures of some of my adventures (the PG ones) and post them for you. The last weekend in July/first week of August I am going to Florida with a couple guys to visit an old buddy. One of my friends has had a rough couple of months, so he needs to blow off some steam and relax. We will try to keep him in one piece this time. The last trip out of town we took, he left part of his face on a sidewalk in Athens (not Greece). See postings in April for the back story on that. Otherwise, August may be a little slow. September however is jam packed with special brewery outings all around the country. I promise to take lots of pictures of interesting places and people doing stupid things. I don't know that anyone will do anything stupid. But once you start giving people alcohol, their decisions get way less calculated, but way more hilarious. Remember, if you are not the guy behind the camera, you're the person in the picture. And then we all laugh at you.

Speaking of laughter, this Bruno movie is out of control. If you thought Borat was out there, you have not seen anything yet. You need to be pretty open minded to enjoy this movie. If you are not 100% percent sure that it is not easy to shock you, don't bother to see this movie. Because I was 100% sure that it is not easy to shock me, and I was shocked by this movie. I laughed my ass off, along with everyone else in the theater, but left slightly in disbelief. Not at what I had seen, but by the sheer wonderment at the type of person that would come up with such a thing. Demented! The famous wrestling scene from Borat? Nothing compared to this. Do I recommend this movie? Absolutely. However, I absolutely suggest that you take a very honest inventory of your viewpoints on human sexuality first. Oh, and you better not freak out seeing grown men naked. Every part of them. Often. Don't even get me started on the anal bleaching.

I will leave you with that. Have a great week. I will remind you about the Reunion beer mid-week probably.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fugitive May Be Lured From Hiding By Cold Beer

No, this is not a desperate plea to help find this man, and the barnyard animals he may or may not be accused of abducting. This man, although quite humorous in his own right, has probably not committed any crimes in quite a few years. OK, maybe he drives too fast, I don't know. Maybe he takes a penny but never leaves one, which isn't even against the law. He might even water his lawn in the middle of the day. All of these accusations, and even more baseless and perverted ones, will have to wait until Wednesday. Tomorrow is Charlie's birthday, so be nice to him. He turns 51, which means that he is still, after all these years, not playing with a full deck. (Pssst! You, blockhead.....there are 52 cards in a full deck. Please try to stay with us here.)

We just so happen to have the brew master of Heavy Seas, Hugh Sisson, in town to do some meet-n-greet events and drink some cask beers from his Baltimore brewery. And, as fortune would have it, we will be doing one of those tomorrow at Mall of GA. That is one of Charlie's home stores, but I definitely did not plan it that way. Seriously, we don't need Charlie getting a big head over this. "Shy" is not a word typically used to describe this man, OK.

Anyway, we are going to tap the cask of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA at 6 pm at G Mall, and if you are in the area, you would be doing yourself a favor to stop by. The beer will be fantastic, you can meet the brewer, and maybe catch some cool people celebrating a birthday. If you can't make it Tuesday, we will be doing the same thing, sans birthday, at Metropolis on Wednesday. Have a great week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No! I Said Cut The Cake!

I would like to say happy birthday to my cousin Mike in Chicago. I think he is 41 today. When we were all kids growing up in the 70's, Mike was so proud to tell everybody, "I have the same birthday as O.J.!" Today, not so much. You know what, let's all say happy birthday to O.J. too. "Happy Birthday Juice!" OK, now maybe nobody will get stabbed. If you knew O.J., and you guys were totally friends, do you think it would be funny to give him a set of gloves on his birthday? I mean, would he think it's funny. "Oh, you got me gloves! I get it. Like when I killed my wife and that gigolo waiter. You got me. Cops didn't though! God bless you Johnnie Cochran! Aaahh.......good times."

There are lots of beer happenings out there in the next seven days. I know that summer is usually associated with laying around and catching up your R & R. But those are the types of things LAZY people associate with summer. I have some other notable distractions, which mostly involve sitting around drinking beer (I know how much you love that). Some might say that those are lazy activities. Well, those people have clearly never seen you drink. You, my friend, are an athlete, and don't let that police officer try to tell you any differently. Anyway, lets begin:
  • Tomorrow, July 10th we are tapping a cask of Avery IPA which has been dry-hopped with these rare and potent hops called Apollo. If you are able to get to Metropolis tomorrow, the beer starts flowing at 6 pm. Yes, we usually start at 5, but that is because we have been there all day, and frankly we are sick of waiting. However, we understand the traffic is not friendly on Fridays especially, so 6 pm it is. On that note, if there are any doctors out there who want to bring me a pad of those notes you give people to excuse them from work and stuff, that would be great. There are a lot of drinkers out there who just need to get out of work an hour or two early once in a while to get a good parking spot and a seat at the bar. I realize that you have devoted your life to helping people, and these people need your help.So, the pad please.
  • Also tomorrow is the big "Christmas In July" kick-off. Almost every store has kegs and bottles of beer they have been sitting on since last fall/winter. These are stronger beers that will actually benefit from some aging. Find out from the stores near you what they plan on breaking out for you, either by calling or getting involved with their Twitter activity. There are different strategies that some stores are employing to keep things interesting. The idea here is that warm weather drinking doesn't have to be boring. Especially if you plan ahead.
  • Next week we will see more casks, this time accompanied by the actual brew master. Hugh Sissons from Heavy Seas will be at our Mall of GA store on Tuesday, and at Metropolis on Wednesday. He will be bringing casks of his Loose Cannon IPA. If you were lucky enough to have tried this beer at the Heavy Seas beer dinner last year, or at any of the other events where we have featured it, then you just got very excited. If you have not had this beer served this way before, clear your calendar on those days. Trust me.
  • If you want the last seats to the Big Picnic Beer Dinner on the 21st, you need to use the web site to pay for the last 1 available through Pay Pal, and contact me for the last 1 that I am holding. I save a certain number for brewery personnel and high-ranking Passport Club members cashing in rewards. Those people are all accounted for, and I have 1 spot left. So, contact me first through the Beer Dinner link on our web site, and if I still have that spot left, it is yours. We just sampled the surprise beer on Monday. You'll be mad when you find out what it is if you aren't coming. That is only one of two surprises.
That's it for now. Just remember to put Friday, July 24th on your calendar. We will be spoiling you with yet another special beer that launches at all GA stores that day. In the meantime, I'll see you soon at a cask near you.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Please Consult www.urbandictionary.com Under "C"

Dude! What are you doing? Those are not what you would call "cougars"! Those are old ladies, and there is a difference. You need to step away from the grannies, and get out of there as soon as possible. I mean, it looks like a swell party and all, but I'm pretty sure that lady on my left is dying right in front of us. If you don't split like now, they are going to try to pin her death on you. I mean, you do look sort of suspicious, so unless you know CPR, it's time to bail. I get it though. You thought you could roll up into this little soiree, have a couple free beers and then get some action from a rich cougar. Now Gladys is having a coronary, and Ethel's heading for the hard liquor. It's about to get ugly in there, and a smart player like yourself should be looking for the door. Nothing good is gonna happen anytime soon, especially if that lady croaks. Besides, it looks like you already stole some clothes from Ethel's late husband. Rest in peace, Harold. Those are some dynamite threads though. Slam that beer down, champ. Party's over.

The party is not over for the rest of us, however. Have you noticed that summertime beers lack some character and oomph? I mean, it is hot out, so lighter beers are appropriate this time of year. But, we do have air conditioning, so it's not like we can't handle some beer with flavor. Well, if these thoughts echo your own in any way, I am here to help. Since last fall and winter, Taco Mac has been cellaring some cool weather seasonals in our beer coolers. This Friday, July 10th, we will be releasing them en masse. Each store has a different selection; some bigger, some smaller. Each item has been assigned a vintage date (year only) so that they will count as a new credit if you are a Passport Club member and drank these beers when they first came out. Get out next weekend and see what 6 months or more of aging has done to these beers. All of them are darker and stronger than your average beers, so the aging will improve their flavor. One item in particular that I am really looking forward to is the Sierra Nevada Celebration. A friend of mine bought a keg once in the fall/winter when it came out and saved it for a July 4th party. It was beyond awesome. I think most stores have these kegs in their coolers. Trust me, you will not be disappointed by this beer. So, here comes the "Christmas In July" cellared beer extravaganza! Just remember, I love you people so much that I was thinking of doing this for you 9 months ago. Enjoy.

Also on Friday we have a cask of Avery IPA at Metropolis. It has been dry-hopped with this newer hop variety called Apollo. There is not a lot of info on Apollos, but they are apparently massively bitter. The cask gets tapped around 5 pm, so put this on your calendar and don't miss it. Big-ass IPAs from a beer engine are a special kind of experience.

Speaking of beer engines, I just had a North Coast Red Seal from the beer engine in Decatur. Awesome. If Canton is more your next of the woods, they are pouring Red Seal from their beer engine as well. Get one!

On Wednesday, July 15th we will have brewmaster Hugh Sissons from Heavy Seas at Metropolis. He will be bringing a special cask, and I don't want to say too much about it until I know for sure. But, the rumor is that it will be a Red Sky At Night Saison aged in red wine barrels. Come down and meet the brewer and drink some great cask beers. These guys have been in our market quite a while, and it's time to show them some love. Same with Avery and North Coast.

Only 4 spots remain for the Matt & Fred's Big Picnic beer dinner on the 21st. If you have not seen the menu, do yourself a favor and peek at it on our web site (http://www.tacomac.com/).

Lastly, the 24th will be the debut of a Double White (Wit) made at Terrapin in conjunction with SBS Importers (De Proef beers from Belgium). This beer has a charitable aspect to it, and Taco Mac will be the sole draft retailer. So, put that on your calendar as well. It is going to taste great, and should be gone in a hurry. The wit category is red hot right now, and the overhaul it gets when it is brewed as a "double white" is superb. Go Spike!

Thanks for reading kids. Have a great 4th of July weekend.


From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse

From My September Trip-Sierra Brewhouse
This is the top floor of the brewhouse, with buckets of fresh hops about to go into the kettles.