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?

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.