Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lazy Holidaze





Sorry for my absence, but not too much has been going on lately. Two Tuesdays ago Chad from Sierra Nevada & I went to Smith's Olde Bar to see Steve Kimock (pictured). Smith's is a great place t0 see a show, and I got to meet the owner, Bo. Classy guy all they way. If you feel like getting out to see some live music, see who's playing there first. It is a small enough place that you can see the band from anywhere, but big enough to draw some great acts. Never heard of Steve Kimock? That's OK with me. This guy sells out the Fillmore in San Francisco, but plays small clubs in the southeast. Let's keep it that way. One more great thing about Smith's is that it is non-smoking upstairs. You can actually enjoy watching a band without second-hand smoking a pack of cigarettes. I quit smoking in 2005, and now I can't stand it. I know smokers, I'm one of those people. But face it, it's a nasty habit, it stinks everything up, and it doesn't make you look cool. I mean, Fonzie didn't smoke. Elvis? Non-smoker.


Other than that I have had some less-than-exciting projects to work on, and only a few cool things going on. Mostly I have been excited to see how many folks came to The Fred last weekend. I have a good memory with faces and names, so it was great to meet all of the people I didn't know, who know me from reading my blog. Thanks to Samantha and Kimberly, I now know that there are actually females out there who read the Beer Page. Nice people too.

The truth is, November is the beginning, as I am sure it is for most of you, of the year-end wrap up business. December is a whirlwind, so November is the time to start tying up loose ends in preparation for the new year. December has a few cool things happening though. Our company holiday party is the 8th. Let's just say that every year, somebody is "that guy", and the challenge is to make sure that it isn't you. So far so good for me. I like to wait until everybody else starts getting loose before hitting it very hard, and then making a clean exit before getting too blitzed. This is a work function after all, even if beer drinking is part of what I get paid for, I can't be the guy with the lampshade on his head. Or like last year, the guy that actually got asked to leave. From a private function at a rented facility. That's not easy to do. Let's see what he does this year. Stay tuned.

Also, the following Tuesday the 15th is Matt & Fred's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza II. That is our name for our monumental December beer dinner, where we feature 6 winter or holiday themed beers from 6 different breweries and a gourmet meal. The traditional eggnog break takes place between the last course and dessert. Matt makes a specially crafted eggnog, dusts it with nutmeg, and I spike it with Rogue's Hazelnut Spiced Rum. Didn't know Rogue made spirits? They make a few rums, two gins and a rye whiskey. All very good.

In between these two events is a special invite-only event. If you are a Dean or Chancellor level Brewniversity student, you received an E-vite from me personally about 10 days ago. An RSVP is required for this event, so if you did not view this thing, you need to now. If you don't, you are going to be sorry. If you know someone who may have received it, but you are not of that level yet yourself, you need to remind them to check their e-mail. They can bring a guest, and if you tipped them off to check the E-vite, that guest better damn sure be you. Last time I checked, about half of the E-vites were not even opened. Who has over 750 beers on their list and does not open an e-mail from me? Hint: Chances are it is something good people! Hello!

That will be followed up with the release of two of New Belgium's Lips Of Faith series. This is the name for their top-tier specialty beers, and we have the Fall Wild Ale and La Folie. We should be tapping those company-wide on 12/16, and I will be at The Fred with Chip, who is our NB guy in the Atlanta area. I realize that there are many people who think that Fat Tire is the name of the brewery. Same people who think Anchor Steam is the name of the brewery. Taste why it is called New Belgium. They make Belgian-style beers really well. On that note, I have a pet peeve to air out. Please stop calling Belgian beers, "Belgium beers". Ugh! Makes me cringe. It is not called "America cheese", it is American cheese. The country becomes an adjective modifying "beer" or "cheese" in these cases, and therefore its spelling and meaning are changed. Whew. I feel better. Not that any of you wonderful people who read this would make that mistake. Clearly you are highly educated and prefer high-brow literature. However, I notice it being used incorrectly verbally and in print. Help stop the madness.

We also have a cask of Bell's Two Hearted Ale getting ready to be tapped at our Old Milton store. When? Not sure right now, but soon. If you have not tried this beer, then you must be dead, incarcerated or mentally ill. This IPA was created around '97 when I worked at Bell's, and has been taking over the world ever since. It is one of a few single-hop beers that I know of being available right now. What is a single-hop beer? One made with a single variety of hop, and that hop only. The hybrid of the famous Cascade variety called Centennial was relatively new in the 90's, and Two Hearted (named for a river in MI) uses it exclusively. Most beers are made with 3 or more different hop varieties. The beer is great, and the cask should be out of this world.

So that is a preview of December, leading into the Christmas season. I am not sure what January will have in store for us. I am planning a trip to San Diego for February, so I should have lots of pictures from Stone, Alesmith, Green Flash, Lost Abbey etc. when I get back from there. But first I am going to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. No, the game isn't in Las Vegas. But if you have never been to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend, you're missing out. If you don't like football, I guess you can pass, but if you love the NFL, trust me on this one.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Hopefully there were not too many explosive family arguments, burnt food or tryptophan-induced comas. I am off to a wedding tonight of my friends Jason and Stephanie. This a black tie wedding with a six-course wine dinner. Yeah, I am wearing a tuxedo tonight. Crazy. The reception is at the old stone courthouse in downtown Decatur. Should be a pretty swanky affair. I need to brush up on my "sophisticated" persona. That means that as far as jokes go, I have absolutely no material.

Have a great week everyone, and I will keep you posted on any cool events, especially that Two Hearted cask once we set the date. Peace.

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.