Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Want You! (To Tap That Cask!)

First let's recap last week....
  1. Bell's Two-Hearted Ale firkin at Old Milton last Wednesday? Killed it in 1 hour, 3 minutes. Great showing by the Alpharetta/Milton area folks. I am scanning the horizon for another cask for that general area in the next month or so. Probably not go back to that exact store, but we have a lot of properties and a lot of customers in that part of town, so we'll find a place that they can all get to comfortably.
  2. The invite-only event at The Fred on Saturday was a huge hit. We were featuring the Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head collaboration beer called Life & Limb. We only had two small kegs of this beer, which was made with hops grown on the Sierra estate grounds in Chico, CA, and maple syrup from (DFH owner) Sam Calagione's family farm. This dark strong ale (10% ABV) was naturally carbonated using birch syrup from Alaska. It was outstanding. The alcohol was hidden by the rich, malty flavors and steady hop background. You could really pick up on the different aspects that each one of these breweries is famous for. Since we were only going to get 100 or so 11 oz. pours from these kegs, we invited all the Brewniversity members over 750 beers. Once they all had a chance to RSVP, I invited some beer lovers from my personal contact list. We packed The Fred with around 75 people, and it was a perfect fit. Once everyone had a chance to have a Life & Limb, we also had a 2008 Sierra Bigfoot, Sierra Brown Saison, Sierra Celebration (I had 2!), DFH Burton Baton, Midas Touch and Chicory Stout ( a perennial Fred Favorite) on draft. A good time was certainly had by all. With most of these beers weighing in around 9% ABV and higher, it was quite an attitude adjustment for a Saturday afternoon. It was raining and crappy outside, but the people in attendance stayed in great spirits quite easily. Thank you to everyone who came, and yes, we will do it again soon.
  3. And for those keeping score, our company holiday party was last Tuesday, and virtually everyone behaved properly. I cannot accurately express how disappointed I was. I mean, really people. I need some material here. Get drunk and act stupid already! These are restaurant people, and if you know restaurant people, then you know two things about them immediately: They work really hard, and typically party harder. There was an enormous bottle of Jagermeister, and if that is not the international symbol for trouble brewing, I don't know what is. That thing was huge. Speaking of Jagermeister, as many of you who know me may have observed, I am fond of it. OK, "fond" may be a bit of an understatement. I have been know to deride people behind their back for obscuring the peculiar deliciousness of Jager with abominations like Red Bull. That's like putting ketchup on a steak people. Ugh. Nasty. Hey, if you don't like the taste of Jager, why do you drink it? You can drop plenty of other bland or fruit-infused liquors into your energy drink and get the same effect without offending people with actual taste. And I don't think you need a doctor to tell you that mixing a depressant with stimulant is a bad idea. You know, if you want to get drunk quickly with no regard for your health, they have a name for that: it is called a bum. See also "hobo", "wino" and the always delicate "street person". Hang out with some of them for a while and see how you like it. Hey, maybe hepatitis is your thing. But, back to the matter at hand......Jager is awesome, but I stopped drinking it two weeks ago. An actual sales person who represents the green bottle in which the devil resides refused to tell me how many calories are in a shot of Jagermeister. Ever wonder what makes it so thick? Hint: It's not the herbs. If you guessed sugar, you're our big winner. So not only will Jager help you get falling-down drunk, arrested and/or butt naked in an inappropriate place, it will give you diabetes. Mmmmm......diabetes. Any way, I switched to Bulleit Bourbon instead. Just in case some of you thought I was getting soft.

Tonight is the big Matt & Fred's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza beer dinner. Tomorrow I will be back at The Fred for the release of the New Belgium Fall Wild Ale and La Folie drafts. It looks like every store should be pouring both of these tomorrow with three exceptions: the Virginia-Highland store will be pouring one tomorrow and the other one when that runs out (their draft system has 24 taps, vs. around 50 or more everywhere else), and it looks like the distributor that handles Newnan and Peachtree City is going to be a week behind. Sorry folks. I just heard about this yesterday. I will be at The Fred with some glassware if anyone wants to stop by. First come, first served. There are only about 50 glasses to go around, so 1 per customer will be the house rules as always.

Next week we will be featuring the new Terrapin Side Project called "The Dark Side". This is a Belgian-style stout that comes in at around 8.5%. The beer may debut at some stores late this week, but we will have a special cask of it aged on cherry wood at The Fred at 6 pm on Tuesday the 22nd. We will also have the regular Dark Side for a taste comparison, plus Spike the brewer from Terrapin and some of his guys will be on hand, etc. However, there is one requirement to get your hands on the secret stash: a 'stache. You must have a moustache, real or fake (you too ladies!) to partake in the cask. No exceptions. Does a goatee count? I will have to check the rule book on that one. You goatee wearers may need to trim the chin for a special beer. We will need someone to physically tap the cask. Show up early, and it could be you. Show up early with an especially unique or unusual 'stache, and you definitely will be able to say to all of the people enjoying this beer, "Yeah, I tapped that." Rick did a good job on the Two Hearted last week. He might have been a little nervous, but who wasn't a little nervous their first time?

Also, for those of you who are particularly organized, you can add Tuesday, 1/19/10 to your calendar. The owner and brew master of Bell's, Larry Bell, will be at our Metropolis store for a meet & greet with folks like you. We will have some special Bell's beers available, plus some surprises from Larry's personal stash. No facial hair will be required for this event.

That's all for now. Hope everyone has a great week. Talk to you soon. Happy holidays, now stop playing that god-awful Christmas music before someone goes totally mental and shoots a bunch of innocent people. Did I say that out loud?

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.