Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Be A Hillbilly, You Have To Have Hills

So what did you get for Christmas? Did you get a t-shirt purported to have special and amazing powers? I did. Thanks to my cousin Chris, I am now the owner of the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt that, I learned this weekend, is somewhat of a phenomenon. I am not normally a believer in magic, but this shirt will apparently change my tune. I don't make this stuff up people, despite what you may think. Click here and scroll down for some awesome reviews. There are over 1700 testimonials to the shirt's "powers", most of which are pretty hilarious. I have yet to take this bad boy on its maiden voyage, but trust me, I will pick the right time and report my results back immediately. I am going to Jacksonville, FL in February where I think it might make a big splash, but I need to test drive it first. The northern part of Florida is full of dangerous rednecks, so I need to be sure of what this thing can do before I put myself in a bad situation. Rednecks by definition are dangerous (because they are stupid), but the ones in north Florida are a special breed. North Florida is like the Fertile Crescent for cooking crystal meth and impregnating your teen-aged relatives. I know that I am not offending any north-Florida swamp-billies here, because none of them can read. So picture a bunch of these people when confronted with me in a t-shirt packed with mystical powers.... I either need to be Jesus, or I am getting my ass beat. Or more likely, dragged to death behind a pick-up truck and dumped in a lake. When you confuse drunken idiots on meth-amphetamines, the outcome is not going to be to your liking, I can guarantee that.

For now, though, let's focus on more immediate issues: 
  • Deckard's is the place to be on New Year's Day. We will be tapping a firkin of Terrapin Wake & Bake at noon. There will also be Left Hand Wake Up Dead (yes, the one I told you about a few weeks ago!), Bell's Java Stout and Founders Breakfast Stout available. They will have some hang-over helper special brunch items ready as well. That means food. Or a tricked-out Bloody Mary with Old Bay seasoning and all kinds of goodness. We discussed the mimosas last week. Deckard's will also have coffee from Jittery Joe's in Athens, which is the coffee used to make Wake & Bake. I will be there for the cask and some of the 1:00 pm bowl games. I know of a few other local beer people who will be on hand too. You can lay on the sofa at home like a sack of potatoes with the rest of the weaklings all day if you want, but the strong people will be toasting a new year early and often at Deckard's. 
The only other thing I have for you is ABSOLUTELY HUGE! On Thursday, January 13th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm we will be welcoming a new brewery into GA at our Kennesaw location. The owner & brew master from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey will be in town along with his fantastic beers. To clear up any confusion, these are two lines of beers from the same brewery. Belgian-style beers come under the "Lost Abbey" label and their American-style ales are "Port Brewing Co." brands. I was there in October, and if a band of heavily intoxicated rednecks had suddenly shown up and murdered me, I would have still died a happy man. The San Diego trip was filled with highlights (losing my camera was not one of them), and the Port/Lost Abbey visit was probably the highest of the highlights. I do not know all of the beers we will have yet, but I will let you know as soon as I find out. Now if you are the kind of person who gets really excited to meet legendary beer personalities--and you know who you are--I need you to get a hold of yourself for this one. There will be no dry-humping of the brewer, OK. 

That's all I have for you today. If you are near The Fred bar on Friday, I will be there for a while. I should be gone before all of the midnight craziness ensues. I used to go big on New Year's Eve, but now it just looks like a bunch of idiots in paper hats making noise and getting drunk for no reason. Why do people insist on doing what the rest of the world tells them to do and when to do it? Go get drunk on any other night of the year. Don't wear green on St. Patrick's Day. Don't go to a Mexican restaurant and drink margaritas on May 5th. Think for yourself for once for Christ's sake. Be original. Like a lone wolf....Or a lone wolf with two other lone wolves, howling at the moon. Something like that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How Can You Become An Overachieving Drinker?

Are you already an overachieving drinker? Here is a short quiz:
  1. Do you like to drink, no matter what time of day it is?
  2. Are you able to drink, even if the night before you drank enough to kill lesser drinkers?
  3. Do you feel that hangovers are best fought with more alcohol?
  4. Do you often say, "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning!"? Do you have that on a t-shirt or stupid hat of some sort?
  5. Is Jimmy Buffet your hero and personal savior?
  6. Have you ever thrown up on yourself, a friend, loved one or complete stranger? 
  7. Do you wake up and have no idea where you are, how you got there, or why you are naked in the street?
  8. Do you own a funnel for the sole purpose of alcohol consumption, using it for no legitimate household function whatsoever?
  9. Have you ever learned the hard way what a "drinking injury" is?
  10. And finally, do you ring in the New Year on a higher note than you rang out the old one?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you are probably pretty fun to hang out with. Unless you answered "yes" to numbers 4 or 5. Not sure how I feel about those people. And if you answered "yes" to number 6, I doubt many people invite you anywhere in the first place. Number 7...well, maybe in college. And a funnel? OK, if you are currently in college, I can see where a funnel is a requirement. Truthfully, though, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions, pretty much anyone is going to tell you to slow it down. Which is why people don't usually ask these questions, unless you are undergoing rehabilitation treatment. Because if  a family member or loved one is asking you these questions, it is called an "intervention", and you want to get the hell out of there in a hurry. Those people love you so much that they want you to completely change. Makes sense, I guess....

But seriously, if you answered "yes" to question 10, I have a beer event for you. We are planning a New Year's Day event at Deckard's American Tavern that is going to be a lot of fun. It all started with a cask of Terrapin Wake N Bake. What better day to tap it than the day it is most acceptable to start drinking right after you wake up? There will also be other "breakfast-themed" beers for you: Bell's Java Stout, Founders Breakfast Stout, and Left Hand Wake Up Dead. There is also a keg that Terrapin has been sitting on since May of 2009. It has found a home at Deckard's and will be tapped on New Year's Day: Terrapin 30 Strong, the strong ale made with 30 different ingredients for Taco Mac's 30th anniversary last year. This beer was great when it was fresh, so it should be incredible now. Pretty nice line-up if I don't say so myself.

So that is the "wake" part, but what about the "baking"?  Well, Chef Deckard will be feverishly cooking and baking while we are all waking. He is going to have traditional New Year's foods prepared with a twist, along with plenty of other brunch options. Some of these dishes will be prepared with the hungover folks in mind, so don't worry if you are a little ill. Matt will fix you up right. If you can't think about beer that early, they make killer Bloody Marys with Tito's Vodka from Texas, Old Bay seasoning and all of that kind of good stuff. Mimosas? Of course they have mimosas. So you can bring your grandma and her whole Bridge club if you like. (Note: Having never had a mimosa, I am completely unqualified to make a statement implying that  mimosa drinkers are a bunch of grannies. I hear that they are delicious. According to my grandmother anyway.) If you can only stomach coffee, they will be serving coffee from Jittery Joe's, the Athens roaster that Terrapin uses for the Wake N Bake. Probably good with Bailey's.....

Yes, Deckard's has TV's. There are two big SEC games on at 1:00 pm if you are into that kind of thing, and you will be able to watch them. I am not going to tell you the entire bowl schedule for the 2010-2011 football season. You have access to that information from other sources. I don't think you are reading this to hear about football. But if you are looking for a serious beer event on New Year's Day, I just have one question for you: Who loves you? I do. Who else thought of the tired, hungover, wore out beer freaks who have nothing to do on January 1st? Nobody. Do you want to start 2011 with your priorities straight? You do drink beer, right? Who has a cask of locally-brewed, coffee/oatmeal stout and a keg of 18 month-old rare strong ale ready to kick the new year off right? Deckard's. You're welcome.

To make 2011 your beery-est year ever, you can't wait until the new year is even one day old. Not if you plan to overachieve. Or are you an underachiever? Are you embarrassed to call yourself a beer drinker? Do you cry yourself to sleep at night wishing that you weren't such a putz? New Year's Day is about resolutions! Resolve to stop being such a putz! Resolve to drink more beer, and start achieving some reachable goals! Do you want to lose weight? That's hard. Wanna get rich? Doesn't happen overnight. Want to find true love? Keep that (cheesiness) to yourself, please. Lots of goals and "resolutions" are difficult, so why bother? I mean, is anything that's difficult even worth it? Not when you are hungover it isn't. That I know for sure. So just resolve to drink more beer next year. How hard is that? Not hard at all. How rewarding is it? Very. I should start charging for this kind of advice.

That's all I have for now. I am leaving for a while to go home, so you may not hear from me until after the "We're Waking and He's Baking" event, but I will be back for that. See you there. Festivities start at noon.

PS--For anyone sensitive to pictures of babies drinking (or in this case trying to drink) beer, relax. This is merely an allegorical representation of the baby new year showing its appreciation of beer. Or maybe it is an allegorical representation of the frightened child trapped inside you, looking for true love, only to supplant true love with alcohol abuse. You can look at it however you want. But either way, we do not advocate the consumption of alcohol by infants. They are loud enough already. Why get 'em all fired up?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Woke Up Dead. And I Loved It

I wanted to update you on a few quick things:

  1. On Tuesday our Dallas Highway store in Marietta is unveiling their 20 new draft lines. That store had previously had 50, and we made some adjustments to the interior and were able to upgrade that system by a whopping 40%. Stop by and check it out. They are bringing in some old standbys and some wackiness too. I am waiting to hear the final list, but I am pretty sure that there will be a Terrapin Big Daddy Vlady Russian Imperial Stout keg and a Southern Tier Krampus on draft. As I said recently, if your plans on Tuesday involve more holiday shopping, skip it. Get in the spirit by getting into some spirits instead. More on this later.
  2. Our friends at Left Hand in Colorado sent me a package the other day. I opened it, inspected the contents, and put them in the fridge. No big deal, I have a lot of beer at  home that needs drinking. It stacks up. Not bragging or anything; beer is my job. So after listening to Jason from The Fred rave about this new Left Hand barrel-aged imperial stout called Wake Up Dead, I opened it last night. As anyone who reads this regularly knows, I don't exactly use this space to tell people what I like or to advocate for specific brands, but holy baby-Jesus-in-the-manger! This beer is out of this world! Left Hand can really make some dark beer, and this one is an instant classic. Push back you chair, close your computer, grab your keys and go find a bottle if this beer now. Buy a few, trust me on this one. Why are you still reading? Go. 
  3. The cask of Peak Organic IPA at Perimeter last night tasted great. One reader named Amber came out to enjoy it on her birthday. Happy belated birthday Amber! Sorry I couldn't stay and talk longer. I wish I had. The traffic leaving Perimeter Taco Mac to get to the highway took 30 minutes. For those of you not familiar with the area, that is about a mile and a half, maybe two. If you were any of those people who were desperately going to or from the mall to finish up some holiday shopping, I hate you. Honestly...poor planning people. On a list of places to absolutely avoid at all costs right now, malls are behind only Afghanistan. Any mall is ahead of Iran, North Korea and Detroit as places that you should try to stay out of at all costs. What could they possibly have inside that mall that you could not find in another store in another place at another time? Here is something you have never heard in a mall, "Oh look, what a unique store!". Never. My reaction to a mall, any mall, is pretty consistent, "Well this looks like the same shit I see everywhere else. Can we leave now?". And another thing: Every store in that mall sells their crap on the internet. Stay home. Stop polluting the environment with your exhaust and stop ruining peoples' days by clogging up the roads. Why would Jesus want to be born at this time of year? It is just crazy around Christmas....
  4. I am just finishing a ridiculously good lunch at Deckard's American Tavern. I am here planning a beer event for February. I had a pastrami Reuben with a cherry pepper dijonaise. On the side was Matt's incredible macaroni & cheese. Don't tell my cardiologist about this meal, but damn it was good. If I would have had my camera I would have taken a picture of it. Matt also made some of today's appetizer special: House-Made Beef & Sausage Meatballs in marinara with smoked mozzarella. There was some super-crusty garlic bread thing on the side with the meatballs. It rocked my world. Last week I had an order of Deckard's meatloaf, which pretty much redefined what meatloaf should be from now into eternity. I don't know what the spicy glaze was, but I was a big fan of it. The people sitting next to me ordered one almost immediately after seeing mine. Mashed potatoes, green beans, all of that. (For attentive readers, you may recall my adoration of the meatloaf at Sierra Nevada's pub at the brewery in Chico. I can't compare the two at this point, having not had the Sierra Nevada meatloaf since 2008. You can't lose with either one, really, but you should seriously stop by Deckard's for a beer and a bite. That is all I am saying.) In case you are curious, the beer event under discussion involves Valentine's Day weekend. Cancel whatever plans you may already have for a restaurant you probably don't really want to go to anyway. A romantic, beer-centric opportunity is about to manifest itself. Your welcome. Remember, I provide you with alcohol related social events. The rest is up to you slugger. I can't get the fish the into your boat. All I can do is bait the hook.
  5. After getting this Valentine's thing planned, Matt & I just hatched another idea. Deckard's has a firkin of Terrapin Wake & Bake. All we need now is an opportunity to start drinking early to make sense of the "Wake" part....hmm....And Matt can certainly "Bake" something....New Year's Day! That's right, you can watch the Florida/Penn State or Alabama/Michigan State games at Deckard's with a pint of locally-brewed hand-drawn coffee-oatmeal imperial stout in front of you. Matt is going to have a special brunch menu, complete with some traditional New Year's Day dishes, plus brunch favorites. You can nurse that hangover the old-fashioned way--a little hair o' the dog that bit ya. They have a full bar too if Bloody Marys are your thing too. 
Thank you for all of your attention today. That is two posts in two days, so don't yell at me if I disappear for a while. I am going back up north next week for the holidays. Not going to pack my computer for that, so it could be January before you hear from me again. Either way, have a happy and safe holiday season.

Note: Why is it correct to spell "fridge" with a "d" when "refrigerator" is spelled without a "d"? I demand to find out who is responsible for this. Just add a "d" to refrigerator and nobody will notice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Think Technically It Is Called A "Bro"

Wow. It has been two weeks since I have been in touch with my readers. Very sorry for that, but I think that we are all running around like crazy these days. I was in Charlotte for a few days earlier this month. I went to a Chimay beer dinner at George's Brasserie up there. Please do not confuse that with George's brassiere. Big difference. There is enough confusion going on where a guy named George and his brassiere are concerned. A "brasserie" is French term for a restaurant of some sort. A "brassiere" is something that George really has no business with, unless George likes to wear a dress, which is totally fine if that is what makes George happy.

A few Fridays ago we did the Lenny's RIPA event in Canton, which was a big success. The beers were all great, but especially the firkin of Lenny's. The store did a superb job with it, and the beer came out crystal clear and tasting incredible. Then last week we had our annual holiday beer dinner extravaganza. If you missed it (again) this year, well, you goofed pal. It was a big hit as always. All of the holiday beers were delicious, and each person had their favorite. I can't say enough about the St. Bernardus Christmas, which has been a staple at this dinner each year. Of course the eggnog spiked with Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum is a fan favorite that looks like it will be a December tradition for years to come. If you are looking for a holiday cocktail, this is where it's at, trust me. We also hosted the Beer Connoisseur One-Year Anniversary party at Deckard's last week. That was a blow-out. Lots of great beers all over the place. See, I have not been being lazy and ignoring my readers. I really have been all over the place for the last two weeks.

So here is a quick run-down of upcoming events. Maybe I should say "event". There is a cask of Peak Organic IPA being tapped tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 15th) at the Perimeter Mall Taco Mac. Need to do some last-minute shopping? Screw it. Come over and drink beer instead. Everybody has enough "stuff". Your nephew just wants money or I-Tunes cards or Bieber tickets, not another shirt from The Gap. In fact, if you even attempt to enter a mall this weekend, you have some bizarre masochistic tendencies you probably keep a secret. In fact, if you do, then I think know a "woman" named George that you might like to meet. Looks like Mrs. Claus decides who is naughty or nice this year....

Coming up we have a beer dinner in Charlotte on January 12th with Anderson Valley Brewing Co. The owner and president, Trey White, will be in town for the event. The menu has been posted to already, so check it out. If you or someone you know are in the Charlotte area, you should really see about making this dinner.

We are also planning a Valentines beer dinner at Deckard's with five different Ommegang specialties. I will have a menu and a date for you in the next few weeks. I mean a date that the dinner will be held, not a date for you to take to the dinner. I am sorry, that is not exactly within my skill set. You are on your own when it comes to finding romantic partners. I give you social events that involve alcohol. The rest is up to you champ. But seriously, if you and your significant other appreciate good beer and are looking for a Valentine's spot, I have you covered. More details to follow. But you can skip the bistros, brasseries, cafes, lounges, ristorantes or whatever, and have a nice sit-down meal in an unpretentious setting with some great food and elegant beer pairings. Then you can go home and get freaky. I know that's what you were thinking, so I just went ahead and said it for you.

We are also going to do some sort of event surrounding the arrival of some firkins from Fuller's that should be here in February. You may recall that I was at this brewery this past February (see slide show #1 from my trip to England). The beer will be a great change of pace from the American firkins we get so much more frequently. The brewery is very cautious to send these over here only in cool weather months to ensure that they travel safely and arrive as tasty as they can be. Once I get an ETA on that boat I will get some dates set down. We should be getting about six of these things.

The only other event that I know of right now is the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting on January 29th. It is being held jointly by Taco Mac Prado and Lucky Devil Brewing Co. (formerly 5 Seasons) at The Prado. Unfortunately this event is sold out as usual, but who knows? Every year something happens to somebody and they have to give up their tickets at the last minute. So you can pray for someone else's misfortune in order to get into a beer event. If that's your kind of thing.

But don't despair. There will be more January events for sure. We are just waiting for the holidays to get over with and people to get back to a regular work schedule. I personally will be back in Michigan for a few days to visit family. So if you are complaining about the cold in Atlanta right now, cram it. I get to go into sub-Arctic temperatures for "vacation". Have a great week and all of that. Maybe I will see you guys out for a cask of Peak Organic IPA tomorrow. Bye.

Holiday Pet Peeve # 17 (and I have a lot of them!): Anyone who ever uses the spelling or vocal inflection of "holi-daze". Stop it. Just stop now. You are not clever. You did not invent that. Stop acting like something you read on a redneck's hat 20 years ago is still considered witty. Even the person who first came up with it is sick of it. The next time you think about opening your mouth, just don't. If you like to get wasted over the holidays, keep it a secret. Just like grandma does.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eight Crazy Nights

OK, the holiday is over and everyone survived I assume. Family time can be a word that comes to mind as "desciptive enough". Unfortunatley I was not able to be with my family, but I had a great time anyway. Some buddies of mine own a restaurant here in town. They closed it for the day and had friends and family over to the restaurant. It was a blast. We had a brined turkey, a fried turkey, a ham and a pot roast. If you are one of those people who is sick of hearing people rave about how good a fried turkey is, because you still have yet to eat one, let me ask you something: What in the hell are you waiting for? I was one of you at one time, but now I am that other guy. Fried turkeys are out of this world. They make every other turkey ashamed of themselves for even thinking of getting killed, gutted, plucked, roasted, carved and eaten. Non-fried turkeys are the dial-up internet connections of the poultry world. Get with the program people. Remember: If something makes a food less healthy, by definition it also makes it taste better. It's just that simple. Hamburger? Good. Bacon cheeseburger? Way better. Pickles? Who doesn't like pickles? But deep-fried pickle are outstanding. I think I have made my point here.

So in addition to Thanksgiving, we had that Discovery Channel viewing party on Sunday the 21st. Huge success. Yes, on a Sunday at 10:00 pm. You offer people rare and crazy Dogfish Head beer and they show up. Hey lonely people without any friends! I just gave you that advice for free. You're welcome. Get a bunch of crazy beers together and put the word out. All of a sudden you're popular. It's like magic, but not fake. So the show has already been moved to Monday nights at 10:00 after just two episodes. Remember what I said about sharks not being prime-time material back in the day? Well it looks like beer is poised to kick some shark ass. Unless those sharks have laser beams attached to their heads. Then beer would be in trouble, because who can deal with sharks with frickin' lasers? I mean, really? Plus, I discovered that the show where they drive trucks over a road of solid ice is on The History Channel, not Discovery. What is historical about trucks on ice? Stupid. I also pretty sure that Bear Grylls show is on History too. What a lame show. How am I expected, as a viewer, to believe that this guy is in actual danger when there is a f---ing camera crew following him? How stupid do they think we are? "OK, this is a real dangerous situation here. Except over there is Bill with the camera....And the director is on his cell phone. Sally is holding the microphone, drinking a latte from Starbucks. Oh, here comes the caterer. Thank god, because I am starving. Cut! Hey Bear! (If that is your real name there....ahem...Todd...cough!). Put down that slimy piece of animal shit and come have a falafel!" Really dangerous situation there. I am sure that falafel is going to be hot. Careful pal.

We are currently deep into our He'Brew Jewbilation event at Mall of GA. They have tapped 6 rare kegs over 6 consecutive days, and killed them in 1-3 days each so far. They only have 2 more to go, with # 7, the Jewbilation 14 getting tapped tonight. The whole thing starts up again at Crabapple, Kennesaw and Newnan on Wednesday of this week to coincide with Hanukkah. So go tell Veronica, have a happy, happy.....what, no Adam Sandler fans out there? The Hanukkah song? Tough crowd. So get your people together and check out these stores from December 1st through the 8th. There will some great beers that you will probably never see again. I have done my part. Now it's up to you to finish the job.

On Friday we are doing the Lenny's Mania (previously called Lenny's 3 Ways, but apparently some of you have dirty minds and were not entirely sure of what you were being invited to) at Canton. I will be up there if anybody wants to have a beer with me. You just might learn a little about beer packaging and serving methods and their impact on flavor. Tim (our guy in Canton) has some other specialty He'Brew beers to bust out, so like I have said in the past, please plan ahead. You forget about safe transportation, you just might wake up looking at the wrong kind of bars.

That's all for now. I am off to Charlotte today for some work stuff. I am also going to a Chimay beer dinner tonight, so that isn't going to suck. Pretty psyched about that as you can imagine. "Why, yes. You can just stand there and keep refilling this glass with Chimay all night. I thought you'd never ask." Take it easy folks. I will be back in touch soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Got Beer....Bitches

The keg of Dogfish Head Bitches Brew is en route to The Fred now. It will be getting tapped for the broadcast of Discovery Channel's new series, "Brew Masters". The show airs at 10:00 pm Sunday. The beer will be available at 8:00 pm. No earlier, no later.

I have hats and really cool key-chain bottle openers to give away. So try to stay a little bit sober this Sunday and come out to watch a great show and drink this rare and historic beer. See you there.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trade In Your Birthday Suit For A Santa Suit (And Do Everyone A Favor)

The Discovery Channel, which used to be about nature and history and documentaries, has a new program debuting on Sunday. It is called Brew Masters and features Dogfish Head deity Sam Calagione. It follows him on his adventures in beer land, which are far more interesting than mine. Sam gets to brew crazy beers using unusual ingredients, and sometimes he does it in very unique surroundings. Long story short, this is not some boring old documentary following a guy around a brewery. Sam is no ordinary guy either. This is a new series of shows featuring this guy and his world. Beer world. On a major cable TV network. Sure, Discovery used to be a great place to watch wild animal shows and Hitler documentaries, but that was then. Now it is full of shows about trucks driving on ice, science dorks blowing stuff up, sharks, and some guy named Bear Grylls. Not be mistaken with Bare Girls, which, I would assume, is on Cinemax late at night. I do not have Showtime, Cinemax or HBO (death to Comcast!). My internet and digital cable are enough. If I need more channels, I am watching too much god-damned TV. End of story. Did I mention "Death to Comcast!"?
But I will be watching Brew Masters on Sunday night. Want to watch it with me? 'Cause there's a big slumber party at my house! Wrong. We are having a viewing party at The Fred. Here is the deal:
  • The first episode centers on the brewing of a wacky stout of some sort. It was brewed to commemorate the 40-year anniversary of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. Don't know who Miles Davis is? Then you no longer have to wonder if you are cool or not. (Hint: You're not, sorry.) The beer is inspired by the album and its groundbreaking fusion of jazz, rock & funk. The beer is a blend of mostly Imperial Stout blended with a honey beer flavored with gesho root. No, I do not have any idea what a gesho root is either, but thanks for asking. 
  • We will kick off the evening around 7:30 or 8:00-ish with some Bitches Brew music to get everyone in the mood, followed by some educational beer programming on the TVs. Libations will be DFH Chateau Jaihu & Chicory Stout drafts, some Palo Santo Marron and Red & White bottles. We may, and I stress MAY, have a small keg of the Bitches Brew. It is leaving Delaware on a truck today that is supposed to arrive on Friday. If that happens, we will have the keg. If this truck (they make multiple stops, not straight from DE to ATL) shows up late Friday or on Saturday, no DFH Bitches draft. I understand that this is a deal breaker for many of you. I will try to notify you all here as soon as I find out the good news. No post between now and then, no Bitches Brew. but it isn't like The Fred isn't loaded down with special beer any way, so we won't cry if it doesn't show.
  • At 10:00 we will watch the Brew Masters show on Discovery. Yes, 10:00 pm on a Sunday. Where did you expect a beer show on Discovery to debut? Friday at 8:00? That is prime time to watch trucks drive on ice! Or sharks. Do you want to watch a beer show in prime time some day? Then you should be sure to support this one, because this is your chance. Watch it. DVR is cheating. E-mail the station and tell then how much you like it. If they can milk extra ad dollars out of this thing by moving it to a better time slot, they will. What if Shark Week got replaced by Beer Week? Can you imagine that? This, readers, is where it starts. Sharks were not always prime time, and I am still baffled by the popularity of trucks on icy roads. I drove a Ford Escort on icy roads in Michigan for years and no one made a TV show about me. Now the pawn shop show, that I can watch. Quality programming there.
  • Free stuff! A package from Milton, DE arrived at the office today. I am not there, so I have no idea what is in it. But whatever is in it will be for any attendees Sunday night. I will open it up around 9:00, but don't get too excited. I expect it to be bottle openers and stuff like that. Hats and t-shirts? Maybe. Depends how big the box is. It will not be full of free beer and locks of Sam Calagione's hair, so keep it in your pants beer geeks.
I have three more things for you before I go:
  1. The first of the eight days of He'Brew craziness starts Wednesday at Mall of GA Taco Mac. Eight different beers tapped on eight different days. Read the last couple of posts for more details. Remember that these are small kegs and will not last more that a day or two. You can taste new batches of the last six recipes for He'Brew Jewbilation, their anniversary strong ale. These are made with the number of hops and malts that correspond to the year's anniversary, and are all different. Start on Wednesday with Jewbilation 8 (eight malts, eight hops, 8% ABV). On the seventh day you will get the new version, Jewbilation 14 (yes, 14 malts, hops & ABV). The eighth day will be Vertical Jewbilation, a blend of 8 through 14, barrel aged in sazerac barrels. Three more stores launch the same series December 1st: Crabapple, Newnan & Kennesaw.
  2. Fred & Peter's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza beer dinner is selling fast. At last count there were 14 seats left out of 50. The event is Tuesday, December 7th at The Fred. I gave you a link to the menu last week. It looks pretty awesome if you ask me.
  3. The Beer Connoisseur Magazine One-Year Anniversary Party is Wednesday, December 8th at Deckard's. Tickets are $40 each, and HERE IS A LINK to the info. There are certainly some bells & whistles for the price tag. We are simply the venue for this event, so you need to open this up to find out more and who to pay. They are looking for someone to don the Santa suit for their birthday event, so if you are jolly and feel like drinking beer through a fake beard, call the number for the BC mag people. They would love to have as many Santa's as possible I imagine. And if you want to wear your birthday suit to a Santa event, I think the people at Cinemax may want to do a show about you. 
That is all I have for this week kids. Hopefully I can get my new camera out of the box soon and take some more pictures for your entertainment. I don't have any beer trips planned until February though, so not much is happening for a while. We did something fun Monday night, but if you weren't there, you don't want to hear about it now. Have a good week and keep that going into the weekend. Peek here Friday or Saturday to see if we received the Bitches. Later bitches.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Event Reminders & Updates!

Here is a boatload of special events to clue you all in on, plus an update on the Lenny's 3 Ways that has been getting moved around. Got it pinned down finally. Here it comes:

There is a bountiful harvest of events on Friday, November 12th (tomorrow!). If you need detailed info on any of these events, try checking an older post. I can't keep repeating myself all of the time. Plus, based on your choice of on-line reading, you are clearly above average intelligence. Be sure when reading old posts to check more recent ones for accurate dates. I promise to get better at getting these dates solid earlier and keeping them that way. Fall is crazy, so give me a break.

The Kennesaw store's three-year anniversary is Friday. They will have a ton of good beers (see last post), including a cask of Terrapin Moo-Hoo. If you missed the Moo-Hoo cask at The Fred last week, don't make that same mistake again. This beer is selling, according to Spike (Terrapin brew master), faster than a cow with its tail on fire. It's that good. I will be there, for whatever that's worth. 

Also on Friday there is a crazy wooden keg of Schneider Edel-Weiss at Deckard's. It gets tapped with some contraption that I have never seen before. People, I have been in and around the beer business for 20 years, and I have never seen anything like this before. Want a unique beer experience? This is it. Here is their description and invite:

"Many years ago, the beer brewed for Octoberfest was not necessarily the standard marzen style lager beer associated with the event today. At this time, there were many styles of beer brewed there. The festival was in October rather than September, and it was often quite cold out, making necessary richer and stronger beers. Thus, Schneider's Wiesen Edel-Weisse was made to be warming. It was quite full bodied, as the malt contained a fair amount of unfermentable sugar. In order to balance such a beer, it had to be brewed with more hops for balance, resulting in more noticeable hop character than is usually found in hefe weizens. In celebration of fall we will be tapping a wooden cask of this delicious October wheat beer. Make plans to join us for this amazing beer on cask! Tapping will be at 6:00pm sharp this Friday."

The Fred is tapping a cask of Lagunitas Barrel-Aged Cappuccino Stout for Friday. See, this is what happens when events stack up on top of each other. I can't be at more than one place at a time, and I would have spread these out if I could have. Not for your benefit, but mine. Sorry. That's not true. I know plenty of you are going to have a hard time deciding where to go on Friday. I love you all very much, you crazy beer drinkers you!

What about the chance to meet Shmaltz founder Jeremy Cowan at Metropolis on Friday? He will have some of the advance copies of his book, "Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah" and will sign them if you can manage to get one. There will be kegs of Jewbilation 13 from last year (and these age really well!) and the debut of Jewbilation 14 (14 malts, 14 hops, 14% ABV). Jeremy is a very interesting guy, and our local Shmaltz guy, Darren, is great too. All of these events are awesome! Aarrgghh!

Our original store at Virginia-Highland has just recently brought in a bunch of rare large bottles that you may have not seen before. There are some Allagash, Avery and Lagunitas specialties if you are interested. They're not cheap, but hey, you're worth it. Call them if you want specific details. Ask for Alex or Andrew.

So that's just one day. Wow. You have your assignments. Godspeed, beer drinkers.

The Lenny's 3 Ways in Canton has been OFFICIALLY scheduled for Friday, December 3rd. We will have He'Brew Lenny's RIPA on draft, and in a firkin with a gravity tap, and in a cask-conditioned keg through a beer engine. Ever wonder how the same beer tastes with different serving methods? Show up on the 3rd and wonder no more. We will be un-fogging the foggiest minds, then re-fogging them with great beers. There will also be '08 & '09 He'Brew Rejewvenator on draft, plus big bottles of that Jewbilation 14 I mentioned earlier. This is going to be a great event for lovers of strong/hoppy beers. Like lighter beer? Stay home.

If you or someone you know lives in the Charlotte area, we are hosting a holiday beer tasting on Wednesday, December 1st at our South Park store. If anyone is interested in going, they should call the store and ask for Mrs. Garrison. Or Towelie. But not Kenny, he is either dead or about to die. But seriously, Charlotte Magazine is putting on this event, and people can pay through: 

There will be eight holiday/winter beers to sample, and brewers will be on hand to talk about their beers and beer in general. Light apps will be provided, and the cost is $30.00. It will be a great chance for people in that area to meet like-minded folks and talk beer with the professionals.

Lastly, the Third Annual All-Star Holiday Extravaganza beer dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, December 7th at The Fred. The menu and payment link should be up at today. If you have always wanted to attend one of these events but have not, this is the one you want. We will feature six different holiday/winter beers with our new chef's expert food pairings. Reception starts at 6:30 with a home-made eggnog spiked with Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum. Beer and food follow at 7:00. 

That is all I have for now. Enjoy your weekend. It isn't like I didn't give you enough to do. Look for me at the Falcons game tonight. I will be the guy that looks like me drinking beer. See you around.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Have You Seen My Pictures? No? Me Either.

First I need to update everyone on some upcoming events. By upcoming, I mean that they could be either over or ongoing by the time you read this. So get ready, because here we go:
  1. Tonight there is a cask of Abita Vanilla Turbo Dog at Metropolis. Scott from Abita will be there with some freebies. Go meet Scott. He's a good man to know.
  2. Tonight is The Fred's one-year anniversary. There will be a cask of Rogue Brutal Bitter upstairs and a cask of Terrapin Moo-Hoo downstairs. There will also be a bunch of special beers on tap & in the bottle downstairs. Need more details? Show up.
  3. Next Friday the 12th is the Kennesaw store's three-year anniversary. Here's the line up: Terrapin Moo-Hoo cask, kegs of Founders Breakfast Stout, the Left-Hand/Terrapin collaboration Oxymoron, Brooklyn Detonation, Terrapin Hopzilla, DFH Chateau Jaihu, Red Brick Vanilla Gorilla, Bell's Sparkling Ale & Smuttynose Really Old Brown Dog. That is not a really old keg of Smutty OBD by the way. That is a special high gravity brown ale from Smuttynose; more like an old ale than a brown ale. Very rare. That is pretty stellar line-up.
  4. Also on the 12th you can meet Jeremy Cowan, owner and founder of Shmaltz Brewing. If you are not a big beer label reader, you may not recognize the name of Shmaltz. They are the brewers behind the He'Brew & Coney Island brands. Jeremy has written a book about the formation of his company, which literally started with cases of beer being hand delivered by Jeremy. His story is also unique in the aspect that when you think of beer magnates, not a lot of Jewish names pop up right away. If you are able to get a copy of his book, he will be available to sign them. They will have a few copies of the first run on hand for purchase. There are only 150 in existence right now, but the first big printing is happening very soon. And.....there will be special beer, of course. More about this guy's beer in a minute.
  5. On Sunday the 21st we are going to have a viewing party of a new Discovery Channel show called "Brew Master". Basically the show is going to feature Sam Calagione, the mastermind behind Dogfish Head, and the crazy things that he does around the globe. Sam is known for using odd ingredients, ancient recipes, brewing with other renown brewers and brewing in exotic places. So imagine all of that in front of a camera. He is also a really intelligent and engaging person with an infectious wealth of knowledge about everything beer. It should be a cool show. The viewing party details are getting fleshed out right now, but here is the basic framework: The first episode involves the brewing of Bitches Brew, which was made to commemorate the 40th anniversary and release of the landmark Miles Davis album of the same name. So the evening will involve some Miles Davis, maybe a viewing of the documentary "Beer Wars", and then the Brew Master show on Discovery. Oh, and some free stuff. Plus some wacky DFH beers. Will we have a keg of Bitches Brew? Maybe....But if we don't, attendees will get an invite to a private event when the beer shows up. Stay tuned for more details as they come into focus. This will take place at The Fred and should run from 7:30 to 11:00 pm.
I mentioned a while ago about a multi-day beer event that you would really want to be a part of, and here it comes. I also mentioned that there would be more discussion about Jeremy Cowan's beers, and guess what? They are tied into each other. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Here is the breakdown:
  1. Every year there is a new He'Brew Jewbliation to commemorate their anniversary. This year we have Jewbilation 14 to mark their 14th anniversary. It is made with 14 malts, 14 hops and is 14% alcohol. Last year's Jewbilation 13 was made with 13 malts, 13 get the picture. The beers are outstanding.
  2. This year they re-brewed the recipes of all of the Jewbilation beers going back to Jewbilation 8 (8 malts, 8....). We are going to serve each one on a consecutive day leading up to Vertical Jewbilation on the 8th day. What, you may be wondering, is Vertical Jewbilation? Read on.....
  3. They took some of each Jewbilation 8 through 14 and blended them together. Sounds good, right? Then they aged that beer in a sazerac barrel. Now it is a 10.5% barrel-aged blend of seven different recipes that is ready to rock your world.
  4. We are starting this event at Mall of GA on Wednesday, November 24th. Why? Because that coincides with the holiday shopping season. After that mess, everyone needs a strong drink to squelch the desire to kill mass amounts of people brought on by all of that god-damned Christmas music everywhere. Why do we all have to listen to that same music every year for six weeks? It is not that good! What other collection of 28, maybe 32 songs would anyone even attempt to bear at any other time? Let's take Led Zepplin's first four albums. Classics. We can all agree on that, right? Now put them on Shuffle, and listen to nothing else, and tell me how you feel about "Misty Mountain Hop" in six weeks. I hate Christmas music. Hate it. Play it for a week and I could deal with it small doses. SMALL doses. " can we make a mall experience suck even worse? I got it! Play this shit all day and night for basically ever!" And can't someone make a Christmas soundtrack for the South? Why are we hearing "Let It Snow"?  Have you been here when it snows? It shuts down the whole city! We don't want that. "Walking In A Winter Wonderland"? Where? It's gray and rainy here in the winter. That's not a wonderland, pal. Make a Christmas song aboud cold rain and not having a warm enough jacket because it's only like that once in a while. Call it, "Jesus Christ! This Sucks!". More of a rock song really.....
  5. The other three stores participating in this eight-day beer bonanza are Crabapple, Newnan and Kennesaw. They will be starting on Wednesday, December 1st. Why? Because that coincides with Hanukkah, which may or may not have terrible music. I am not aware that it does, but I am not aware that it does not either. So...the jury is still out on that one. 
  6. Please remember that these beers are not going to be on tapped all at once. Each keg is only good for about fifty 11oz. pours. So the Jewbilation 8 getting taped on Day One may be gone by the time they tap Jewbilation 11 on Day Four. In addition to that, the stores are spread out geographically to draw customers from the entire region, not just the immediate vicinity. Not to mention, you would not want to sit down and drink all of these beers at once. You would be babbling incoherently and most likely piss your pants. Please enjoy Jewbilation 8 through Vertical responsibly.
  7. Intrepid credit seekers may be wondering about these beers being "new credits" since they are old recipes. The answer is "yes". Jewbilation 10 will be named Jewbilation 10 '10, for example, to indicate that this is the recipe for Jewbilation 10 brewed in 2010, not 2006 when it was originally produced. All of the Jewbilations numbered 8 through 13 will have that special "10" and be completely new credits. Any questions? Yes, you, in the back......I see. The question was, "How did you come up with such an awesome idea?" Well, ma'am, it wasn't my idea. The guys from the brewery cooked it up. Yes, they are geniuses, I agree.
I know I promised you great pictures and stories from my trip to San Diego, so here it is in a nutshell:
  • San Diego and its breweries were 100% awesome. Plan a trip as soon as possible. Use one of the multiple van services that do brewery tours. We saw two companies where that is all that they do. They take people around to some of the 30 breweries in San Diego County.
  • I lost my camera. It was (maybe still is?) full of pictures of Stone, Lost Abbey, Green Flash, Pizza Port in Solana Beach, Alesmith and Ballast Point. The last place I had it was at the counter at Ballast Point, gathering up beer and t-shirts and Bloody Mary mix. Must have left it on the counter or something. I am beyond angry with myself, because I don't lose things. I have had the same sunglasses since 2007, and they were half the price of that camera. In fact, if you see me put my sunglasses down, please steal them. I want a new pair, but can't exactly justify that while I have a perfectly good pair that I am just bored with. Not to mention, now I need a new camera, so actually, don't steal my sunglasses. I need them for a little while longer now.
  • Beautiful city, amazing beer, lots of personal tours and tasting and free beer, free beer, and more free beer. Then we paid for a lot of beer, went to the Chargers/Titans game (great seats--too bad I can't show you a picture!) and came home on Monday.
So in lieu of a slide show of San Diego breweries (and a distillery with a secret speakeasy room!) and Qualcomm Stadium on a beautifully sunny 80 degree day, there's a picture of our marketing VP, Bruce with Jim Koch. He owns Samuel Adams, you may remeber him from such places as....TV. He is the guy in the ads talking about beer and beer stuff. He was at Metropolis on Wednesday. We had lunch and a beer. So the next time I see hum on TV I can be like, "I had a beer with that guy!". He was very cool and extremely knowledgeable about what he does. I can certainly say that I am very glad to be able to say that I have met the founder of Samuel Adams. A true pioneer and an iconic figure in the brewing world, right there at Taco Mac in midtown.

Have a great weekend everyone. Don't be at mad at me about the loss of the pictures. I am mad enough at myself for all of us. Luckily there are no major trips or events planned between now and when I will be able to buy another one. See ya.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick Or Treat? That's An Easy Question.

Here are some beer events to keep you occupied while I am away. It's Halloween weekend, and the kids get to go nuts gobbling down more candy in a couple days than they are usually allowed to eat in a year. So why should the kids have all of the fun? I mean, what do they really contribute to society anyway? You're the one that brings home the paychecks and picks up all of their stuff. You drive them around everywhere and help them with their homework; hell, you paid for the damn costumes AND the candy for the rest of neighborhood kids.

So go ahead and treat yourself. There's nothing tricky about good beer: Open mouth, tip glass, swallow beer. No tricks, just treats. Here you go:

  1. Tomorrow (Friday the 29th) Prado has a firkin of Rogue Brutal Bitter. Such a great beer. They also have this year's Ommegang Adoration to tap. This was in pretty short supply last year, so if you missed it in '09, get it together please. People are counting on you.
  2. Tomorrow (I am not telling you tomorrow's date again) is the Newnan store's five-year anniversary. They have all kinds of crazy beers to tap: Founders Harvest Ale, Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter, Left Hand/Terrapin Oxymoron, French Broad Zeptember and Rogue Shakespeare (cask) to name a few (OK, most). There are also some SweetWater Festive '09 liter bottles for sale. Coooool.
  3. There is a firkin of Lagunitas Wet Hop Pale at Deckard's for the 29th as well. It was hopped with Amarillo & Simcoe. For those of you not paying attention, the 29th is tomorrow. 
  4. Thursday the 4th of November is The Prado's one-year anniversary. They will be pouring some '09 Allagash Curieux, '09 Avery Hog Heaven and '09 Corsendonk Christmas. Can you dig it? I thought so.
  5. Friday the 5th is The Fred's one-year anniversary. What can I say? Jason is going to bust out some gems that will be bordering on ridiculous. I am not going to go into detail about everything. If you are not aware of the caliber of beer selection there by now, well then welcome to planet Earth. Where have you been? Not to mention, all of these beers are in limited quantity, so if you like to drink amazing beer with like-minded people, you'll want to be there. I will be there for a few hours for sure. ETA is up in the air at this point.
  6. Also on Friday the 5th there is a cask-conditioned keg of Abita Vanilla Turbo Dog at Metropolis. Dark beer with vanilla? Sounds pretty Halloween-y to me. People have been raving about this beer since it arrived last week. Scott from Abita will be there with some give-away stuff. You should meet Scott, he's a great guy.
That is all for now. Have a great weekend everyone. Thanks also to all of those who turned out for the beer & cheese pairing Tuesday and the beer dinner last night. Two great events this week already. Bye.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Event Retractions & Changes!

The cask of Heavy Seas Winter Storm at Crabapple is tonight! I said it was next Friday, but I was wrong! (First time ever. And if you believe that, I have some swamp land....) I had next Friday confused with this Friday because I am unavailable both nights. Tonight I am going to see Daniel Tosh at The Tabernacle. If you don't know who that is, then you aren't watching Tosh.0 on Comedy Central. Funniest show on TV right now. Although I am not able to see season two of East Bound & Down because I don't have HBO. That might be the only thing on TV that could be funnier than Tosh.0.

The Lenny's 3 Ways at Canton may be getting moved. Why? Too many events stacked on top of each other. I will let you know when we get it figured out.

Sorry for the confusion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"My Hands Felt Just Like Two Balloons"

Short & sweet today everyone. I just have a few event updates for you, then I gotta get back to work. Write these down:
  1. Beer & cheese pairing at Deckard's on Tuesday the 26th has only 5 seats remaining. You can see the last post for details and a link to pay. At $25.00, this thing is a steal. Don't be cheesy--sign up!
  2. Fred & Peter's Scary Beer Dinner is next Wednesday the 27th in Duluth. Only 4 seats remaining. I had to make a last minute substitution to my roster. Founders Harvest got benched for Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken's. My bench player is fresh off a gold medal performance at this year's GABF, so sorry Founders, you need to sit this one out. Sometimes your best player may be on the bench. Tom Brady was riding the pine behind Drew Bledsoe. One is a future Hall of Fame-er, and the other is barely a, "Oh yeah, whatever happened to that guy?". Tom Brady happened to him, that's what. Jack & Ken's is a super hoppy black barley wine. What? Yes. On draft.
  3. Taco Mac at Crabapple has a cask of Heavy Seas Winter Storm set for Friday, 10/29. I will be in San Diego that day, but Kevin Fox from Heavy Seas will be there. He's a great guy, and the Winter Storm firkin is going to taste great. Can Crabapple come close to the 30 minute record it took Cumming to drain a LH Twin Sisters cask? Show up and find out. 
  4. That same day (10/29) our Newnan store has their 5th Anniversary. They are sitting on a cask of Rogue Shakespeare and a keg of the Founders Harvest (not to be confused with Drew Bledsoe, which is not a beer). They also have some 1 liter bottles of 2009 SweetWater Festive. Nice.
  5. The weekend of Friday, November 12th is looking pretty awesome right now if you live in the NW part of metro Atlanta. Kennesaw has their 2nd Anniversary, and there will be a firkin of Terrapin Moo-Hoo. Not familiar with Moo-Hoo? Well it isn't out yet, but it is a chocolate Milk Stout. I am not a gambler, but if I were, I'd bet the house that this thing is going to be incredible. We will also be doing an event on Saturday the 13th in Canton. It is called Lenny's Three Ways. We will have He'Brew Lenny's RIPA on draft, in a firkin, and on the beer engine from a cask-conditioned keg. They also have '09 and '10 He'Brew Rejewvenator kegs. Can you spell "des-ig-nat-ed dri-ver"? I can. We may offer some of these in an 8 oz. pour so that you can get the feel for everything without losing the feeling in your brain.
  6. Most likely we will be doing a book signing/meet & greet with Shmaltz Brewing Co. (He'Brew and Coney Island brands) founder and president Jeremy Cowan. He has an interesting story to tell (I mean, he got a book published about it, so...) and is a really engaging guy. And there will be special beers, of course. The plan right now is to do this on the 12th (Friday), with the location TBD. Depending on flight arrangements, we may need to move this to Thursday the 11th. Stay tuned.
In other news, there are a fair amount of things up in the air. That's not news, really. Things are always up in the air. Birds, for one. Well, I guess they are not always up in the air when you think about it. It is safe to say that at any time of day, any day of the year, somewhere in the world a bird is up in the air. But all birds? Doubtful. Maybe if there was a catastrophic disaster around the globe, like if--and this is a big if--all of the birds in the world would be up in the air at the same time. If a meteor struck the Earth, for example, shaking the entire planet violently and instantaneously, then all birds that were not dead would be up in the air at once, right? Except penguins. They can't fly. much for that theory. Clouds are always up in the air. Right? Is fog a cloud? Does fog touch the ground or does the heat from the Earth keep the fog just above the surface of the planet? Rainbows are up in the air, but they aren't real. They're just refractions of light; hallucinations basically.

Well we can ponder what is or is not "up in the air all the time" all day if we want. And you can't say "outer space" is up in the air. I already thought of that, but there isn't any air in outer space, so that's disqualified. You can't be "up in the air" if you are just "up above the air". Big difference. OK, moving on.....But what about some sort of element that exists only is the stratosphere? Like ozone? Can or does ozone exist only up in the air and nowhere else? Not locked in some prehistoric rocks. Not trapped in a volcano or emitted by the ocean? Sorry, but I was asleep during most of my science classes at every level of learning. That shit is boring. My apologies to the scientists and science enthusiasts out there. Not my cup of tea.

So what kinds of beer stuff is up in the air? There is a second cask of  He'Brew Lenny's RIPA on the way,  casks of Lagunitas Wet Hop Pale Ale and Barrel-Aged Cappuccino Stout en route as well, plus a second Moo-Hoo cask. Details TBD once we get a little closer to the arrivals. We are also planning a huge, week-long event at 4 stores in December. For now all you need to know is that we will be tapping 8 different kegs on 8 consecutive days at 4 different locations, and all of the beers are special. The stores are evenly distributed to allow all of our customers outside the city to participate. No ITP stores are involved in these events. It is going to be something that you don't want to miss. Starting 12/1, clear your calendars for a while. Trust me on this one.

I hope to be in touch before I leave for sunny San Diego next Friday. If not, I will definitely return with a lot of great photos from Stone, Lost Abbey, Green Flash, Ale Smith, Ballast Point and Pizza Port. If you are watching the Chargers/Titans game on Halloween (4 pm EST) watch for me. I'll be the guy that looks like the guy whose picture is at the top of this page. In the meantime, there is a slide show from Boston at the top of the slide shows to keep you busy. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Cheap And Cheesy!

No, I am not talking about any particular person. Not directly at least. I am talking about a beer and cheese pairing event on Tuesday the 26th at Deckard's Kitchen & Kegs. Check out the line-up:

Deckard’s Kitchen & Kegs
Deluxe Beer & Cheese Pairing
with Dogfish Head, Victory & Stone
10/26/2010 @ 6:30 pm

Victory Prima Pils
Refreshing and crisp, with the lingering hoppiness you want. This is a beer perfectly suited for all occasions. Made with all German malts.
Emmi Cave Aged Gruyere
Fatty, hearty, earthy, this cheese is great by itself or on your favorite mac and cheese.

Dogfish Head Raison d’Etre
A deep mahogany beer made with beet sugar, green raisins and a Belgian yeast strain. The interplay of these ingredients inside an amazing beer is testimony to the brewer’s art.
Parmesan Reggiano
Salty, crunchy, sublime; The undisputed King of cheese.

Saison du BUFF
An herbaceous collaboration between these three amazing stalwarts of American craft brewing. Sit back, relax and explore....This batch was brewed at Victory’s facility in Downington, PA.
Sweet Grass Dairies Fresh Goat Cheese
Fresh local cheese; Grassy, citrusy, creamy and dreamy.

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous
A black IPA combines the dryness and roasted characteristics of the darkest malts with the spiciness of West Coast hops. Originally their 11th anniversary brew, it was just too good not to keep around.
Brillat Savarin
Made from cow’s milk, this triple cream cheese has a earthy undertone and a mushroomy creaminess.

Victory Baltic Thunder
Baltic Porter is a Porter’s bigger, badder brother. Hugely delicious and creamy with notes of toffee and a warming touch from the high ABV. This highly anticipated seasonal offering is worth the wait.
Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue
This “Best of Show” winner is aged 12 months. Its reminiscent of bacon in the morning or a char grilled steak at night. It opens up your tastes buds and dives right in.

Stone Arrogant Bastard
“This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth."
Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk
Triple cream deliciousness. It may not smell good but it tastes good.

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
A perfect dry stout in every way. Roasty, toasty and bitter. In addition to the chicory, there are coffee, oats and licorice blended with the malts and a big dose of Glacier hops.
Les 3 COMTOIS Morbier
This French cheese keeps the cows honest, milking in the AM then again in the PM. The milks are made into cheese then separated by ash.
Here is the skinny:
  • The Saison du BUFF is a rare collaboration between Stone, Dogfish Head & Victory. Need I say more? I will anyway. Read on....
  • Michael Saklad from Stone Brewing will be in town to do the presentation. He is somewhat of a cheese freak and an absolute expert in beer/cheese pairings.
  • The price is only $25.00! There is a link right here to pay for it if you want. Seats are limited, and a few people have already signed up. 
  • The other 6 beers (2 from each of the collaborating breweries) were specially selected for this event based on their compatibility with cheese.
  • If you have any more questions, just let me know.
I hope that some of you can take advantage of this great event. Also, don't forget that there is a cask of Left Hand Twin Sisters Double IPA getting tapped at Deckard's on Friday (tomorrow) as well. See you there.
Here is a picture from the Harpoon Oktoberfest party during my birthday weekend. That's my friend Mike. Looks like he is having a good time and making some friends. Can you say dirndl? Me either. That is what you call those outfits the girls are wearing. Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tapping The Twins!

OK, by now you may or not know about Deckard's Kitchen & Kegs. If you don't and are curious, go to You really should, but not now. First I need to tell you what's going on, so just settle down over there. Geez. I say "kegs" and you're off just like that. I get excited for kegs too. I understand.

They will be pouring the last firkin in town of Left Hand Twin Sisters Double IPA. How good is this beer? We killed a firkin (10.8 gallons) in 31 minutes in Cumming on Wednesday. That is almost three pints a minute, which means that the tap was barely closed. Nice work people. Great turnout and better than great people. The firkin at Deckard's Kitchen & Kegs will be a little bit different because it will be getting pulled through a beer engine. What does that mean? Extra awesomeness. If you are interested in tasting this beer, and/or finding out why I am telling you about an event that is not at a Taco Mac location, you will have to show up to find out.

Did I say "event"? I meant events. There will also be a beer and cheese pairing at Deckard's Kitchen & Kegs on Tuesday, October 26th. It goes like this: three breweries named Victory, Dogfish Head and Stone made a collaboration beer called Saison du BUFF (Brewers United For Freedom), and there is a keg of it coming to Deckard's. This beer, along with two beers from EACH of those breweries (Yes, that makes seven. Congratulations, you can now advance to the second grade or something.), will be paired with a different cheese. Fancy cheese, not the shredded kind. There will be beer people in attendance, one of whom is the beer and cheese pairing guru from Stone. This guy is out of control when it comes to his passion for beer and cheese. You don't want to miss it. I won't. Actual listing and price will be available very soon.

Sorry that I don't have my Boston weekend pictures for you yet. I might get around to that this weekend, but I am pretty swamped. Big U of M game Saturday, then I am going to see Ron White at The Fox. Don't know who Ron White is? He's a comedian--you might say a foul mouthed one--famous from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He's the one with the cigar, the scotch and the dirty jokes. Don't like dirty jokes? That's your business I guess. Do you know who invented dirty jokes? Cavemen. That's right, cavemen. They drew them on the cave walls and laughed their asses off until other cave-people came by and told them that they were childish. And when that jerk left, they asked each other if someone could please pull the stick out that Neanderthal's butt. Then they laughed at that for a while until someone drew another dirty joke on the wall. This went on for hours. True story. Look it up. It's called history.

Have a great weekend. Go Blue!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fred & Peter's Fright Fest

Thanks to all of the well-wishers who gave me a shout out on my birthday. That was very nice of everyone and I appreciated all of it. I will have a cool slide show of my trip in the next couple of days, but right now I wanted to get the upcoming beer dinner menu out to you. Our new chef, Peter, made a great looking menu (click there) and I picked some pretty awesome beers if I do say so myself. I think that you will agree, so take a look. The actual food and beers are on the second page.

The "theme" is Halloween, based on the Wednesday, October 27th date. This dinner will be at our Duluth store. Peter's menu has a fall/harvest theme, and everything sounds delicious. We chose seasonal beers in most cases, highlighting fall selections and some new releases. We have not entirely done away with dinners that feature one brewery, but we really like picking beers that are just plain good, and not always having to work within one brewery's portfolio.

I hope that you take a minute to look this over and consider attending. You need to treat yourself once in a while. C'mon,'re worth it. You need to get out there and live a little. Life is too cheap to be short. Or something like that.

Thanks to some computer literate co-workers, I even put a link to the payment service below. How about that?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Fall is my favorite time of year for many reasons:
  1. Football season. The pinnacle achievement of western civilization.
  2. All of the awesome fall beers. Beer being the crowning achievement of the rest of history for the entire world everywhere.
  3. It isn't 100 degrees anymore. No kidding. That summer sucked many things that are inappropriate to allude to in a tasteful forum like this.
  4. My birthday is September 30th, which depending on where you are, has the potential to be the one of the nicest days of the year. This year is a "significant" birthday as far as how old I will be.
I will be in Boston with some friends tomorrow. We are going to see Roger Waters perform The Wall at The Boston Garden. If that last sentence does not make any sense to you, then you're fired. I was able to get some great tickets with pre-show VIP party passes. Not too shabby. On Friday there is an Oktoberfest party at Harpoon Brewing Co. Then on Saturday we have Yankees/Red Sox tickets at Fenway Park.

You guys have a great weekend, and don't wait up for me. Please check the calendar at for some great casks this weekend. There is something going on at The Fred & Metropolis. When I get back we will be doing a cask in Cumming on Wednesday the 6th. Maybe I will see some of you there. Bye.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bring Out Your Fred!

For attentive readers, that is my second reference to Monty Python & The Holy Grail in a post's title. For those of you that are not familiar with this movie, please try to figure out what your problem is. For those of you that do not find this movie funny, please see a doctor. Clearly your funny bone is fractured or has gone missing. Better yet, if you don't think Monty Python & The Holy Grail is funny, go directly to the nearest mortuary. You have no pulse and are therefore dead. Nice knowing you.

But seriously, the Fred Brick launches tonight. Here is the descriptive info that I put together for our employees and customers:

What is Fred Brick?

The Idea:
This spring I was approached by the crew from Atlanta’s own Red Brick brewery about doing a collaboration beer. I am Fred, Taco Mac’s Beverage Director, which means that I am the “beer guy” for a group of 25 restaurants that take great pride in offering a great selection of beer. Naturally I jumped at the chance to have a little bit of say in a brand new beer made right here in Atlanta.

So I sat down with Red Brick brew master Dave McClure over a few pints to discuss this project. We quickly came to a unanimous agreement on some of the positive and negative aspects of the current climate in the beer world. We decided that we would use this beer as not only an example of the partnership between our two companies, but also as a way to make a statement about some issues that we felt needed addressing. What can I say? We take beer seriously.

What’s Going On?
Did we come up with a new style hybrid? Or a mash-up of previously unheard of flavor combinations? No. Did we unearth some antiquated recipe from Babylonian texts recently found in an archaeological dig? No. How about a 13% alcohol Belgian something-or-other? No. Did we push the absolute boundaries of bitterness using some experimental new hop strain that can double as nail polish remover? No. We made a very drinkable beer with a full, balanced flavor and reasonable alcohol content. Why? Because bigger is not always better, and more of everything isn’t always a good thing.

Somewhere along the line a movement towards “extreme beer” took off like a wildfire. I jumped on board like the rest of the beer crazies out there. But after a while, I began to tire of constantly being hit over the head with more this, more that, more EVERYTHING. What happened to enjoying well-made beers with character? When did brewing become a competition to see who could overdo every aspect of a beer’s recipe? And are there true appreciation of these beers, or just shock value and an element of accomplishment by having drunk one? I can make food so spicy, for example, that few people could even eat it. But is it any good? A chef can make a dish hot, but still have a balance of flavor that makes it good and hot. So my question is this: Are people losing the ability to appreciate well-made beers because their interpretation of what “well-made” or “good” is constantly changing?

Let’s take something like a Steam Beer, for example. During the Gold Rush, Steam Beer producers were up and down the west coast. Lager beers were very popular back east, so the new west coast brewers used the lager yeasts fashionable at the time. But without massive icehouses to ferment at lager temperatures, they used the warmer and more available temperatures more suited for ale brewing. The resulting beer had a bit of a fruity taste from the higher fermentation temperatures, as well as a good dose of those famous west coast hops. The kegs also had a lively carbonation level, so when they got tapped, the hissing sound reminded people of steam being released. And like that, a style was born.

One thing about Steam Beer is that it was prolific, yet quite varied. Each brewery would have had its own version of Steam. And it is certain that darker and lighter versions existed, different hop rates and varieties were used, etc. The same way that Pale Ale is quite varied these days, Steam was back then. In fact, until recently, Steam was the only indigenous American beer style. All other beers were American versions of European styles brought over by immigrants. As the Gold Rush ended and America became increasingly industrialized, the small producers of true Steam beer began to die out one by one. Only San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co. remained, and it too was on the verge of extinction in the late 60’s when it was bought and slowly revitalized. Now when people think of Steam beer they think of a brand, not of a style.

As people moved away from flavorful beer in 20th century America, the entire concept of beer with character nearly died. People’s ideas about what was “good” or “well made” were being skewed by advertisers into thinking that lighter was better. Three large breweries dominated the brewing scene in America and “light” beer became what to this day is considered “beer” to the majority of Americans. Is the same thing happening in the craft beer segment now? Are people being driven into thinking that beer has to be overwhelming to be “good”? So when Dave and I sat down to decide on what style to make, Steam beer seemed like a great choice. In order to look into the future, it always helps to take a look back.

In addition to the style being a little unique and historic, we also liked the “single hop” concept. Although it is getting some attention again now, making beers with only one type of hop is also a very old practice. When people traveled everywhere by horse, they used the things that were grown and produced locally. English brewers did not have a lot of access to Czech hops, for example. Our Steam Beer uses an older American hop called Liberty for all of its flavor and aroma. There is also the addition of 50 lbs. of Georgia-grown oats to make this Steam beer as distinct from any other one ever made, just like those brewed up and down California during the Gold Rush would have all been distinct from each other.

Brew Day:
Some co-workers and I went to Red Brick on Friday, August 13th for “brew day”. Please make no mistake: All of the technical work was done by Dave and his crew of professionals. The Taco Mac people just hung around and helped out here and there, mostly trying to stay out of the way. I do not take credit for anything more than drinking beer with Dave one evening and coming up with the concept. So if you like the beer, thank Red Brick. The name was, well, something that just fell into place.

I hope that you enjoy Fred Brick. Our little project is a 5.2% Steam Beer (aka “California Common Beer”) that will be available throughout Taco Mac land while supplies last. If you are interested in seeing a slide show of the brewing day, go to There are a few slide shows on the right side of my blog. It should be the most recent one. If you are interested in touring Red Brick, they are located at 2323 Defoor Hills Rd., Atlanta, GA 30318. Tours are Wednesday, Thursday & Friday from 5-8 pm and Saturday from 2-5 pm. You can check them out at as well. Cheers.

Lastly, I need you to put October 27th on your calendar. We will be hosting a Halloween-themed beer dinner at our Duluth store. I am selecting fall/sppoky beers from five different breweries and our NEW chef is making the menu. The first draft looks out-of-this-world, but I just found out that a certain brewery is not making a particular beer that I wanted this year, so we need to edit and rewrite a little. Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend and go out and get your hands on some Fred Brick. If you are in Athens for the Hop Harvest Party at Terrapin, be sure to say hello. I will be the guy that looks like the guy in the picture at the top of this blog.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Beer Really Snuck Up On Me. Really!

Last week I was approached by a guy offering me a new beer made in the southeast. Not only was I totally unaware that someone who I have been acquainted with before was now making beer professionally, I was at that moment in possession of the actual finished product. So when I say that this beer snuck up on me, I mean it actually popped out of seemingly nowhere. And it is good, really good.

Why all of the secrecy? The people behind it have their reasons, and I don't feel like undoing all of their cloaking efforts right here, right now. Suffice it to say that one of the people involved has not completely removed himself from his current profession. The beers are being contract brewed in South Carolina now, with plans to eventually open a brewery in Decatur. Now before you get your panties in a bundle over contract brewing, settle down. It is an extremely prevalent practice and, frankly, the smartest way to get started. Ever heard of Terrapin? That's how they got going. Why invest a small fortune in a brand-new or even used brew house when there is perfectly good equipment available virtually for rent? Why not brew your beer somewhere that has excess capacity, generate some income, gauge your sales expectations, then eventually build the brewery you want from scratch? The only reason to do it any other way would be because you, or someone you know, is made out of money and doesn't mind taking a huge risk of losing it. In addition to all of that, if you are still tweaked over contract brewing, you probably drink one more often that you know. So please come down from your high horse.

Wild Heaven offers a Belgian-style golden ale called "Invocation" that clocks in around 8.2% ABV. Their "Ode To Mercy" is an imperial brown ale with oak and coffee influences. It is 8.5% ABV. So these beers should not sneak up on you, because I just told you how strong they are. Don't drink eight of them and go home and call up old girlfriends or boyfriends in the middle of the night. They don't want to hear you crying any more now than they did when they were with you. Don't drink and dial, people. Put the phone down.

Now you may be wondering, "Gee...I hope he tells me where I can get these beers. I mean, I don't read this stupid thing for my health. Ugh!" Well, I got your back beer people. You can get both of these beers on tap TOMORROW at The Fred and Taco Mac Perimeter. They should be hooked up and ready to go by 5:00 pm at the latest. Please call Perimeter at 678-336-1381 and/or The Fred at 404-671-FRED (that was not my idea, but I like it) if you need to be absolutely sure that it is ready to go. I have made all of the necessary arrangements myself to assure that everything is in place. However, I do not deliver beer for a living, so I cannot guarantee that someone else doesn't screw it up. I can guarantee that it is HIGHLY unlikely that anything will be amiss tomorrow. Enjoy. Trust me on this one....these beers are good.