Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Burnin' Down The House

Busy, busy week last week. It all started with a cask of Terrapin Iron Tankard at Manuel's Tavern last Tuesday the 6th. This is the first in a series of beers whose proceeds will go towards rebuilding the Georgia Theater in Athens which mysteriously burned down a year or so ago. The beers are sold in 22oz. bottles in an individual box with Georgia Theater graphics on them. Really cool. Two of the boxes will contain a "golden ticket" good for lifetime admission to the theater once it reopens. Pretty sweet. These are not exactly well-suited for bar sales, so don't expect to see these at Taco Mac. They will be kicking off each Georgia Theater release (there will be four) with a cask event, and that will be the ONLY draft available of these beers. You can plan on being at one of our locations for the last one, "Hop-taneous Combustion" (get it?), sometime this fall. But back to the Iron Tankard. This beer is awesome! It is an old ale style for the most part, but not the sweet variety. Great balance and the high ABV (9%-ish) is well hidden. Go get one now. I have one bottle myself that will be en route to a special event this weekend.

Wednesday we kicked off the O'Dempsey's Big Red at The Fred. Great turnout in quality and quantity of attendees. The beer was tasty, and it was great to see people excited to try a new local beer. Everybody talks about "local this" and "local that" these days, but do they back that up with their wallets? I hope that you do, because there are some great beers being made in GA and the southeast in general. Show these guys some love...I mean money.

On Thursday we held our first ever Tequila School at The Fred. The attendees were treated to an hour and a half seminar on tequila from the plant to the bottle, and everything in between. We tasted all high-end tequilas, starting with Jose Cuervo Platino. No, not the stuff you guzzled in college. This is a premium silver tequila from the Cuervo family. Kind of like Toyota making a Lexus (which they do). Without the random and fatal acceleration issues. Not that drinking a lot of tequila won't accelerate things, because it does. Usually it accelerates stupidity, and often times it's combined with nudity. But not on Thursday! This was a learning experience and a testimony to sophisticated and reasonable drinking. Seriously. We also tasted Don Julio Reposado, the barrel-aged Jose Cuervo Reserva de Familia, and the rare and ultra-pricey Don Julio 1942. We paired these with 4 different Mexican beers to correspond to the heaviness of the tequilas and put out some fiesta-type food and had a blast. Our local tequila expert, Ciska, did an awesome job explaining everything and answering questions. We will continue this program in the future, because everyone that came really enjoyed themselves. Next up: scotch or bourbon. Not sure which yet.

I was busy all last weekend getting ready for this weekend. I leave tomorrow for Live Oak, FL for the Wanee Music Festival. It is pretty much headlined by the Allman Bros. and Widespread Panic, but also has a bunch of funk & soul bands playing. I am looking forward to seeing Parliament, The Meters, Electric Hot Tuna, Sharon Jones, and The Word more than the headliners really. This JJ Grey & Mo Fro are supposed to be something worth seeing, too. Check out the line-up online. It's going to be pretty sweet. Two of my friends from Michigan are flying to Atanta and we are driving from here (4 hours), so I have been getting all of the supplies lined up for the trip. I have basically been buying enough beer for a small army. I haven't seen these people in a while, and they don't get some of the beers that we get. Dank Tank, Capt'n Krunkles, Red Brick 15th Anniversary (OK, that one is from my personal stash), the Bruery Saison de Lente, etc. I am even taking a 1.5 L giant of Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizen. When else was I going to drink that thing? I live by myself for god's sake.

That is all for now. I will be back Sunday with some cool photos from Wanee. It is in a park along the Suwanee River just across the GA/FL border. It is supposed to be very scenic. Upcoming trips will include mid-May for a San Francisco beer trip with a visit to the Lagunitas Beer Circus. What's that? It is a circus, with a tent and weird performers and all kinds of craziness, but it is at the Lagunitas brewery in Sonoma county, CA. No, that won't suck even a little bit. Then in June I am off to the Mondial de la Biere festival in Montreal. I will be visiting the Unibroue brewery while I am there (they make La Findu Monde, Trois Pistoles, etc.). Very excited about that. Then don't forget about the Taco Mac/Beer Connoisseur Magazine Beer Festival at The Prado June 12th. Put it on your calendar now! Big fun, live band, all sorts of adult revelry.

But in the meantime, the newest slide show is of day 3 of my England trip. We went to a brewery called Samuel Smith's. Oh you've heard of it? We started in the stables, saw the cooper's shop, the brew house (in the middle of a batch--totally awesome), fermentation (stone fermenters!) and barrels getting filled. We finished up with lunch in their employee-only cellar pub pulling Best Bitter drafts through a beer engine out of a wooden barrel. We were underneath the Old Brewery at Tadcaster, and the taps were totally turned over to our group. That did not suck either. If I would have croaked right then & there, I think we would all agree that, well, there are plenty of worse ways to go out, but not a lot better. If you click on the slide show it will enlarge. There is another one of day 2 below day 3. If you did not know about the enlarging function last week, you may want to look at it again. Thanks for reading everyone. I am outta here.