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 www.tacomac.com 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.

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.