Friday, December 23, 2011

Get Your Heavy On

Don't forget about the super-special cask of Heavy Seas Below Decks that is getting tapped tonight at 5:00 pm at the Virginia-Highland Taco Mac location. That part of down is sure to be all "decked" out for the holidays, so it will be fun. Some people may take the opportunity to get "lit up" like the proverbial Christmas tree. Hey, it's a free country. Just be safe out there people.

This cask had red oak chips, cocoa nibs, cinnamon bark and dried persimmons thrown into it, plus it was dry-hopped with Brewer's Gold. No frankincense or myrrh though. Nobody really knows what that stuff is anyway. I mean, when was the last time you saw that on sale at Publix? Maybe Kroger has frankincense and myrrh, but I wouldn't know. I don't shop there.

If you can't make it out tonight, still try to enjoy your holidays. That may be difficult for you though, knowing what an awesome beer you could have drank, but didn't. But try anyway.

You may not hear from me next week. I have a busy couple of days before I leave for California for a New Year's Eve blow-out in San Francisco. So I guess I will see you next year. Bye!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Am Back, And Don't Miss These Casks!

OK, so I have been out of communication for a while, sorry. I had a short week last week because I had to go to Florida for a few days. Sounds like we may be selling some beer down there next year. And then there was this little matter of a Cowboys/Buccaneers game I had to look into. Cool stadium, but the Cowboys just routed the Bucs, and it wasn't much of a game from a competitive standpoint. But for me to get to two Cowboys games in one year, neither of which were in Atlanta, is a pretty good accomplishment. I still haven't been to the new stadium in Dallas, but next year my birthday is on a Sunday, so...whoever makes the NFL schedule needs to be midful of that. Don't make the Cowboys play in some god-awful place that I won't want to go. I don't want to spend my birthday in Phoenix. Might be a nice place, but in the end of September, it is still about 150 degrees during the daytime. Buffalo might be cooler in temperature, but I am not even sure they have an airport. I think you fly into Pittsburgh and take a bus or canoe or something.

(You may find my opinions about other cities to be offensive to people who live in, or are from, those places. I am from Michigan. Flint, Michigan, so I have heard it all already. If I want to take a shot at some place, I can do that. If you haven't heard of Flint, it makes Detroit look like a pretty decent place.)

But there is only one city you need to be concerned with this week, and it is the good ol' ATL. On Friday there is a special cask of Jail House Misdemeanor at Taco Mac Perimeter. Think black IPA with pink peppercorns and cocoa nibs. It is going to be creamy and spicy all at once. And remember my trip to Baltimore where I got to make two special casks? And that were then en route to Taco Mac's loyal and voracious customers? Well, cask # 1 gets tapped on Friday at Virginia-Highland Taco Mac. This is Heavy Seas Below Decks Barley Wine, and we added cocoa nibs, cinnamon bark, red oak chips and dried persimmons. A persimmon is a fruit (pictured), which along with the barley wine, should provide a sweet background to the spices and oaky dryness. It was then dry-hopped with Brewer's Gold hops grown on the east coast. I am very excited to try it. If you are a credit seeker/accumulator, or just plain love beer, then you really need to come out for this one. It is a special item called Heavy Seas Spiced Below Decks. So if you have already had Below Decks, or a cask of Below Decks, this one is still unique. In fact, it is pretty much a one-time shot.

If you want to plan ahead to try the Loose Cannon cask I did while I was in Baltimore, then put Wednesday, January 11th on your calendar. We will be tapping that one in Decatur, and two other Decatur bars will be featuring unique Loose Cannon casks that same night. Call it a mini-pub crawl. A VIP from thre brewery, Joe Gold, will be in town for the evening. This guy is awesome, and really fun to drink beer with. You'll want to meet him. Trust me on that one.

Alright, that is all I have for you right now. Have a great week, and in case I get too swamped next week and can't post anything, have a great holiday season. Relax, drink alot of beer and enjoy some peace and quiet.

PS-- While in Tampa, I did drop in on Cigar City Brewing and saw their new expansion. What a great bunch of guys, and the beer was unbelievable. Every one of them (and I had "a few"). They are trying to get to the point where they can send some kegs our way, so don't despair. They know where we are, and they want us to have more of their beer as much as you want to have some. They just don't have any extra yet. But, man was that a great stop.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hand-Made Casks In Charm City

Wet hop bud in my hand
OK, so I was gone for a while. Sorry. It's what I do. Where did I go and what did I do? Is that really what you want to know, or do you just want to hear about how this all affects you? It's OK, that's natural. Nothing to be ashamed of there. In fact, where I was the week of November 21st could possibly affect you. If you're lucky (more on that later). But last week I was on Thanksgiving break like the rest of the country. But I didn't go anywhere. Family came to me this year. What a beautiful weekend to visit Atlanta, huh? So I am sorry for the long absence, but I am sure that you were busy too.
You will notice: Beer first, reading second

But the week before last, I went to Baltimore to visit Heavy Seas Brewing and make some casks. Their resident cask guru, Steven, was there with  a table full of ingredients--many from his personal garden--for us to choose from. More importantly, though, he was there with his expert opinion. Without him, for example, I would have probably killed an IPA with juniper berries. I mean, how many juniper berries would you add to 10.8 gallons of beer? Two? Twenty? I mean, that's a decent amount of beer, and why put anything in the beer if you aren't going to taste it, right? (Turns out the correct answer is five juniper berries.)

Signed, sealed and soon-to-be delivered
So first we made the IPA casks, one for me, one for another bar owner. We were using Loose Cannon that was in the conditioning tank. That beer is great, and I was not interested in hopping it to death. I mean really, can't we just stop trying to act like over-hopped beers are "awesome". It's like nobody want to be the lone dissenter to say, "I don't think there was much artistry in killing this beer with an obscene amount of hops". So I will be that guy. Hey, I can make food so spicy that you will go blind for a few seconds after you eat it, but that doesn't make it good. Same with beer. No one is going to take away your beer-lover credentials if you admit that tongue-curling bitterness that makes it impossible to taste anything else for six hours does not make a beer "great". There, I said it. And if you put too much Simcoe hops in a beer, it tastes like a giant cat just pissed all over your face. I like hoppy beers as much as the next person, but some people out there are making garbage and passing it off--with an incredible price tag!--as liquid gold. So I went the other way with this cask, adding bay leaves, rosemary, cardamom and the juniper berries I mentioned. All were in very small and judicious amount to not completely erase the taste of the Loose Cannon. And then, just in case you thought I had gone soft on you, we dry-hopped it with wet, east coast Cascade and Centennial hops. How did we get wet hops in November? They were frozen. The dry hopping is to compensate for the diminished hop flavor you get in a cask serving as opposed to a standard, gas-driven draft system. I think this beer is going be incredible.

Below Decks in whiskey cask
Cask number two was their Below Decks Barley Wine. I added cocoa nibs, cinnamon chunks, red oak chips and dried persimmons. That cask was dry-hopped with Brewer's Gold, a low-alpha acid hop, also grown on the east coast. The persimmons were from the brewer's own back yard, and the one ingredients he said he hoped we would select. I have very high hopes for this one too. Once these casks are ready, they will be shipped to Atlanta for some special events. Stay tuned. I also brokered a deal with the owner of the brewery to fly this cask guru down here next year for a meet and greet with folks like you. He will make some special casks himself, then come down once they are ready to talk to you about them and, well, drink them of course. You will love this guy. He knows his stuff big time.
Below Deck in wine cask

After the brewery visit, I went to D.C. for a football game. If you watched the Dallas Cowboys win in overtime against the Redskins, I was at that game. It was a friend's gift from his wife, and as his only friend who loves the Cowboys (he is a 'Skins fan), I got to go along. Thanks Stephanie! You rock. The seats were Row 1, 50 yard line, seats 15 and16. Just look at the pictures I took from my seat. Not too shabby. Like I said, she rocks.

Anyway, I am home now and back to my usual tricks. So here are this week's beer events:
50-yard line seats, Row 1

  1. Deckard's is tapping a firkin of Rogue Mogul Madness on Wednesday. This will be the first application of what is called a cask "widge". Want to learn about what that is? Better be at Deckard's on Wednesday. This thing may revolutionize how we pour and enjoy cask beer for the rest of our lives. No, I am not kidding. I learned a lot about the "widge" in Baltimore. Plus, that beer is going to be delicious.
  2. On Friday, there will be a mass assortment of Heavy Seas beers at The Fred Bar. Draft specialties will include Smoke on The Water and Hop Haarvest, plus some of the usual suspects. The bottled beer line-up will see Greater Pumpkin, Hop Haarvest, Davy Jones Lager, Smoke On The Water, Letter Of Marque, Below Decks 2010 and Siren Noir 2010. There also might be a case of Plank One, but I need to check on that to be sure. I will be there, along with Kevin from Heavy Seas. So if you have any questions for me about my cask-making experience, or for him about the brewery in general, this Friday is your chance to ask any and all of those questions. I think that we are going to have a firkin of something too, so expect a full reminder later this week with all of the beers detailed.
Here is a preview of next week:
    1. Cask in Cumming on Tuesday, December 6th. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details.
    2. I was kind of close to the quarterback....
    3. Also on Tuesday, Deckard's is doing a Sierra Nevada blow-out. There will be some rare Beer Camp beers on draft, the new Ovila Quad, plus tons of other stuff they have been saving for just such an occasion. Again, mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details. This one is going to be killer. You should find a designated driver if you are smart. And judging by your choice in internet reading material, you are a genius.
    That's all I can think of for now. Have a great week everyone.

    PS--If you have never beer to Baltimore, it is a very cool town. I highly recommend that you check it out. Lots of great food and history and places to drink fresh beer. Next year Heavy Seas is opening their own tap house/restaurant in the city. I think it going to be a huge success. Look into it.
    That would be the ingredient table for making special casks, me, and "The Man"

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    
    Biere de Beloeil looks tasty....
     You may sense a recurring theme here, but I have more new beer events to tell you about. But I am going to make it brief, so here goes:
    1. The Coast-To-Coast Toast is tomorrow at The Fred Bar. Here are the three new Belgian drafts that we will have pouring: Schelde Hop Ruiter, Scaldis Noel and Dupont Biere de Beloeil. You can click on any one of those for more details. Doors open at 5:00 pm, and if you are a user of the Untappd social networking site, then you will want to know that these will count towards a unique badge. If you don't know or care about Untappd, then just come out for some outstanding beers. Please be advised that these beers are not cheap. But if you have ever been to The Fred before, you already knew that.
    2. On Wednesday you can taste Bell's Two Hearted Ale from a firkin at our Lindbergh Center location. There will be two Bell's employees there: our local gal and close friend of mine, Tina, and national sales manager, Marty. There will be some Bell's Cherry Stout on tap too. If you love IPA and have not had Two Hearted from a cask, then you haven't lived. And if you haven't partied with Tina and a cask of Two Hearted, well, now's your chance.
    3. On Friday at the Decatur and Old Milton Parkway locations, you can get a Peak Organic Maple Oat from a cask, and try the New Belgium Pamela's IPA (PIPA). That is a beer that was brewed for this woman who won a contest. Seriously, I just told you all about it last week. But if your memory retention is that bad, try clicking here for the story. If you are a Brewniversity member, this PIPA is a rare credit for sure.
    4. But the big news of the day is the posting of the menu for ASHE IV. That would be the "All-Star Holiday Extravaganza" beer dinner being held at The Fred Bar on Tuesday, December 13th. Want to see the menu? Click here. Other than our traditional beginning(s), each of the beers are vintage-dated Belgian or American strong ales, some with a holiday theme. This is one dinner where we pulled out all of the stops. And our traditional beginning(s)? Homemade eggnog spiked with Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum, followed by a Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome. Not too shabby. This menu went out to all of our Chancellors on Thursday, and there are only about 20 seats left. If you want to go, you better get moving.  
    Don't look for me this weekend. I will be in Baltimore making special casks at Heavy Seas. After that I am heading south to D.C. for a Cowboys @ Redskins game. Have a great week and weekend. I'll be sure to take some pictures at the brewery on Friday. Stay tuned for those next week. Bye.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Three New Events!

    No, this is not your run-of-the-mill reminder about events that I have already told you about. Oh that's coming later, don't worry. But first, check out some new stuff:
    • Next Wednesday, November 16th, we have a firkin of Bell's Two Hearted Ale at Lindbergh Center. We are going to get into it at 6:00 pm. And if you like to meet beer people--and I know that you do--we will have Marty Compton in the house. Marty Compton (pictured*) is the national sales director from Bell's. He is an extremely fun and cool guy who only gets to town once or twice a year. It would be fun for you to come out and meet him, tell him how much you love Bell's beer, and how cool it would be if they sent some really crazy beers down here, etc. See, when things like that happen, then people like Marty go back to the brewery and make awesome things happen for people like us. Ever wondered who decides what beers--and how much of them--come into our market? People like Marty do. He is "the guy". Want to see Bell's flex some more muscle down here? Then come out on Wednesday and show Marty why he should make that should happen. Ball is in your court people.
    • On Friday the 18th we have firkins of Peak Organic Maple Oat to tap at our Old Milton Pkwy and Decatur locations. Riding along with those casks will be a small keg of New Belgium Pam's IPA. Here is the story behind the PIPA: At multiple events (not in the southeast), New Belgium challenged fans to determine which of their beers were blended together in a glass. Not only did they have to say which three beers were in there, but in what percentages. The winner got to go out to the brewery and collaborate with their brewers on a new beer. Some school teacher in St. Louis won the contest. I will give you one guess what her first name is. So now you have two reasons to go out to OMP or Decatur next Friday: cask beer and Pam beer. This Pam beer is in really short supply, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime credit if you are a Brewniversity member. I will not be there unfortunately. More on that next week.
    And now for the reminders:
    1. Friday. 11/11/11. Metropolis. Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin cask. Me. Kevin from Heavy Seas. Eye patches. (HS Greater Pumpkin is a high-gravity pumpkin beer, aged in bourbon barrles. Oh, it's that good. It's better than that good.)
    2. Tuesday the 15th at The Fred Bar, the Coast To Coast Toast takes place. If you love Belgian beers, we will have three drafts that are new to The Fred: DuPont Biere de Belieol, Hop Ruiter and Scaldis Noel. (If you have had Scaldis Noel on draft at Taco Mac or The Fred, it was always a vintage batch. This one is fresh and ready to rock your world.) If you are down with the Untappd thing, then you should already know that these beers will count towards this unique Coast To Coast Toast badge. I will be there for a while myself.
    That's it kids. I gotta go. See you around.

    *Marty Compton is not pictured. Marty McFly is pictured. Sorry, I don't have stock photos of beer salespeople on file. Michael J. Fox will not--I repeat will NOT--be at Taco Mac next Wednesday. At least as far as I know. Maybe he's a fan.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Taco Mac: Famous For Its Deer

    That's right kids, there are no typos in the title.If you want to see what happens when a wild animal crashes through the window a restaurant during the middle of a Falcons game, click on this link. If it doesn't work for some reason, just Google (All hail the mighty and benevelont ruler! The exhalted master of all that is holy! We bow down to you Google!) "taco mac deer". A deranged--and apparently quite determined--male deer managed to get into our Alpharetta store on Highway 9 and Windward Parkway yesterday afternoon. What ensued was...pandemonium..what'd you expect? One minute you're watching the Falcons mop the floor with Indy, and the next minute a real, honest-to-goodness, large format animal is running around the reataurant. Nobody, except that woman with the baby, acted calm. OK, so by now you've watched it, so let's move on.

    But first, it was crazy when this thing made the local news. It spread to Arizona, Hawaii, and every place from here to there in about an hour. I got three phone calls from people in Michigan, California and Pennsylvania. All four local news stations went and interviewed our manager who was "on the scene" when it went down. CNN wants the footage exclusively. Tosh.0 is getting it sent to them today. (If you don't know what Tosh.0 is, it is the funniest thing on TV right now. Get with the times, man.)

    But back to the business at hand. Events!
    1. Tomorrow night you can meet the owners of Lazy Magnolia brewery (Kiln, MS--home of Brett Favre) at Taco Mac in Kennesaw. They will be there at 5:00 pm for a few hours, along with three of their beers on draft. If you don't drink in Forsyth, Coweta or Fayette counties, you probably haven't had them at a Taco Mac yet.
    2. WEDNESDAY'S RELEASE OF THE RED BRICK HOPLANTA IPA HAS BEEN CANCELLED! Beer is not ready. Totally sucks, I know. Beer's not ready, what are you going to do? If you just stand there and yell it, it won't get ready any faster. Kind of like your spouse, right? That event was on Wednesday at The Fred, in case you are keeping score.
    3. On Friday, we are tapping a cask of Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin at Lindbergh. This is their high-gravity pumpkin beer that was aged in bourbon barrels. It is awesome, and the cask delivery treats it right. I expect to tap it around 6:00 pm. The date is 11-11-11, so that's a good reason to get out and drink a fancy beer, right? Secondly, why do you need a reason to get out and drink fancy beer? You read this blog. You like fancy beer. We know this about you. Be there.
    4. The last thing I have for you at this point is the Coast To Coast Toast. This has to do with a Belgian beer importer, their 30th anniversary, and a social networking site called Untappd. (Again, no typo. It's spelled like that.) If you know what Untappd* is, then you will want to know that this event will allow you get a special "badge". If you don't know what Untappd is, then this is an opportunity for you to get some wacky beers that have not been offered on draft to our Brewniversity memebers before. This will be held at The Fred Bar, and it starts when they open at 5:00 pm.
    That's all I have today. Watch out for this nasty cold going around these days. It's about to kick my ass any second now. I need to rest up for another week's beer events. Later.

    PS-- Mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 13th. In a few days we will be posting the menu for the All-Star Holiday Exrtravagaza IV beer dinner. This will feature a nice Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome to start, then five vintage-dated strong ales from Belgian and U.S. breweries. The list is ridiculous, and you definitely want to be there. I mean, the beer list has been a year in the making, and it is outstanding. See you there.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Cask Your Vote!

    Here is a quick run-down on some upcoming events. Some of these are new. Maybe not "some", but one is definitely new. So pay attention. It's going to be a busy week or two coming up:
    1. Two events are scheduled for Wednesday. At the Taco Mac near Windward Pkwy., we are tapping the second cask of Wells Bombadier. The one we got into on Sunday at Metropolis was great. The beer is typically pretty mild, but the cask presentation allowed a lot of the flavors to come through more fully. Everyone loved it. You should too. Plus, down at The Fred Bar the same evening, you can taste the New Belgium Kick and/or New Belgium Clutch. I gave you folks links to read about those beers last week. If you didn't use them, well, trust me on this one, these beers are special. You want to be there.
    2. On Saturday at 5:00 pm at our location on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd., we will be tapping the last cask of Wells Bombadier. We have a customer who will be getting his 1000th beer on his Brewniversity list. I think he's going to be happy with number 1000. Plus I think there's a football game of some sort on that day....
    3. Halloween is next Monday. Don't be afraid of the dark beer! Come to Taco Mac Metropolis for a cask of Left Hand Fade To Black 3 (Chili Porter). If I have said it once, I have said it a dozen times: Left Hand makes great dark beer. Don't miss this one, because I know that it is the only one Taco Mac has. Plus it's Monday. Take the edge off after work, because Mondays usually suck anyway.
    4. Tuesday, Novemeber 1st, be the first kid on the block to try a Left Hand/Heavy Seas Collaboration called Free Spirit. We are tapping it at Crabapple Taco Mac (Crossville Rd., Roswell) at 6:30 pm. The beer is a saison style made with sunflower seeds and elderflower. This beer was made to commemorate the life of someone very close to each brewery, who unfortunately died unexpectedly way, way too early. She grew up very near that location Taco Mac, so it makes perfect sense. Her family still lives nearby. But don't worry, it won't be a gloomy event. There's beer involved, so spirits will be in fine shape. Lots of brewery folks will be around too, if you're into that kind of thing.
    5.  And just when you thought that you couldn't stand any more awesome beer events during the week, there is a special cask at Perimeter Taco Mac on Wednesday the 2nd. Just in time to trasition from fall into winter, a cask of Heavy Seas Winter Storm has arrived. This is one of my favorite seasonal beers, and I have never had it from a cask before. Very excited to try it.
    6. Don't forget about The Fred Bar's two-year anniversary on Saturday the 5th. Lots of special beers. Good times, bad craziness, cool people. Like I needed to tell you that.
    7. What? You want MORE beer events? I got 'em, I just don't have time to talk about 'em right now.
    Have a great week everyone. Get out there and drink some beer. Say "hi" if you see me. If I look at you like you are a crazy person, then it's not me. Or maybe it is me, and you just happen to be a crazy person, so looking at you that way is natural. But I suppose you'd be used to that by now. 

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    "You Dropped A Bomb On Me"

    "I love beer, beer loves me, we're a happy fam-i-ly"
    I hope that everyone is rested up from last week's festivities. If you missed the beer festival in Decatur last weekend, here is a picture from above the crowd.  That's right, I can fly. Well, not so much as fly, but hover. It's not a big deal really. I don't really like to brag about it.

    If you missed it this year, it sure was a beatiful fall day to get outside and drink tons of delicious craft beer. I know it looks crowded from the photo, but it was very manageable, and the people were all cooperative. Some of these breweries brought special casks, and they tapped them at different intervals. Talk about cooperation. No one brewery wanted to upstage anyone else, and the effect to the attendees was terrific. You knew that every 30 to 45 minutes something special was getting busted out, and if you knew the right people, you knew where you needed to be. The beer selection across the board was very solid. I guess that's why this thing sells out so fast every year.

    Enough about the past. Here, friends, is the future:
    1. Tomorrow at The Fred Bar, we have seven different Great Divide beers (not the regular stuff, special ones--duh!) to choose from. They open at 5:00 pm if you're curious. Don't be scared. The place may be a little hard to find, but you'll be glad you took the time once you locate it. 
    2. Sunday the Falcons take on the Detriot Lions at 1:00 pm in Detroit. Both teams are sure to be throwing a bomb or two, so Taco Mac Metropolis is tapping a cask of Well's Bombadier at 12:30pm to set the mood. This is an English brown ale that has never appeared in a cask-conditioned format--at least in this region--before. You can be the first kid on the block to have one if you show up on time. It might go quick.
    3. Next Wednesday the 26th at The Fred they are tapping New Belgium Kick and New Belgium Clutch. You can read about these beers by clicking here and here. These beers are very unique, and if you don't take this opportunity to drink them, then I guess you...uh...don't love beer. And after all beer has done for you....Geez.
    4. If you missed the Well's Bombadier at Metropolis on Sunday, you can catch it again at the Windward Parkway store next Wednesday the 26th. They are going to tap it at 6:30 pm, unless a thirsty crowd develops early.
    5. Don't be scared to go out on Halloween! Metropolis has a cask of Left Hand Fade To Black 3 (a high-grav chili porter that is super tasty). This thing is rare, especially on a Monday night. Dress up like a beer lover and get to midtown on Halloween, if you know what's good for you.
    6. Then on Wednesday, November 2nd we are going to get into a cask of Heavy Seas Winter Storm at Taco Mac Perimeter. This is one of my favorite seasonal beers of the year, and Heavy Seas does cask beers as good as anyone. In fact, later in November I am going up there (Baltimore) to make a custom cask, which will then make its way down here for a special event of some sort. Stay tuned for those details.
    7. The last thing on this list is a big one: The Fred Bar's two-year anniversary is Saturday, November 5th. All of the pertinemt info will follow in the next few weeks. I just want you to save the date at this point. Pull out the electronic device that runs your life and put that date in it now. Or  else you'll be sooor-rrry!
    That's your event update for now. I will be at most/many of these, in case that matters to you. I am not that interesting though, compared to the beer. So if you don't see me, it's not a big deal. Plus, there will be a lot more beer for everyone else if I'm not around. Until we do this all over again, have a good end-of-week and weekend.

    PS-For our younger readers, "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" is a classic--if dated--song by The Gap Band that sort of bridges the end of funk with the beginning of disco. At least that's how I see it. I'm no musicologist or anything, but somewhere between James Brown and the Bee-Gees, "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" landed. For better or worse.
    They Sang: "You Dropped A Bomb On Me"

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    No Rest For The Beer-y

    As promised, here is the rest of the Atlanta Beer Week events at Taco Mac. Last week I gave you everything up through Wednesday. So here is the end of the week:
    
    • Decatur Taco Mac has some Heavy Seas specialties lined up for Thursday night. They are: Plank One (this is the barley wine aged on Poplar wood--very unique), Great Pumpkin, Greater Pumpkin (that is Great Pumpkin aged in bourbon barrels), and the Hop Haaarvest 2011. That is not a typo. You have to say Haaarvest like a pirate. Serioulsy. Get with the program. The brewery has a pirate theme. Do you live in a cave or something*?
    •  
      This castle is on top of a mountain in Germany
      
    • Thursday also has a serious line-up of Sierra Nevada beers at The Fred Bar. They have some beers from the Beer Camp Series (Double IPA, Juniper Black, and Pitch A Tent--all very rare, the last one is a DIPA with lavender), Life And Limb, Estate Harvest and Northern Hemisphere Harvest. I had the Estate (made with all SN-grown hops and malts) in Denver. Awesome. In attendance will be Terrence Sullivan from the brewery. He is the Assistant Brew Master and Field Educator. So get out into the field and get educated. Terrance's appearance is a real treat. I have met him a few times myself. You can get in The Fred after 6:00 pm. The SN guys are having a meeting down there from 5:00 to 6:00. Sorry.
    • On Friday at Lindbergh Taco Mac, we have some more Heavy Seas specialties. They have the Great Pumpkin, and the Greater Pumpkin and the Hop Haaarvest, but also a keg of the Greater Pumpkin from 2010. We aged a keg that was bourbon aged, for that extra-mellow pumpkin/whiskey drinking experience you've always wanted. There is also some Heavy Seas Marzon and Peg Leg Stout. That stout is being discontinued temporarily while they get caught up on some other brews. Better get out and try one while you can. Kevin from the brewery will be there too. He's a super-cool dude. You should know him. And ladies...he's single!
    • Decatur is going to tap a Terrapin Wake And Bake cask at 6:00 pm on Friday as well. This beer was kegged specially for this event, so it is truly a sneak peek at this year's batch of Terrapin's Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout.
    •  
      Ayinger brewery. Now I can die a happy man.
      
    • To fully emphasize the "ATL" in Atlanta Beer Week, Taco Mac at The Prado is featuring beers from all eight Georgia-based breweries. If you are unfamiliar with some of the newer or smaller local breweries, well, get with the program. If you spend money on locally brewed beer in locally owned bars and restaurants, your hard-earned dollars go directly to supporting businesses in your area. As if beer didn't make you feel good enough on its own, now you're stimulating the local economy. Prado will have such specialties as: the new Jail House Witness Protection (a black ale), SweetWater Goulash (new Dank Tank release), Red Brick Smoked Vanilla Gorilla (delicious), Wild Heaven Eschaton Quad (also delicious) and Terrapin Oaked Big Hoppy Monster (monsterous of flavor). O'Dempsey's, Red Hare and Monday Night Brewing will all be represented with some of their flagship brands as well. To my knowledge, this night, along with tonight's all-GA Harvest Beer Dinner at Deckard's, are the only events to feature regional breweries exclusively and extensively.
    That concludes our coverage of ABW. Satuday is the big beer fest in Decatur, so we aren't doing anything that day. Plus, everyone is watching football, so beer events on Saturdays in the fall are not a big hit for us. The last thing I have for you is tomorrow's Dogfish Head Ancient Ales beer dinner. There are four seats left if anyone is interested. Can't believe that any sane beer lover would miss this, but oh well. Your loss.

    * If this tough economy has forced you to live in a cave, I apologize for the insult. If you choose to live in a cave, tent, lean-to, shanty or ramshackle hut of some sort, more power to you. It's your life. Do what you want with it.
      PS--I finally located where in my computer this crappy Kodak software sent my pictures from Germany. I will sent out a few as time and space allows. Enjoy.
    
    
    Oktoberfest Chicken and beers at Hofbrau Haus, Munich
    

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    This Good Life Is Killing Me

    
    Road into Red Rocks, and part of ramp on left
     OK, so maybe that title is a bit of an exaggeration, but check this out:
    • Two days at GABF, including the Denver Rare Beer Tasting. (Wow.) Followed immediately by...
    • Two days of concerts at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater up in the mountains outside of Denver. Followed by...
    • A flight back to the ATL, where I un-packed and re-packed in the same evening in order to drive to Charlotte in the morning. I am here to prep the new store for opening on Thursday. I just prep the beer though. It got a serious pep talk today, and it is ready to give its life for you, the customer.
    • Not too bad so far, right? I mean, I got to sleep at home once in eight days. I'll just drive home early Friday morning after the new store opening party. (Translation: Mega-ouch.)
    • I better rest up on Saturday, because I am going to the Falcons/Packers game on Sunday night. Let's hope they play better against Green Bay this year than they did in last year's playoff game. That was brutal, in case you have not managed to completely erase that part of your memory by now. So not much sleep that night...
    • Red Rocks filling up fast....
    • And our Atlanta Beer Week events get into full gear on Monday. We actually have events on Saturday and Sunday too, but you won't see me at those. Either way, I am coming off a rough week into another rough week followed by a super-rough week. A complete run-down of ABW events will follow.
    First of all, I am not crying about my schedule. I mean, it's not like I haven't been training my whole life for this. All I am saying is that if you see me out and I look tired, you'll know why. People my age are not supposed to be tearing it up like this for weeks on end. But like I've said before, I am a professional. And as a wise writer once said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Things got pretty crazy there for a while in my younger days, and here I am now, getting paid to drink beer. So by "professional", I don't mean that I am any better than anyone else. Tennis pros aren't better people than people who play tennis for fun. They just get paid to do it. I'm not better than anybody else (in particular*), I just got lucky that I found a way to get paid for what used to be a destructive lifestyle. The first person to hire me into this business probably should not have done that, but I am glad he did. Thanks Frank, wherever you are.

    So the BIG Atlanta Beer Week events are the two beer dinners. Let me elaborate:
    1. Tuesday the 11th at Deckard's is the First Annual Georgia Harvest Beer Dinner. Chef Matt has put together an amazing seven-course menu with locally sourced ingredients. I paired a beer from seven different local breweries with each course. There are still a few seats left, so if you want to get in, click here.
    2. 
      Night settles, and a beach ball in the air
      
    3. The following day at our Lindbergh Center store there is a very special beer dinner featuring Dogfish Head's Ancient Ales. If you are unfamiliar with the Ancient Ales series, click here. These are the beers that Dogfish Head recreated from remnants of drinking vessels from archaeological digs around the world. The youngest recipe is from Finland from 900 years ago. The oldest is 5000 years old from Turkey, and the series has stops in China and Honduras along the way. Nick from the brewery will be there to teach you all about the different beers, and Chef Peter has made a terrific menu with influences from some of the unexpected ingredients in these beers. You can view the menu and/or buy seats by clicking here. This event will also feature a very rare Dogfish Head draft beer featured only once before in Atlanta. All of these beers were sent down here specifically for this event. You don't want to miss it. There are still a few spots remaining.
    That's enough about the big events. From here on out, we're going to move pretty quickly. Take a deep breath and...here we go:
    1. Saturday the 8th Decatur TM is tapping a dry-hopped Duck Rabbit Porter cask at 5:00 pm
    2. Saturday the 9th Decatur TM is tapping a fresh cask-conditioned keg (not a firkin**) of Lagunitas Maximus IPA.
    3. Monday the 10th Kennesaw TM is tapping their Wild Heaven Eschaton Quad. More stores are likely to follow, but we only got enough of these kegs for four locations. Stay tuned for more details as they arise. This beer is really unique in that is was made with all malt, not any of the Belgian candi sugar that is so well know for that style. And it is goooood. If the keg of the new Jail House Witness Protection shows up in time, they will be tapping that too.
    4. Monday the 10th Decatur TM has the following kegs of beer from Stillwater Artisinal Ales, a relative newcomer to the GA market. This is one of those really esoteric breweries that pushes the envelope in every way (Translation: Delicious, but not cheap!). The brands are: Stateside Saison, Autumnal Ale, and Cellar Door.
    5. Tuesday the 11th at The Fred Bar you can get some of these great new Left Hand releases: Beer Week Sauce is a coffee Porter that was described by a Left Hand employee as, "One of the best beers we've ever made"; Fade to Black 3 is a high-gravity chili Porter; and Biere de Garde is an up-and-coming style. If you are not familiar with the style, it's time to get acquainted with it. Expect an Amber Ale with a hint of Belgian-y-ness in there. A person from the brewery will be there in the evening around 8:00 pm. You should meet him. He is awesome. We will start getting into the special beers around 7:00 pm.
    6. Also on the 11th, you can get the same three Left Hand beers at Decatur TM. In addition, they will have some Terrapin/Left Hand collaboration Pea-otch. (Say it like you are referring to a woman you do not like at all. But that word starts with a "b" and rhymes with "itch". Commonly enuncited with emphasis on the first syllable, and further empahsized by elongating the first vowel sound into "eee-yatch". OK, it's "beee-yotch" for anyone out there who needs me to just come right out and say it. You happy now? I probably offended someone. Good job.) They will also be tapping a Terrapin Oaked Big Hoppy Monster and a So Fresh And So Green, Green. Can you feel the Terrapin/Left Hand love in the room?
    7. Next on Wednesday the 12th at Decatur TM there are more wild and wacky beers for you. Heard of Mikkeller? If not, then you are missing out on probably the most avante-garde brewer of the 21st Century. This guy (in Denmark) made just about everyone in the world go, "What the f--k is this guy doing?" And now there a bundle of copy-cats and wannabes. Taste the original freak gypsy brewer's Black Hole Imperial Stout Aged In Cognac Barrels, or the Single Hop Series--Challenger, or the Jackie Brown. The same night at the same store there will be kegs of Emilesse Espresso Stout from one of Belgium's newest "rock-star" breweries, and a keg of Dieu du Ciel Corne du Diable. No clue what that last one is? Check an old blog post from my trip to Montreal last summer. Canadian beer, despite what many people think, isn't just for funneling anymore.
    That is as far as I can get right now. Tomorrow I will give you the deets on the rest of the week. (If you don't know what "deets" are, ask the nearest bee-yotch.) But before I go, I need to break down the whole week of tappings at our Suwanee store. They have a different Terrapin beer each day, some of them are unusual, so check this out:
    • Monday: Practice your urban slang in Gwinnett drinking some Pea-otch! This beer will be gone quick, and Midnight Project beers (the ones made with Left Hand folks) never get re-made.
    • Tuesday: Oaked Big Hoppy Monster. Terrorize your taste buds, if you can handle it....
    • Wednesday: PumpkinFest! A fall classic, but in very short supply this year (the brewery is busy, busy, busy these days).
    • Thursday: Moo-Hoo from 2010. Where did that come from? Yes, Brewniversity credit seekers, this is a new credit. Expect the sweetness to have died down a bit. Also, expect no one else in town to have a vintage dated Moo-Hoo, at least to my knowledge.
    • Friday: Hoptaneous Combustion. This release came and went so fast, it was on fire. Get it? These guys in Suwanee got a keg. Wow.
    • 
      The stage is in front of a rock
      
    • Saturday: A fresh keg of everyone's favorite, Hopsecutioner IPA. Great job saying "I love you" to local beer, Suwanne folks. Enjoy.
    So like I said, that is the list for now. We have some big things planned for Thursday and Friday the 13th and 14th, so don't think that we are done. I apologize that we do not have events all over the metro area. Right now we need to focus energy on less, but bigger events. More is not always better. If you live in Fayette, Coweta or Cherokee counties, we have something big coming both of your ways in March. Much love to all of you in Taco Mac Land. Have a great week, and come say "hi" if you are in Charlotte tomorrow for the new store opening.

    * Some people are better than others. I am better than criminals, philanderers, and most other people driving on the road at the same time as me, etc. I am not better than teachers, nurses, volunteers at shelters and elderly care centers. No, those people got me beat.
    **Cask-conditioned beer can be served from a firkin, which can quickly compromise the flavor of the beer as it oxidizes. It can also be served from a regular keg, treated specially and served specially, to get the same flavor effect without the spoilage issue. Camps are divided between purists and "others". Both sides have valid arguments. However, I see a death-match between them brewing on the horizon. I see a horrific slap fight between about four to five people, where someone eventually gets bee-yotch slapped into next week, and then cries. Because really people, it's beer. Try to be professional.

    PS--I swear that I took a bunch of pictures at GABF, but I can't seem to locate them in my camera right now. These are just from Red Rocks, which is a natural stone aphitheater that was made into a medium-sized concert venue in Colorado. High desert, sedimentary rocks of red limestone (maybe; hey, I'm not a geologist), a stage, and beer vendors and... how did a concert happen way up here? The first pic is the road into the mountains. Look at the ramp on the right that takes you up, up, up into the mountain and into the arena. The next pic is of the left wall of the place, with concert-goers filling in the bleacher-like seats. The third pic is that same rock at night. Another giant rock bordered the other side of the venue, but those pictures came out poorly based on where the sun was setting. The final picture is a daytime shot of the stage in front of a smaller, but still really large, red rock.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    For Me? You Shouldn't Have!

    Yes folks, it is another birthday weekend for yours truly. Luckily, there is something going on for my birthday that is...oh, kind of cool: the Great American Beer Festival! That's right, day two of the GABF is on my birthday this year. So if you were wondering if I have any pull in the beer world, well, there you go. Just kidding, it is a total coincidence. Or is it...(cue X-Files music, if you are old enough to know what that is)?

    Anyway, I will regale you with stories about that after it all goes down. I leave on Thursday for Denver. Coming back on Monday. But first, you need to know about a few critical events that I know you will be excited about. Atlanta Beer Week is coming up, and we have some doozies on the agenda.
    1. We kick things off with the Harvest Beer Dinner at Deckard's. This is a seven course meal of locally sourced foods and beers. Yes, each course is served with a beer from a different Georgia brewery. You can view the menu in an older post, or go to the Deckard's web site. Do that, because that's where you pay for seats anyway. The date is Tuesday, October 11th. This is chef Deckard's first beer dinner since his triumphant tenure doing beer dinners with me for years. Please do yourself a favor and check out the menu. Just go to http://www.kitchenandkegs.com/ and click on "Food". I know that it hard to think of October events in September, but October starts on Saturday, so get moving. Space is starting to get limited.
    2. On Wednesday, October 12th we have another beer dinner at Lindbergh. This is the Dogfish Head Ancient Ales Beer Dinner. Don't know what Ancient Ales are? These are the beers that DFH has recreated from archaeological evidence from four cultures, dating back 3000 years. This event has been on the "DL" for a while because, well, it is going to be a big hit. If I were you, I would go to http://www.tacomac.com/ before it sells out. Click on "Events". You will be fine from there. It's a web site, not a puzzle. You can do it. There is one special surprise beer too. I can't tell you about it, but you want it. You really, really want it. There will be a DFH guy there too, so if you were always wondering what those wacky dudes look like in person, this is your chance.
    3. On Thursday there is a HUGE event with Sierra Nevada at The Fred Bar. Details will be coming later, but a very inportant Sierra Nevada brewer will be there, plus lots of specialty beers you don't see often/ever. Just be there. Stop screwing around.
    I have more things planned, and I will get you all of the info next week. For now, just sign up for these two beer dinners, clear your calendar during beer week, and set aside a lot of money. You will either be drinking a lot all week, or be sorry that you didn't. Time for the pros to clock in, and the amateurs to start getting their Halloween costumes together. Because the real party starts early in October people. Bye...

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Event Round-Up!

    Below is the Pay Pal link for the Tequila School this Saturday at The Fred Bar. This thing is a steal at $25.00. That, of course, is on purpose. We like to do some events that are designed to show you folks some new and different things that we can do. We all know that you can get great beer and food and watch the game and all of that stuff at Taco Mac. These little educational classes are just something else fun for you to do, in the comfortable environs of a familiar setting, with other like-minded people.

    The class runs from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, and you will get beers paired with four different tequilas (all really good stuff), plus some light apps. The beers are for you to sip on in between tequila tastings, plus, you're a beer person. Beer needs to be involved. Done. But the tequilas will be the star of the show, and tequila expert Francisco will be on hand to walk you through everything you ever needed to know about tequila. If you don't know much about tequila--or distilled liquors in general--this is a great way to learn. His presentation won't last the full two hours. Trust me, this is just called "school". We don't intend to bore you to death like real school.

    I think the main benefit to anyone attending this class will, of course, be the education. But the auxiliary benefit will be that this knowledge is not something that many people possess. The next time you have company over, you can serve some quality tequila and also be able to speak intelligently about it. Just think how sophisticated and well-travelled you will appear. Just think how jealous that jerk neighbor will be when everyone is impressed by your superior intellect and charm. And all you single guys...how about showing the ladies that you are the kind of smart and desirable partner that they are looking for to procreate. Because let's face it, attraction is pretty much biological. Why are fit people more attractive? Because they appear to have good genes, capable furthuring your genetic code to an offspring. Why is stupidity unattractive? Because stupid people make stupid babies, who have a lower survival rate. We're going back to caveman times here people. The dumb, deformed, buck-toothed caveman had a much harder time getting a mate than the good-looking cave man. Especially when the good-looking cave man realized that if he got in the lake every now and then and washed off some of that stank, then things were really happenin' when the camp fires went out. Fast-forward to modern times. Do you want to be the dumb guy with the light beer and the funnel, or do you want to be the one who gets to mate? Be smart. Get to mate. You can thank me later. Here's the link:


    Also, I mentioned the October Harvest Beer Dinner at Deckard's on Tuesday, October 11th. If you want to find a link for that, use this one. In a nutshell, this is a seven course dinner with dishes paired with seven different beers from seven different Georgia brewers. That link takes you to a place whre you can view the menu and/or just pay for the dinner. For those of you who remember when Matt Deckard did Taco Mac beer dinners, you know he rocked the house. This menu looks outstanding, and it appears that his house-rocking days are not over.

    More event details to come as we approach Atlanta Beer Week, but that should give you all a few things to consider this week. Thanks, and talk to ya later.

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Georgia Harvest Beer Dinner

    OK everyone....Here comes the menu for the Harvest Dinner at Deckard's that I told you about. If you want to come, CLICK HERE to reserve your seat....and take a look at the menu below. Remember, 7 courses all featuring locally sourced ingredients, and 7 different beers all in GA. Celebrate Harvest season and support your local Breweries!

    For those of you that have been around for a while, this is Matt Deckard's triumphant return to beer dinners from which he has been absent for the last year and a half due to the opening of his new restaurant, and he has pulled out all the stops. Take advantage of this opportunity to indulge yourself in Matt's genius cooking as well as check out Deckard's American Tavern if you haven't been there yet. I'm willing to bet you will want to return on a regular basis.


    Sweet Grass Goat Cheese Flat Bread, local watercress, roasted Georgia peppers
    Wild Heaven Invocation--
    Belgian-style golden ale with hints of dried fruit. Noble and West Coast hops lend an earthy spiciness, and a Belgian yest contributes a dry yet fruity finish.

    Spotted Trotter Brat Corn Dog, Allison’s Blackberry honey dijon
    Terrapin Rye--
    The flagship Pale Ale from Athens is nicely hopped, but still well balanced. The rye malt contributes a nutty component that is this classic beer’s signature.

    Wild Georgia Shrimp, grilled Spotted Trotter bacon, Georgia squash hash
    SweetWater Georgia Brown--
    Designed to be a session beer (i.e. you can have a few!), this Brown Ale has a slight nuttiness from its ample dark malts, while still maintaining a smooth, drinkable character.

    White Oak Pastures Lamb Meatballs “Swedish style”
    Monday Night Drafty Kilt--
    A Scotch Ale style from one of Georgia’s newcomers. This full-bodied, ruby-colored beer has malty sweetness, tempered by a hint of smokiness from malts smoked over oak.


    Tasso stuffed Georgia Plantation Quail, local field peas, peanuts, natural jus
    Jail House Mugshot IPA--
    Featuring an “arresting” lineup of Warrior, Chinook, Cascade and Sterling hops, balanced by malty flavors for a nice, dry. finish. This is what American IPA tastes like.


    BrassTown Pork Porchetta, braised Georgia kale, Georgia apple pickles
    O’Dempsey’s Big Red--
    What’s big, delicious and red all over? An Irish-style Red Ale with North American attitude, that’s what. All of the body you want, with just the right amount of hoppy goodness.

    Pumpkin - Porter Whoopie pie, candied pecan ice cream
    Red Brick Porter--
    This beer is determined to let the world know that great dark beer can be brewed in the American Southeast! Dark, rich, and smooth, with hints of cocoa, coffee and roasted malts.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Time to Hit the Books...With your FACE!

    Just kidding, nobody falls asleep in Tequila 101. That's right folks, can you say, "Tequila class!" The date is Saturday, September 24th. Some of you may recall that a year or so ago we did one of these in the evening on a weekday. It was a great turnout and a spectacular event. This time though, we are going to use that Saturday 3-5 pm time slot that has been working so well. You can get some stuff done around the house (or just stay in bed), then spend a few hours learning something (now you're really being productive), enjoy some afternoon libations, and be home in time for dinner. We will be holding this at The Fred Bar. DON'T WORRY! The TV's will be on, and the programming will consist of football.

    But here is the deal, for $25.00, you get to try four different tequilas, plus a beer to help wash it down. I will pick Latin American beers of varying degrees of darkeness to compliment the different varieties of tequila you will be tasting. I mean, you can't just sit there and pound tequila all afternoon. Plus, you are beer people. I get that. A guy named Francisco will be there to educate you on the tequlias that you are drinking. This guy is an expert in the field. This folks, is what he does for a living. Me, I do beer stuff for a living. Francisco does tequila stuff for a living.

    Now in case you were wondering how you were going to get home after four beers and four shots of tequila, let me explain a few things.
    1. You will have some light apps on the table as well. Chips and salsa, some flautas, that kind of thing.
    2. The beers will be 8oz. portions, so like 2/3 of a beer.
    3. Tequila will be served in 1oz. portions, which is 2/3 of a measured shot.
    So as you can see, this event is not only a great value, but your personal safety is a concern. I don't want any of you staggering in the house at 5:30 and getting a fight with the spouse/signigicant other/booty call/voice in your head.

    The tequilas will be Don Julio Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, as well as the new Don Julio 70th Anniversary. These are high-end tequilas, on par with the Patron (cough...overpriced....cough, cough) brand that seems like a household name these days. So if you feel like coming to this event, there is a Pay Pal link below. Space is linited to 25 people. This will count as a Brewniversity credit. Because hey, the "--niversity" in "Brewniversity" means you need to learn something, and it doesn't have to be ALL about beer. As long as beer is involved. Hope to see you guys there.




    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Updates And Clarifications

    Here are the locations serving Red Hare beers on Wednesday, along with the (APPROXIMATE!) times that the guys** from the brewery will be there. I hope you get a chance to get out and continue supporting Georgia brewers. Have a great week.

    Suwanee* & Prado @ 6:00 pm
    Decatur & Woodstock @ 7:00 pm
    Metropolis & Kennesaw @ 8:00 pm
     
    *Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd., not Peachtree Pkwy.
    **One "guy" per location.
     
    Enough with the disclaimers. Now some clarification:
    • OK, maybe I didn't "look at the calendar" (picture me talking, but making air quotes). In fact, that may have caused me to give you the "wrong information" regarding an October event. I mean, it's not like anything down anyway. "He'll remind us like 5 or 6 times between now and then." That was you talking or thinking, possibly both if you talk to yourself out loud. So the big Harvest Beer Dinner at Deckard's is Tuesday, October 11th. The menu will be posted this week once we make it look pretty. But let me tell you, the food looks incredible just in regular old letters on paper. Seven course, all paired with some of the outstanding beers from seven different local breweries. This will be part of Atlanta Beer Week, but more on that later this month.
    Now before I go, I have one last reminder: Mall of Georgia, this Sunday night at 6:30 pm. Get your seats early for the big Eagles/Falcons game and drink some tasty Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster from a cask. OK, I know that Atlanta did not exactly look like a contender yesterday. Well they lost game 1 last year and finished 13-3. So don't freak out. And I watched the Eagles yesterday for a while. Until the Rams' starting running back went out of the game, they were handling the Eagles just fine. Have a great week everyone.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Is It A Six-Pack Or Another Name For A Support Group?

    I hope everyone had a good week and is ready for the weekend. I have some reminders and some brand new events for you folks. This list is going to take us into October, so you may want to enter these into that hand-held device that has recently taken over your life. Here we go:
    1. Tonight at The Fred Bar you can taste all of those crazy Mikkeller and Stillwater beers I told you about. They open at 5:00pm, so the drinkin' starts immedialtely after that.
    2. On Wednesday we will be releasing Red Hare's Gangway IPA and Long Day Lager at the following Taco Mac locations: Decatur, Kennesaw, Metropolis, Perimeter, Prado, Suwanee and Woodstock. The guys from the brewery will be making their rounds in two groups, so depending on what time you are at where you are at, you might be able to meet them. More details will be coming next week when we have their whereabouts finalized. Feel free to ask them anything. Like, "How in the hell did you guys open a brewery in Marietta with virtually nobody knowing about it until now?" That's a good place to start. I met one of them earlier this week, and he was about as pleasant as he could be. Try to make it out on Wednesday, if you like to support local breweries. More on this later....
    3. Next Saturday the 17th is the big SausageFest at Deckard's American Tavern. Here is the skinny: $15.00 gets you all-you-can-eat sausages from Atlanta's own Spotted Trotter (support your local sausage stuffers!). You can chooses from four different varieties. Beers are served a la carte, and you can chooses from lots of Oktoberfest beers, or any of the great selections Decakrd's has pouring that day. You can also get a super-fresh Terrapin PumpkinFest from a cask. That's going to be delicious, and you can support local breweries by having one--everyone wins! There will be a live band rockin' out on the patio and all of that fun and festive stuff. Come by and see for yourself why the slogan for SausageFest is, "Let it all hang out!" I came up with that one myself. Hey, I never claimed to be mature.
    4. The following Sunday the 18th, the Mall of Georgia Taco Mac is going to tap a firkin of Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster around 6:30 pm. Why Sunday? Why 6:30 pm? Just open up your NFL schedule and see what's happening that night. If that doesn't clear things up, please enroll in "Football 101" by sitting in any Taco Mac this Sunday. You'll figure it out pretty quickly. And hey, this cask is yet another opportunity to--you guessed it!--support local brewers.
    5. Did I say local brewers? Indeed. How about a beer dinner that showcases one beer from all seven GA breweries? What a great idea. Good thing we already thought of it. So you'll want to check out the 2011 Harvest Dinner at Deckard's on Tuesday, October 12th. That menu is being worked on right now, so stay tuned. The seven GA brewers are SweetWater, Red Brick, Terrapin, O'Dempsey's, Wild Heaven, Jail House and Monday Night. OK, so there's eight with Red Hare, but this idea happened before we knew about those guys. And yes, I know that there are some great brew pubs in Georgia, but for legal reasons, we can't offer their beers. If you need a lesson in alcohol laws, just attend one of my events and ask me. I don't want to bore people with that business here. And before anyone goes running around criticizing Georgia for outdated laws, I need you to know that it's like that in every state. Brew pubs are brew pubs, breweries are breweries. A donkey isn't a horse just because it has long ears and a tail.
    On the repetitive theme of supporting local breweries, I just have one more thing to say: It is easy to walk around telling everyone that you "support local breweries". But I need you to look at your receipt the next time you go out drinking. Look in your grocery cart the next time you are at the store. Take a peek in your fridge the next time you have company over. If you don't see local beer in any of these places, then shut up. If you support local beer, that means that you buy local beer.

    And the last thing I have for you is some (more) reading material. Ever looked at a newspaper and thought, "I wish that was just all about beer, and wasn't made out of paper"? Well think no more, because your prayers have been answered. Check out Beer Street Journal by clicking here. I don't want to go into all of the details right now, but for simplicity's sake, I know these people, and they do good work. I fully authorize you to enjoy a second piece of on-line literature. Enjoy.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Sale Of The Century!

    Look how happy I am!
    Let's begin by reviewing a few events. Not "review" like express opinions about events that have already happened. I mean like "preview" events that I already told you about. We are going to review the preview. Everybody with me? Here we go:
    1. Next Friday the 9th there is a Gypsy Beer take-over at The Fred Bar. Go taste some great beers from brewers without breweries. Crazy, I know. These are some out-of-this-world Mikkeller and Stillwater beers. Please be forewarned, these beers are rare and strong (Translation: Expensive!).
    2. Here is a link to a Facebook event that you should know about. I suppose some of you know what "Facebook event" means. I don't really, but that shouldn't stop you form checking it out. I have no beef with Facebook, it's just that at my age, Facebook is not my #1 method of communication and social interaction. I am not saying anything bad about it, just that it isn't my style. But who cares about that, when that link will tell you more about the Deckard's First Annual Anniversary Sausage Fest! That's right, it's September, and if you aren't thinking about giant mugs of beer and tasty sausages, well, you probably should be. The fest will feature four different types of locally made sausages, and it is all-you-can-eat. That's right, for $15.00, you can keep ordering plate after plate until you feel that you have reach the right level of sausage-intake density. There is no prize for winning, so don't hurt yourself people. And when you think about it, who isn't a winner when there are unlimited amounts of sausages to cram into your face? OK, so the pigs and chickens and cows aren't winners, but if I tasted that good, I'd want people to eat me too. But as I've said before, this isn't Fred's Sausage Page, so we should probably talk about the beer. Terrapin PumpkinFest...in a firkin (very rare). Bell's Oktoberfest (rare). Spaten and Ayinger Oktoberfests (two true Bavarian breweries I visited in February--awesome), and many other Oktoberfest beers to choose from. Giant mugs. Live band. What more do you want? Sorry, the beer is not all-you-can-drink because, frankly, people have a hard enough time controlling their alcohol as it is, so why encourage them to be dumber than they already are. Not you. No, clearly based on your choice of internet-based reading material, you are of a superior intellect. Did I mention that all-you-can-drink events are also illegal? Yep, and for a reason. People have to be protected from themselves. If you are still reading, this is where I tell you that the Sausage Fest is Saturday, September 17th in the afternoon. Clear your calendars people. This is going to be cool.
    Did I mention giant mugs of beer yet? In case you forgot "Boot Mania 2010" or even last year's installment, "Boot Mania II", that is where you could get a one-liter glass boot filled with Warsteiner beers. And you got to keep the boot. Was it a popular program? It isn't called Boot Mania for nothin'. This year, though, we switched it up a bit. This year we have one-liter dimple mugs, just like the ones they use in Bavaria for Oktoberfest. These, however, can be bought filled with our September beers of the month from Sierra Nevada. OK, so not "traditional" beers for Oktoberfest, but who cares? Trust me, the liter of Torpedo I had yesterday tasted about as good as any beer possibly could have tasted. Here is the kicker: These are available for $16.00--filled with beer ($17.00 at Philips Arena)! These mugs are going for $34.98 on e-Bay (with a Hofbrau Haus logo), and $24.95 on http://www.mybeersteins.com/, and there is no logo on 'em! These have a sweet Sierra Nevada logo on them that looks great. Last night (September 1st) we went through about 1/3 of the nearly 4000 of these we have. Want a giant Sierra mug full of beer? The you better act now folks, because these are bad ass and going fast.

    If you are wondering why these are so cheap, it's because we're crazy, and we love our customers.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    PS--If you are upset about the September beer dinner selling out, keep Wednesday, October 13th open. I have something for you that is going to cause a stampede.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Mark Your Calendars!

    
    Terry's 2000th beer was the Reunion 2011 cask
     Looks like it is going to be a busy September out there beer drinkers! Get your pencils and pens out and start writing down some key dates to remember. Let's begin:
    1. Newnan is breaking out some cellared beer to wrap up the summer in style. These are all vintage dated beers from 2010, so they are new credits for Brewniversity members if you do not already have the '10 dated ones on your list. Tonight there will be a keg of Allagash Curieux '10, plus bottles of Brooklyn Local 1 '10 and Local 2 '10. Saturday they have a (small) keg of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack  and Ken's '10. Then on Sunday there is a keg of SweetWater Happy Ending '10. I guess they want to end the month...happily. That is some great stuff guys. Enjoy.
    2. On Thursday, September 1st, begin a new month with an old ale. More specifically, a firkin of Burton Bridge Thomas Sykes Old Ale at The Fred Bar. Don't act like you know what that is. Nobody does. I don't, but I sure want to drink some. Basically this is a super rare and expensive cask of really strong beer from England. You probably don't want to miss it.
    3. More action at The Fred Bar on Friday, September 9th! This time it is the Gypsy Brewer Take-Over. A "gypsy brewer" is the term for a brewer that doesn't have his or her own brewery, but instead brews their own recipes on other people's brew systems. Most of the time these turn out to be really crazy and exotic brews. What we have for the 9th are 3 beers from Mikkeller, the notorious Danish gypsy brewer, and three more from his American counterpart, Brad Stillwater. And, of course, a collaboration beer brewed by them both. Expect the unexpected, and expect to need a ride home. Drink safe, that's what I always say. I actually don't "say" that in a literal sens, but I advocate safe drinking, so you catch my drift. (In case you were not paying attention, that is 7 different beers for this event).
    4. Starting Sunday, September 11th, Deckard's will be adding a new feature whenever the Falcons have a 1:00 pm kick-off: a Bloody Mary bar. For a mere $6.00 you can get a Ketel One Bloody made with Matt's home-made, proprietary mix. Then you can go doctor up your drink with all kinds of gourmet hot sauces, pickled what-have-yous and all that good stuff. If you have never enjoyed a Bloody Mary bar before, well, you haven't really lived. It's a great way to ease into a lazy Sunday watching football. 
    5. Thursday, September 13th there will be a cask of Terrapin Reunion Beer 2011 in Duluth. We need it for the SOLD OUT beer dinner that night, so it isn't getting tapped until about 7:30 pm. This is the 8.5% brown ale made with cocoa nibs, vanilla and chili peppers that I mentioned a week or so ago. Wow was this beer great. I can safely say that this will be your last chance to have it from a cask. Don't miss it.
    6. Deckard's is celebrating its one-year anniversary on September 17th with their first annual Sausage Fest. No, not like your parties in college. This will feature edible sausages in all kinds of iterations. For $15.00 (plus tax), you will have an all-you-can-eat bonanza of stuffed meats. There will be different ones to choose from, and fun side dishes too, so you can try a selection of offerings from Atlanta's own Spotted Trotter sausage makers. This is not a singular sausage event, it's a Sausage Fest! There will be live music, so maybe you can boogie off a little sausage before you gobble down a few more. But wait! There's more. This isn't Fred's Sausage Page, it's Fred's Beer Page, so let's talk about the beer. There will be tons of Oktoberfest beers to chooses from, including the Bell's Octoberfest, which is not that easy to find at all. Ever. Plus you can get liters of Spaten Oktoberfest and Lager. Prost! Tables outside will be set up beer hall style, so be ready to party with some cool folks, elbow to elbow. Did I mention the firkin of Terrapin PumpkinFest? Half pumpkin ale, half Oktoberfest style, 100% delicious, cask-conditioned freshness. All of the beers are a la carte, of course. Look for a Pay Pal link next week once we get final clearance on all of these details. We will pre-sell tickets for the food in anticipation of a sell-out, so if great beer and unlimited sausages sound like your kind of thing, clear this date on your calendar. (Yes, it is a Saturday in the fall, which means football. No, we did not overlook that. In case you have not been to Deckard's, they have TV's. Lots of them. Nice ones too.) How do you like the slogan I came up with: "Deckard's First Annual SausageFest--Let It All Hang Out!"
    Okay, that is a lot of stuff for you to consider. I also want you to mark Wednesday, October 13th on your calendars. That is the date for the Dogfish Head Ancient Ales Beer Dinner at Lindbergh. I don't have time to go into the details right now, but it is going to be out of control. You'll want to be there. If you don't know what "ancient ales" are, look it up. Cool stuff. Have great weekend everyone.