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.
    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 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.