Thursday, January 26, 2012

Slightly Uncomfortable, But Whatever

Ok,so this post is so important that I am sending it from my new phone. I hope it works. This phone is more complicated than I was prepared for, really. Hey phone manufacturers, not everyone is born knowing how to use this shit. Maybe make the manual more "thorough".
But here is the deal: There is a firkin of Bell's HopSlam getting tapped on Wednesday, Feb 1st at Lindbergh. You probably want to be there for that. HopSlam. Cask. February 1st. What else do you want to know?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who Wants To Be A Winner?

You can be a winner, and victory is close at hand...a Victory beer dinner that is. You can look at the menu below, and if you are interested in coming, go to www.tacomac.com. Click on the "Events" link, and from there it is pretty self-explanatory. There is a tiny little link that says "View The Menu", so if you want to do that, go for it. But seriously, it is right down there under this paragraph. More importantly, on the web site there will be a link to Pay Pal to pay for the event. If you do that, I strongly suggest that you use the comment function if you want to specify who you sit with if they are paying separately. This event will sell out, and we seat people according to group size and all kinds of factors. If there are 42 people at this event at 7 tables of 6 seats each, and there are groups of 4, 3, 2 and even 1, we need to seat them in order to seat 42 people at exactly 42 seats. We are happy to accommodate your requests for seating, but it is a mess if we wait until everyone shows up to do that. So please use that handy little function, and we will put you with all of your buddies. If you pay together, then duh, I will seat you all together. No need to tell me that the 4 people paid for by Captain D. Obvious, for example, want to sit together. I knew that already, thanks.


Reception
Herb roasted hen and Fontina toasts
Prima Pilsner--
Heaps of hops give this pale lager a bracing, herbal bite over layers of soft and smooth malt flavor. This refreshing combination makes Prima a classy quencher in the tradition of the great pilsners of Europe.

First Course
Winter greens salad with persimmons, crab,
and lemon vinaigrette
Golden Monkey--
Strong and sensual, this golden, Belgian-style ale glows. The richness of German malts and Belgian yeast are tempered by a sparkling approach and light body, with abundant herbal, fruity notes.

Second Course
Ancho chili rubbed duck breast with candied
citrus sweet potato puree
Hop Wallop--
Celebrating the pioneering spirit of old Horace ‘Hop’ Wallop and those who dare mighty, adventurous things, this is a vivid, robust ale.  A homage to the hop harvest, expect loads of aromatic splendor and bitter beauty.

Balsamic braised  bavette of beef, roasted root vegetables,
stone ground cheese grits
Yakima Glory--
This heavyweight battle between fresh, Yakima Valley hops and dark, roasted malts is resolved harmoniously as the flavors merge to deliver complex satisfaction with a warming edge.

Chocolate stout cake with coffee creme anglaise
Storm King--
With a huge, Pacific Northwest hop aroma and character upfront, Storm King Stout subsides into massive, roast malt complexity. Rich and substantial, this beer will warm your heart.

The dinner is 6:30 pm at the Cumming Taco Mac location. We begin with a casual reception beer and passed hors d' oeuvres, so if you are running late, don't freak out. Dinner is sat at 7:00 pm, so if you get there at 6:50 pm let's say, you are fine.

The other important things that I have for you today involve some fun casks that are waiting to be drank. We have a Heavy Seas Winter Storm at the South Park store in Charlotte this Wednesday. Friday we have a Bell's Double Cream Stout at Lindbergh. This is a first, so if you like great stouts, rare Brewniversity credits or BOTH, you are in luck. I will not be there though, because I will be getting into a cask of Chattanooga Brewing Co.'s Hill City Stout in Chattanooga. Yes, I am going to be in Charlotte and Chattanooga this week, so you may not hear from me the rest of the week.

This Saturday is the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting. If you have tickets, I will see you there. If you don't have ACAT tickets, then you are SOL. It is sold out. Get ready for next year, because it is always the Saturday before the Super Bowl every year. Bu you can still get tickets for the Brew Your Cask Off event at SweetWater on March 10th. In case you haven't been to that before, it is quite an experience.

Alright folks. That is about all the time I have for today. Have a great week, and get out there and drink some damn beer.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dale Comes In Off The Bench

Alicia and the herbed Loose Cannon
I forgot to remind you that we have a last-minute substitution for tonight's cask at Lindbergh. Last week we did Heavy Seas Peg Leg because the Loose Cannon we had scheduled for that day was actually not ours. It was a special cask that the owner of a different bar had helped make while he was at Heavy Seas with me. So we let him have it back, and tapped this week's cask instead. So for tonight, we are tapping next week's cask, which is a dry-hopped Dale's Pale Ale. It should be great. Tap goes in at 6:00 pm. I will be there, if that matters to you at all. It shouldn't. I don't make the beer taste any better or worse.

The rest of the run looks like this: Bell's Double Cream Stout (yes, a firkin of that!) next week, Heavy Seas Below Decks Barley Wine the week after (1/27). If you were wondering how the distributor is going to make it up to us for delivering the wrong cask, then taking it back, I will tell you: A firkin of Bell's Hopslam. Yep. I will let you know when we plan on getting into that. It may go before the Below Decks, but I want to see it before I make any solid commitments to you folks. Expect a stampede of beer lovers when we tap the Hopslam.

That's all I have for you right now. Have a great weekend. Unless you are Tim Tebow. If you are Tim Tebow, I hope you get broken in half tomorrow night. I am sick of seeing you on every TV, everywhere I go. I swear to god that guy was on The Price Is Right this morning. He's everywhere! (And he was not even close to winning the Showcase Showdown round, but somehow...he pulled it off! Won the whole damn thing.) C'mon Patriots, send this guy into the off-season before I smash a television set.

PS--If you missed the Heavy Seas Herbed Loose Cannon cask on Wednesday, I feel bad for you. It was delicious, and trust me, I am my own worst critic. If the one I helped make sucked, I would have said so, but this one was killer. Sucks to be you if you had something more important to do that night. Now go cry yourself to sleep.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions?

Dr. Suess' real name was Theodor Geisel
Well, I am back from a New Year's trip to San Francisco, which was awesome. Anyone who has read this blog for any period of time knows that I love the Bay Area. It has some of the greatest beer, food, music, weather and scenery in the country. I went for the first three on this trip. Some may argue that the weather is not awesome, but those people like to be a lot warmer than I do. Personally, once it gets over 80 degrees, I am pretty unhappy about it. Yes, I live in the south, and I was aware of the warm climate when I moved down here. I came for the economic climate, not the weather. I am from Michigan. People who live in the south think it is way too cold up there, and that anyone who lives there is nuts. Well I got news for you. People up there think that people who live down here are nuts, simply because it is so hot. I just want everyone to keep everything in perspective. Some Sneetches have stars on their bellies, and some don't. Can't we all just get along?

So what did you resolve to do this year? Did you resolve to stop making resolutions? Because that's one of my favorites. If you fail, well, you didn't really set out to accomplish much in the first place. But by failing to keep up your resolution to not make any resolutions, didn't you ultimately resolve to do something? So you can feel good about that, and then go about the new year with a great sense of satisfaction. Just don't think about it too hard. 

I used to resolve, in my younger days, not to step in any dog poop in the new year. Not that it happened all that often, but man did it suck when it did. I mean, what a way to ruin your day, not to mention a shoe. But now everyone is so PC about their dog's poop that they pick it up most of the time, so the "opportunity" to step in it has been virtually eliminated. I needed a new resolution. I needed one that was easy enough to attain. I mean, why set yourself up for failure? The new year should be a positive experience, not a bummer. Who wants to get to the end of the year and go, "Well, let's see...I didn't lose any weight. I didn't read 'War And Peace'. I didn't volunteer at the homeless shelter. I didn't even pick up my dog's poop unless I thought someone else was watching. I am a terrible, worthless person."? Nobody wants that at the end of the year. So I finally found a resolution that is not only constructive (more on that later), it is easily attainable. Life is hard enough. Why make yourself miserable? Go for the low-hanging fruit. Set reasonable goals, then feel great when you accomplish them. Read "War And Peace"? Who has time for that? Resolve to take more naps instead. That is a win-win situation. You accomplished an important goal that you established at the beginning of the year, and you feel great after a nap! If someone calls you lazy for sleeping all afternoon, ask them, "How many of your New Year's resolutions did you accomplish today? Uh huh, that's what I thought. Now who's lazy?".

But the best and most constructive resolution you can make, and you can totally steal this from me if you want, is to drink more beer this year. I know what you are thinking, "But Fred, drinking has already cost me my marriage!". OK, so maybe that person doesn't need to drink any more beer. (But on the upside, they do have some extra time on their hands these days....) But the rest of you need to step it up. You have helped fan the flames of the biggest growth period in the history of American craft beer. Now what are you going to do, just expect it to take care of itself. Is that how you would raise a child? "So since you can walk now, and it looks like you can feed yourself, I guess my work here is done. Here's box of those Cheerios you seem to like so much. Have a nice life kid." No, you can't do that. You made this baby, now take care of it. And I am not talking about real children, I am talking about beer. Thanks to your nourishment and encouragement, these great breweries grew up over the last few years. But they still need you, and now more than ever. So that is why I am offering you, free of charge, my fail-safe New Year's resolution. The one I have succeeded in attaining for years and years, which is to drink more beer in the coming year. You can thank me later.

But how can I claim that this resolution is in the least bit "constructive"? Because by getting out and drinking more beer, there are so many things you can learn. For example, you will go out and meet many new people. Some of whom, you will learn, are wonderful people, and they will become new friends. Some of them...well, they help you learn to choose your words carefully, and help you appreciate that you are not that miserable and insufferable of a person. That is some valuable learning right there. They don't teach that in schools. Thank you, beer. Thank you so much. 

In addition to the valuable social lessons and personal insights beer provides, it also brings happiness. If I have to explain that to you...well, what in the hell is so hard to understand? Beer tastes great and makes you feel good too. And beer tastes better than ever now. There has never been a better time in history to step it up and drink more beer. This is the golden-est age of brewing that Earth has ever known. If you were going to pick one time where you said: "You know, I really want to put forth a strong effort to drink a lot of beer. More beer. Better beer. More of it and more often.", this would be the time. So what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for someone to tell you when and where you might start the new year off right? Then you came to the right place....
  1. Tomorrow the new Taco Mac in Roswell opens on Holcomb Bridge Rd. This is basically a replacement for the older and smaller Ellard Village location that just closed. The new one (we call it East Roswell, not "new Ellard") is across the street and about one mile closer to GA 400. Stop by and soak up that new store smell. I may have a special beer...but that is a secret.
  2. Friday at Lindbergh we start a trio of Heavy Seas firkins to be tapped on consecutive Fridays. The first one is a Loose Cannon IPA. They always dry-hop their firkins of Loose Cannon, so stop by and see what this one has in store for you. LC is one of the best and most solidly consistent cask beers we ever get.
  3. On Wednesday the 11th (next week!) in Decatur we are tapping the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon cask that I helped make in Baltimore in November. This cask has juniper berries, bay leaves, rosemary and cardamom added to it, plus it was dry-hopped with east coast Cascade and Centennial hops. I am very excited to try it, obviously. I helped make the thing, and have been waiting to taste it for six weeks now. There will be two other Loose Cannon casks in two other bars in Decatur that night. One of them was made at the same time I was at the brewery by my friend Jason. So if you love hops, cask beers, pirates, and life in general, then join us for the mini-pub crawl/Loose Cannon Bonanza next Wednesday. It starts at Taco Mac at 6:00 pm. It ends when you say it ends.
  4. Cask number two in the Friday trio at Lindbergh is Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout at on the 13th.
  5. Cask three of the trio is Heavy Seas Below Decks Barley Wine at Lindbergh on the 20th.
That is all I have for you right now. If you want to put a special date on your calendar--and you feel like driving to Charlotte--we have the owner and founder of Stone Brewing, Greg Koch, coming to our South park location on Friday, March 23rd. He will be there for a meet and greet/book signing. The beer line-up is going to border on the ridiculous. Make plans and book a room now. This chance will not happen again for a long, long time.

    PS-- Beer also teaches us a lot about history, geography, agriculture, economics and science. It's all in there, so in all seriousness, why crack open a book? Just crack open a beer. And another one, and another....

    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.