Friday, April 27, 2012

What has two thumbs and digs chicks making casks? Me!
Hey everyone. Fred here. Just a quick reminder about some cool stuff. Like tonight. You can check out the Salute To Smith's at Deckard's and get some cool freebies (while supplies last). I am actually there right now, but don't worry, all of the free stuff is for you guys. I think the best part of tonight's event is the chance to meet Rob Nelson for the importer of Samuel Smith's. If you think I have a really cool job (and I do), wait until you meet some of the people I get to work with. This guy is one of the best in the biz.

Pictured above is Alley, adding jalapenos, cilantro and lime into a firkin of Red Hare Gangway IPA. We did this on Tuesday morning, and you can drink that cask at the Johns Creek store next Saturday. That would be Cinco de Mayo, so now the additional ingredients should start making sense. These customers won the chance to make a cask of their own inspiration, and then have it get tapped at their home store. The other group that won the same contest will be showcasing their cask at Deckard's tomorrow at 2:00 pm. It is a Red Hare Watership Brown with black tea, molasses and orange peel. Come on down and have a pint with me tomorrow afternoon. Sounds tasty doesn't it?
Alley and Joe E., getting ready to stuff a cask.

If you are in the mood for a cask of Heavy Seas Dubbel Cannon, there are two getting tapped tomorrow. One is at Cumming and the other one is at Lindbergh. If you come check out the cask at Deckard's, then you could just slide on over to Lindbergh after that. I know...I have great ideas like that all the time.

The last thing I want to remind you about is the all- German beer dinner at The Fred Bar on May 8th. The menu is below. Seriously, what are you waiting for? All you need to do is to go to www.tacomac.com and click on Events to reserve your spot. During your meal there will be a (silent) slide show of these breweries, using pictures that I personally took while visiting these places. And if you have forgotten how great German beer is lately, because all you have been drinking is hoppy American ales, well, you're not alone. Germany is one of the most important historical brewing cultures anywhere. Come find out why, in case you forgot.


German Beer Dinner May 8
Reception-  
Weisswurst, soft pretzel and sweet Bavarian Mustard

Spaten Lager-   
From one of Munich’s “Big Six” breweries, this classic lager is bright and crisp, with the distinct hop flavor of German noble hops like Hallertau, which are grown in Bavaria.
 



First Course -
Kartoffelsuppe (German Potato Soup)
Weihenstephen Hefe-Weissbier-
 If Bavaria is about true German wheat beer, then Bavaria is about Weihenstephen. Not only the oldest operating brewery in the world, it is also the school where aspiring brewers come to learn the craft from the masters.
 
Second Course-
Poached salmon with white asparagus, olive oil sabayon, ham and cooked eggs
Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen Weiss -
A collaboration with Brooklyn Brewing’s Garrett Oliver, this a hoppy take on a German wheat beer. With an elevated ABV, this “Weissebock” is unique among German beers in that it is dry-hopped.  
 
Entree-
Braised Pork and Spaetzle "Goulash" with cabbage and mushrooms
Aecht Schlerkerla Rauchbier-  
Smoked malts are the signature Bamberg brewing. Using only beech wood, they smoke the malts themselves, and the taste that delivers is delicate compared to the intoxicating aroma. Once you get hooked on smoked beers, you will love them forever.
 
Dessert -
Kirschenmichel (German bread pudding with sour cherries and vanilla sauce)
Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock-
From the tiny village of Aying comes this defining example of the double bock style. Rich and creamy with big notes of chocolate, hints of raisin and coffee, and endless depths of dark malts. 

Alright kids, I gotta take off now. You might want to put that Cinco cask on your calendar. I am gone most of next week in San Diego for the Craft Brewer's Conference, so I may not get around to a blog post while getting prepped for that trip. But you will hear from me soon enough I am sure. Bye.

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Hop" On & Let's Go For A Ride!

There is the label for the new Terrapin Easy Rider. I told you last week how great this beer tasted at the anniversary party, and starting this Thursday, you can find out for yourself. Basically what you are dealing with here is a nice hoppy beer (think IPA) that is only 4.5% ABV. Now before you get too excited and think you can drink fourteen of these things and not get drunk, let me just say that "regular" beer is around 4% ABV, and the last time you drank fourteen of those you threw up on some thing or some one. Most likely a funnel was involved somewhere. You were a mess. Everyone was ashamed to be your friend, and you felt terrible the next day. Please do not repeat that performance with Easy Rider. It may drink easy, but it is going to puke really rough. Just imagine stomach acid, but with a ton of hops added into it. And it is coming out of your nose and mouth all at once. Not pretty. So, like your friends and loved ones continually say, please drink responsibly.

The next pieces of advice I have for you involve some really cool beer events (of course). I am going to go through them kind of quickly, since a few are just reminders:

  1. The "Salute To Smith's" is this Friday at Deckard's American Tavern. We will start giving stuff away around 6:00 pm, or when the Sam Smith's guy gets there. He lives nearby, so I am guessing that he will be there by 5:00 or 5:30. It is a great opportunity to meet one of the coolest dudes in the beer business (him, not me), and to recognize the outstanding beers that influenced two generations of American craft brewers to make real beer. If you feel like brushing up on Smith's beers in a hurry, you can get a tasting flight of four different ones for $15.00, which is a nice price (those beers ain't cheap people).
  2. That same night there is a cask of Heavy Seas Dubbel Cannon at our Cumming store. This store held the record for pouring a cask the fastest (under 17 minutes) until that was broke recently by the Johns Creek location. Maybe you can stop by and help them regain their crown. Be a part of history, because once we drain a cask without ever shutting it off, then we can't ever do it any faster. At least until they invent more powerful gravity, which apparently nobody is even working on these days.
  3. Then on Saturday at 2:00 pm we are back to Deckard's for a super special cask. A few months ago we held a contest for customers to design a special cask with Red Hare. There were so many good suggestions that we awarded two winners. The first one gets tapped at 2:00 pm, and Deckard's was the customers' choice of venue. You can meet the masterminds behind the blend, and taste a Watership Brown cask flavored with black tea, molasses and orange peel. If you can't make it at 2:00 pm, don't worry. The cask is on a widge system, so it will be fresh for days. Don't know what a widge system is? Sounds like you need to come down to Deckard's for a little show and tell. And drinking.
  4. The second winner from that contest is having their cask tapped on Cinco de Mayo, and it will most likely be held at the Johns Creek store. That one will be an IPA with tequila, lime and cilantro added to it. Sounds loco good. 
OK folks, that is all for now. I may share my twitter info with you one of these days. Right now all I have is an account. I haven't tweeted anything. Once I decide to do that I will let you know where to find me if you are a twitter person. Who knows, maybe I will decide that I am not a "twitter person" after all and just ditch it. We'll see. Have a great week everyone.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh. So It's Going To Be That Kind Of Party. Well Alright.

I'm here for the orgy...?
Yes, it was a festive affair at Terrapin for the 10th Anniversary party in Athens this weekend. The weather was beautiful, as you know, and the beer was outstanding, as you might expect. Do you really want me to tell you about all of the fabulous and rare beers you didn't drink? I hope not. Or do you want me to remind those of you that went what you drank, because you got hammered and forgot? Well, you are on your own pal. I don't have time for that today. Let's just say that this was one of those events that you should have gone to, and if you didn't, then I hope whatever you did that was more important made you really happy. Happier than you would have been drinking endless amounts of fabulous beer outside in the sun with a bunch of fun and beautiful people, listening to live music, watching a trapeze artist, submerging Terrapin employees in a beer-filled dunk tank (for charity, of course), playing Frisbee,  and...oh hell. You get the picture. This event was the debut for three beers that you will get to taste really soon: Easy Rider, Tree Hugger and 10th Anniversary. You are going to be really happy with what you are going to get with those, trust me.

But I have some other events coming up that you can--unlike things that have already happened--actually attend. First of all, if you head to The Fred (I made a rhyme) on Thursday, you can meet the big cheese from Penn Brewing in...you guessed it, Pennsylvania! His name is Eric Heinauer, and he Penn's National Sales Manger. There will be Penn Pilsner, Allegheny Pale Ale and Weizen on tap, which I doubt you have seen around town much/ever. This explains why the big cheese is in town. Are you starting to see a pattern here with these events? (Psst...Hey, if you show up around when we open and the dude is there, I bet you he has some stuff to give away. Wink.)


Anyone remember the Salute To Smith's last year? It is a yearly recognition of the outstanding beers that come from Samuel Smith's in England. Before there was craft beer all over the place, they were THE top notch examples of Pale Ale, IPA, Brown Ale, Porter and Oatmeal Stout available anywhere. These beers inspired people here to brew real, flavorful beers with character and respectability. (As a gift from my boss while working at a beer warehouse in Michigan when I was 19, I received a case of half Taddy Porter, half Oatmeal Stout. Yes I was under 21, but this was a gift. I worked hard for that guy, and I deserved it. Mind your own business. Anyway, I took that beer to Chicago to spend the weekend at my girlfriend's parents house while they were out of town [cue the "gettin' busy" music!], and go see the Rolling Stones in concert. It is safe to look back upon that as one of the events that put me on the course that brought me to where I am today. I had 24 opportunities to savor real beer at a young age, and realize that the beaten bath was for beaten people, and real beer was where it is at. So you can say that Samuel Smith's is an important brand for me, personally, and Taddy Porter remains what I compare all others porters to, and always will.) This year we are saluting Samuel Smith's with a special night at Deckard's. On Friday the 27th, you can come in and purchase a flight of their IPA, Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, and yes, the famed Taddy Porter. The cost is a mere $15.00, and while supplies last you can get nifty give-aways like shirts and limited edition glasses. It will be very cool, and anyone who misses out will cry. And they should. I mean, after that trip down memory lane I just took you on, and then you don't even show up to toast the venerable Sam Smith's beers? That's cold. I hope you cry.


Last thing I have for you today is that German beer dinner at The Fred Bar on May 8th. It is exactly half full right now, so if you are planning on going, you might want to get on it pretty quickly. I am not a scientist, so I will not conjecture as to why people struggle to think about an event until the month it happens, but I am here to try to help you overcome that. Sorry people, I can't schedule every event at the end of the month because you are a space cadet. Get it together. You are an adult for Christ's sake. Your mother was right about you. 


OK, so I am off to Chicago-land for a intensive beer training class all week. And yes, I will be reminiscing about long-lost loves and idyllic weekends along the coast of Lake Michigan, drinking Sam Smith's, while the whole universe was making absolute and perfect sense. I can't lie, that shit was bad-ass back then, and it would be just as bad-ass now. Have a great week everyone. But while I am gone, check this place out that is less than five miles from my hotel in Illinois: http://www.bavarian-lodge.com/Site/Beer_List.html . Sometimes things just fall into place.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Fifteen Is My Limit On Schnitzengruben."

Ground Zero for rauchbier deliciousness.
I am attaching a link to the Taco Mac web site. More specifically, to the menu for the upcoming beer dinner on May 8th: http://tacomac.com/wp-content/uploads/German_Web.pdf . Here are the details:

  1. May 8th is a Tuesday.
  2. Location is The Fred Bar.
  3. Reception starts at 6:30 pm. Dinner is sat at 7:00 pm.
  4. Featured beers are...wait for it...wait for it...German beers! That's right, all from different breweries, all of which I have visited.
  5. There will be a slide show running all night on the TV's of my two trips to Germany. So you can see the breweries and surrounding areas of the beers you are drinking. It will be really cool. I took a lot of pictures, and some of them are even good.
  6. The menu is German-themed, and it looks like Christian did a great job with this one as usual.
So take a few minutes to look over the menu if you have time. Seating is limited, so if you are interested, go ahead and sign-up and pay for it soon. These events always sell out. If you have not been to Germany before, then this would be a great way to discover the great food they have. In the U.S., when someone serves German food, it is usually the same thing: sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes, right? Well, the Germans have excellent food. I mean, we don't eat only hamburgers and fries here, but internationally, that is what people think of "American" food. Same with Germany. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of pork, cabbage and potatoes over there, but there is so much else too.

Another thing I am hoping to accomplish at this dinner is to help some of you overcome a phobia. Smoked beer. I love it. Before I had it the right way, I was afraid of it too. But after a day in Bamberg, where smoked beer is king, I was forever hooked. I have a hunch that there are a few more folks out there ready to be converted. And in case you are skeptical, I was with a group of 28 people in Bamberg, and EVERYONE fell in love with smoked beer on that trip. Trust me on this one. Just open your mind, dig into some spaetzel goulash, and gulp down the rauchbier. You can thank me later.

The only other thing I have for you this week is the Terrapin Phlux Capacitor cask at Mall of Georgia on Friday night. This beer was great last week, and I bet it is just as good if not better now. Enjoy.

PS-- Huntsville, AL has a pretty cool little beer scene going on up there. I really had a nice trip up there on Saturday. And if you go the back way, it is a really nice drive. I recommend that you check it out some day. Make sure to stop by one of the Mellow Mushrooms and say hi to my friends who manage them.

PPS-- If you don't get the reference in the title, then it is time to reacquaint yourself with the brilliant mind of Mel Brooks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose

Here are some notable beer events coming up. Some are so close, you can almost taste them. Like tonight....

  • Come to the Taco Mac at Perimeter to taste all three drafts from Blue Point Brewing out of Long Island, NY. There will be Toasted Lager, RastafaRye and Hoptical Illusion available. The brewery's founder, Pete Kotter, will be on hand. No word yet on Vinnie Barbarino and the rest of the Sweat Hogs. If that reference (and the title of this post) are lost on you, then it is time to brush up on your 70's sit-coms. It is true, John Travolta was an actor before Pulp Fiction. Look it up. And there is absolutely no connection to the founder of Blue Point and the fictional Brooklyn high-school teacher played by Gabe Kaplan. At least as far as I know. I bet this guy gets sick of that though. "Jesus Christ people! That show went off the air in 1979. It is 2012. Let it go!" That's what I imagine him saying, or at least wanting to say. Like when people call me Freddy. Nobody that knows me calls me that. No one. Nobody that knows Pete makes Welcome Back, Kotter references (to his face), because they know how much that pisses him off. Plus, there already is a Freddy in Atlanta, and he owns SweetWater. Everyone calls him Freddy, not Fred. There is only room in the Atlanta beer world for one Freddy, and he isn't me. Great guy though.
  • Tomorrow night you can get all goofed up on Clown Shoes beers at The Fred Bar. We will have five on tap and a four more in the bottle. I strongly recommend that you do not try to drink all of these in one night. Attention idiots (you do not know who you are): That is not a challenge! That is strong advice that you should listen to. But you're an idiot, and you don't listen, so why am I even bothering? On hand for the evening will be their national sales director, Arnold Horshack. Just kidding. His name is Mark Metzger. Please be nice to him, and be aware that he does not have any connection to any TV shows either, at least as far as I know. Doors open at 5:00 pm.
  • If you missed that Terrapin Phlux Capacitor cask at Suwanee, well, sucks to be you. But luckily, you get another chance, albeit your last one. Friday the 13th, we will tapping one at the Mall of Georgia location around 6:00 pm. This beer is tasting great, and if you are looking for rare credits, this one will be extinct by the time the sun rises on April 14th. You can make amends for missing this one last Friday. (Pssst....You're welcome.)

That is all I have for you right now. I will be in Huntsville, AL for a day this weekend checking out the blossoming beer scene there. They recently lifted the cap on the 6% ABV law like we did in GA back in 2004, so there is lot of excitement up there around beer right now. Next weekend I am going to the Terrapin 10th Anniversary Party in Athens. If you were planning on going but were waiting to the last minute, you may be s.o.l. on a hotel room. There is a lot going on in Athens that weekend, and I think it is booked solid. Hope you planned ahead. Otherwise, just wait until 2022 for the 20th Anniversary Party, and be more prepared next time. Have a great week everyone, and I hope to see you out and about really soon.

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.