Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Lucky Homebrewer

Hey kids, don't forget about the upcoming submission dates for the Southern Brewers Challenge. Already forgot what that is? No problem, just click here to find out what the hell I am talking about. The dates and locations are as follows:

  • Monday, July 2nd at Taco Mac in Cumming and Peachtree City
  • Monday, July 9th at Taco Mac in Kennesaw and Buford
  • Monday, July 16th at Taco Mac at Prado and Metropolis
  • Monday, July 23rd at Taco Mac in Duluth and Crabapple
  • Monday, July 30th at Taco Mac at Windward Pkwy and Decatur
You have to get your submissions to those places on those dates between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. If you have any direct questions, send them to . As you can see, these dates are fast approaching.

One other thing that I forgot to mention was the upcoming beer dinner. The menu just got posted here, so check it out. It looks awesome as usual, and our chef doing these has been getting rave reviews from recent attendees. This one is called the All-American Extrava-CAN-za guessed it, all of the beer will be served in a can. Look at the big brain on you.

Above and to the right is a picture of Mark, the owner and brewer at Eagle & Lion. As you can see, this is a small system, turning out hand-crafted English-style ales. You ought to go down there and check it out some time. It's worth drive if you are not a south-sider, and really worth the short drive if you are. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Bye.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In The Jail House Now

We took a group of managers down to Hampton, GA to visit Jailhouse Brewing Co. on Wednesday. There is a picture of the brewery. The whole thing. These guys are making some great brews, and we got a sneak peek at the beer we are releasing on Tuesday at Metropolis, Prison Camp Pilsner. This beer was developed by two of their employees (which is basically all of them), and is the first release not formulated by owner/brew master Glenn. People, if this beer is any indication of what these guys can do, this series of beers is going to be a huge hit. This new Pilsner is absolutely delicious, and I tasted it at 10:00 in the morning. I can't wait to try it on Tuesday at a more typical beer drinking time, like 6:00 pm. I strongly recommend that you come out and try it, as well as meet the guys behind it. They will all be there: Glenn, the guys behind the recipe, and Jorge. More on Jorge in a minute.

After we left Jailhouse we went down to the Eagle & Lion brewpub in Griffin. That guy is making all traditional English-style beers, cask-conditioned and served from firkins through a beer engine. If that last sentence did not make any sense to you, then head down to Griffin, have a seat at the bar at Eagle & Lion, and get yourself and education. Authentic, unfiltered English beers are relatively unknown around here, so expect some different styles and flavors than what you are used to these days. The beers were great, and everyone had a great time learning while drinking. All in all, a very successful field trip.

So here is a picture of this Jorge guy. He is doing his internship at Jailhouse while completing his brew master certification program. When he is done, he is going to open a brewery in his native Guatemala. That's right, I said Guatemala. You will soon be able to get full-flavored, crafty beers in a tropical paradise. And apparently it is only a two-hour flight from Atlanta. So this guy will be at Metropolis on Tuesday too, and his story is really cool. I suggest that you spend a few minutes talking to him and hear what he has to say. Sharp dude with a great idea, and I am seriously thinking about going down there after he gets his place open. The city is called Antigua, and it supposed to be beautiful. I found some great pics on the internet. Check out the one below. Better check the volcanic activity forecast before you go. Yikes.

That's all for now. I gotta get this cask of Left Hand 400 lb. Monkey ready hear in Chattanooga. Maybe I will see you on Tuesday. Otherwise, have a great weekend.
Antigua, Guatemala

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blue Grass And Bourbon

Whoa! Another week flew by already, and its Monday again. Sorry that I was AWOL last week. Monday I was swamped with our charity golf tournament. Tuesday and Wednesday I was trying to get caught up from Monday, and then I went to Lexington, KY on Thursday and Friday. In case you forgot, we were going up there to visit the Woodford Reserve distillery to hand-select a barrel of bourbon for our Taco Mac restaurants. Actually we chose two, both with very different flavor profiles, and they will be blended together and bottled later this summer. I don't have time to tell you all about the trip right now, but don't worry, I will. I took a ton of pictures, and it was an awesome experience. If you have ever wanted to visit a distillery, I highly recommend that you try Woodford. The grounds upon which the distillery sits is a beautiful site, with old buildings and trees and flowers and a creek, and just picture postcard stuff everywhere. And to get there you wind through some of the most stunning horse farms with palatial barns that look like anything but a "barn". It is a place that I will definitely return to some day, and hopefully not before too long. I didn't want to leave.

But let's get down to business here. I gotta get back to work. For those of you that don't know, I actually have a job that needs to get done, besides drinking beer and traveling and writing a blog every now and then. Phone calls, spreadsheets, meetings, e-mails...the same stuff most of you have to do on a daily basis. But nobody wants to hear about that stuff, and I am sure that you are no different. You want to hear about beer. Cold, delicious beer. Here you go:

  1. Tomorrow is the Two-For-Tuesday beer event. The upstairs bar at The Prado has a Green Flash release with five different beers on tap from one of San Diego's most renown breweries. Double Stout, Hop Head Red, Imperial IPA, Le Freak and West Coast IPA. We only have a tiny amount of the IIPA, but the rest we will have a good amount of on hand. A couple important guys from the brewery will be there as well. The Fred Bar will be hosting the guys from Heavy Seas, along with a cask of their 2012 Letter of Marque. There will be some other drafts and a few bottles too. Most importantly though, is that Joe Gold from the brewery will be there. This guy is awesome. Make sure you introduce yourself, tell him that you love Heavy Seas, and then enjoy the conversation from there. Joe is a pleasure to talk to, and extremely knowledgeable about his business. This is one of the best guys in a business full of great people. Both events start at 6:00 pm
  2. Then on Wednesday you can meet me at the East Roswell location when we tap as cask of Boulder Mojo IPA at 6:00 pm. This is a rare cask, and the first one that I have ever seen in GA from Boulder Brewing Co.
  3. On Friday I will be in Chattanooga for a cask of Left Hand 400 lb. Monkey. I always look forward to seeing our loyal customers up in Chattanooga, and this time I am getting a room so that I can relax and drink some beers with them.
  4. Next week on Tuesday the 26th we are launching the new Jailhouse Prison Camp Pilsner at the Metropolis store in midtown. The brewery crew will be in house to help kick it off right, and I will be there too. Glenn and the folks from Jailhouse are a cool bunch, so be sure to introduce yourselves to them if you can make it. We'll tap the keg at 6:00 pm.
Those are all of the events for you right now. I added picture below that I took with my phone from Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. That is where they run the Kentucky Derby. This a shot from the Finish Line Suite where we watched the races on Friday. Pretty nice set-up. You can see the track below, and the University of Louisville football stadium in the background. I took more with a better camera, so look for those next week maybe. It was a fun way to spend the day, and to spend some money. Betting on horse racing is not a skill you are born with, and beginner's luck is a figment of some loser's imagination. We all got wiped out in a hurry.
The famous twin spires of Churchill Downs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thank The Lord For The Night Time (Beer Events)

There was a time when this look was manly. Seriously.
Whoa! It has been a while since I posted something here. Last week was a mess: Short week from the holiday, beer event the first day back, and then pretty much just being busy the rest of the week. I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day, but that is pretty much ancient history by now. So let's get started. There is a lot to cover.

First things first, let's look back at the Burnt Hickory event. Number one, the brewery is in Kennesaw, not Acworth. Sorry about that. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. No, really, there's a bunch of garbage out there. It's true, I swear. Anyway, without going over the grisly details, what was expected to be a small gathering on short notice the day after a holiday turned into a mob scene, and we ran out of beer way too quickly. Let's just chalk that one up to experience, because it was kind of a disaster. By "kind of" I mean, "entirely". But that is in the rear view mirror now, and if you are mad about what happened, I probably already apologized to you. Really you should be mad at all of the people who don't normally show up for beer events. I based my expectations on...oh, over fifteen years of planning beer events. The thing wasn't put together by a bunch of amateurs who had no idea what they were doing. I am rarely wrong on my attendance projections, but man was I wrong this time. Moving on though....

This week is pretty quiet, unless you speak Gnome. The Fred Bar is celebrating Gnome Week by tapping a different Chouffe beer every day, starting tonight, and ending on Saturday with a special toast. "Why"--you may be wondering--"is Gnome Week starting on a Wednesday and ending on a Saturday? That's not even a week. Grumble, grumble, grumble." You see, even a week is shorter to a gnome. If you are unfamiliar with the Chouffe brands and their gnome thing, let me enlighten you. The owners actually believe that gnomes not only exist, but that they discovered the brewery, and all kinds of crazy gnome-based weirdness like that. The area where the brewery is located is reputed to be the ancestral home to these creatures etc, etc. This is not some marketing gimmick. They actually are serious about this. So apparently the use of LSD is still popular there too. The culmination of Gnome Week is The World's Smallest Toast at 6:66 pm. For those of you that don't use gnome time--and why would you, the watches would be impossibly tiny and hard to read--that would be 7:16 pm. Oh, those wacky Belgians. The world's smallest toast will be conducted using really, really small glasses, and we have some to give away. These are like the tiniest little mugs you have ever seen, and they have a Chouffe letterhead on them. Tonight we are tapping Houblon Chouffe, tomorrow is the 2012 release of Biere de Soleil (awesome), then Friday is their collaboration with Ommegang called Gnomegang, and Saturday's culmination and toast will feature the original and classic  La Chouffe. Pretty cool idea, all thanks to the wonderful people (and gnomes!) of Duvel-Moortgaat. They own Duvel and Chouffe and Ommegang and all kinds of awesome breweries. So stop by this week and drink some great beers to get revved up for the toast on Saturday. And if you start seeing gnomes running around, just keep it to yourself. Unless you want to wind up in a mental hospital or drug rehab (again).

Next up is the week of June 11th, which is also a little quiet, for a reason I will get to later. But we have a double bill on Wednesday the 13th. At our store in Canton we have a rare and storied cask of He'Brew Hop Manna getting tapped at 6:00 pm. Not only is this the first time we have had this tasty IPA in a cask, but this cask was sent to the brewery, by me, well over a year ago, and lost. Luckily it was empty when it got lost, and once it was recovered, someone miraculously remembered that Taco Mac was the owner of the thing, and they returned it full of fresh IPA. Please come out on the 13th and welcome home our wayward firkin. Secondly on the 13th we are tapping a firkin of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon at the Perimeter location. If you love IPA's, and Canton is a little far for you to travel, them we still have you covered. They will be tapping that at 6:00 pm as well. But wait, there's more! On the 14th at The Fred Bar we will be debuting two new drafts from a small brewery in Chattanooga, TN. It is called the Chattanooga Brewing Co. (or just CBC for short), and these guys are great. If you are interested to learn about what it takes to start up a brewery, they are a lot of fun to talk to. After seeing their brewery, I am surprised that they are coming into GA so soon. Surprised and excited, because we currently do not get any beer from Tennessee in this market.

On Saturday the16th we are hosting the first ever Can Jam at The Fred Bar, and it starts at 5:00 when we open. There will all kinds of fun craft beer in a can. Like more than ten different kinds. Closer to fifteen or twenty. A lot of these are really new or really, really new to the area. There will be some new credits for Brewniversity members, an educational piece on the canning process and all kinds of fun stuff like that. A full list of beers will be available next week. In the meantime, go ahead and look for a You Tube video called "Bud Light Lime In A Can". It is very funny, in a PG-13 way. If you like your comedy no more racy than a Madagascar sequel, this is not for you. For the rest of you perverts out there, it is hilarious.

And why are there only those events that week? Because on Thursday I am going to Lexington, KY to visit the Woodford Reserve distillery. We are going to pick out a single barrel of bourbon with characteristics we like, and then later they will bottle it all and send the bottles to our stores. If you are unfamiliar with bourbon making, each barrel has its own flavor profile based on many different factors: Attributes of the barrel, aging time, temperature and location in the aging room, etc. The distillers blend multiple barrels before bottling to get the precise flavor profile they desire. But we are going to just pick one barrel (we will be tasting a bunch of them) and get the whole thing bottled up for us. There will some events and such surrounding the arrival of these bottles to our stores in September, which is National Bourbon Month, as established by the U.S. Congress. Bourbon, as you may know, is the only spirit indigenous to the U.S. Then on Friday we are going to Churchill Downs to watch some horses race. I guess that place is kind of famous for that or something? Yes, I am very excited about going there. If you have never beer to a thoroughbred race track before, trust me, it is a bunch of fun. I'll take some pictures for you when I am there. I will not wear a stupid hat though.

Next up is the week of June 18th, and it is a big one. Starting on the Tuesday the 19th, Prado is the place to be. Upstairs we will be launching Green Flash from San Diego. These guys as so well known for making west coast IPA's that they have an excellent beer guessed it, West Coast IPA. Expect to see that, along with Hop Head Red, Double Stout and Le Freak, plus hopefully a few more specialties. Details will be coming as this event gets closer. Two important people from the brewery will be there as well. Meanwhile, downstairs at The Fred, we will be having a Heavy Seas event, with one of their important brewery people in attendance. The beer line-up is still coming into focus, but you can count on a cask of Letter of Marque 2012, a keg of Plank Two (incredible), and Sea Nymph, among others. So you basically get a two-for-one beer event night at The Prado. I agree, that is a freaking awesome idea, and I am psyched for it too!

On Wednesday the 20th you can be the first kid on the block to get a taste of Boulder Mojo IPA from a cask at the East Roswell store on Holcomb Bridge. That gets tapped at 6:00 pm like the rest of them, and this is another one that has never been available in that format here before. On Friday the 20th we are tapping a cask of Left Hand 400 lb. Monkey with our friends at the store in Chattanooga, TN. We don't get a lot of opportunities to do casks up there, so this is going to be fun. Great people up there.

There is a Jail House release of their new Prison Camp Pilsner at Metropolis on Tuesday, June 26th at 6:00 pm. This recipe was created by two brewery employees, not the owner and brew master, and I hear that it turned out great. All of those folks will be there for the launch, so if you want to meet some of them, you can do some one stop shopping.

That about does it for today. I hope that keeps everyone busy for a while. If you are going to Philips Arena tonight to see Neil Diamond, look for me. I have never had a chance to see this living legend of American music, so I am looking forward to it. When was the last time you saw a concert, and every song was a huge hit? And when was the last time you saw old ladies throwing their panties on stage? Really? Not that long ago, huh? It was what kind of party? on that note...I am outta here. Bye for now.