Friday, September 28, 2012

Corrections and Clarifications!

First of all, legal issues have caused the Lone Rider beers to not be approved in GA yet, so we will NOT be doing any launch tomorrow at Prado. Please tell everyone you know NOT to expect to drink those beers tomorrow. Sorry. Damn government.

OK, so apparently the link I gave you yesterday to vote on the country's best sport bar was missing a critical piece. Just use this info, and you will be good to go:

Calling all Taco Mac Fans! We need your help!

Taco Mac has been named one of the top 12 sports bars in North America, and now we need YOUR help to get to #1! Please help us get to the #1 spot by voting for us! Simply FOLLOW THIS LINK and vote for TACO MAC!

As an incentive, we will be offering a special free Brewniversity credit in stores, if we win the contest. (More details to follow- after we win!)

You can vote as often as you like.  There are four groups, with three sports bars in each group.  Taco Mac is in Group C and competing against a sports bar in Austin, Texas and San Diego, California.  The winner from each group moves on to the Final Four.  If each Brewniversity member voted at least once, we would show the power of your voice to the nation!

Please take a moment and vote a few times!  Voting closes on Tuesday, October 1.  

Thank You for your support! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Listen Here, Pluckers.....

Alright, here is where I need your help. ESPN apparently has this on-line vote for the best sports bar in America. Currently Taco Mac is # 2 behind some place called Pluckers out of Texas & Louisiana. Now I have nothing against the fine people at Pluckers, but I am not happy being # 2 behind some place that rhymes with a word I frequently use in conjunction with "mother". I understand that Taco Mac means many things to many people, and that generally you are beer people first, sports probably second, maybe third. Either way, you need to stand up and be heard as beer people first and foremost. This Pluckers place doesn't mention beer anywhere on their web site, and there isn't even a picture of a beer anywhere. This says to me, "Fred, we only sell shitty beer at Pluckers, and everybody is happy as can be about it." How, I ask you, can that place be that awesome, compared to a place with 100 beers on tap? Ssssh. Stop thinking. It can't, and it isn't. So click on this link and vote for Taco Mac, and let the world know that watching sports does have to compromise your taste in beer. "The Best" sports bar knows that, and this is why we need your vote. Die, Pluckers, die.

Just follow the instructions below. It shouldn't take more that about two minutes. The contest is getting near the finish, so trust me, your vote counts!

  • Place ESPN.GO in your search browser
  • Once on the mobile site,, scroll down the page to the What's Hot Section
  • Click on the North America's Best Sports Bar Contest, which is the first box in the What's Hot Section
  • Taco Mac is in Group C - click on Vote for Group C
  • Vote for Taco Mac !
I have to split for Charlotte for a few days, but first you need to know about a beer event this weekend. At The Fred Bar on Saturday we are helping to launch Lone Rider beers in GA. This is a NC brewery that we are familiar with based on our locations up there. Not only is the beer great, the people are too. Say hi to Zack and ask all kinds of questions about his beers. That is his job. There will be three drafts to try, and we will get into them at 6:00 pm. By "we" I mean you and the rest of the people there. I will be in Charlotte, but I just told you that. Bye.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Learning Never Tasted So Good

Jason (right) in the brew house with THE MAN.
Sorry that I missed posting something for everyone last week. Coming back from a trip always puts me behind with my non-exciting work duties. Add into that a short trip to Chattanooga for a cask event last Friday, and the week just dissipated in front of my eyes. But enough excuses, here is the info you are looking for, or at least should be.

Beer Camp was great. We were going to be sharing the experience with a group of folks from a large chain that I can't reveal. Why, you may be asking, will I not name them? Two reasons. First, they did not show up. Secondly, I don't know who they are, because the brewery did not want the world to know who the first people were to ever cancel on a Beer Camp invite. Whatever came up that kept them from coming to Chico must have been a really big deal. I had a personal vacation planned that week, but when I got the invite, I cleared my calendar. Why? Because that meant I could bring some really special beer back to Taco Mac-land. What I had planned for myself could wait. So I totally understand the brewery's position on not sharing the identities of the people who bailed. If I had to bail out for some reason, I wouldn't want the entire world telling me that I should have my head examined. Over and over. For the rest of my life. Plus, suddenly myself and a co-worker had Beer Camp all to ourselves, and more importantly, we get all of the beer for Taco Mac.

For those of you unclear what Beer Camp at Sierra Nevada is, I will make it brief. If you already know all of this, just skip to the good stuff in the next paragraph. Beer retailers occasionally get invited to Sierra Nevada to tour the brewery and learn about the incredible commitment to quality that Sierra puts into everything that they do. That is the truth, too. Just go there some day. You will walk away with a strong sense of what true integrity in a business actually looks like. From beer quality to green initiatives to employee quality of life, those people know what's up. Once the type of beer being made and the recipe are decided, by committee, then you get to help brew it on their pilot system, which makes about 20 kegs per batch. You brew two batches in one day, and the brewery keeps half and the rest comes to the retailer(s). Instead of Taco Mac getting half of one half of the total, we get all of the retailer's half, thanks to the no-shows. Expect about 16-20 kegs to arrive in October or November. As a point of comparison, when I did Beer Camp in 2008, we only got 8 kegs.

That is the beer in the sight glass. Told you it was RED.
But I know what you want to hear. You want me to talk dirty to you, and I am not going to let you down. Here is what we made: A hoppy, wheat IPA that is bright red. When I say bright, I mean it looked like a stop light in what is called a "sight glass" in a brewery. That is basically a clear tube that the beer travels past while it is being transferred from one vessel to another. We used a special red malt from Patagonia that adds the color without bringing too much sweetness to the beer. The wheat is only 25% of the malt profile, so it will add a full body without making the beer taste "wheaty". Now for the sexy talk. This 7% ABV, red, wheat IPA has a good amount of Simcoe for bittering. Most of the flavor will be gone as Simcoe was used strictly in the boil. Next we loaded the middle of the boil with Centennial (my favorite) and Amarillo. But the real star of the show, loaded heavily on the back end, was an experimental hop known only as "Hop 644". This hop is fruity, not citrusy or piney like many other American hops. Don't worry, the Centennial will take care of the pine and citrus lovers out there. The idea was to make a full-bodied IPA with a decent but not overpowering IBU level, but to deliver a ton of hop flavor and aroma at the end. I want you to drink a few of these, not just one big palate-wrecking hop bomb. I know that some of you think you want a palate-wrecking hop bomb, which is fine, you're just not going to get it from me. I prefer a more balanced and skillfully made beer with a variety of flavors.

So that is the skinny on the incoming Beer Camp beer. For anyone keeping score at home, I was part of Beer Camps # 3 and # 88. Hopefully it is not 4 more years until I get to return. However, THE MAN (pictured above) wrote both recipes, and told me that this recipe is shaping up to be incredible. He was just putting the beer through the hop torpedo when we corresponded this week. The hop torpedo is like a dry-hopping boot camp for a beer.

Now here are some upcoming events you need to know about:

  • This Friday at Prado there is a cask of SweetWater Low-Ryeder Rye IPA. Two things are worth noting here: SweetWater casks are less common than one might think. When was the last time you saw one outside of the brewery? Second is that yes, we are doing an event UPstairs at The Prado, not downstairs in The Fred Bar. Why? Who cares? You do your job, and let me do mine. (In this scenario, your job is drinking beer, in case you were wondering. Technically that is my job too, but who's keeping track really. And no, that last sentence does not need to end in a question mark, because it's a rhetorical question. I am not actually asking who is keeping track of whose job it is to drink beer. That would be stupid, because I don't think that anyone is keeping track of whose job it is to drink beer. Nobody cares. Why are you still reading this?) They will tap the cask around 6:00 pm. I suspect it will be delicious, and highly recommend that you get over there before it is gone.
  • Next up is the New Holland Brewing launch on Monday at 6:00 pm. It's at the Fred Bar. See, back to being predictable. Are you happy now? If not, then I bet some delicious New Holland Dragon's Milk, Ichabod Pumpkin, Mad Hatter IPA or The Poet on tap will cheer you up. There will also be New Holland spirits available. One is even made with hops for flavoring. A liquor, full of hops. Craziness. Dogs and cats, living together. The brewery guys will be there too, so that is always a plus. 
  • The following Tuesday (9/25) we have a cask of Heavy Seas Red Sky At Night at Crabapple. To learn about the rarity of this draft, please read an earlier post. I can't be expected to repeat myself over and over again because you burned out your short-term memory on video games and hemp-based recreation. Not my problem sir or ma'am. Please try to stay with us here. I will be in attendance, along with Heavy Seas' local rep, Kevin, who now pretty much now just goes by Kevy Seas. And yes ladies, he is available.
  • And then, as if you haven't spent enough time chasing delicious beers all over the city, we will be launching Lone Rider beers (from NC) on Saturday the 29th at The Fred Bar. These guys make some solid beers, and we are happy to have them come into GA. There is a lot of beer made in NC, and we do not get very much of it across the border, which is kind of odd. Well, maybe now we are seeing things to come. This event starts at 6:00 pm, and there will be at least 3 beers on tap from Lone Rider. More may arrive in the next few days, but I know I can guarantee 3 for sure. Come out and meet Zack from Lone Rider. Great guy. Sorry ladies, I think he is married.
Alright kids, that is all for now. I am off to Colorado on Thursday, but this time it is for vacation. I will not, I guarantee, step foot into one brewery the whole time I am there. Not because I don't want to, but just because I have a full itinerary of events with some old friends. Here is my itinerary: Drink Beer. Repeat. Exponentially.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Love Camping

Don't expect to see me around for a few days. I am leaving tomorrow morning to go camping...Beer Camp that is! In case you don't know, Sierra Nevada does this thing where they invite retailers (i.e. people who sell their beer) to come to the brewery to learn about Sierra Nevada, drink a lot of beer, and then collaborate on a recipe for a new beer. Then we get to help brew the beer. Once the beer is ready, it gets shipped to whatever markets the retailers are from, and they get to sell it. I did this back in 2008, so if you weren't around then, you would not remember that. If you were around back then, you might remember the incredible Hop Secret 393 beer that arrived a few month after my return, and all of the fun we had drinking those eight kegs. Needless to say, I am psyched. I leave tomorrow for Sacramento, and then the drive is about two hours north from there. I will be in Chico in time for lunch. We have some organized group activities on Thursday, and then Friday is brew day. I will take lots of pictures for you. Promise.

Here are some events that you probably want to know about:

  1. Goose Island launches in Atlanta on Monday. You can try three of their beers on tap at these stores: Perimeter, Mall of GA, Metropolis,Windward, and Woodstock. The only beers that will be here are their crazy expensive specialties Sophie, Matilda and Pere Jacque. These beers are great though, and this is one of the biggest new arrivals to this market in some time. Core brands are expected in November. There will also be an afternoon meet & greet with some Goose Island folks at Prado on Tuesday the 11th, so you can drop by there around 2:00 or 3:00 pm if you are interested in that. They will be in the side room behind the curtain.
  2. We are pouring a cask of Chattanooga Brewing Co.'s Oktoberfest at our Chattanooga store on Friday the 14th. I will up there myself visiting with some of our wonderful customers from Tennessee.
  3. On Tuesday the 18th at The Fred Bar we have a thing called Sour Power. If you like sour beers, then you will love Sour Power.
  4. At the Crabapple store on the 25th we will be pouring a cask of Heavy Seas Red Sky At Night. Two important things about this cask: Red Sky draft has been discontinued temporarily. The only way you can get RS@N is in a mixed 12-pack, or this firkin. Point number two is that this beer, although not traditionally what you find in a cask, is unbelievable. The first time I had one I was thinking, "A saison...from a cask? I don't know about that....". Delicious. One of my all-time favorite cask beers, and that is saying a lot.
  5. On the 29th we will be launching Lone Rider beers into Atlanta. This is a great NC brewery that is just about to arrive, and we will be the first place pouring their beers. Should be fun.
That is a pretty busy month, but hey, you're worth it. Now I gotta go. Time to get packed for camp.