Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Allagash Beer & Cheeeeeeeeeese Pairing

Before you make any New Years Resolutions- put some thought into the event coming up at our Southpark location in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 16th. We know you're pretty broke from the recent holiday festivities, but at $25 we are practically giving this event away, so you will not want to be the one that didn't take advantage. We will have someone on hand from Allagash to talk about the pairings too. Click the button below to purchase your tickets. And I wouldn't wait too long....these tickets won't be around for much longer...!

  • Goat Cheese paired with Allagash White
  • Brie paired with Allagash Dubbel
  • Cheddar paired with Allagash Tripel
  • Blue Cheese paired with Allagash Black
  • Roquefort Cheese paired with Allagash Curieux
  • Gouda paired with Allagash Four
  • Limburger paired with Allagash Interlude

And here is a little comedic relief for you. Enjoy!
I got out. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

....And We're Back!

Sr. Sol in Athens. Attached to a gas station. Rules. Totally.
Sorry for the long absence. It all started, innocently enough, with our annual holiday beer dinner, followed by the onset of "The 12 Casks of Christmas". Somewhere in there I tried to get prepared for the holiday season, stopped in Athens for the best tacos in The World (pictured), watched a lot football, drank some great beers, and left my valued readers hanging. But wait until you hear what we have been cooking up for beer events for 2013. I think you'll let me slide this time. But first, let's recap a few things.

  • These casks of O'Dempsey's Inukshuk IPA from "The 12 Casks of Christmas" have been delicious. Tonight in Peachtree City the cask has lemongrass and Centennial hops (my favorite), and will get tapped at 6:00 pm. If it is as good as the one we tapped last night at Prado (lemongrass and Amarillo hops), then you are in for a real treat. We tapped that one yesterday, never shut off the tap, and killed it in 17 minutes. No joke. It was delicious. There are only two more, and they are....
  • Saturday we are tapping cask # 11 at the Mall of Georgia, but this time we will tap it at 1:00 pm.Yes, right in the middle of the day. Why wait? Christmas is right around the corner. Let's get festive with a firkin of IPA, treated with some additions pineapple and Cascade hops.
  • The last and final cask in the Christmas run is on Sunday, again at 1:00 pm, this time at the Perimeter Mall store. Need to do some last minute shopping? Me too! Malls make you want to shove people down an escalator? Understatement! Will a beer help preserve your sanity? Of course it will, and I have you covered. This cask has additions of oranges and Chinook hops. It should be terrific. 
Now moving forward into the new year.

  • Feel like watching the bowl games on New Year's Day? How about we tap a firkin that I made at Red Hare a few weeks ago? This is a Chocolate Porter with additions of real coconut, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla beans. I called it the Christmas Cookie cask. We are going to tap it at noon. Yes, noon on New Year's Day. How long did you want to wait to start drinking good beer in 2013? That's what I thought. This will be in Duluth. Hope to see you there.
  • On the 2nd we will break out a keg of the beer I made at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp in September at our Johns Creek store. It is a red IPA with wheat, made primarily with Simcoe, Centennial and the experimental Hop 644. Yes, it is still an unknown hop variety that is unnamed at this point. I know what you are thinking, "But Fred, what does it taste like? Tell me please oh please oh please!" Maybe you need to come out and drink it if you want to know what it tastes like. We will have many opportunities to drink this beer, and it may be coming to a store near you. I am going to give you a list later of where and when these will be getting tapped. I will be there with a detailed recipe sheet, in the brewer's handwriting, and hopefully a slide show. I say "hopefully" because technical difficulties have arisen in the past, mainly because the user (me), is not the most technically adept person in the world. And that is not because I am stupid, it is because I am not all that enamored with technology like some people. I am not suggesting that we go back to riding around in buggies pulled by horses. I am just saying that little electronic gizmos don't make me get all giddy like they do to some people. You know who you are. Your kind is slowly taking over the planet, and the rest of us realize we let that happen. The geeks have taken over, and we all answer to Apple and Google now.
  • If you like new beers...and I know you do...then on Thursday the 3rd we are launching two beers from North Carolina's "LoneRider". We will have Sweet Josie Brown and Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen on draft, along with a firkin of Sweet Josie. The brewery owner and other LoneRider notables will be on hand as well, so if you want to join us at The Fred Bar, we will kick things off around 5:00 pm when we open. Probably tap the cask around 6:00 pm.
  • On Friday we have another keg of my beer camp beer (called "Hop Secret 644") at Decatur. See you  there around 6:00 pm.
  • The first week of the new year wraps up with the one-year anniversary of the East Roswell store opening. They have some nice stuff lined up, like Sweetwater 15th Anniversary, Left Hand Ambidextrous Ale Step #1 and a cask of Red Hare that the management and staff of the store made especially for their big night. It is on Saturday, January 5th.
I have one last thing to tell you about before I sign off, which is the cellared beer situation at Canton. Someone unearthed some Barley Wines and Imperial Stouts from 2009 and 2010. You may want to follow that store on Twitter to see when they are going to put some of these out for sale. I don't have a schedule for them at this point, and on Monday I am out for the holidays. After some family time I am headed to Baltimore to visit Heavy Seas and make some customized casks for you folks. Then I am going to visit some other breweries up there, freeze my ass off at an NFL game outdoors in December, and then come home on the 31st. You guys be careful out there on New Year's Eve. I will be safely tucked away, resting from that East Coast trip and avoiding the general mayhem that is New Year's Eve. Enjoy the holidays everyone. Peace. 

Hop Secret 644 Schedule:
Jan. 2nd--Johns Creek
Jan. 4th--Decatur
Jan. 8th--Mall of GA
Jan. 9th--Dallas Hwy. (Marietta)
Jan. 11th--Canton
Jan. 14th--Old Milton Pkwy.
Jan. 15th--Perimeter
Jan. 18th--49er (Charlotte)
Jan. 21st--Lindbergh
Jan. 22nd--Duluth
Jan. 23rd--Woodstock
Jan. 28th--Suwanee
Jan. 29th--Virginia-Highland
Jan. 30th--Crababble (Last keg in GA! Help kill the keg in 15 minutes!)
Feb. 4th--South Park (Charlotte)
Feb. 5th--Huntersville (Charlotte)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Attention Holiday Shoppers!

This picture over there on the right is a Woodford Reserve barrel. But not just any Woodford Reserve barrel. That is one of the barrels used to blend the special "Personal Selection" bourbon that was selling exclusively at Taco Mac the last few months. I helped choose the barrels to blend together to create that whiskey, which is still available at some locations, but supplies are dwindling. Once the barrels were emptied, one of them came to Atlanta for me. Now it is sitting, as pictured, at Terrapin, full of Wake & Bake. Yes...that is exciting. I agree. That's why I took a picture of it while I was at the brewery in Athens on Saturday. If that is the kind of thing that gets you all goose bumpy too, then you will definitely want to check this out: The Secret Stash Bash. In a nutshell, the Secret Stash Bash is the beer festival we have all been waiting for, but maybe didn't even know it. Here is the skinny:
  • Tired of long festival lines to drink beers that you can buy at the grocery store? This event is limited to 450 attendees, plus volunteers.
  • Speaking of beers you can buy at the grocery store, the Secret Stash Bash will have none of those. The brewers have been asked to supply something special. Something really special. How did we get them to agree to that? Easy. We are going to pay them for the beer. You see, most festivals offset costs by donating any profits to a charity, and then asking for the breweries to donate beer in the name of that charity. Guess what boys and girls...breweries don't give away their super special stuff. So how did we get around that seeming necessity? We are going to use the same layout as the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, which, if you have not attended, is probably sold out already, so better luck next year. By using 5 Seasons Prado's beer garden and Taco Mac Prado's patio to co-host this event, we removed the cost for tents and all of equipment needed to put a beer event where cars usually park or the circus uses when it is in town. We took that money and said, "Give us your special, rare, cellared, and wacky beers. We've got money!" Funny how that last part really opened some doors.
  • So the layout is casual and spacious. The beers will be odd and outstanding. The event is outdoors. No gas masks needed. (Even casual beer festival attenders know what I am talking about here.) The date is Saturday, March 9th. Springtime in Atlanta. Sunshine. Gentle breeze. Beer, beer and more beer. What more do you need...?
  • Volunteers. The volunteers for this event will be knowledgeable about beer, and they will have someone from the actual brewery at their pouring station to help talk about the beer they are serving. No clueless, 80% drunk boneheads splashing beer everywhere.
  • Last but not least, if you did not already click on the link to the Secret Stash Bash website, then let me tell you about another reason you are going to love everything about this event. Christmas shopping. Got a beer lover on your shopping list (besides yourself)? Get a gift package that includes a t-shirt, or just buy them a ticket. Better yet, but two tickets and tell the recipient that you are taking him or her to this event as a gift. See, that's a way for you to buy yourself a ticket without looking like a jerk. Just think how that beer lover's eyes will light up when they open a present, and find admission to the next great beer event in the country. It will be like they believe in Santa all over again. Aw. They're so precious when they are that age. I remember when he was 19, and he only drank beer through a funnel or off a ping-pong table. And now look at him, all grown up, going to his first Secret Stash Bash. Those are truly precious moments. Cherish them. 
So that is exciting news, and the last thing I want to say about that is since there are only 450 people allowed, we expect it to sell out. The breweries listed on the web site are only a part of the final list. We are waiting on a few more confirmations, and will have a total of 40 stations pouring different beers. This event was planned by a few people (I am one of them) who cringe at the idea of the same old beer festival, and wanted to throw the kind of festival that we would want to attend. The rest of the group are the 5 Seasons guys, and you can be sure that they will pull out all the stops beer-wise for this event. If you have not been to the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, then let me tell you about they layout, which we are using for the Secret Stash Bash. Two spacious areas with 20 pouring stations in each. A short walk from one to the other. The crowd moves about the event, and seems to balance itself out to maintain an equilibrium. It's a beautiful thing, which is why we want to use this layout more than once a year. 

So the rest of this week all events are in Charlotte. Last night's beer dinner featuring all of the 2012 GABF medal winners from NC breweries was huge success. I am visiting NoDa & Birdsong breweries today, and tonight we have a cask of NoDa Midnight Madness, oaked and dry-hopped like crazy, plus some herbs and spices like star anise and cloves. Should be great. Those folks make some outstanding beer. Then on Friday at South Park we have a huge Michigan Beer tap take-over. It is even bigger that the one we did last week at The Fred Bar. I put a complete list of beers on the last post. If you saw it and you are in Charlotte, I am sure that you are already coming. 
Next week we have a beer dinner at The Fred. It is our 5th annual All-Star Holiday Extravaganza. If you missed getting a seat this year, sorry. It is probably the most popular dinner of the year, and it sold out quite a while ago. I guess you will have to wait for ASHE VI next year. Then on Wednesday we start the "12 Casks Of Christmas" madness. I hope you get to enjoy a good part of it, because the idea is great, and the beers will be too. Here is the list...again.

Below is the list of dates, times and ingredient additions for all of the O’Dempsey’s Inukshuk firkins for the “12 Casks of Christmas Program”. The program consists of, simply enough, a different cask of O’Dempsey’s Inukshuk IPA treated with different ingredients each time, poured at different stores over a twelve day period. Every cask is a new and different Brewniversity credit, never to be seen again.

If a customer attends all of these events, he/she will get an O’Dempsey’s t-shirt and an opportunity to design their own O’Dempsey’s cask to be tapped at a later date at their home store. Attendance will be verified by their Brewniversity list’s credits. The customer will not travel with Randy Dempsey to make the cask, since that would be a trip to South Carolina, and a transportation liability that is unnecessary.

Please notice that the Saturday and Sunday tap times are in the afternoon to coincide with football season business.

  1. Wed. 12/12 Cumming 6:00 pm--Buddha's Hand fruit with Newport hops
  2. Thurs. 12/13 Prado 6:00 pm--Buddha's Hand fruit with Crystal hops
  3. Fri. 12/14 East Roswell 6:00 pm--Pure almond extract with Crystal hops
  4. Sat. 12/15 Metropolis 1:00 pm--Apricot with Sterling hops
  5. Sun. 12/16 Decatur 1:00 pm--White Cherries with Sterling hops
  6. Mon. 12/17 Kennesaw 6:00 pm--Guajillo peppers with Perle hops
  7. Tues. 12/18 Prado 6:00 pm--Pink Grapefruit zest with Perle hops
  8. Wed. 12/19 Crabapple 6:00 pm--Pink Grapefruit zest with Amarillo hops
  9. Thurs. 12/20 The Fred Bar 6:00 pm--Lemongrass with Amarillo hops
  10. Fri. 12/21 Peachtree City 6:00 pm--Lemongrass with Centennial hops
  11. Sat. 12/22 Mall of GA 1:00 pm--Pineapple with Cascade hops
  12. Sun. 12/23 Perimeter 1:00 pm--Pure orange extract with Chinook hops

I currently know of two people who say that they are going to make it to every one of these casks. Will they have any competition, or will they finish the season the strongest of all GA beer drinkers? We will know soon enough.

That is a wrap for today. I need to go see some brewery people and drink some of their beer before I go to the cask event and drink some more beer. Bye.