Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Go Big AND Go Home

Here is a reminder about Wednesday's cask at The Fred Bar. SweetWater made just one cask of The Gimp for us, and we will get into it around 6:00 pm. I say "around 6:00 pm" because we have to wait for a notable special guest. Once the special guest arrives, we will tap the cask. Important brewery people will be on hand as well.

Secondly, there will be another cask at The Fred on Friday. This will be the second and last cask that I made at Heavy Seas in December. It is a Siren Noire (chocolate Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels) to which I added maple sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla beans. That will get tapped right at 5:00 pm, but it is on the beer engine, so there is so great sense of urgency to drink it all right away, except that it is going to be delicious.
Barrel # 2 and dipper.

The trip to Mexico was great, although a little short. We were only there for two days, and I could have stayed a few more. The hacienda at Herradura was beautiful, the distillery was the right mix of old-fashioned technique and modern equipment, and the food and drinks were outstanding. We sampled tequila from three barrels, and were supposed to select one to have bottled specially for Taco Mac. We had the toughest time choosing between cask number two (very citrusy and spicy) and cask number three (more mellow and oaky). So we bought both. I mean, go big or go home, right? Or in this case, go big first, then go home. Look for these special bottles of Herradura in late April to early May. We are planning events around their arrival, complete with slide shows and the whole nine.

That is all I have for you right now. Hopefully I can get a slideshow from my trip to England and Scotland put together soon. But before I go I need to tell you about one more event I just remembered. On Monday, March 4th (this coming Monday) you can be the first kid on the block to try Six Point beers from Brooklyn, NY at the Metropolis store. The brewery guys will be in town, and they will be at Taco Mac from around 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm or so. There will be six different beers available, so cancel your scrap booking class, your Zumba class, or whatever the hell you usually do on Mondays and go drink beer instead. That's really what you want to do anyway. Just give in. See you there.
The barrel selection room, made from barrels.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bring Out The Gimp!

Alright folks, I neglected to tell you about a couple of important items, and I promise to make it brief. Below is the form you would fill out to volunteer to pour beer at the first ever Secret Stash Bash. This unique beer event has been sold out since the first of the year. The only way in is to volunteer at this point. You will pour beer for half of the event, and then drink for FREE the other half. I believe that only second shift spots are left, which means that you would drink first, pour second. Good opportunity to sober up a little maybe. Anyway, if that sounds like something you want to do, the form is pretty self-explanatory.

Next is a cask event that you might be interested in on Wednesday the 27th (one week from today). We have a cask of SweetWater The Gimp, and we will be tapping it at The Fred Bar around 6:00 pm . It all depends on the schedule of a special guest of honor. Notable brewery people from SweetWater will be there as well. You should be too.

Now fill out the form below if you dig that kind of thing. I am off to Mexico this evening. Bye!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hello America, For Now

House of Parliament. No sign of Funkadelic.
Hey, I'm back. Ten days in England and Scotland were awesome. Yes, it was kind of cold, but we were ready for it. Dreary days and chilly nights are kind of what those countries are all about. Not to mention, if breweries, distilleries and special little pubs are what you are looking for, who cares if it's cloudy outside? Plus we had a chartered bus to drive us around the countryside, so there really wasn't much to complain about. I took a ton of pictures as usual, but unfortunately you are going to have to wait a while to see most of them. Unless, of course, you follow me on Instagram. I posted photos every chance I got near a Wi-Fi signal, so you would have had a virtual play-by-play of this trip if you followed me. But hey, only a few people took me up on my advice on that, but what can I do? I can't come to your home or place of business and force you to take the full 30 seconds it takes to install the Instagram app on your phone. I wouldn't want to inconvenience you by asking for less than a minute of your life so that I could send you pictures of breweries, meadows, tiny pubs, mountains, more breweries, a freaking castle for God's sake, monuments, historic manors, etc., virtually as I am seeing them with my own two eyes. No, it would be too much of an imposition for me to ask anyone to use modern technology to enrich their lives.

But that is not why I won't have the pictures to show you for a while. I can't wait to download the really good ones from my new camera, make a slide show, post it on my blog...all of that. However, I am leaving again in two days for Mexico. Yes, two business trips to foreign countries in one month, and they are two days apart. I didn't plan it this way, but when that is the hand I was dealt, I was not going to fold my cards and walk away. No way. I can't let you down like that, and really, this isn't about me. I mean, why would I want to go to a tropical paradise in the middle of winter to learn about tequila on a picturesque hacienda? In the middle of the work week? I do it for you, the readers, not for me.

But seriously, I am going to Guadalajara in the Jalisco state Wednesday evening. On Thursday and Friday we will be learning about agave plants, agave roasting, tequila making, and, I assume, tequila drinking. When we are all done there will be a special barrel of tequila that will get bottled and labeled for Taco Mac. You will see it for sale around the end of April. Our hosts will be at Casa de Herradura. And for those of you that do not speak Spanish, the means the casa of Herradura. The barrel will be Herradura Extra Anejo (translation: lots of anejo), and if I have my way, it will be earthy and peppery and dangerously smooth. Hopefully I can take pictures and send them back via Instagram, but I have never been to Mexico, so I am not sure what kind of communication capabilities I will have. And that is not a shot a Mexico here folks. I was in England yesterday, and the Wi-Fi and T-Mobile situation was difficult there to say the least.

I gotta run though. Time to think about packing that bag I unpacked yesterday and swap out my beer drinking shoes for my tequila drinking shoes. But before I go, I need to tell you about a few things:

  1. Compared to my trip in 2010, the beer in England was way, way better. It was good then, but the influence of the US craft beer craze has awakened some serious creativity over there recently. I can't tell you how much I like that country and how soon I want to return. I think the food was even better this time. I highly recommend England if you have the opportunity to visit. Scotland is also stunningly beautiful, and it has great beer and whisky, so if you get a chance, try to see both.
  2. On Tuesday we are tapping one of those casks I made at Heavy Seas in December. This is a Loose Cannon IPA with Grains of Paradise, toasted oak and Chinook hops. The place is Peachtree City and the time is 6:00 pm.
  3. The menu is posted for the Terrapin beer dinner in Charlotte. This will take place during Charlotte Beer Week, and Spike the brew master and co-founder of Terrapin will be there. He and I can share stories of our European trip this year if you like, or any of the last four years' trips for that matter. Here is the menu, and you can pay via Pay Pal there too. Both the food and beer look spectacular.
Have a great week and weekend folks. Talk to you when I get back. Thanks for your patience between posts (which could be avoided if you followed me on Twitter...I'm just sayin'...). Bye for now.
"One man gathers what another man spills."


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

That's "Mr. Beer Drinker" From Now On....

We are going to Theakston's!
Hey folks. I hate to sound like a broken record (for those younger readers who do not understand what that means...oh hell, just go ask your dad), but sorry I have been away for a little while. Again. The main reason for all of these extended absences is that I have been trying to get prepared to go out of the country for ten days. Well, whether I am prepared for it or not, I am going to England tomorrow. For the next ten days I will be riding around in a chartered bus visiting breweries, distilleries, and a ton of tweedy little pubs with a great selection of cask-conditioned ales. No. You are right. That is not going to suck at all. So if you want to keep up with what I am doing, I have signed up for Twitter. I am going to try this thing out and see how you all like it. Here are the pertinent details:

  1. Follow me using this handle: @beerfredtmac. I signed up for Twitter once already using "@fredthe beerguy", and that got hacked before I ever used it. Awesome. This one has a more tricky password, so it should be fine. But if I start tweeting about how much money I made selling products from home, you'll know what happened. For the record, I do not have any side businesses. I do not refinance mortgages. I do not offer ways to shed 60 pounds in a week with just minutes of exercise a day. Think of all the stupid bullshit that you are constantly being barraged with advertisements for, and know for certain that I am not involved in any of them. 
  2. I told you recently that I was sharing pictures on Instagram. I still am, but I changed that handle to beer_fred_tmac in order to keep everything consistent. No more, "Fred The Beer Guy". Time for a more refined image. Step up my game. Act my age, not my age divided by two. For starters, I think will begin making most of my appearances in a tuxedo. Perhaps a monocle and ascot. A cane maybe. We'll see where it goes from there. 
That's all I have for you. I need to get packed, hydrated, charge up the camera, pick a book to read on the plane and get ready for a trans-Atlantic beer extravaganza. Bye for now.

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.