Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Horizons, New Adventures

After a long and illustrious career with Taco Mac, I will be changing course for a new direction. You can still
follow my adventures here at Fred's Beer Page if you like, and I hope that you do. They will mainly be concerning the goings-on at Heavy Seas Brewing Co., which is where I am setting sail for post-haste. I have to sell a condo first, so if you know anyone looking for a really cool, modern two-bedroom on a quiet street in a great part of town, contact Marilou Young at Virtual Properties. I actually already have an offer, but you can offer me more if you want!

I am extremely excited about the new career and the relocation. I spent eleven years in one place in Michigan where I worked for a brewery, followed by thirteen wonderful years here in Atlanta working for Taco Mac. It was time for a new adventure, and there was no question that beer would have to be heavily involved. The people and the brews at Heavy Seas have always been some of my favorites, and I am lucky to have landed there with them. As the brewery and pub operations at Heavy Seas progress there will be a ton of new challenges to overcome, and lots of exciting solutions to find in order to do so.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my blog over the years, and the nice things that many of you have said about reading it when we saw each other socially. Unfortunately the next few weeks will be spent packing and moving, so there won't be too much excitement there. Once I get my feet on the ground in Baltimore, I will be sure to update you on my situation. Until then, over and out!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Sound like someone's in the middle of a losing battle with the bottle. But no, that is just what's on tap for the next
few days: Great American Beer Festival, Denver Rare Beer Tasting, and then probably being pretty wiped out when I get home on Saturday. As I mentioned, there are tons of special, smaller events in, around and after the main goings on in Denver this week for beer lovers. Tonight is the Left Hand Brewing 20th Anniversary party, billed as "20 Years and 20 Beers". They are bringing back a bunch of specialty beers they have not brewed in a while, plus busting out some new and wild concoctions. Wish me luck.

As if resting was ever on the agenda for more that a minute or two these days, we are going to jump right into the Decatur re-opening to the public on Tuesday. The building looks great, and anyone who was ever in the old one will barely recognize the place. More than just a face lift, this was a total overhaul. The draft selection looks great, of course, and they have a special cask for Tuesday night. A few of the employees went over to Red Brick during the closure of Taco Mac and helped make a cask of Vanilla Gorilla blended with two types of chili peppers and a dose of cinnamon. They are also going to be tapping a different cask from a local brewery each night after that (except Thursday, that is pint night). They are all listed as, for example, "Red Brick Decatur RO Cask", or "Three Taverns Decatur RO Cask". The "RO" stands for "re-open", so each of these is a completely unique Brewniversity credit that will never appear again. In addition to Red Brick and Three Taverns, they will have one from Terrapin, Blue Tarp, Monday Night and JailHouse. You will need to be there to find out what kind of beer is actually in them.

Once that week is complete, it's Atlanta Beer Week. Taco Mac has events planned each day, and some at multiple stores. I will have a complete list for you next week. I have told you for weeks now to clear your calendars, so if you have things booked during ABW and miss these beer events, don't come crying to me. I tried. You didn't listen.  

That is all I have time for today kids. The airport is calling. I am outta here. Have a great weekend.

PS-- There are only about 15 spots left for the Innis & Gunn event at The Fred Bar on Wednesday the 23rd. Just scroll down a few blog posts to see all of the relevant details. It is rare chance to meet the owner, founder and brew master, in town from Scotland for an appearance. Don't miss out. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Do You Drink Local? Read On...

Sorry that I have been quiet this week. The re-opening of the Decatur store has been taking up a fair amount of my time these days, especially since next week is going to really fly by. Great American Beer Festival in Denver starts on Thursday, so I will be back to Denver again (I was just there Sept. 19th-23rd), this time to drink beer. No other responsibilities. The festival itself is fun enough, but there are other events around town during the late morning, afternoon, and pretty much all night. Most notable is the Denver Rare Beer Tasting on Friday afternoon, and a Left Hand 20th Anniversary party Thursday night. The DRBT is just after the annual Sierra Nevada Kill The Keg event at Falling Rock Tap House, where each year they try to tweak their draft system and kill a keg of a special Sierra Nevada beer (Estate Homegrown maybe?) in a shorter time than the year before. If you want to get a decent spot at Falling Rock, you need to be there by 10:00. That would be 10:00 in the morning. And so it begins...

But on another more local note, here is an artist's rendering of the exterior of our remodeled Decatur location. It is scheduled to re-open on Tuesday, October 15th. The inside is totally tricked out with all kinds of beer related architectural detail. Trust me, you'll want to get down there sooner than later to check it out. More on that later, including some actual real photos. I could not get in there to take pictures yesterday because they were laying the flooring. Guess I should have called first.

Before I hit the road for the weekend, I wanted to relay a story for all of you beer drinkers out there who like to seek out some of the exciting beers from across the country. It goes like this:

  • A few weeks ago I bought a six-pack of a locally made pale ale at a BP station. Not exactly a hot spot for craft beer, Chamblee. It tasted so good and fresh, I checked the date on the bottle. I don't normally do that, but it was so remarkably tasty that I was compelled by uncontrollable forces to look for the date. This beer had left the brewery just three weeks before I bought it. That means it got packaged and dated, delivered to a local distributor, warehoused there behind older inventory, then loaded on a truck and delivered to a BP station, purchased and consumed in under 21 days. Not impressed? You don't know a lot about the beer business then. You won't get fresher beer unless you get it from the brewery or make it yourself.
  • Last week I bought a four pack of a super sexy, highly desirable beer from a very renown craft brewery that is a long way from this market. The beer's flavor was very good, but it had sediment in the bottle where there should have been none. Hmmm...that's odd. Check the freshness dating, and yep, it was bottled in June. June of 2012. So this beer that I bought at a reputable retailer of quality beer was 15 months old. The sediment was particulate matter (the non-water elements of the beer) coming out of the liquid due to age, and possibly being poorly handled along the way from the brewery to my local store. Why, then, did it taste OK? Well, it was hopped pretty much out of this world, so that bitterness can cover up a lot. In addition, this is a beer I do not drink more than a few times a year. Why? Well, I think I just told you why. Maybe the next time I am closer to the source I will buy it again, but for the price I paid for it, I sure wish it was a great deal more fresh.
So I just wanted to relate that experience in case it matters to you. Sometimes you don't need to send your dollars across the country when you want a nice, fresh, hoppy beer. Maybe what you are looking for is brewed right around here somewhere, and your money can go back into your community. Have a great weekend everyone.