Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ale’s photos from Wild Heaven’s 7th Birthday are here!

Sales Queen Sarah, who has been down for a hella long time, is lit for year number seven!

Happy Birthday Eric, Nick, Sarah and the rest of Wild Heaven!

Whaddup!
It has been a while since my last post, so I felt this would wake things up by showing off some shots of great people, beer authorities, and the Wild Heaven family enjoying year number seven at their Avondale Estates brewery last Sunday, May 21st. These pics should give you an idea of how dope it was. (I will be posting a few more soon.)
Ever since my first feature on Wild Heaven coming to Atlanta here back in 2010, they have proven to be talented, enterprising and overall down-to-earth folks. I guess you could say they are a heaven-send of sorts for ATL’s craft beer scene for sure!
Anyway, we evidently go waaaaaaay back and I wish them nothing but continued success. (Especially after drinking that Goodvice DIPA I feel was made just for me!)
Enjoy!
Ale




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Word? Wicked Weed and A-B?


Cheers Everyone.

Every morning brings another opportunity for mind-blowing news to hit the beer scene. Well the news of Wicked Weed signing with Anheuser-Busch’s unit specializing in craft and imports called The High End almost made me spit out my coffee.
There seems to be a civil war of sorts going on in the brewing industry regarding craft breweries (see the official definition here from the Brewers Association) and what some call the Bigs, the Majors, the Macros, or even is some social circles, the Evil Empires. This is something that I have been keeping an eye on for a while now. There are so many subplots to how this affects consumers, bar owners, marketing, retail, employees, media…hell, even hop growers.
I am honestly torn.
There is no doubt that I will always have a place in my heart for the underdog, the minority, the scrappy dude who uses any means necessary to thrive independently. It’s in my blood and have to be in that state of mind my whole life just because of constantly being in that situation one way or another. In the beer world, there are certainly some similarities. There were many times where I simply saw what was going down and was like, word? Did that just happen?
Like remember when that A-B commercial campaign was constantly run where they shitted on microbreweries and craft beer snobs a couple of Super Bowls ago? Hell yes. Cussed like a drunk sailor the first time it came on.
And of course, there is the worry that those breweries who do merge with one of the majors will lose the soul they put into the wondrous craft brews that garnered respect in the first the place. Will they be watered down? Will they suck? Will there no longer be any one-offs or barrel-aged gangster releases anymore? Will there be any more risqué marketing gimmicks and eye-popping art on the labels? Will they still host events for the community and support the arts?
Wicked Weed bringing brews
to a tap takeover at The Porter. 
Plus, there’s that consistent cloud over every purist’s head wondering who will be next.
Well, being a Libra and always about balance, I have sat down with those who were involved with a brewery partnering with a macro; homies who kept it real and are true friends of mine. They usually began conversations with a somewhat defeated “I know, I know.”  
Yes, they know that some of their favorite beer bars who solely support independents will not pour their beer anymore. They know handshakes from some loyalists will not be as firm. And yes, they also know a lot of their usually casual, shoot-the-breeze chats will involve fielding questions about the merger.
I also know that, according to what they have told me, they will (in many cases) have more benefits, resources, and access to markets and regions they previously couldn’t dream of entering. And I know they will still have a gang of beers from independents in their refrigerators at home. And I know some of the owners are realizing their dreams of having their brews poured in hotels, stadiums, pubs, and restaurants throughout the nation and in some cases, overseas. 
Of course, I also know there are others who get pissed at being overruled to join majority, bounce, and start from scratch once again. Which some eventually find refreshing.
It is what it is.
I just pray the playground is as even as possible when it comes to the access of hops, grains, and other ingredients for cats like Three Floyds, Creature Comforts, Beachwood, Wrecking Bar, Three Taverns, Alchemist, Bissell Brothers, and Scofflaw to name a few. That enough shelf space, menu print, and taps will still be allotted to beer worthy of prominent placement. Basically, that everybody will play nice. But only time will tell.
Regarding Wicked Weed’s latest business move, I can’t wait to talk with some of their reps and staff about this. They are my peoples. They have showed me love wherever I went. I have Instagrams with me rocking their schwag. I have visited them numerous times at the main brewery, the Funkatorium, and Pub in Asheville. And I will continue to do so. They are good people and shit, they make good ass beer.
And hell, if I have the chance to sip their Pernicious IPA in Jamaica or somewhere accustomed to having a bullshit selection of brews, I definitely won’t be mad at that. But I promise you this: I will be objectively holding it up to the light, smelling it, and sipping it with some scrutiny to see if shit done changed. 
Below is the official press release straight from Anheuser-Busch.
Happy sippin'.
Ale

This image is straight from Anheuser-Busch's site.

New York and Asheville, NC, May 3, 2017–
 Wicked Weed Brewing, one of Asheville’s most creative and fastest-growing craft breweries will be joining The High End, Anheuser-Busch’s business unit focused on its craft and import brands.
Wicked Weed, founded in Asheville in 2012 by Walt and Luke Dickinson and lifelong friends Ryan, Rick and Denise Guthy, has created over 500 different beers since it opened almost five years ago. Starting with clean West Coast IPAs and authentic Belgian ales, Wicked Weed has progressively moved into creating sours.  Now, Wicked Weed is widely known for their west coast style IPA’s including GABF silver medal winners Pernicious IPA, Lunatic Belgian Blonde as well as a wide range of award winning barrel-aged sour and farmhouse ales.
“This is an exciting time for the entire brewing team,” said co-founder Walt Dickinson. “Our ability to create a wide range of really well executed beers that are focused on creativity, quality and drinkability is what makes Wicked Weed great. We have chosen to partner with The High End to position ourselves to make Wicked Weed what we imagined it could be when we first sat at a craft beer bar and talked about opening a brewery. As a brewer, giving our team more resources to continue innovating our portfolio and the ability to reach more craft drinkers, allows us to keep putting the beer and the people first.”
Wicked Weed Brewing owns and operates four facilities in Asheville: their original Downtown brewpub where they produce over 150 different beers a year, the “Funkatorium,” the first dedicated sour beer taproom and barrel house on the East Coast, a 50-barrel production brewery in West Asheville, and the “Funk House and company headquarters,” a custom-designed brewhouse and training facility.
“Asheville has been our home for almost thirty years, and we believe this partnership will benefit our entire community, which has a deeply rooted passion for beer,” added co-founder Rick Guthy. “With our team’s heightened ability to innovate our hoppy and sour styles using the highest-quality ingredients around, we hope more and more beer drinkers will flock to Asheville to taste what we have to offer. Our pub and Funkatorium will stay focused on producing creative beers and will be part of Asheville’s beer tourism for years to come.”
“We are excited to welcome Walt, Luke, Ryan, Rick, Denise, and the entire Wicked Weed team into our High End family, said Felipe Szpigel, president, The High End. “It’s clear to me Wicked Weed is redefining what sophistication in beer can mean, with their amazing offerings being relevant in a wide variety of occasions. Their ability to brew the highest quality beers, in a variety of styles, along with their exciting barrel program, leads me to be optimistic about what our futures hold together."
Anheuser-Busch's partnership with Wicked Weed is subject to regulatory approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About Wicked Weed Brewing
Wicked Weed Brewing is based in Asheville, North Carolina. Founded in December 2012, the original brewpub consistently hosts 25+ beers on tap including hop-forward, West Coast-style ales, open fermented Belgians, and barrel-aged beers. With the opening of the second location, The Funkatorium, in October 2013, Wicked Weed is striving to become one of the leading producers of barrel-aged sour and wild beers in the Southeastern United States.
Wicked Weed Brewing was awarded a gold medal for both 100% Brettanomyces Serenity in 2013, Mompara Honey Ale in 2014, a silver medal for Pernicious IPA in 2015, and a silver medal for Lunatic Belgian Blonde at the Great American Beer Festival. The brewery also received a bronze medal for Tyrant Double Red IPA in 2014, a bronze medal for La Bonté Pear in 2016 and a bronze medal for Red Angel in 2016 at the World Beer Cup. Wicked Weed continued its expansion in summer 2015 with a 50-barrel production brewery allowing for a wider distribution footprint in select states, and added a sour and wild dedicated brewery and barrel-house in South Asheville in fall 2016. Learn more at www.wickedweedbrewing.com

About Anheuser-Busch
For more than 160 years, Anheuser-Busch and its world-class brewmasters have carried on a legacy of brewing America’s most-popular beers. Starting with the finest ingredients sourced from Anheuser-Busch’s family of growers, every batch is crafted using the same exacting standards and time-honored traditions passed down through generations of proud Anheuser-Busch brewmasters and employees. Anheuser-Busch owns and operates 19 breweries, 21 distributorships and 22 agricultural and packaging facilities, employing more than 16,000 people across the United States. For more information, visit www.anheuser-busch.com.

About The High End
The High End is a business unit of Anheuser-Busch, created to provide its unique craft and European import brands with autonomy and support for growth, while fostering a collaborative environment for the brightest brewers in the beer community. The High End brings dedicated resources to support the growth of its brands, create successful partnerships and deliver more variety to consumers. Established in 2015, The High End includes brands such as Stella Artois and Shock Top, along with craft partners Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian, Golden Road, Virtue Cider, Four Peaks, Breckenridge Brewery, Devils Backbone, SpikedSeltzer and Karbach Brewing Co. 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Check out my article on Terrapin's new brewery at Braves' SunTrust Park!

The new beer website October shows Georgia love!

What's up, Everyone?!
Since October (Oct.co) launched last month, my first assignment with them was to cover their dope launch party in Charlotte featuring Run The Jewels ,and their brewing collab with Interboro and Burial here
Well, my second one is this piece on Terrapin having their own Taproom and microbrewery called the ATL Beer Lab at The Battery Atlanta
I have been following Terrapin for a long time and had a ball writing this one up. Interviewing the co-founder and brewmaster Brian "Spike" Bucowski certainly made it fun as well. By the way, they brought on two more standout talents—ATL Brew Lab Head Brewer Chad Martin (formerly of SweetWater) and Brewmaster Peter Trapani who used to be with Sierra Nevada! It is a huge move for Terrapin and keeps craft beer drinkers happy when attending the game or chilling at the very festive Battery ATL.
In fact, I am heading there tonight for the grand opening of another Battery edition, Sports & Social. From what I saw a week ago when they were still building it, it is going to be amazing!
Look for more of my articles on October soon. 

Cheers!
Ale

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Get a seat at the Farmer Fund Dinner with Creature Comforts and Saltyard!

Once again it's on! Last year's sold out and it was awesome! 
Yo!
Eat for a great cause this Thursday in support of the Farmer Fund but hurry because the seats will sell out! 
After gawking at the GANGSTER Creature Comforts beer list paired with the culinary genius of Chef Nick Leahy, this is going to be an awesome dining and sipping experience. I have done numerous tasting events with "Slick Nick" like this one and he takes things very seriously when it comes to pleasing his audience. Of course, Saltyard is one of the best restaurants in the South and Creature out of Athens is celebrating their 3rd birthday this weekend, so you know they will be in a happy mood. Basically, it's a no-brainer situation, so come through!

Cheers!
Ale



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring Plans: Join Der Biergarten Stein Club

Photo by @Stephen Oakey/AleandOak/CruisinForABrewsin
Cruisin’ Correspondent Alan Fowler gets his ‘Prost’  on at downtown’s German-inspired hot spot!

Yo!
My homey and Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ correspondent Alan Fowler holds down Atlanta for me while I’m on the road, and downtown’s Der Biergarten showed him love. Down the street from Stats, College Football Hall of Fame, Centennial Park, Georgia Aquarium, and the Hawks’ Phillips Arena to name a few attractions, Der Biergarten is one of the most authentic German biergarten experiences in Georgia. Well now there’s their Stein Club to get us through the warm months and Alan checked it out to see what it entails. Check him out. My man Stephen Oakey took the photos.
Peace!
Ale

Alan Fowler says…
Spring Plans: Join Der Biergarten Stein Club
Photo by Stephen Oakey/Ale&Oak/Cruisin' For A Brewsin
There are lots of clubs that people can join, including book, sports, fitness, and cooking clubs. However, none of them would come close to satisfying life's needs in the way Der Biergarten's Stein Club does.
The Stein Club provides its members with endless $8 liter drafts every time they visit. Each draft is poured into an exclusive, European-made, members-only stein that is kept safely behind the bar while not in use. Trust me, the Stein is a thing of beauty; even more so when it is overflowing with authentic German suds that await consumption by eager beer drinkers basking on the festive outdoor patio underneath the ATL skyline.
Der Biergarten serves up the finest in German suds on draft, with new beers being rotated constantly so that Stein Club members will always have a reason to stop by and have a taste. As mentioned, but worth another reminder, that every liter poured for Stein Club members is only $8 (aside from the high gravity beers). For those well versed in beer economics, it is easy to see that the savings can really add up, and the more you drink, the better the value. Stein Club members also receive VIP invitations to special events throughout the year and 20 percent off all retail merchandise.
Der Biergarten truly is a gem amongst the Atlanta beer scene. They provide a taste of Bavaria right downtown not only with the beer, but also with their food and overall atmosphere. It is a great place to catch a game, check in after work, or just stop in for an afternoon and relax.
Evidently, Der Biergarten is made even better when you are a Stein Club member, so be sure to check out this link and join up!

Prost!
Alan


For more Stein Club info, click here.