Thursday, December 30, 2010

All Hail Imperial Stouts!

Get your sip on like royalty!

The crown of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia,
one of the original fans of the Imperial Stout. Holla!
Coffee lovers, the Caribbean-blooded, beer lovers who favor more potency and full-bodied concoctions...whoever you are, quality ale vendors are stocking the shelves with the wave of "imperial stouts" that are causing quite a stir around town. I was just stepping my phone game up at Verizon and I ended up giving recommendations on stouts to get while they're out. And then this morning, my sister called and asked me the same thing when her IT guy asked for suggestions. Seeing the trend here, I thought I would do all my peoples a favor and recommend three definites to put in your shopping basket while they're available particularly in Atlanta (the Old Rsputin below is national). Nice and thick, imperial in strength (8-12 percent ABV) thanks to the demands of the Russian czars of the 18th Century who had the English send them a hopped up, super strong version of their stout to last the long journey overseas. The result was a robust, malty, roasty  brew that had everyone going nuts! Now in 2010, American craft brewers have pimped the style and perfected it to a whole different level especially for the winter season. Grab 'em while they're

Note #1: Do not serve them ice cold. Slightly chilled will really let these stouts breathe and present all of their character regarding smell, appearance and taste.

Note #2: Try and hit up local pubs that specialize in pouring specialty brews on draft. Beer bars are bound to have limited editions of stouts that pour thick and creamy which will keep bar stools warm throughout the U.S. I went to The Porter in Atlanta's Little Five Points and had the Old Rasputin (see below). Delish! The glass is hot, too!

The Terrapin W-n-B Oatmeal Coffee Imperial Stout aka "Wake N Bake": I always look forward to this one out of Athens that is seasonal, coffeeish and just straight-up delicious at 8.1 percent abv! Coming from Terrapin's celebrated (and potent) Monster Beer Tour series, they used to call it the Wake-n-Bake, but some hayters said there was reference to indulging in smoking some kind of plant or whatever (cough!) so Terrapin had to abbreviate the name but notthe flavor! I say to hell with that and call it what it is. With coffee added by town favorite, Jittery Joe's," forget Folgers; this is "the best part of waking up"!

The wax top is what you want!
Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout 2010: I have been waiting a whole year for this stout and when I saw a package in my mailbox from the SweetWater crew out of Atlanta, I was practically skipping to my bottle opener. That is until I opened the box and saw that it was a bomber with a hand-dipped wax top, something unprecedented with the Happy Ending (they do it with the Festive usually). The HE big bottles of yesteryear usually had the top wrapped in foil, but this time around, the bottle looked so stealthy, dark and stylish complete with the dripping black wax, I couldn't even open it. Instead, I chose to shelve this 9 percent abv beauty and head over to the bottle shop to grab a wonderfully priced six pack for $8! Grab a six and bomber while you can since this is a "Catch and Release" limited edition. It'll make you say "Ahhhhhhhh!" when done.

Old Rasputin Imperial Stout: You can't lose with this one. The closest thing to perfection when it comes to imperial stouts, so the North Coast Brewing Company (ironically based out of Fort Bragg, California - go figure) graciously made this available year-round! Coming in four packs, its an awesome quartet that will warm up the coldest Russian winter.
(9 percent abv)

Honorable mentions: Victory's Storm King deserves a crown (9.1 percent abv), Ten Fidy is the best canned stout on the planet (10.5%), I always recommend the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (10% abv) and Great Divide's Yeti Imperial Stout perfectly complements a roaring fire and good conversation (9.5 % abv).
Make sure you pour these bad boys in glasses for the full effect: cascading bubbles, a great head and sipping bliss! If you have some local favorites, feel three to add them in the comments! I know I left a few out but I just wanted to do three here.

Drink imperial stouts like a king and bring in the New Year royally!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm Baaaack

I’m baaaaack!
An Ale Sharpton apology, kickin’ it at the Biltmore in Asheville, NC and 10,000 reasons why beer is the sh*t!
I was testing out Range Rovers in
Asheville, NC aka BeerCity USA

My bad.
Well it’s been a minute and I apologize for that, but after the theft of my awesome laptop, it has been a pain in the ass to travel, juggle everything and still find the time to post a blog that rocks over the past week. To add, God bless this notebook I am temporarily using, but it just is no comparison to in terms of speed, memory, monitor size, etc. It’s been a pain in the ass, but I have finally caught my wind. Again, my bad on the wait.

Asheville NC.
Anyways, after that tearful apology, I just got back from Asheville, NC, the awesome city that may be small in size but huge on beer! Just ask the thousands who voted Asheville as the 2010 BeerCity USA. Although it’s assumed that I was all over the beer scene here, hopping in and out of anything ale-related, my alter-ego was covering a story on the awesome Land Rover Experience Driving School at the famous home of the Vanderbilts—the Biltmore Estate—and was "confined" to their ridiculously lavish property for two days.  (It’s definitely a spot to bring your honey to—especially during the winter and spring time.) I had so much fun learning how to drive these plush SUVs up and down hills laced with snow, and across iced-over streams (see the pic). Two things were accomplished: I am more confident to take on any road condition and second, the Range Rover is officially my dream truck. I strongly recommend you experience the "Experience"; here's the link: Land Rover Driving Experience
In Ale Sharpton mode, it was an almost unbearable tease that so much brewing goodness was available just beyond the gates of the 800+-acre property, but I did try some of Biltmore’s own that are contractually brewed by the Highland Brewing Company not too far away. Named after the Vanderbilt family’s beloved St. Bernard, there was the Cedric English Pale Ale (5.5% abv) which was bready, slightly sweet up front with a mellow hop finish, and the Cedric Brown Ale (also 5.5%) that was a nice mahogany-colored session brew that was nutty with subtle notes of toffee. They did a decent job with both, but I was really craving a serious dose of hops or something “imperial.” I was told I had to head in town for a place called Bruisin’ Ales to buy one of their 900+ brews on the shelves, sip a pint at Barley’s, or visit any one of the nine breweries in town including French Broad, Craggie, Lexington Avenue or the aforementioned Highland. Since a trip was impossible with the itinerary I was given, I enjoyed the Estate and made it a prerogative to drive back up with a few of my beer-loving homies as soon as possible in 2011.

10,000 reasons to love beer.
After my was flight cancelled on Wednesday and then catching another one that left at virtually the same time back to Atlanta (don’t ask), I found out why. The freezing rain left black ice everywhere including the runways, so after safely landing from a mere 30-minute flight, I had to stop by one of my favorite brew spots to re-up since I only had two Ballantine Ales (it’s been years since I have had a 40-ounce in NYC and they finally have made their way down here so I had to cop a six pack), one Lagunitas Maximus IPA 12-ounce, five exotic bombers and an Emelisse Imperial Stout I brought back from Holland that I refuse to open—yet.  After reading an esteemed beer enthusiasts’ group email I belong to, everybody was trying to find out where to get the extremely limited edition of Bell’s Batch 10,000 Ale—A Commemorative Brew. Now I already know how Bell’s gets down when it comes to limited editions that have us beer nuts go in a frenzy including one of my top five IPAs, their gangster HopSlam (which I am sipping on in my logo and website header), so I had to get it before they ran out. Dodging three car accidents and ignoring cyberspace warnings that no one will have it by the time I reach town, I got to Green’s on Ponce and asked the worker if he had any 10,000 left. The bearded clerk smiled and said yes, although I was limited to buy only two 12-oz bottles for $7 each. “$7 for one damn 12-oz bottle beer that is only a few states away???” I exclaimed. “Give me the two, man. Damn.”
After feeling subjected to brewing pimpdom, I took the “L”, grabbed a four-pack of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout for .50 cents less than one Bell's Commemorative, a $2.79 bottle of Innis & Gunn for my business partner, and headed to the counter. It turned out that the dude was wrong: the Bell’s 12-0z was only $2.99 a bottle! The beer gods have rewarded me for my dedication (and stupidity) to be willing to pay that much initially, and it turned out to be a great evening.

Note: In a recent press release, Bell’s Marketing Director Laura Bell said, “Batch 10,000 seems like a good milestone to end the series at. It’ll free up other opportunities for specialty beers in the future.” Let’s hope so because Bell’s is truly one of the best microbreweries in the country that makes product that justifies beer nuts like me driving over black ice to score a “$7” 12-oz. bottle of brew—or two.

Ayyo, look for a truly well done "Cruisin' For A Brewsin'" episode I have coming out on the totally cool site, (Search: Ale Yeah). A major shout out goes to the site's head honcho Mike Jordan who hooked it all up and filmed it. 

Hoppy Holidays!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Converse shows Ale love!

Keep on Chuckin'!

Preparing for a top secret project I am doing for you beer lovers that is set to launch in the beginning of 2011, Converse got word and wanted to show their support. The result? I got All Star Chuck Taylors kicks of hella colors. Although I already have a fondness for their ageless wonders, I will wear them with even more of a pimp strut now. So far, the navy blue are still my faves, but they sent me some other joints that could give them a run for their money.
So raise a pint to Converse and the love they are showing for your boy Ale's Cruisin' For A Brewsin'!
Keep on Chuckin'!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Celebrate Repeal Day at Leon's Full Service!

Celebrate Repeal Day at Leon's Full Service!
A cool spot to get your sip on this Sunday until 1 AM

Hey, although I won't be able to swing it over here due to other commitments, I strongly recommend anyone who loves to kick it in a hip, chic atmosphere run by down-to-earth folks who know their beer, stop by Leon's Full Service in Decatur, GA (131 East Ponce De Leon Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030-2513; (404) 687-0500). Mike, the founder of the world famous Brick Store beer bar around the corner, sent me this letter to deliver among the masses. Check it out as drink specials run the show all day until the we hours of the morning.
Cheers! I am off to see my fantasy squad win yet another week of football. Holla!
Your homey,

Repeal Day Celebration, Sunday December 5th

Come celebrate your right to drink all day at. Leon's Full Service. The day that prohibition was repealed is a true American drinking holiday. We have fantastic food and drink features from 12:30- close (1am). This is our second annual Repeal Day party and we hope to pour even more rye than last year! Jeez, even our prices are closer to prohibition prices than any of those fancy restaurants. Check it out.

Featured Cocktails
Rye Old Fashioned $6
Bee's Knees $6
No. 1 $6
Classic Martini $6
Scofflaw $7
Brooklyn $7

As American as a Baseball Game:
Shot of Rye $4
Brooklyn Lager $3
Hope to see you all today at LEONs.


Mike & the Staff of LEONs Full Service


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SweetWater Brewery's Brew Your Cask Off is coming!

Me and SweetWater co-founder Freddy Bensch trippin' out at 2010's Brew Your Cask Off

SweetWater Brewery's Brew Your Cask Off tickets go on sale December 1st
Your homey Ale Sharpton will be one of the judges

Yep, you get a glass too!
Local celebrities, restaurants, homebrewers and specialties from SweetWater brewery brew up 80 one-time-only casks that include some of the craziest concoctions under the sun--all for the love of brewing, partying and in the name of charity. I had so much fun judging last year's first installment of SweetWater's Brew Your Cask Off last year and I happily accepted the invitation to do it again on March 5th, 2011! Besides sipping ales made with stuff like jalapenos, chocolate, fruit, chili powder, etc. (they get crazy widdit, trust me!), there will be grub, music and hopefully the March Madness games on the flat screens inside the tasting room (damn Kansas blew up my bracket last year!).
The Atlanta weather was beautiful in March this year and it should be another day in paradise in 2011. See ya there!

Here is the official press release from SweetWater about BYCO and 420 Fest the following month:


Mark Your Calendars for 2011’s Brew Your Cask Off Cask Ale Festival & 7th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest

WHAT: Brew Your Cask Off Presented by SweetWater Brewery

WHEN: Saturday, March 5, 2011

TIME: 6:00p.m.–10:00p.m.

WHERE: SweetWater Brewery

On Ottley Drive in Front of SweetWater Brewing Company - Atlanta

COST: $35 online pre-sale, $40 at the door

TICKETS: Tickets on sale TOMORROW, December 1, 2010

and are available online at

WHAT: 7th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest

WHEN: April 15-17, 2011

TIME: Friday- 4:20p.m. to 10:00p.m.; Saturday- Noon to 10:00p.m.;

Sunday- 12:30p.m. to 7:00p.m.

WHERE: 1506 McClendon Ave. Candler Park, Atlanta

COST: $5 Wristbands for Patron 21+ to responsibly enjoy beer. A donation from the $5 wristbands is given to Park Pride to fund park improvements. Purchase is not required so that families can attend for free. Anyone purchasing beer must have a wristband.


ATLANTA— SweetWater is brewing up plenty reasons to look forward to 2011 with two of Atlanta’s favorite annual festivals coming up this spring. In March celebrate cask ale at its finest with SweetWater Brewing Company’s “Brew Your Cask Off” Cask Ale Festival. Enjoy unlimited samples of “Real Ale” created by more than 80 special guest brewers including SweetWater retailers, a few celebs, media folk & home brewers (all under the watchful eye of SweetWater of course!). Also, SweetWater’s award winning line-up will be flowing and the brewery will be open for tours throughout the event. For more information, visit Tickets sold out earlier this year so don’t wait and buy today. Did we mention they make a perfect gift for that beer lover you know?

April 15-17 kicks off the 7th Annual 420 Fest in Candler Park. Two days just wasn’t enough to get our SweetWater fix in 2010 so this year we added an additional day of 420 fun! The three-day music and arts festival features live music, great food, environmental & educational activities and of course, SweetWater’s lip smackin’ brews. For more information, visit

Brew Your Cask Off and SweetWater 420 Fest are Happy Ending Productions events.

About SweetWater Brewing Company: SweetWater Brewing Company is an Atlanta-based craft brewery specializing in aggressive West Coast style beers. SweetWater’s brews are unpasteurized and designed to be consumed fresh so distribution is limited to the Southeast. The award-winning lineup of year-round brews includes SweetWater 420, SweetWater IPA, SweetWater Blue, Sch’Wheat and Georgia Brown. SweetWater also features a Catch and Release series of beers available on a limited basis throughout the year, and an experimental, one-time-only Dank Tank series. The SweetWater Brewery, open for tours every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m., is located at 195 Ottley Dr NE, Atlanta GA 30324. For more information about SweetWater Brewing Company, please visit

And this is directly from the brewery:
Go to this link to buy tickets online, or even better, come on down to the brewery for the tour and tasting where the first 25 tickets sold at our tour will get them for $25 each, everyone else buying them here during our Dec 1st tour will receive them for $30, plus we have two very special casks from our head brewer Nick Nock being tapped at 5:30 for the tour

1. Brown Sugar Brown Now - Our GA Brown with Brown Sugar and Amarillo Hops

2. Midnight Blue - Our Exodus Porter with fresh Blueberries.

Check out the list of Guest Brewers for the big day March 5th at and shake a leg on getting those tickets - can't think of a better Christmas Present for someone and we did sell this event out last year, in the 1st year we put this sucker on.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ale is kickin' it in LA

Hey Brew Crew,
I am in LA and I am hyped up to try some of the Cali brews I love and visit a few awesome spots my fellow beer sippers recommended I check out. The minute I get there, my laptop does a Whodini in the airport. Someone stole my sh*t! Long story, but in the end, it felt like a hangover every morning I remembered it was gone.
Regardless, that didn't stop my cruisin' for a brewsin'. I went to a spot called Yard House in a happening Times Square-ish downtown area called LA Live. It was awesome! 140 something taps of killer brews, sports and great bar grub (the bbq chicken pizza was nuts!). So good, in fact, I went back twice with homies who live in town and one other, photographer Kat Goduco, who just moved out here from Atlanta two days ago!
Tonight, I am not sure, but during the day, my dude Kevin will be showing me some more crazy clubs. I am still recouping from last night's craziness, partying with the Black Eyed Peas at a spot called My Studio on Hollywood Blvd. They weren't drinking brews, tho.
I told Will.I.Am that my favorite thing they did was when the were breaking at the end of the "Joints, Jam" video.
Peep the end of this vid:

He talked about how much they have grown since then, but I was like, you are trippin'. Be proud of that sheezy! He was downplaying it but hey. I sipped a Stella and listened to his philosphy on going pop. He was definitely an eccentric cat.
Anyways, stay tuned for flicks from this trip that has been pretty freakin' memorable. I will post up images as soon as I score another laptop. And who stole my laptop, it's coming back to you, you bastard!
Oh yeah! My boy Maurice Garland has a super dope site on drinking called He showed your homey Ale Sharpton some love as well. Check it out here!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Congrats to the winners of HOTtoberFest!

Congrats to the winners of HOTtoberFest! 

Like I said in the installment, HotoberFest 2010 was a blast and with all of the competitors, it is really a big deal for brewers to win this one! Hell, it's consumer-judged so your suds have to be on point, right?!
Here are the winners out of more than 230 participants (which includes that SweetWater cask I witnessed the HOToberFest founders Alan and Tryon hook up with Head brewer Nick Nock here):

GOLD - Wild Heaven Craft Beers - Ode to Mercy (I featured them here

SILVER -Heavy Seas Beer - Marzen Oktoberfest
BRONZE - Moon River Brewing Company - Swamp Fox IPA
HONORABLE MENTION - Wild Heaven Craft Beers - Invocation

GOLD - Atlanta Brewing Company - 16th Anniversary 

CASK, SILVER - - Interlude CASK
BRONZE - SweetWater Brewing Company - Pepper IPA CASK
HONORABLE MENTION - Smuttynose Brewing Co. - Really Old Brown Dog

I can't wait for next year!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Operation Miami: 8 Oz. Burger Bar

Operation Miami: 8 Oz. Burger Bar
Miami's 8 Oz. Burger Bar "Flight" was just aiiight for brews
but their burgers looked like serious biz!
Hey Brew Crew,
I know it has been a minute but I was caught up in Miami for the car show. Of course, I am in Ale Sharpton mode when the work is done soI had to find a gangster brew spot with at least twenty taps, great pub food and maybe a cask or two. No dice.
It turns out that I am spoiled with the the abudance of excellent beer spots Atlanta is blessed with. Seriously, my boy Donald, the cat who runs the awesome Taco Mac Metropolis off of 11th and Peachtree, had me hyped up to go to a spot called 8 Oz. Burger Bar which happened to be a block away from my Mondrian Hotel. The freakin' chances!
Unfortunately, I git a kick in the nads right from the start. When I called ahead at 10:30 pm to see if the LA Lakers game was on one of their televisions, the hostess exclaimed, "Yeah! We got it on for ya!" I practically skipped there and it was the damn LA Clippers instead! This is an understandable mix-up to the masses but a dagger in the heart for a true Laker fan! Pissed, I settled for the Clippers' Blake Griffin dunks as I studied the slightly above par draft list that couldn't carry the jock's strap of Atlanta's T-Macs, The Porter or Brick Store to name a few. I ended up getting "The Flight" featuring the Stone IPA, Shipyard Pumkin Head Ale, Victory Prima Pils and Left Hand Milk Stout. I did the best I could, but at the end of the night, I threw in the towel and headed to my hotel suite (which was actually pretty damn hot). Check it out: 
The Mondrian in Miami
Burger Bar photo borrowed from
I will give 8 Oz. credit though, the manager was cool as well as the server (who was a disappointed Lakers fan as well), but the most prominent thing about this spot was their burgers which looked good as hell and everyone was ordering them. (Then again, they wouldn't name it the 8 Oz. Burger if they sucked!) Since I was super full from a gangster meal at a wonderful Italian gourmet spot called Il Mulino at the Acquilina Resort so I will have to see what the deal is with those burgers on the next go-around in south Beach or their LA location, but as far as beer goes, there is much to be desired from an ale snob like myself! I think I will hit up the South Florida Beer Blog, or my beer and cigar-loving homey Papi Grande for suggestions when I hit up Miami on the next trip.
Until the suds settle...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MillerCoors presents the inaugural T.A.P. Awards & Experience

Hey sippers, this should be a pretty cool event the MillerCoors folks sent me. I will be in LA but it sounds pretty cool and proves how the beer world is blowing up!
MillerCoors presents the inaugural T.A.P. Awards & Experience
~introducing signature MillerCoors cocktails~

MillerCoors proudly announces the inaugural MillerCoors T.A.P. Awards. The event will be hosted by Radio One personality Ebony Steele of the "Rickey Smiley Morning Show". The MillerCoors T.A.P. awards will encompass honoring the brand's top tier account holders, premium influencers , a formal presentation of the "Premium Influencer and Sound of the City" award recipients, a charitable tribute to the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and more.  T.A.P. guests will also be  privy to  an evening of "Taste, Appreciation and Prestige" as MillerCoors takes their award winning beverages from behind the bar and brings them to life with four signature brand experiences. This prestigious award and tasting experience will take place at the Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery on Thursday, November 4th, 2010, with doors opening at 8:00pm.
The inaugural MillerCoors T.A.P. Awards will serve as a platform highlighting mixologist, bartenders, bar staff and influencers  in this realm and introducing the MillerCoors signature cocktail menu. This evening affair will include an awards segment recognizing MillerCoors high volume seller, sports bar of the year, restaurant lounge of the year, and the MillerCoors promoter of the year. On hand to highlight MillerCoors contribution to the environment and proper waste disposal will be the Remix Recycled organization.  They will ensure all bottles are disposed of properly via custom receptacles at all bars and all items are recycled at the close of the affair. This event will also feature brand specific, interactive experiences, brand/exhibitions and multimedia engagement. To join in on the conversation the Twitter hashtag for this event is #TAPmillerCoors and for more information or to RSVP visit
The MillerCoors Portfolio of Brands and their signature on-site experiences:

Miller Lite "Experience Greatness" with the 100 Black Men of Atlanta
MillerCoors flagship brand, Miller Lite, is the great tasting, less filling beer that defined the American light beer category in 1975. Today, Miller Lite is the ultimate light beer, known for its inherent quality of great taste. Miller Lite is the only beer to win four gold awards in the World Beer Cup® for best American-Style light lager (2006, 2002, 1998, 1996).  In acknowledgment of greatness, this signature experience will highlight the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and salute the organizations longstanding commitment to the community.

Coors Light - "The Cool Zone Gaming Lounge" featuring: The Konsole Kingz
Coors Light, the World's Most Refreshing Beer, is the fourth best-selling beer in the U.S. Introduced in 1978, Coors Light has been a favorite in delivering the ultimate in cold refreshment for more than 25 years. Coors Light's unique frost-brewing process locks in a taste as cold as the Rockies. The "Cool Zone Gaming Loung" experience Coors Light has been paired with the leader in urban gaming Konsole Kingz to present the best Ski & Snowboarding games and additional gaming offerings, sub zero beer bar, and additional chill infused options.

The Peroni "Tour of Italy Experience" 
Imported from Rome, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is the number one premium brand in Italy and is the most widely sold Italian beer brand overseas (found in 38 countries). The light, crisp European lager is produced using only the highest quality natural ingredients grown in Italy.  This on-site environment will feature a special "Tour de Italy" with Euro inspired food-by-the-bite and artisan pairings, and the OMG booth  interactive photo experience.

Blue Moon - "The Mix and Mingle Experience" featuring nationally regarded mixologist and the art of the Happy Hour
Blue Moon Belgian White is a refreshing, medium-bodied, unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale spiced with fresh coriander and orange peel for a uniquely complex taste and an uncommonly smooth finish. The name "Belgian White" is a reference to the cloudy white, opaque appearance of the beer. Blue Moon is traditionally served with a slice of orange to complement the orange peel used in the brewing process. The Blue Moon experience will encompass a renowned mixologist introducing a new menu in beer cocktail while teaching guests techniques to reproduce these amazing recipes at home.

2010 MillerCoors Award Categories:
1. MillerCoors T.A.P Award - Platinum Seller - AG Entertainment
2. MillerCoors T.A.P Award - Sports Bar of the Year - Tavern at JR. Crickets
3. MillerCoors T.A.P Award - Restaurant/Lounge of the Year - Cafe Circa
4. MillerCoors T.A.P Award - Promoter of the Year - J.Carter
5. MillerCoors T.A.P Award - Premium Infuencer of the Year - Young Joc
6. MillerCoors T.A.P. Award -  Sound of the City:  Bobby Valentino
7. MillerCoors T.A.P. Award Business Visionary of the Year - Munson Steed

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Beers That Make You Wanna Holler!

Fall Beers That Make You Wanna Holler!
Romancing the Brew By Ale Sharpton
Victory's HopDevil IPA is one of the best in the business.
They posted this flick I took on Thanks guys! 
(I originally did this on my boy Eric's website,, but by popular demand, I am posting it on this site as well. Enjoy these fall brews while they are still in stock!)

It’s autumn, baby! The hot months of summer have ended and so have the dominance of wheat beers served with citrus fruit slices and ice cold, low alcohol “light” pilsners that are slammed by the case to combat sweat-inducing summer afternoons.

Stores across the U.S. are making way for those slow-sipping, fragrant liquid masterpieces that encompass everything from nutty flavors to pumpkin and even grapefruit. I love this time of year for beer and so should you, so to help with the transition to the cooler months from October through the New Year, check these domestic lovelies that will surely broaden your horizons.


Pumpkin Ales

Pumpkins, the monstrous orange squash that’s popularly sacrificed, hollowed out and wasted for the sake of one night, get a lot more respect in the beer world. Brewers love the pumpkins’ semi-sweet properties and, when combined with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and other spices, they make some pretty tasty, complex beers with very little bitterness.Alcohol By Volume: Usually in the 5 to 6% area, but craft breweries are starting to make sweeter, more potent brews that reach up to the 8% level.

You gotta try…Dogfish Head’s Punkin 
out of Delaware gets a lot of love nationwide (7%), andSamuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, the country’s leading craft brewer, is pretty decent (5.7%) for a beer that’s everywhere, but I recommend tasting the sweeter, stronger “imperial” pumpkin ales like Heavy Seas’ The Great Pumpkin (8%), and my favorite,Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale (8%), to get the full range of what this style can deliver.

Amber, Red and Brown Ales
Their names come primarily from their color, and brown ales and ambers emulate the natural changes of the fall.). These styles usually have more emphasis on malt and also win tasters over with their flavors of lightly roasted nuts and slight sweetness. The red ales tend to be alittle more hoppy (floral, bitter and/or citrusy).

Alcohol By Volume: Mostly in the 4-7% range, although some imperials (stronger versions) are out there as well.

You gotta try…Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar out of Oregon is a flavorful goody (6.2%); Bell’s Best Brown Ale (5.8%), Brooklyn Brown Ale (5.5%), Anderson Valley’s Boont Amber (5.8%) and the Fat Tire Amber Ale (5.2 %) are very respectable; and Tampa Bay’s Cigar City Brewingflourishes on this style but they are hard to find, so if you do have a way to get the Maduro Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale (5.5%), get it!

On the red ale tip, Stone’s Levitation (4.4%) is light in alcohol but not in flavor; the Green Flash Hop Head Red (6%) continues to garner critical acclaim; and the Lagunitas Censored is excellently balanced (5.9%). Taking things to the extreme, Lagunitas’ Lucky 13 (8.56%) andTerrapin’s Big Hoppy Monster out of Georgia (8.3%) do it big in bold flavor, strength and aroma, the way I like ‘em!

India Pale Ales (IPAs)

American IPAs are typically the most bitter, impactful and aromatic of them all ranging from piney to citrus thanks to the concentration of hops. They are also extremely popular to the point that there is a cult of dedicated sippers called “Hop Heads.” I am one of them (as you can see from all of the choices I listed below) because of their complexity and ability to arouse all of the senses during consumption, but the key to a great IPA is balancing the sweet with bitter. Although they are now produced year-round to answer the demand, stronger versions including those that have been aged in oak barrels tend to surface during the last quarter. You gotta love it! Hops Display Dennis ByronAlcohol By Volume: Alcohol varies. In fact, like stouts, this style is one of the most broad in the alcohol range going from around the mid 5s all the way to the double digits in strength. The stronger IPAs (called “imperial” or “double”) are typically robust, maltier, sweeter and thicker. One of the best ways to illustrate these differences is with Dogfish Head’s IPAs. They have the big-selling 60 Minute (6%), 90 Minute (9%) and the hard-to-find (and illegal in some states due its whopping potency) 120 Minute (a whopping 18%) IPAs that range in ABV, texture, color and sweetness.

You gotta try…Way too many to list here, but regarding availability, I recommend easing your way into IPA land by tasting the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (not categorized as an IPA but it’s a great introduction before going for the more aggressive, official IPA styles) and following it up with their legit Torpedo IPA (7.2%). You can’t lose with Pennsylvania’s Victory Hop Devil(6.7%); the SweetWater IPA puts ATL on the map (6.7%); Avery’s Maharaja (10.3%) andSouthern Tier’s Unearthly (10%) out of Lakewood. NY rock the house; Colorado’s Great Divide’s Hercules Double IPA (10%) is strong in every way; anything by Lagunitas (one of my favorite breweries) including the Maximus (8.2) and Hop Stoopid (8%) are winners; the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon reppin’ Maryland (7.25%) does the job; Stone, who consistently takes hopping to the extreme, has the Ruination (7.7%); Michigan’s Founders Brewery always delivers so try their Double Trouble (9.4%); and one of the best beers, period, is the Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale (7.1%).

By the way, there is annually a race to the nearest store to get the extremely limited Bell’s HopSlam (10%) before they run out. It’s that good.

So folks, enjoy these brews, drink them cool instead of ice cold to truly appreciate all of their characteristics (especially aroma and taste), and raise them up as the leaves descend. I am sure there will be a few that will “make you wanna holler” once you get your sip on so find one…or two…or three that fit your palate. And yes, there are hundreds of others, but this is surely a great start on your way to beer-sipping bliss.

Ale says…
Hannibal Matthews_Ale Sharpton-14
What am I pouring?
Bell's HopSlam, one of the most
gangtser IPAs in the world!
  • Look for the bomber sizes (usually 22-ounce bottles) of the various beer styles because those are usually limited edition specialty brews that really demonstrate how good, creative and vast beer flavors can be.
  • I strongly recommend you go to specialty beer bars with a lot of taps. That way, you can order a few “tastes” for free (usually) before purchasing a whole one. Since many of them are seasonal, get an idea of what your palate calls for before especially those “one-and-done” ales are gone!

Got questions? Ale has the answers. Just hit him up in the comments below!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Saturday is going to be nuts in The ATL!

'I'm A Beast' and 'Boos and Brews' are going to rock Atlanta on Saturday night

Hey Brew Heads,
I know I have an event at the same exact time on Saturday called I'm A Beast (below) that I would love for you to attend, but SweetWater Brewery and Full Pint Productions' Boos and Brews is also going to be a bash so maybe you can juggle both, along with all of the rest of the crazy things going on around the city? 

Give it a try because you owe it to yourself to kick it and kick it hard! I know I am! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's the "hops" for Thursday? Alon's! Check this out:

Alon's had me at "stein"!
Alon's Bakery is the move for Thursday!

Besides the NBA season starting, I was wondering what to do on Thursday and voilà! This Alon's Bakery and Market event has Ale written all over it. I went to Alon's once and was blown away by how simply awesome this spot was across from the Perimeter Mall. It brought me back to the gourmet one-stop European-style shops in New York where people eat on premises, go grocery shopping or just chill out after a hard day's work. Everything is made on site including mouthwatering desserts, bread baked by the hour, artisan cheeses, numerous entrées and even a bar with taps! Hopefully I will see you there. It should be nuts!


Homies help Ale stick it to the man!

Keven Digital puts Ale dead center. Dopeness!

It's been hella cool seeing my Ale Sharpton stickers around the A and I have to thank two Kevins -- well, one of them is spelled Keven -- a shout out in particular. 
I went to Taste of Atlanta (thanks 360 Media!) last weekend (check out my latest write-up) and my dude Kevin Redmon, who helps produce some of the hottest events in Atlanta and owns online jewelry boutique Limón Verde, was unloading supplies from his truck. I happened to be walking down a side street street with my girl Andrea and ran into him. He said, "Yo, Ale, look!" and pointed to my sticker on his truck's back window. What are the chances??? He said his friend who's a cop put it there and he loved it. That was pretty cool. I gave Kevin another one so that he could return the favor, so if you an APD car with Ale on it, there you go. 
Mr. Redmon's pimpmobile.
And then last night, I met up with my homey and one of the best videographers this side of the Mississippi, L.A. native Keven Digital for KRJ Productions, last night at Taco Mac Metropolis to see the Lakers whip the Rockets' derrieres. He just sent me the photo above of his prized Mac laptop. It's an honor, especially with that being his "baby" and the way he made my joint look like it was a die-cut edition. Stay tuned because Kev and I are working on a gangster collaboration that will undoubtedly change the game. If you want some hot video footage, look no further than Mr. Digital (peep his steez here). 
Thanks for the love, fellow sippers! Look for more sightings of Ale stickin' it to the man at a hot spot near you. 
Damn, I need more stickers.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taste of Atlanta, a new article and a case of the Mondays!

Happy Monday (I guess)!

Lines were down the block for
Gladys' Chicken and Waffles
Please tell me you had the chance to go by Taste of Atlanta during this past weekend??? Thousands of Atlantans flocked this street extravaganza in Midtown to get their grub and drink on. The food was awesome due to more than 70 restaurants flaunting their eclectic menu of specialties, plus there was an enlightening Chocolate Academy I attended hosted by radio personality Tom Sullivan and Taria Camerino from the Highland Bakery who schooled us on the Fair Trade chocolates and what constitutes real chocolate. 

This was my favorite chocolate.
Oh, and drinks, right? The wine got a lot of love, but the beer selection was sick in the VIP tent (thanks to my man Reid Ramsey and Hop City) including two flowing taps of the new Wild Heaven brews, more than a 100 different bottles to choose from, and a Cruisin' For A Brewsin' interview with the Chairman of Innis and Gunn, Tony Hunt, who was pouring his spectacular Rum Cask Finish Oak Aged Beer. Thanking the heavens, the weather was absolutely perfect which made it one of the most beautiful weekends in the A! You better make it imperative to go next year!
Innis and Gunn's Tony Hunt, Ale and Reid

Look for the full video of Tony, Reid and your homey Ale talking about Innis soon.

Ale's Fall Guide for beginners
As you well know, I get my grind on do as much work as possible for the sake of the suds! With that being said, here's another article. This one is the Fall Brew Guide for a great website, Click on this link to see what's good in the coolers throughout the nation...
Makes Me Wanna Holler Fall Brew Guide

A case of the Mondays
Oh! And please make sure you check out my "Monday's kick ass" piece I put up last week to see what's poppin' tonight in the ATL! I heard the weather is going to suck but if you are determined to get your groove and stop by a couple of great spots with some nice brewskies, check out this posting:
The Monday joint

Stay tuned for my coverage of some great new beer spots that have just opened up around town that you gotta stop by and check out, including Deckard's Kitchen and Kegs and Champions!

Now get to sippin'!


Steer Me!

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye has the loudest roar in the world! American Muscle! This duo of American-born automobiles flexes seri...

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