Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The countdown to HOToberFest Beer Festival

238 different brews—plus one more—are almost here!

Words and photos by your homey!

Atlanta has been one of the hottest spots in the nation when it comes to beer festivals and I am happy to say that HOToberFest, one of my top favorites, is coming up this Saturday, October 2, at East Atlanta’s Glenwood Park (visit www.hotoberfest.net for details). Why is it the sheezy? Simple. After meeting founders Alan RainesTryon and Denise Rosser during their first HOToberFest in 2008, they have earned a lot of respect from Brother Ale ever since. Besides the killer music, hip schwag and monetary support to Trees Atlanta, their anuual event rocks because unlike all the others, we, the consumers, are the judges for what brews kicks the most casks, I mean, ass each year! (Visit www.hotoberfest.net for past winners). 

Mentioning cold ones, arguably the biggest reason HOToberFest is outta “firkin” control is because the beer list is increasingly more gangster with each year. And when I say gangster, I mean it; the list is at press time 238—you read me right— and these aren’t bullsh*t brews that are slammed down at frat parties cup after plastic cup! We’re talking North Coast Brewery’s Brother Thelonious, Lagunitas’ 2009 Ruben & the Jets (I don’t know how they scored this one!), Thomas Creek’s Up The Creek Extreme IPA, Maredsous’ Abbaye Abdij Tripel 10, Left Hand Brewing’s Chainsaw…all hell, here’s the list for ya: http://hotoberfest.net/pdf/2010-beer-ist.pdf

Beer Connoisseur Mag Editor Nick Kaye,
me and Alan at HOTberFest 2009
So, yep, Ale’s gotta show love to the HOToberFest crew whenever the topic of Atlanta brew festivals comes up and, hey, they show love back! Last week, I had the honor of joining the men of the Hot trio, “A-Plus” and “Mr. T,” to make two special casks with the one and only Nick Nock, the head brewer for all of that goodness pumped out of Atlanta’s own SweetWater Brewery (www.sweetwaterbrew.com). Besides being a super cool, down-to-earth cat, anything “Slick Nick” touches turns to liquid gold, so I couldn’t wait to see how he was going to pimp Alan and Tryon’s top secret ale.
It was perfect timing because prior to the session, I was able to scoop some copies of the latest Beer Connoisseur Magazine (www.beerconnoisseur.com) hot off the press, where yours truly had written a description on SweetWater’s tour experience (page s 9 and 39). I mean, hey, it’s pretty cool to have the #1 microbrewery in Georgia and #28 in the nation in terms of production in our backyard, so BC justifiably gave them some pub.
HOToberFest crew Alan and Tryon watching
"Slick" Nick add some spice to the mix
Choppin’ it up with SweetWater’s Minister of Propaganda, Steve Farace, and the HOToberFest posse a few minutes before working with Nick, we tossed around some ideas of what the cask ale should include. The final consensus was to just dive in and see what worked. After a lot of trial and error including using some pure pumpkin in SweetWater’s awesome IPA, the Nockster suggested spicing things up with some pepper as a main ingredient; he received a thumbs-up from the crew. 

Adding and subtracting here and there to perfect the future cash cow of SweetWater (okay, maybe not), we decided on the most impressive combo and made a communal blood oath to never disclose the recipe. Two casks later (not including a couple more Nick said he would mess around with), we toasted off the experience with a pint of the brewery’s newest Dank Tank concoction that was released in early September, the Crank Tank Rye’d Ale. It was a blast!

The only thing left to do now is count down the hours until HOToberFest, one hell of a Saturday that will feature beers brewed out of the simple love of the craft, including a spicy, one-time batch three enthusiasts and an expert came up with on that unforgettable Tuesday afternoon.

See you there!



  1. Excellent article, Ale! Looking forward to seeing you Saturday and following your future blogging through the craft brew world!

  2. Look forward to seeing you there OMFGAtlanta.com style! Nice preview Ale.