Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cruisin For A Brewsin’: 
New Wild Heaven's brews deserve halos

Location: The Brick Store Pub, Decatur, Georgia
Subject: Wild Heaven Craft Beers enters the market

Nick Purdy
Hallelujah! Georgia has another brewery to add to its roster called Wild Heaven Craft Beers and judging from their pair of first gangster brews that I had the pleasure to sip on prior to their public release—“Invocation” and “Ode to Mercy”—they are reppin’ the state to the fullest! Nick Purdy, the founding publisher of the music mag Paste, has proudly kicked in the door with his new brainchild, Wild Heaven Craft Beers (www.wildheavencraftbeers.com). Thanks to the recipes of Eric Johnson, the head honcho of the awesome bar Trappeze in Athens, GA., the South now has a new, bold duo of cold ones that are straight up delicious, well-crafted and deceptively potent!

I met Eric at the celebration for the launch of Atlanta’s first Food and Wine Festival pumped out by PR firm extraordinaire, The Reynolds Group. It was held on the rooftop of White Provisions and before I could even enter the spot, a good friend ran up to me and said, “Oh my God, Ale, you have to try the beer!” Beer? I was expecting wine and a few mainstream breweries, but not one that had my homegirl show so much love for! I assumed it had to be a lady friendly witbier or something, but nope! I grabbed one of the last pints from the keg and its golden color (8 SRM*) firm head, and citrusy aroma instantly teleported me to Belgium. Sure enough, the first sip of this medium-bodied liquid bliss possessed a subtle hoppiness (48 IBUs) balanced with just enough sweetness to hint it was a strong one and a semi-dry-finish. How could they afford to give away imported kegs of a high quality, strong golden Belgian ale at this joint? I thought. To my surprise, it was a new brew two cats in Georgia produced which had me going nuts!

The Invocation was slammin'!
I met the man behind the recipe of this heavenly creation, Eric, and we chopped it up while sipping the last glass of what would be called Invocation. He agreed that the brew was indeed a Belgian-style strong golden ale, but emphasized that it was made with all grains, which was “… a departure from the traditional Belgian practice of adding candy sugar which is also what most American breweries are doing,” he professed. “An all grain version gives the beer better body and mouthfeel as well as a depth and complexity you won't get from sucrose. It is fermented with Westmalle yeast to give it that wonderful Belgian spiciness along with tropical fruit esters.” Well whatever Eric used, he knew what he was doing and with the Bruce Lee kick of 8.5%, it was immediately one of my favorite beers that I would happily patronize again.

Photographer Kat Goduco
getting her sip on
That was back in early June of 2010, so I had to wait until mid-September to officially sip the Invocation and his other creation, the Ode to Mercy, both contract brewed at Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville, S.C. (www.thomascreekbeer.com; stay tuned for my visit there). My homegirl Caren West set up a one-on-one sipping session with Wild Heaven owner Nick at one of the best brew pubs in the world (and one of my favorites)—The Brick Store (www.brickstorepub.com) in Decatur—where . Photographer and good friend Kat Goduco (www.katkaduco.com) joined a brotha as we fell in love with the Ode.



Servin' the Ode to Mercy



Nick told me how he got the name for his brewing venture came from R.E.M.’s cut, "Near Wild Heaven" from their 1991 Out Of Time album, the stellar band that is also a product of Athens. He then shared my sentiments when I said how I was not a fan of the usually mild brown ales that don’t have the boldness I craved, but happily insisted that the Ode was “imperial” (high gravity), robust, French oak-aged and brewed with Athens’ own local Thousand Faces Coffee. After that description, I was already sold, but the java and citrus hops (40 IBUs) that enticed my nose; the smooth, creamy texture; and perfect balance of vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted nuts and, yes, lovely oak barrel, with 8.2 % potency sealed the deal. High-fiving Nick, I finally had a mahogany ale (20 SRM) to call my own!  And thanks to Heaven, I will rock the quality, stretchy cotton (not the cotton that rivals the warmth of a fur coat) Wild Heaven t-shirt with confidence because their duo of craft brews of angelic purity deserves halos.


Look for bottles at the end of the year. Until then, make sure you demand the Ode and Invocation at the speezots below:

Where to find Heaven
I'm feeling the Wild Heaven shirt!
Look for Wild Heaven at these killer Georgia brew spots (in alphabetical order no less!): Brick Store Pub (Decatur), The Corner Pub (Decatur, www.pubalicious.com), Cypress Street Pint & Plate (Midtown, www.cypressbar.com), The Fred (Sandy Springs, Taco Mac, fredsbeerpage.blogspot.com), Leon’s Full Service (Decatur, www.leonsfullservice.com), The Marlay House (Decatur, www.themarlayhouse.com), Midway Pub (East Atlanta, www.themidwaypub.com), Octane (Westside, www.octanecoffee.com), Ormsby’s (Westside, www.ormsbysatlanta.com), The Porter Beer Bar (Little Five Points, www.theporterbeerbar.com), Steinbeck’s (Oakhurst, www.steinbecksbar.com), Taco Mac – Perimeter Place (Dunwoody, www.tacomac.com), Thinking Man Tavern (Decatur, www.thinkingmantavern.com), Trappeze Pub (Athens, www.trappezepub.com, duh!), Muss & Turner’s (Smyrna, www.mussandturners.com), Diesel (Virginia Highlands, www.dieselatlanta.com), Twain’s Billiards (Decatur, www.twains.net) and Young Augustine’s (Grant Park, 404.681.3344).

Holla!!!

* SRM (Standard Reference Method): An American scale that classifies the color of brews. Although you see IBUs (International Bitterness Units) and ABV (Alcohol By Volume) more often, it is good to know 0 (zero) is basically water (or crappy light beers) while a 40 is the most chocolaty, dark roasted, ninja stout you could find (my steez!).

3 comments: