Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Official Birthday Weekend Recap!

Like I said, man, it was one helluva birthday weekend for your homey, Ale! 
One of my gangster gifts! This was done by Dubelyoo.

Thursday, October 7th
5 Seasons' Dennis getting it started
Although my birthday was officially on Friday, October 8th, I had to get it started on Thursday at 5 Seasons Brewery-Prado in Sandy Springs just outside the Atlanta Perimeter. My cuz Gari and I joined co-owner Dennis Lange's beer tour where I got to sip one of the best IPAs in the business, the brewed-on-site Hopgasm (7% ABV) created by the legendary Brewmaster Kevin McNerney (and co-founder of SweetWater). Afterwards, a handful of my bros in the media industry met me for a private beer tasting of O'Dempsey's full-flavored Big Red Ale (30 IBUs, 6%) and well-crafted Inukshuk IPA (7 %) hosted by the brewery's co-founder Randy Dempsey. We talked about the beer revolution developing in Georgia, paired his brewskies with some incredible blue cheese and watched the Yankees make it one game away from sweeping the Minnesota Twins (yessir!!!). 
Randy O'Dempsey and the Brews Brothers
The night cap was spent a few doors down at The Fred, the ultimate man cave named after Taco Mac's Beverage Director Fred Crudder. This super hideout is the members-only speakeasy of brew enthusiasts throughout the city decked out with plush leather chairs, flat screens, hard-to-finds on tap and the overall ambiance of beer love. Let's just say I left feeling nice and happy, ready for midnight to strike.

Friday, October 8th
The morning promised a freakin' gorgeous day so I woke up like Coming To America's Prince Akeem (minus the bathers and wipers) and got all of the responsible stuff out the way before noon. I had to finish an article for Jet Magazine before kickin' it, so I knocked it out and then had lunch with a good friend at Maggiano's. The brew list was limited, so I settled on Stella Artois since the Peroni tap was out. The food was decent and it was a great time overall.
From there, I picked up the remaining Ale Sharpton stickers (that were UV coated this time), worked out, got my daily dose of PTI and then prepared for the Atlanta Thrashers' home opener. 
Kickin' it with my main man Thrash
The vibe was filled with excitement in the CNN Center as fans wolfed down chow, chugged brews and chorused a wave of boos for anyone who wore the opposing Washington Capitals jersey (mostly Ovechkin's #8--arguably the best player in the league). I killed...I mean sipped a 32-ounce Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from my peoples at Great Wraps paired (ha!) with Chick-Fil-A nuggets and then it was on!  
The game itself was incredible, scary and one of the most memorable, including the Thrashers goalie passing out for a good ten minutes and brotherman Evander Kane scoring two goals (who happened to be #8; I think he can be a NHL all-star this year, seriously!). Although there were no fights, it was well worth it! Oh yeah, and how could I forget? Phillips Arena has some decent brews to choose from, but with one of the best IPAs brewed in the States, SweetWater got the nod. 
To end off the night, I hit up my favorite Atlanta night spot of Fridays, MJQs, with my boy Stone from who runs the music site Couchsessions.com back in Washington D.C. Showing off the best Hip-Hop club night in ATL was perfect because it was A3C Weekend, so special guests like 9th Wonder, Evil D (from Black Moon), DJ Drama (Gangsta Grizzillz!) were in the building and one of my A-list DJs, Rasta Root, got busy on the wheels. I revisited my sweetheart, Stella, for four bucks and bobbed my head to some banging beats and lyrics. Afterwards, a television show from Cincinnati interviewed me outside (I don't quite remember the whole conversation, honestly), I stopped by DRES the BEATnik's afterparty which tripped me out--dude had a huge homemade movie screen in his backyard and music blasting at 2:30 in the morning!!! Although he offered me a brew from his keg of PBR and I wasn't driving, I couldn't do it and respectfully declined. I just wanted a pint of sleep by that point, but I had an awesome b-day!

Saturday, October 9th
Pacci's Exec Chef Keira Moitz rocked!
Lunch at Midtown's Pacci, a beautifully designed Italian-themed restaurant with the talents and sweet personality of Executive Chef Keira Moritz to match started my day. She hand-delivered foodie Andrea Janise and I everything from the freshest calamari, to a delicious Eggs Abercrombie with a crab cake,  the best duck confit I ever had, some killer gnocchi and a chocolate cake complete with a birthday candle. 
The brew? A New Zealand pilsner called MOA which wasn't half bad, crisp, 5.5% with a hoppy finish. A new one for Ale! Hooray! Andrea played the ultimate wing...woman and tasted all of the specials for the restaurant's promotion, "Cocktails For A Cure" dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS that runs thru December 1st, World AIDS Day. Definitely check out this spot along with the chilled out Alto-Rex on the rooftop during days with clement weather. 
Art, Beats + Lyrics founders Dubelyoo and
Jabari came through
Afterwards, we had to get brew and supplies for a "few" friends and family getting together later on, so I picked out a mixed twelve of Flying Dog for a reasonable $12.99 at Mac's Beer and Wine down the street from Pacci, and then sealed the deal at Green's on Ponce for the remaining mixed twelve of Dundee's (a very reasonable $9.99); a Blue Moon mixed twelve for the ladies and wheat lovers ($12.99); and a bomber of Lagunitas' Little Sumpin' Wild Ale ($3.99) which was fantastic! Happy I stayed within my budget, there was nothing left to do catch a ten-minute nap before the shindig. 
The food was incredible thanks to my sister, Chef Monie Love, and my mom's world famous baked beans (I can't explain them, but it's a recipe more sacred than the Colonel's!). And the gifts? Everyone had beer specialists working overtime at package stores all over Atlanta to find a great beer for me to try. The result was me cheesin' every time a posse member rolled in with corked bottles of gangster brews including Affligem Dubbel, Piraat, "Chatoe" Rogue OREgasmic Ale (love that name!), Allagash Curieux and Malheur 10. There was also a bomber the Rogue John Hohn Ale, a mixed-four pack of Unibroue product, a quartet of Guinness glasses designed with the brewery's vintage ads, a classy crystal mug boasting "Ale Sharpton"etched in the middle and a brilliant portrait of yours truly done by the world famous artist, Dubelyoo (www.dubelyoo.net) that also blew me away. 
The rest of the night, if I remember correctly, included spades (I challenge anyone!), music, jokes and no sleep!

Sunday, October 10th
Yom Sippour is officially declared!
After sleeping in, it was game time! Surrounded by HD televisions showing every game at The Grove, the fam, my cousin Grieg (who celebrated his uncanny 10/10/10 birthday date), my boy "G-Unit" and rabid football fans kicked it. The beer selection was pretty decent, so I was treated to an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and a 90 Minute Dogfish Head IPA. After the Colts won, it was time for the 4 o'clock NFL shift. 
And then I got the call. 
It turned out that my boy Reid Ramsey, another Atlanta beer aficionado (follow him on Twitter @ATLBeerMaster), was having a few people over for the Braves game and was quenching thirsts with four kegs of local brew (whoa!) and bottles upon bottles of some of the most exotic brews even I have never heard of! Man, I thought my bottle collection was sick; I think he had me beat by a few hundred. His fridge was packed with cold ones from the four corners of the earth which we tasted including a mysterious swing-topped bottle given to him by the aforementioned Dennis from 5 Seasons (six degrees of separation!) and then he popped the absolutely mind-blowing Old Rasputin XI Anniversary in celebration of my birthday. (We both signed the bottle and made it an instant keepsake). Yo, we had so much fun talking about sports, ales and lagers with other brew heads that I had to officially declare October 10th Yom Sippour answered by a unanimous round of cheers! 
Thanking Reid for the gracious hospitality, my crew headed to my mom's for her classic spaghetti and meatballs, the third episode of Dexter (which is still "eh" by this point but warming up), and then it was home to finish the Sunday Night football game followed by the 1:00 AM replay of Mad Men on AMC. 
The prayer thanking the Creator for the safe evening and years of being blessed concluded the weekend that was straight bananas! It was all worthwhile writing all of this and sharing it with you, another friend who is also responsible for making this one unforgettable year. 
A toast to you!
Your bro,


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