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 www.brewyourcaskoff.com

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.

INFO: www.sweetwater420fest.com

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 www.brewyourcaskoff.com. 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 www.sweetwater420fest.com.

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 www.sweetwaterbrew.com.

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 www.BrewYourCaskOff.com 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 Toasts-Tastes.com. 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 http://thegarnercircle.com/millercoors/
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 BeerPorndaily.com. Thanks guys! 
(I originally did this on my boy Eric's website, www.makesmewannahollar.com, 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!