Monday, April 18, 2011

Last Thursday in Atlanta was crazy!

Your homey Ale with a case of the Mondays.
The 420 Fest and Longshot Homebrew Competition rocked!

As I prophesied, Thursday was crazy (see the crazy line-up here)! I had to go to the reserve tank and muster everything I had to make it through the rest of the weekend which included the 42o Fest but since it is Monday, I guess I made it! As a recap, the first stop after closing down my laptop on Thursday afternoon was Hop City and the historic 5:00 p.m. first legal pour of growlers in Atlanta, Georgia. A monumental event indeed, I got there around 4:30 to take a few pics of my man Reid, the Atlanta Beer Master, doing his thing and running the
festivities. 
It turns out that the phenomenal selection of 16 taps pouring everything from Red Brick's 16th Anniversary to New Belgium's 10-10-10 and the state's introduction of Stillwater Brewery out of Minnesota. Plus, Wild Heaven Brewery kicked ass as well with their Ode To Mercy getting a ton of orders. And how would I know this? Because I was pouring them! I actually put down the camera and began sanitizing the bottles with Hop City owner Kraig Torres and his loyal crew, and then got my tap pulling on to fill 64-ounce jugs with some of the world's best ales and one fine pilsner—Victory's new Braumeister Harvest Pils. I actually had a blast serving the long line of eager beer enthusiasts who wanted to be the first to get a growler filled in Georgia's capital. I didn't end up leaving until about 7 but it was well worth it! 
Knowing that I still had two stops to make, I jetted over to meet Urthel Brewery's lovely brewmaster, Hildegard Van Ostaden, at the Brick Store in Downtown Decatur. When I got there, one of my friends chilling outside said that she was gone. Just when my spirit was about to drop, he informed me that she still might be around the corner at Leon's! Sure
enough, there she was having her last beer in the company of her cool husband and business  partner, Bas, along with co-owner for both Brick Store and Leon's, Dave. We all chilled out for a while sipping on the good stuff a shooting the breeze for a few. Make sure you try Urthel's brews. Hildegard is the mother of the first Belgian IPA, the Hop-It, among others, and Bas is responsible for the killer artwork and freaky glassware. What a team!
After that, it was all the way to Marietta for the Longshot Homebrew Contest hosted by Wild Wing Cafe. The outdoor event was packed with beer nuts and aspiring homebrewers whose product was judged by the esteemed panel consisting of veteran beer writer Bob Townsend, Matt Simpson aka the "Beer Sommelier," and 2010 Longshot winner Richard Roper who proudly represents Georgia. Besides sampling a variety of beers Samuel Adams' reps constantly passed out including the Imperial Stout, Latitude 48 and Noble Pils, the audience also received tastings of the contestants' entries which was a really cool highlight of the event.
After hours of imbibing, eating and conversation, the $500 winner was announced and that is when the controversy started. I heard from an anonymous source that the winning order got mixed up and the wrong name was announced for first place! By this point, the huge $500 cardboard check was held up, pictures were taken, thank yous for support were given and the whole nine! Luckily, the gent was a good sport when he was notified of the unfortunate eff-up and he took it like a man. Truthfully, his beer was good but the star of the night and grand prize winner was justly Douglas F. and his Dark Musings Russian Imperial Stout at a gangster 10.5% abv. Now I knew of Douglas' brewing mastery before when I blindly awarded him my #1 winner in another homebrewing contest, so he evidently knows what the hell he is doing! In fact, here is the breakdown of the beer from the brewmaster himself! Hit it Doug:

"Dark Musings is a very rich imperial stout with three different hops—Chinook, Amarillo, and Willamette—and eight specialty grains. Contributing to the depth of flavor are dark organic molasses and Indonesian vanilla beans. It has been aged with very dark toasted French oak cubes that have been soaked in Maker’s Mark Bourbon. This imperial stout flavor is strong and complex, while offering a smooth finish to a full-bodied beer.”

Amen!

Doug's son and partner in crime, Justin, proudly raised his dad's hand and they jointly let out a sigh of relief for being victorious in something his pop has always been so passionate about. Awesome job, Doug, and good luck in the Longshot finals held up in Massachusetts by the Adams Family! On the real, between Doug's Musings and the other submissions, Georgia has some no-joke homebrews that are good enough to bring home the crown a second consecutive year.
By the way, I want to give a shout out to the head man of Wild Wing Cafe, Ryan Bing, Scott Hedeen, Ed from the Brewmasters Warehouse, and the Burnt Hickory Brewery for a four-pack sampler of their fantastic brews (I love their Old Wooden Head Imperial IPA)!
All in all, as I had expected, Thursday was nuts!!! As for the rest of the weekend, the 420 Fest rocked, Dogwood Festival had perfect weather on Sunday, and the NBA was faaaaantastic, except for my damn Lakers losing! (Pictures from the weekend are coming. My card slot is acting up in my damn laptop.)
Last but certainly not least, look out for a very special series I am launching tomorrow on this site. Thanks for reading and showing support for your homey.
Cheers!
Ale


2 comments: