Thursday, June 30, 2011

SweetWater Brewery releases two new brews and destroys property!


Atlanta-based SweetWater brewery is making major waves!

The Motor Boat is bizzack!
Atlanta’s own SweetWater Brewery has been kicking major tail for years since its inception back in 1996, and thanks to  all of the community service, festivals and awesome beers they release seasonally, success continues to mount. I’ve had the honor of judging many of their contests including the annual Brew Your Cask Off , plus writing a major piece on them in Beer Connoisseur Magazine, but what I equally dig is how down to earth they are and their kooky humor. For instance, below is their press release that I decided not to cut down because it had me cracking up. In a nutshell, their Motor Boat ESB hits the shelves and the new Dank Tank family member, the Browneye’d Buckeye Brown Double India Pale Ale, is now on tap! The Buckeye joint is 8.5 percent ABV and an astounding 120 IBUs, so I can’t wait to sip this one!
Plus, there is the demolition video of the property they are expanding to next to their Midtown location and an event calendar listing where SweetWater will be slinging their suds through July 31st. There’s a lot going on with these cats so enjoy and keep showing love to the top brewery in the South. They’re good for it!
Holla!
Ale
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SweetWater's Motor Boat is back
Time to limber up your lips for the annual release of our Catch and Release seasonal—the Motor Boat ESB. The ESB is dry hopped face full of pleasure and a back to back silver medal winner in the ESB category at the Great American Beer Festival! Also, it’s one of our personal favorites at the brewery. This beauty will start showing up first in our Tackle Box variety 12 packs, and then all over the Southeast in six packs and on draft.  Although this one’s built for speed and pleasure, it'll only be out ‘til the end of the summer, so dive in face first you old sailor you!

Browneye'd Buckeye - our newest release from the Dank Tank

Brown Double India Pale Ale
Our sweet, innocent, and moral El Dressel lost his way as Brutus led him down a dark alley to recruit some tattoos and car loans to afford all the Columbus hops he needed to stack his on field double IPA recipe with the most aggressive hops O-round.
Unfortunately, El Dressel was discovered, humiliated and banished, leaving a permanent wrinkle in his sweater vest and instantly creating the Browneyed Buckeye!!!
Get it while you can, because just like last year's Sugar Bowl win, this one will be gone quickly!
Malts: 2 Row, Munich, & Midnight Wheat  
Hops: over 5lbs per barrel of Columbus, Amarillo and Centennial Dry Hopped
ABV: 8.5 percent 
IBU's: 120
Available in 1/4 bbl kegs only


Movin on up like George and Weezie

We demolished the building next door to make way for more tasty SweetWater!
Click here to watch the action!
SweetWater broke ground on an 18-month long expansion that will quadruple our current brewing capacity and give us the space we need for a brand new bottling and keg line.
Last year we brewed more than 77,000 barrels and this year we are on pace to eclipse 90,000 barrels.  
The expansion will mean more upgrades to all of our packaging equipment, so that the tasty brews you know and love will only get better.  The expansion, which will take the brewery from 26,000 square feet to 110,000 square feet, began last Friday with the demolition.
The plans also include a brand new lab space and a separate event space above the packaging hall.  Check in with the camera on the roof from time to time on how the work is coming along.
Lots more details to come on the bells and whistles that will come with the new toys!

Upcoming Events from our ‘Punish the Liver’ Calendar

July 4th - Atlanta, GA - Red, White, and Brew - fireworks and beer from the roof of the Aquarium
July 10th - Birmingham, AL - Beer Dinner Benefiting Black Warrior Riverkeeper - at J Clyde's (call for reservations)
July 15th - 24th - Beaufort, SC - Beaufort Water Festival - events all over town
July 23rd - Suwanee, SC  - Suwanee Beer Festival - In Town Center Park
July 30th - Nashville, TN - Music City Beer Festival - 10th annual festival in Walk of Fame Park
July 30th - New Bern, NC - Brew Bern Beer Festival - Presented by Beer Army
July 31st - Charleston, SC - Bark for Brews - Beer Festival in Riley Park

Friday, June 24, 2011

What’s poppin’ this weekend? The Atlanta Summer Beer Fest!


I'll be in the Blue Ridge Mountains so have one for me!

Although I am taking my mom to the Blue Ridge Mountains this weekend for her 62nd birthday, it doesn’t mean I can’t sip a gang of beers through you vicariously at the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest on Saturday, June 25, from 5-10 p.m., right?

I love Mountain Top's cabins!
Now don’t get me wrong, I will have my own private brew festival and visit the Blue Ridge Brewery, chow down at the Harvest On Main, eat those delectable fritters from Mercier Orchards, chill in one of Mountain Top’s awesome  luxury cabins and breathe in the ultra-clean air of the North Georgia’s peaks, so don’t shed a tear for me! 

However, if I was in the ATL, I’d hit up the outdoor grounds of the legendary Masquerade club, listen to some live music, sip from more than 200 kegs and party with other dedicated imbibers of the suds. I went to the Winter Beer Fest last January which was pretty damn crazy inside the Masquerade (the Winter Beer Fest’s bands were hella funky!), so the summer version outdoors should be even more off the meter!

Here’s what the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest peeps are promising:

“This year the festival will be much bigger, with more beer, more bands, more great volunteers, and tons of fun additions. We will be using the Masquerade Music Park, which is the huge outdoor venue behind the Masquerade, and for the first time this year, we will also have an additional stage in front of the Masquerade. We will have plenty of taps going to keep the lines short, and plenty of bathrooms to keep you comfortable. We are expecting a sellout, so get your tickets early!” 
  • Check out the Summer Fest list of brews available while supplies last: Beer List
  • Here is where to get tickets in advance (they go up a few bucks by midnight and at the door on Saturday): Tickets
  • And be sure to read my Ale’s 10 Tips For Enjoying Beer Festivals write-up so that you are total prepared to kick it to the fullest!

So enjoy, be safe, don't try to be a hero and drive if you are hammered and let me know how it was!

Peeeeeeeace!

Ale

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clinton solidifies winner of the Samuel Adams Beer Dinner Contest!

Homebrewer extraordinaire Doug and his son Justin have Beer Summit Part 2 with ‘Hillary Clinton’!

The results are in and the winner of the First Annual Ale Sharpton Father’s Day Photo Contest is Doug, an award-winning homebrewer, and his son Justin (see here for the original post announcement). There were a lot of submissions (Thank you for that!) and some truly great shots, but the judging panel thought that this “Beer Summit Part 2” photo earned them a couple of  tickets to the Beer Dinner at Loews Hotel’s upscale restaurant eleven tonight at 6:30 p.m.
The first Beer Summit at the White House in '09
Remember President Obama’s original “Beer Summit” in July of 2009 which included Vice President Biden squashing a beef  between police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.? (Was it a coincidence or Doug's strategy that Gates Jr. was sipping a Samuel Adams Light to connect with this contest's feature brewer? Whatever the case, Doug's clan landed it!) I agreed on this being victorious because the inclusion of quality beer glassware, originality, the father and son sippin’ together, and, well, an impersonation of 67th United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton settling another dispute over some suds. Brilliant!
So what was the beef with Doug and Justin? According to the caption sent in with the flick, it said:

“Hillary helps Dad (Doug) and Son (Justin) by refereeing the homebrew beer tastings at the Doug Haus Brewery. Justin goes for the big stouts, and Doug goes for the strong Belgians. A famous Hillary quote says, ‘What we have to do... is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities.’ This was a perfect example."

I will find out who won the Stouts vs. Belgians tonight when I accompany Doug's family tonight. Man, I can’t wait to indulge in all four courses tonight at Samuel Adams’ beer dinner, especially the third one:  

Smoked Bone in short ribs, Crispy Pork Belly with Tomato Jam, Barley and Pistachio Stuffed Georgia Quail, Chilled Lentil salad and summer ale reduction.
Look f0r more contests and giveaways coming soon since this one kicked major tail!

I appreciate all the contestants and readers of this beer-lovin’ site!  Without you, there would be no Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’™!

Your homey,

Ale

Friday, June 17, 2011

Win Two Tickets to the Samuel Adams Beer Dinner This Coming Wednesday!


All you need to do is send your homey Ale Sharpton a picture and you could win!

You know what? Loews, Samuel Adams and I thought about it and agreed that we need to show  dads out there even more love than that $10 gift card (or awesome food and beer deals that are in this previous post What's Brewing For Father's Day? Lots!!!), so check it out: All you have to do is take an awesome photo with your dad in it this weekend (or if you are a dad and take one with your son or daughter) and email it to me at alesharpton@gmail.com by 11 a.m. EST, TUESDAY morning (June 21). The only thing is the picture has to somehow involve BEER. That’s it! 
eleven at Loews
I have a super hip judging panel to pick which picture is the coolest and BAM! The winner gets two tickets to the Samuel Adams Beer Dinner at the Loews Hotel’s chic restaurant eleven the followng Wednesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. EST. What is the definition of “coolest”? Whatever you think it means! 
They didn't win because there's no beer in it!
Anyway, may the best photo win. (If you want to go regardless, it’s $45 per person. Call 404.745.5745 for reservations.)
The winner will also be announced on my site, get their picture posted and receive instructions on getting the pair of tickets for the dinner. For those who lose, I didn’t pick it out. For the one who wins, tell everyone and their momma (and dad) that Samuel Adams makes amazing beer, eleven at Loews rocks and Ale Sharpton is the man! If you go, I will see you there! Bon appetit! Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all of the poppas out there!
Here the lip-smackin' menu is below.
Cheers!
Ale
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Samuel Adams Beer Dinner
Wednesday, June 22
6:30 p.m.

Join eleven at the Loews Atlanta Hotel for a five-course beer dinner with Samuel Adams beer pairings and an extensive menu from chefs Olivier Gaupin and Derek Rosen.

Amuse
Shaved Toro Tuna, Amber Beer Agar, Pea Puree

1st Course
Warm Asparagus Salad, Beer dusted Foie Gras, Beer Gastrique, Quail Deviled Egg

2nd Course
Sam Adams Lager Steamed Bouchot Mussels, Bacon Lardoons, Sweet grass Dairy Farm Asher blue, Beer Crisp

3rd Course
Smoked Bone in short ribs, Crispy Pork Belly with Tomato Jam, Barley and Pistachio Stuffed Georgia Quail, Chilled Lentil salad and summer ale Reduction

4th Course
Beer Batter Apple Beignet, Stout Ice Cream

What’s Brewing for Father’s Day? Lots!!!

Get Dad a buzz!
Sunday, June 19, is going to rock in the ATL because there are so many eating spots dedicated to showing heads of the table some love with the suds. Here are a few restaurant promotions that stood out that are pretty creative in the field of quenching the thirst of Atlanta poppas with ales and lagers galore.
So ditch the tie and get dad some vittles and a cold one…or two…or three at one of these hip spots.  
Oh! And look out for the first giveaway on my site! It is coming in the spirit of Father’s Day and it will make a lucky Dad and his pride and joy toast off this weekend with a bang! Trust me! Look for the announcement later on today around 1ish.

First and foremost, the Wrecking Bar is finally opening on Father’s Day! I couldn’t wait for the bottom floor of this Victorian-style house on Moreland Ave in Little Five Points to start pouring ales brewed on premises by the great brewmaster Chris Terenzi. A special shout out goes to the owners, Bob and Kristine Sandage! Thanks for adding to the growing kick-ass beer scene in the A! Here is the official announcement along with some other beer-related Father’s Day throwdowns around the city.

Hops for Pops!
On Sunday, June 19, the Wrecking Bar Brewpub and The Porter Beer Bar are teaming up to celebrate brew-loving dads across Atlanta! Beginning at noon, the Wrecking Bar Brewpub will officially open its doors (and taps at 12:30) to the Little Five Points neighborhood. Simultaneously, The Porter will tap 19 Mikkeller single hop beers starting at 12:30pm. Jump on the MARTA (the closest stop is Inman/Reynoldstown a couple blocks away) and then dotingly carry Dad back and forth on the five-minute trek between these neighborhood pubs for the entire afternoon and into the evening!


Celebrate Father’s Day with Der Biergarten!
Treat your dad to a feast fit for a king!

Bring in the family and devour Der Biergarten’s new King Ludwig Platter, which includes all your German favorites:  Jagerschnitzel, Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinshaxe, Sausages, Sauerbraten, Potato Salad, Sauerkraut and Braised Red Cabbage. Take 15% off on Father’s Day on Sunday, June 19, while you’re at it!
Also, here’s a great gift idea for the old man!
Still looking for the perfect gift?  Stein Club memberships are available now at Der Biergarten and offer a VIP experience for any beer lover in town with exclusive access to unique beer specials and events, dining and retail discounts and even your own personalized Stein. $60 annual membership fee. 

Deckard's Kitchen & Kegs
On Sunday from 2-5 p.m., will feature all kinds of cool stuff like live music on their patio; finger food like brats and ribs; and cigars from the Highland Cigar Co including two of their girls on the patio to cut, light, and educate guests (additional cigars will be available to purchase after the first free one). There will also be two bottles each of Rogue Dead Guy Rye Whiskey, Rogue Single Malt Oregon Whiskey, Bulleit Bourbon and Angostura's 7-year rum. And beer, you say? Yep! Deckard's will have two cases of Rogue John John Dead Guy Ale (Rogue's Dead Guy Ale aged in the Dead Guy Rye whiskey barrels). All of this booze will be sample 'til its gone and, of course, the killer full draft roster and gourmet-level food menu will be available to purchase. The event is $35 a head. Sounds good, doesn't it?
‘Firkin’ hey!

Firkin & Gryphon will be offering a prime rib plate for $20 or a BBQ platter with ribs, chicken, pork, brisket and your choice of side for $15 on Father’s Day. Make a day of it and watch the Atlanta Braves vs. Texas Rangers starting at 1:35 p.m.  Add a brew from their extensive beer menu with this awesome food combo and dad is seriously chillin’.

Celebrate Father's Day at TAP

Join TAP this Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th, where Dad's will enjoy a free pint and half price burgers! TAP will be offering all Dads, dining with their families, a complimentary pint all day long to celebrate! Half price burgers will only be available during TAP's brunch, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring your family to celebrate and make your reservation to secure your seating.

Help TWO celebrate Father's Day in a BIG way
I had to add the map to show how to get to this speezot! It' s a tad tricky.

TWO urban licks is hosting "Dad's Day Off" this Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th. Give your Dad a relaxing day away from the grill and let TWO do all the work. Chef Cameron Thompson will offer added grill specials, straight from TWO's acclaimed rotisserie, alongside TWO's regular menu to give Dad a Father's Day worthy feast. TWO will also offer a complimentary pint to every Dad as a token of appreciation. Nice!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide

Okay folks, in my "Clark Kent" mode, I'm Dennis Malcolm Byron, the editor for the upscale lifestyle publication and website J'Adore Magazine. Since we are waiting on our new site to be launched after our Web guys in England finish a few more technical issues, I didn't want this article to go to waste, so I posted it here while there is still time. But don't worry, Ale's still focused on the suds. On Friday, I will be listing some awesome places to eat and get your sip on this weekend throughout Atlanta to celebrate Father's Day! Until then, maintain!
Ale
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J'Adore Magazine's Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide
By Dennis Malcolm Byron
Come on, you know this list is right up your alley. This year has been a blur and it is becoming harder and harder to find time to plan what’s for dinner tonight, let alone an awesome, original present for Father’s Day! Well before you grab another ghastly sweater even Bill Cosby would diss, here are some extraordinary gifts you can snatch up online, buy locally or in one case, travel to. And to all the pops out there, kick back, pour a cold one and enjoy your one day of appreciation!

You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking but Utterly True Facts
We have always been taught that reading is fundamental, but what about just cutting that word short and just making it fun? The book, You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News (Plume), does just that with all kinds of kooky facts, anecdotes and dispelled myths schools embedded in our heads since the ABCs. Although a lot of the facts are disturbing (50 percent of humans are infected with a parasite that can take over your brain) to hidden gems in U.S. history that make our former presidents sound pretty damn cool (Did you know President Roosevelt was a black belt in jujitsu and Andrew Jackson loved gun duels?), they collectively add up to some serious page turning. Written by the editors of the infamous Cracked, this book promises to be just as nuts as the magazine!
www.cracked.com and www.penguin.com

13 Crowns accessories
Not all dads are over 60 or would be happy with just a card and tie. For the more hip and younger fathers out there, world renowned ex-poker player Chris Adkins started 13 Crowns, a custom made jewelry line specializing in bracelets and rosary necklaces for men and women that allows patrons to create their own personal piece online or by appointment! Add a little edginess to dad’s wardrobe with one-of-a-kind wrist wear brandishing anything from exotic stones to crowns and skulls. Go all in with 13 Crowns!

CREED’s new Himalaya 
CREED is one of the best fragrance companies in the world. Period. This France-based smell-good king has only 35 people working under one creator: master perfumer Olivier Creed himself, representing the sixth generation of the House of CREED. Collectively, they create all of their fragrances by hand under one roof resulting in some of the most exotic scents to entice noses globally. Last year’s launch of their Aventus blew me away, but now they have a new one—the citrusy, yet very masculine Himalaya inspired from Mr. Creed’s trip to Tibet. There rea more than 40 other CREED scents that are available in upscale shopping stores like Neiman Marcus (www.neimanmarcus.com), Bergdorf Goodman (www.bergdorfgoodman.com) and select Saks Fifth Avenues, so sniff away and see which one dad will dig. Trust me, this is no Old Spice. Pops will smell like royalty!

‘Play & Stay’ package Planters Inn
Get dad out of town and it doesn’t have to be right on Father’s Day, so let him plan it out. The 64-room Planters Inn in Charleston, S.C. (one of my favorite cities in the U.S.), has a “Play & Stay” package that will change his life. Based in the heart of Charleston’s historic City Market, this nationally renowned inn is offering an "swinging" gift for dads this year with the “Play & Stay Package.” The package includes overnight accommodations, two passes to Rivertowne Country Club, $125 gift certificate for dinner at the award-winning Peninsula Grill, and two rounds of golf at Rivertownean Arnold Palmer “Signature Course” complete with golf balls and access to the clubhouse. Rates for the “Play & Stay Package” start at $509 per night. Visit www.plantersinn.com to make reservations. 
----------------------------------------
Look for my Father's Day special that will post some awesome spots in Atlanta to sip beer and grub that will go up on Friday!
Cheers!
Ale

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide

Okay folks, in my "Clark Kent" mode, I'm Dennis Malcolm Byron, the editor for the upscale lifestyle publication and website J'Adore Magazine. Since we are waiting on our new site to be launched after our Web guys in England finish a few more technical issues, I didn't want this article to go to waste, so I posted it here while there is still time. But don't worry, Ale's still focused on the suds. On Friday, I will be listing some awesome places to eat and get your sip on this weekend throughout Atlanta to celebrate Father's Day! Until then, maintain!
Ale
-----------
J'Adore Magazine's Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide
By Dennis Malcolm Byron
Come on, you know this list is right up your alley. This year has been a blur and it is becoming harder and harder to find time to plan what’s for dinner tonight, let alone an awesome, original present for Father’s Day! Well before you grab another ghastly sweater even Bill Cosby would diss, here are some extraordinary gifts you can snatch up online, buy locally or in one case, travel to. And to all the pops out there, kick back, pour a cold one and enjoy your one day of appreciation!

You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking but Utterly True Facts
We have always been taught that reading is fundamental, but what about just cutting that word short and just making it fun? The book, You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News (Plume), does just that with all kinds of kooky facts, anecdotes and dispelled myths schools embedded in our heads since the ABCs. Although a lot of the facts are disturbing (50 percent of humans are infected with a parasite that can take over your brain) to hidden gems in U.S. history that make our former presidents sound pretty damn cool (Did you know President Roosevelt was a black belt in jujitsu and Andrew Jackson loved gun duels?), they collectively add up to some serious page turning. Written by the editors of the infamous Cracked, this book promises to be just as nuts as the magazine!
www.cracked.com and www.penguin.com

13 Crowns accessories
Not all dads are over 60 or would be happy with just a card and tie. For the more hip and younger fathers out there, world renowned ex-poker player Chris Adkins started 13 Crowns, a custom made jewelry line specializing in bracelets and rosary necklaces for men and women that allows patrons to create their own personal piece online or by appointment! Add a little edginess to dad’s wardrobe with one-of-a-kind wrist wear brandishing anything from exotic stones to crowns and skulls. Go all in with 13 Crowns!

CREED’s new Himalaya 
CREED is one of the best fragrance companies in the world. Period. This France-based smell-good king has only 35 people working under one creator: master perfumer Olivier Creed himself, representing the sixth generation of the House of CREED. Collectively, they create all of their fragrances by hand under one roof resulting in some of the most exotic scents to entice noses globally. Last year’s launch of their Aventus blew me away, but now they have a new one—the citrusy, yet very masculine Himalaya inspired from Mr. Creed’s trip to Tibet. There rea more than 40 other CREED scents that are available in upscale shopping stores like Neiman Marcus (www.neimanmarcus.com), Bergdorf Goodman (www.bergdorfgoodman.com) and select Saks Fifth Avenues, so sniff away and see which one dad will dig. Trust me, this is no Old Spice. Pops will smell like royalty!

‘Play & Stay’ package Planters Inn
Get dad out of town and it doesn’t have to be right on Father’s Day, so let him plan it out. The 64-room Planters Inn in Charleston, S.C. (one of my favorite cities in the U.S.), has a “Play & Stay” package that will change his life. Based in the heart of Charleston’s historic City Market, this nationally renowned inn is offering an "swinging" gift for dads this year with the “Play & Stay Package.” The package includes overnight accommodations, two passes to Rivertowne Country Club, $125 gift certificate for dinner at the award-winning Peninsula Grill, and two rounds of golf at Rivertownean Arnold Palmer “Signature Course” complete with golf balls and access to the clubhouse. Rates for the “Play & Stay Package” start at $509 per night. Visit www.plantersinn.com to make reservations. 
----------------------------------------
Look for my Father's Day special that will post some awesome spots in Atlanta to sip beer and grub that will go up on Friday!
Cheers!
Ale

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fadó's Euro Dinner rocked last night!


I have visited Atlanta’s Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant a few times for events, but I never had a chance to indulge in their food. It was always a sip of a creamy Guinness Stout or what have you in the spirit of Ireland, but last night made me an official fan! Fadó; Tower Wine, Beer & Spirits; and Anheuser-Busch InBev presented a “Euro Beer” dinner. Held in the revitalizing posh district of Buckhead, the sold-out dining event surrounded by authentic Irish pub décor presented four courses of delicious fare coupled with some of the most world-renowned brews that are all under the AB/In-Bev umbrella.  
Here is what I had. Again, the food was totally on point, and the refreshing ales and lager (Stella) that cleverly complemented each dish made the entire dinner a success. This was all for $45 and it was worth every penny.

Course #1: BBQ applewood-smoked shrimp over colcannon mashed potatoes served with veggie slaw and paired with Bass Ale.
Course #1
The nuttiness of the Bass Ale paired nicely with the smokiness of the shrimp. I am not huge a consumer of pork, but the bacon they used was cooked well, sweet and justified my once-in-a-while intake. Plus, the colcannon mashed potatoes (which is traditionally prepared with cabbage or kale; scallions; butter; salt and pepper) and a housemade slaw brought a number of physical textures and flavors in the mouth that collectively worked in all facets of gastronomy. It was the perfect beginning!

Course #2: Summer strawberry spinach salad paired with Stella Artois
Course #2
This salad was nice palate cleanser made with fresh spinach and refreshing ripe strawberries to go with one of my favorite mass-distributed lagers, Stella Artois. Stella also does some brilliant marketing with their glassware, presentation and other accompanying paraphernalia. 

Course #3: Blackened chicken and shrimp with tomatoes and mushrooms  in a spicy cheese sauce wrapped in traditional Irish boxty served with a side of summer vegetables and paired with Leffe Blonde
Course #3
This one blew me away. The Irish “boxty” was like a grilled crepe with a tad of sweetness, wrapped around an awesome combination of shrimp, grilled chicken, just enough veggies and sharp cheese. The fruity, crisp, and potent Leffe Blonde from Belgium was a great choice to balance out this dish. This one was my favorite course by a nose.

Course #4: Eve’s Pudding made with sweet and tart rhubarb baked in a sugar cookie crust served with vanilla ice cream, mint and rhubarb syrup and paired with Hoegaarden.
Course #4
Dessert is usually skipped so that I can stay in some kind of shape, but daaaaaaamn! This delectable dish complete with the creamy vanilla ice cream, mouth-watering crust and rhubarb tartness high-fived the citrusy Hoegaarden (pronounced who-garden, folks!) perfectly. The mint on top said "Mwwwwwah" with a kiss. Great teamwork!

Walking out with a gold-rimmed Stella glass and its slick-designed recipe/pouring instruction book in hand as a gift, everyone was content, full and smiling ear to ear. That’s me, included. This evening rocked!

Shout outs go to the Fadó family; Cindy and Travis from AB; and Gregg from Tower who made sure everyone had a blast. Mission accomplished!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cruisin' For A Brewsin': Detroit, Michigan

Ale kicks it in Detroit aka The Motor City aka The D aka Motown aka...
A flight of brews from the Detroit Beer Co.


Whoa!

It is now the first weekend of June and after traveling to Detroit, MI, and then heading to Gatineau, Quebec for their first Beer Festival along with visits to some awesome brew spots throughout the region, I finally had a chance to reflect (and update my blog!). I came to one conclusion: Was May a damn blur or what? 

Regarding beer, it certainly made the month blast by and I have plenty of photos that captured some of the moments. From Atlanta’s Food & Wine Festival where I was a panelist with three extremely successful bloggers in the world of culinary arts, to kickin’ it in Detroit, celebrating American Craft Beer Week, and a ton of other cool happenings, I’ve missed you guys but I am back!

First up is Motown. Detroit has taken a beating through the years from the decline of particularly the auto industry during the recession, but it is now coming from the ground swinging with companies like Ford and GM starting to kick ass again. Truthfully, the Motor City still has a ways to go, but its loyal citizens will not back down. 


Of course, I hit up the hot spots for brews including Slows Bar B Q, Motor City Brewing, Traffic Jam & Snug, Atwater Block BrewingGrand Trunk Pub, Tigers' Comerica Ballpark and Detroit Brewing Co., so I had to show you what I experienced. Everyone likes pictures, right? Well here ya go! If you want to see these in slideshow format (plus a couple of extra shots) just go here. (If it goes too fast, press on the "+" sign at the bottom to slow it down.) I like to give options, ya heard?




(Above) Here are three ales from the Detroit Beer Co., brewed by Kevin Rodger. This Hartz Building restoration is a perfect mix of rustic and contemporary; its bar boasts at least eight variations on tap regularly. This was a cool spot. I got a growler to share with the rest of the journalists. We had a ball that night!




This cat's name is Jon and he knows a sh*tload about the beer scene in Detroit. Check out how we met: I walked into one of the best pubs in Motor City just after midnight called Grand Trunk that my homey and Detroit native Damali knew about. They were about to close and he was tending the bar. He looked at me, said I looked familiar, and then he put it together. He said, "You're Ale Sharpton!" I was really trippin' because I never met him before but he knew me from Beer Connoisseur Magazine. How cool is that? He kept the bar open for an extra hour and had me sample everything on the menu. It was an awesome time I will never forget! The Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale at 7.5% was my favorite for the evening; a smooth, potent sipper with notes of fig and chocolate under the "strong black ale" categorization.

A hip neighborhood joint called Slows Bar B Q opened in 2005 and has since become one of the D's most popular eateries, specializing in various American styles of BBQ, a rustic vibe and, most importantly, an awesome tap selection that features primarily Michigan brewed ales and lagers. Their waffle fries with cheese were on point so I had to show them some love! Definitely come here if you want to get a true Michigan beer tour without leaving your stool.

Dopplebocks are coming back with a vengeance and Atwater Block Brewery, the most successful brewery in Detroit, has the VooDoo Vator complete with haunting packaging to continue their reign. It's pretty damn good at 8.5%. I also tried their strong Teufel Bock and their Belgian-style Dirty Blonde witbier is kicking major ass in the D.
This is the man on the right who runs the show at Atwater Block Brewery, Mark Rieth, is super cool and passionate about what a does. This is a must for any successful head honcho of a brewing empire. Although Atwater Block specializes in lagers, they have a great selection of ales as well. Keep doing your thing, Mark!
How "sweet" of a welcome is this? I stayed at the world-class hotel called The Henry Hotel, rightfully named after automotive pioneer Henry Ford. I had a growler filled with Detroit City Brewery's Hot Town Wit to keep things in perspective, but who can hate on a housemade cookie, special chocolates and a plate written with, yes, chocolate? Everything paired well with the citrusy brew, oddly enough. Good stuff!
Being a sports fanatic, I had to check out Comerica Park stadium to see the Tigers. Although my Yankees weren't playing (the Blue Jays were in town), the game was still a hit. Here are a couple of Atwater Block's brews for sale. Every team should keep it real and support their local brewers. Detroit certainly does. Bravo!
Native rocker Kid Rock teamed with Michigan Brewing Company, scored a $7 million investment, and created a lager called American Badass Beer which launched here, Comerica Park, during his concerts on July 17-18, 2010. I have yet to try it, but Kid said, "I want this to be like the beer I drink. You grab it, you share it with your friends, it's refreshing, it's cold, it gives you a good buzz. Done." At 4.2%, I am not sure how "badass" it truly is, so I passed. Not my steez, but love the marketing! Feel free to comment if you had it.



Having a design background, I appreciate anything creative with packaging, especially brews. During my tour of the Motor City Brewery, this caught my eye in their main office. I had to get a flick of this 12-pack. Love it! They also have a cool label called the "Ghetto Blaster" which kicks ass.

I was very happy with the brews that were crafted in house at Detroit staple, Traffic Jam & Snug, one of the first brewpubs in the city. Major shout outs go to head cheesemaker and brewmaster Chris Reilly, along with owner Caroline Howard. They both showed me some great Detroit hospitality and amazed me how everything from ales to cheese were made under the Snug roof. When you visit, make sure you ask them how they got that name. It's a cool story.
Oh, and talented photographer Kim Schneider hooked up this photo. It’s a great shot if I can say so myself. Thanks so much, K.S.!!! My favorite brew was the Strong Belgian wheat beer called the Bouvier Blanche at 7%, brewed with coriander and orange peel. It was obvious Mr. Reilly knows what he is doing!

Honestly, I am looking forward to getting back to Detroit. There is so much more to explore and, well, sip. 

Cheers!


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