Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moonshine and Prohibition in one day. A Coincidence?


Happy Hump Day!
Today has been pretty eventful including being a part in the filming of the upcoming Trends With Benefits feature on TBS this morning. It was on moonshine so, of course, they wanted us to taste and learn what this historically controversial spirit was all about. Since DBA Barbecue is a prime source for a gang of moonshine variations, we had to taste asome that they serve on the regular in the Virginia-Highlands. I am not a huge liquor guy, but I had to at least be open-minded enough to see how good his stuff was. I can't front, the little bit I tried was very interesting and tasty. Especially when they had one called The Bart mixed with Whynatte, a tasty moonshine called Catdaddy (pictured above) and the Jailhouse Breakout Stout! Make sure you check DBA out. The owner, Matt, is a nut!
Anyway, I am about to go this extraordinary, eclectic dinner and spirit pairing at Atkins ParkAtlanta’s oldest continuously licensed tavern. It's themed around the Prohibition Era and should be a ball. Luckily, everything being served is legal! I will be back with some flicks tomorrow. Wait! Moonshine? Prohibition? I guess I am living the illegal life today, huh? Oh well! I will back on the brew tip tomorrow, trying that new Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout at Leon's Full Service. My ride (You know I'm not driving!) is waiting on a brother. 
Cheers!
Ale
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ATKINS PARK TAVERN IN VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND CELEBRATES 90 YEARS

Atlanta’s Oldest Continuously Licensed Tavern Hosts Prohibition Dinner and 1920s-Themed Party

Atkins Park Tavern in Virginia-Highland is turning 90 years old next month and in honor of its anniversary, the restaurant will host a special Prohibition Dinner on Wednesday, February 29 and a Prohibition Party on Thursday, March 8.
“The restaurant industry and the neighborhood have changed so much since I first took ownership of Atkins Park Tavern, and I really just want this to be a fun celebration of how long we’ve been a part of the Atlanta neighborhood scene,” says Atkins Park Tavern Owner Warren Bruno.
The Prohibition Dinner begins at 7 p.m. on February 29 and will feature four cocktails paired with four plates, including the following:
  • Speakeasy snacks such as Devils on Horseback, Welsh rarebit, deviled eggs and salt roasted nuts paired with Black Velvet
  • Clams Casino paired with Terrapin cask conditioned rye pale ale (brewed with orange peel by Terrapin Owner/Brewmaster Spike Buckowski)
  • Medallions of lamb, sauce chasseur and asparagus au gratin pared with an Old Fashioned
  • Chocolate Charlotte with burnt almond caramel paired with a Mint Julep

Friday, February 24, 2012

SWEETWATER BREWERY’S 3rd ANNUAL “BREW YOUR CASK OFF” FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LINE UP



Whaddup! I'm judging the SweetWater Brew Your Cask Off again this year. Let me tell ya, I had a ball in 2011. Make sure you make it! Peep the official press release below...

SWEETWATER BREWERY’S 3rd ANNUAL “BREW YOUR CASK OFF” FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LINE UP

SweetWater Brewery once again gears up for its 3rd annual Brew Your Cask Off festival hosted at the brewery Saturday, March 10 from 6-10 p.m. The amped up cask ale festival will play host to the sampling of more than 100 unique, and creatively named cask ales. Featuring roughly 90 special guest brewers from the Southeast, this year’s list includes the likes of beer writers, restaurateurs, retailers, home brewers, charities and more including:
15th Street Pizza & Pub, Ale Yeah!, All About Beer Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Allgood Lounge, Atkins Park Tavern, Atlanta Humane Society, Aubrey’s, Bearden Beer Market, Bhojanic, Brewhouse Café, Brewmasters of Alpharetta, Brick Store Pub, Carolina Ale House, Cheeky, Chops & Hops, Covert Hops Society, Creative Loafing, Cypress Street Pint & Plate, Dantanna’s, Deckard’s American Tavern, Draft Magazine, Fado Irish Pub, Final Gravity,Five Points Bottle Shop, Fontaine’s Oyster House, Gas South, Georgia Ale & Lager Sirens, Georgia Organics, Gibney’s Pub, Green’s, Hand in Hand, Here to Serve, Hob Nob, Hop City, Hopjacks, Hudson Grille, INHBC, JDRF, Jones Is Hungry, Mac McGee’s Irish Pub, Mac’s Beer & Wine, Manuel’s Tavern, Marietta Pizza Company, Marlow’s Tavern, McCray’s West Village Tavern, Meehan’s Public House, Mellow Mushroom (2 participating locations), Ormsby’s, Park Tavern, Ri Ra Irish Pub, Rocky Mountain Pizza Company, Sherlock’s Beer & Wine, Six Feet Under, South City Kitchen, Southern Brewing News, Square Pub, Steinbeck’s, Summits Wayside Tavern, Taco Mac (2 participating locations),Tap, Team United Distributors, The Beer Connoisseur Magazine, The Beer Growler, The Charleston Beer Exchange, The Dunwoody Restaurant Group, The Family Dog, The Five Spot, The Fred, The Marlay House, The Midway Pub,The Porter Beer Bar, The Tavern at Phipps, The Vortex Bar and Grill, Thirsty Monk, Total Wine & More, Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits, Trackside Grill and Patio Bar, Tyler’s Tap Room, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, WGCL’s Better Mornings Atlanta, Wild Wing Café, Williamson Bros. BBQ
Each guest brewer is paired with one of SweetWater’s brewers and asked to select from a plethora of ingredients to create their own one-of-a-kind cask to be presented and tasted at the festival. Entered casks will be sampled and ranked by a handpicked group of judges from the Atlanta scene, along with a vote for the People’s Choice Award from festival guests. Winners will be announced that evening at the festival. The judges’ top three casks, along with the People’s Choice cask, will have their brews recreated and served at the SweetWater 420 Fest, April 20-22 in Candler Park.
In addition to the specially-created cask ales, festival guests will have the opportunity to enjoy SweetWater's award-winning lineup of lip smackin’ brews and eats from several renowned Atlanta food vendors. The festival will also include live music from Betsy Franck & The Bareknuckle Band and tours of the brewery. Brew Your Cask Off is a Happy Ending Productions event sponsored by Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, The Midway Pub, United Distributors, Creative Loafing, The Country Malt Group, Hop Union, Draft Magazine, All About Beer Magazine, Owens-Illinois Inc.
Festival event space has nearly doubled this year and will remain tented in front of the new brewery making this event rain or shine. Tickets are $35 per guest for online pre-sale and $40 per guest at the door. All tickets include unlimited cask samples and a souvenir tasting glass. Pets are not allowed and guests must be 21 and up with a valid form of ID. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.brewyourcaskoff.com.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Check out J'Adore Magazine's covers!

I know, I know, it has been a few days and that's my bad, but I've been getting my grind on! I just help launch the new release of the magazine I am the executive editor for, J'Adore Magazine, at the Historic Biltmore House Hotel last night so it has been bananas for me. The party was pretty nuts last night. It was all you can drink vodka but I rebelled and sipped on a bottle of SweetWater's Happy Ending Imperial Stout with a couple of other fellow beer snobs.
I have a special section called Hip Sips that features the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits, so please do look out for it in major cities like Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, New York, Montreal and LA. Oh, and don't sleep on Suite Spots, my review of the world's hottest hotels; Street Line's cars of the future, and a ton of other goodies I have in store for this issue. Here are the four covers for this issue's them: Reality. Check 'em ouuuuuut!:





Coming up, I have a ton of flicks coming up and an interview with 2011's Beerdrinker of the Year who is set to pass the baton to the 2012 winner, my main man Phil Farrell.  
The session is awesome. 
Don't worry, I got ya!
Much love and quality suds,
Ale

Saturday, February 18, 2012

SweetWater's Sweet 15!!!

The Commemorative SweetWater 15th Anniversary Glass is pimp!
How crazy has your week been? Well if it was as nuts as mine has been, it sounds like SweetWater Brewery's 15th birthday celebration on Saturday afternoon will be the perfect reward for our hustlin'. Yeah, I was on the Weather Channel and all (Did you catch it in my last post?), so I am going to continue being a fake-ass weatherman and say it's going to be friggin' gorgeous out during the party that starts at 2 p.m. I heard there might be some rain, but no matter what Mother Nature has in store, SweetWater's stellar brews are going to be flowing and the mood will be just as festive as that Holiday Ale they sling every year, so you better be there!
Now I have known the SweetWater fam for a good minute, documenting their growth, judging competitions like the Annual Brew Your Cask Off, filming Cruisin' For A Brewsin' episodes at the brewery, interviewing the forever comical co-founder Freddy Bensch by phone while he's fishing in the islands,and penning features on them in numerous publications including Beer Connoisseur Magazine, so I personally share some awesome memories. But I took it a step further and compiled a couple of fond moments from two gents who played a big part in the success of the brewery with the flapping fish logo. 
The always clever Steve Farace, SweetWater's Minister of Propaganda, remembers the time "When the forklift fell off the dock of the old brewery right as they were leaving for Boneroo," he said, shaking his head. "It fell forks-down!"
And brewer extraordinaire Nick Nock took time to reflect and got some bystanding co-workers a little teary eyed in the process, saying, "I remember when we first started loading one delivery truck with three different brands. Now we're loading six 18-wheelers and one of those is with just straight 420! Just being along for the ride and learning as we're growing is my fondest memory." Stroking his beard, Nick also added, "I really liked the old-time festive bottling, too. It was all volunteer work and everyone would pitch in. It'd always turn into a good old-fashioned throw down!"
Ahh, the memories!
Anyway, below is the official press release. And to SweetWater: Due to some serious ass-kickin' and that monster of an expansion you just completed adjacent to the existing brewery, you went from 100,000 barrels a year to 500,000. Now that's gangster
Thank the Beer Gods for having the truck Freddy and the other co-founder, Kevin McNerney, were driving broke down in Atlanta on their journey to find somewhere to start a brewery in 1996. They stayed a couple days and realized that Atlanta was enough of a kick-ass city to set up shop here. Now, 15 wild years later serving suds to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina in the process, they are still going against the tides of the mainstream with one hell of  stoke. 
Keep it brewing, baby!
Ale


Note: A special thanks goes to the new in-house PR queen, Francesca. Also, there still might be some seats left for the SweetWater Beer Dinner at the C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar on Monday, February 20th! Visit www.candsoysterbar.com and call 770-272-0999 for the details. See you there!
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The Official SweetWater Press Release:


SWEETWATER BREWING COMPANY TURNS 15 TODAY 

ATLANTA (Feb. 17, 2012) – Today marks the 15th anniversary of SweetWater Brewing Company. SweetWater started as a dream of college roommates and Co-Founders, Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney who had a bigger hankering for beer than they did books, dedicating their studies to the business of brewing. SweetWater was their chance to bring a new West coast style of unpasteurized brewing to Atlanta’s beer scene. Since its founding Feb. 17, 1997, SweetWater Brewery has grown to become the 27th largest craft brewers in the nation selling more than 95,000 barrels of its lip-smackin’ brews in 2011 throughout six states in the Southeast including: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The kegs don’t stop flowing there. Fast approaching is the official opening of the brewery’s expansion project which will quintuple brewing capacity and help expand SweetWater’s footprint to eventually cover greater portions of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic within the next few years. SweetWater officially broke ground on the expansion in June of 2011 and will be unveiling the space and more details on this 88,000-square-foot project later this spring.

To celebrate 15 sweet years, the SweetWater gang has brewed up something special and promises to blow the doors off this anniversary. To start, Bensch invited McNerney back to help conceive a special anniversary ale, appropriately titled 15 Years of Heady Beers. The ale is a recreated version of their original Extra Special Bitter (ESB) recipe with a “big ol’ bump” pushing the beer into a barley wine status. The brew is on shelves for a limited-time throughout early March, and a video documenting the creation featuring Bensch and McNerney can be found here: http://vimeo.com/36569848.

And what better way of celebrating a brewery’s birthday than with a beer-baked birthday cake? SweetWater teamed up with local bakery, Perfect Wedding Cake, to create a massive 5-feet-tall by 3-feet-wide chocolate cake specially designed to resemble the 15 Years of Heady Beers bottle and packaging. The cake recipe called for 60-ounces of a stout brew. SweetWater suitably served up its Happy Ending seasonal chock-full of hops and chocolate notes to be included in the bake mix.

For more on SweetWater’s history, details on beer fleet and brewery tours, visit www.sweetwaterbrew.com.

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, IPA, Exodus Porter, Blue, LowRYEder 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 from 5:30‐7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 2:30‐4:30 p.m., is located at 195 Ottley Drive, NE, Atlanta GA 30324. For more information about SweetWater Brewing Company, please visit www.sweetwaterbrew.com. For more of a social relationship with SweetWater Brewing Company follow @sweetwaterbrew on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sweetwaterbrew.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Weather Channel and NBC show me love!


Check your homey out on the Weather Channel, plus a link to me on NBC, my Valentine's Day Gift Guide for brew lovers, and Ten Tips on how to not play yourself at a beer festival below!


Maaaaaaaan, things have been pretty damn surreal for a bro lately! As camera shy as I am (Yeah, right!), I was asked to talk about Winter Beers and particularly the upcoming Winter Beer Carnival. All of a sudden I'm on NBC and, get this, the Weather Channel! There is no mystery regarding my aspirations for producing and hosting my own show, Cruisin' For A Brewsin' because I friggin' love beer along with the people and places associated with it, so being featured on the Weather Channel here and NBC affiliate 11Alive here was truly a blessing. 
With 11Alive, I kicked with my homey and Ormsby's Co-Owner Mike aka "Goot" rapping about the 158 different beers at the Carnival (see if there are still tickets if you happened to miss Ale Sharpton's Last Minute Valentine's Day-Or Any Damn Day-Gift Guide), Ormsby's grub, and my Ten Tips for enjoying beer festivals. All of sudden cameraman Marc Richardson and 11Alive show up! Okay, it wasn't exactly like that, but everything was seemingly a blur. After we were filmed throwing back a pint of SweetWater Exodus and shootin' the breeze, I got busy on the shuffleboard table with my brother Lamont, Kate from Modern Luxury, Suong from Melissa Libby PR (you don't want none!), and some other super cool folks. That game is addictive especially when you have a brew in hand! 
'The forecast calls for some
good ass beer on the way!'
And then I get the call from my girl Caren West that the Weather Channel wants to talk about Winter Beer! How clever is that? I said "Hell, yeah!" and looked forward to chillin' in their headquarters based in northwest of Atlanta hopefully sippin' an Imperial Stout on air with the staff. Well, it was close. We popped a bottle from my private stash, the delicious and silky Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, poured it, and discussed my love for this time of year regarding robust, dark and potent lagers and ales. Man, it was such an awesome experience! Now I will make sure to flip channels between watching the Lakers and the Weather Channel... sometimes.
For everyone who watched these episodes, showed Twitter and Facebook love, plus all of those involved with making everything happen, thank you so much! It's all about the love of brew! Hopefully I will see you during the Winter Beer Carnival. It's going to be off the chain! 
Cheers!
Ale

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ale Sharpton’s Last-Minute Valentines’ Day—Or Any Damn Day—Gift Guide!

Don't worry, this is not one of my gifts, but it's still pretty damn funny! I mean, where would you go with this? A family reunion? The movies? Church?

Ahhhh! Oh how I enjoy exploring the world of beer! During my journey, I’m constantly surprised and amazed at the broad range of products out there that directly involve beer to some degree and I love it! To demonstrate my point, here’s the first installment of Ale Sharpton’s Last-Minute Valentines’ Day—Or Any Damn Day—Gift Guide! 
Yeah, I am evidently a pretty bad procrastinator (I hear it’s a Libra thing), but hey, if this Gift Guide helps any, splurge and let your significant, imbibin' other know that you give a damn by considering one of these original items for Valentine’s Day... or any other day for that matter. I mean hell, a gift is a gift! So instead of flowers that die after a day or two and leave that smelly water behind, or a pocket-breaking dinner that will eventually find its way to white porcelain in a few hours, buy something that will be remembered for a lifetime, like these awesome suggestions below.
Cheers!
Ale
Beer Bouquet
Six long stems? Nope! Six longnecks!
When it comes to this bouquet, I’m not talking roses and daisies, folks. I’m talking about the Beer Bouquet ($49.99) that combines what keeps especially the fellas hypnotized the most: beer and sports. First, pick the logo from a choice of 150-plus college, professional football, baseball, hockey and basketball teams to decorate a metal bucket. (And we’re not talking about teams from the Arena Football League or the Washington Generals here; from the Atlanta Falcons to New York Yankees, and even NASCAR, the Olympics and UFC, Beer Bouquet leaves no base unturned.) Second, fill it with a six of brews crafted by your choice of more than 20 breweries nationwide! Third, go the extra yard, add a pack of fresh-roasted peanuts, a koozie, and a bottle opener, and get this baby shipped to your significant other’s doorstep in record time. He… or she will be a fan of yours for life!

Beer Soap
Sud Love
Who would’ve thought washing would be so damn cool? Well, thanks to Jamin Poczontek and Zaidat Bombata, owners of The Beer Soap Company, our mouths will no longer monopolize the pleasures of beer! Taking the beer nickname "suds" to the next level, we can now scrub down with more than 100 variations of all natural soap made with numerous beer brands, styles and scents. They even have beer categories on their website! 
Zaidit says,“What started out as a project consisting of four to five varieties has grown into a brand that now produces more than 100 different beer soaps all made with a unique beer and a unique scent blend. Natural soap is wonderful! It creates glycerin during the soap-making process, which is a naturally occurring moisturizer that aids in retaining moisture in the skin. Adding beer instead of water increases the lather and creaminess of a soap bar. It also makes a great shampoo bar, leaving hair soft and shiny.” And don’t get it twisted; it’s not all Corona and Pabst beers either (although they smell great, too). Try the Frambozenbier Beer Soap made with Lindemans Lambic Framboise Belgium Ale, fused with everything from coconut oil, to Shea and cocoa butter. And no, you won’t be buzzin' from using this soap, unless you get a high from smelling so fresh and so clean-clean! In other words, keep the Beer Soap external, people. 

Boozin’ Gear Boxer Shorts
Now you can bring beer to any event!
Since 2004, brothers Jeff and Kevin Eichelberger started BoozinGear.com in Atlanta, selling merchandise that’s embellished with artwork from more than 60 officially licensed brands of booze, especially beer! We’re talking t-shirts, trucker hats, koozies, etc. Well specifically, I’m diggin’ the BoozinGear.com boxer shorts; the Fosters pair definitely stand out with the cans and all, but there are plenty more to choose from (Guinness, anyone?). Oh, and the Eichelbergers are wild dudes! They said, “Why do girls feel the need to give guys Valentine underwear with little red roses, cutesy pink hearts, and other unmanly sh*t on them? It makes your mouth want to vomit and your balls ashamed to be encased in such an atrocity!” T.M.I., but hey, right is right!

Avondale Estate's Beer Growler taps.
A growler full of goodness!
Man, growler stations are going crazy especially in Atlanta and now, thanks to Marietta's Moondog Growlers, outside the perimeter in suburbia as well! We're talking gas stations (check out the Chevron on Moreland and Euclid!), corner stores, and specialty shops solely selling these glass behemoths that are filled on site with the freshest beer around! 
Hop City was the first in Georgia's capital, but now filling stations like Ale Yeah!, The Beer Growler, and even Whole Foods have built steady flows of loyal customers as well. It's the new beer craze so get out there, decide what your homey would love to sip by the 64- or 32-ounce glass container, and hook it up! (Oh, and to dispel the stereotype that these babies can't hold craft beer, I still think 40-oz. bottles would be killer too, but hey.) Make it cute by sticking a red bow on it and bam! Happy V-Day!


A Beer Event! Duh!
Come on, two tickets to a beer dinner, event or festival? You both win!
And straight to the point for my last one, how about two tickets to a beer event, festival or beer dinner? You spend time together, drink together, and whatever happens after that...together! You get it? Now get it together and see what's poppin' next! In the immediate future, my crystal ball has the Winter Beer Carnival on the 11th, the Red Hare Reserve #2: Imperial IPA Release Party also on the 11th, pair a beer with the pizza you create on site at Your Pie in Roswell, and the SweetWater Beer Dinner at C&S Seafood And Oyster Bar on February 20th to name a few. 
Happy… whatever!
Ale