Thursday, October 25, 2012

Stella Artois World Draught Masters

Stella left a lil' somethin' in my hotel room upon my arrival. Yes, those are cuff links! Gangster.
This is one of the craziest beer competitions I have ever witnessed. 
In a nutshell, Belgian lager king Stella Artois has flown people from all over the world to witness and participate the Mondial Maitres Serveurs aka the World Draught Masters competition to see who will be the master of the ridiculously complex 9-step ritual of pouring their revered brew. Trust me, their process is in the same league as preparing a Guinness pint, but with more steps along the way. It's so serious that this thing is like the Olympics, where they hold this competition in various cities globally. We're talking London, Buenos Aires...  The winner gets the job of globetrotting to school bartenders and other beer aficionados on how to do the perfect pour. 
Well I am in Montreal to witness 2012's competition and as usual when it comes to flare, packaging, presentation, and--according to this video--humor, Stella does it big! 
My new homey and winner of the 2010 Draught Masters, Chris Myers out of Minnesota (yep!), is now a full time master pourer and will be featured on this site soon, so be ready. Way to rep the U.S., Chris!
Anyway, stay tuned as I document this incredible beer experience just for you. Let's go! 
Ale

Friday, October 19, 2012

Atlanta Beer Week is Here!

From October 20-27, it's on and poppin' in the ATL!

Although I am recovering from my creative firm AllWays Open's ridiculously awesome Beast Feast at SweetWater Brewery (thank you everyone!), it is still my duty to report what's poppin' in the world of craft beer especially in Georgia's capital. For the next week or so, this city is going to be hosting some of the most incredible, can't-miss beer tap pulling events the city has ever seen. 
If you happen to be in the A, be sure to patronize our local bars, breweries and restaurants that are set to demonstrate how much they give a sh*t about the craft beer movement. Below is the intro I wrote for the Atlanta Beer Week website along with all of the participants for the 8 days of debauchery. 
Although I have to do some traveling to San Fran and Montreal between Sunday and next Friday morning, I am throwing down for the Brewer's Ball, Square Pub's Brunch, Decatur Beer Festival, and Cypress Street Pint & Plate's jam with Clown Shoes Brewery on Friday, the 26th. (Stay tuned for Cypress' details!)
Anyway, sip some for me in Atlanta while I do the same on the Left Coast and the home of the Canadiens!
My intro:

ATLANTA BEER WEEK 2012 IS BREWING!
COME CELEBRATE CRAFT BEER OCTOBER 20-27th, GEORGIA'S CAPITAL!

It's official. Atlanta, GA. has become a top catalyst in the brewing revolution and has garnered the acclaim from aficionados, entrepreneurs and breweries throughout the nation as the beer capital of the Southeast. Servings as the home of the #23 brewery in the nation regarding sheer volume -SweetWater- along with a number of other burgeoning craft breweries originating in Georgia's capital and throughout the state including Athens' Terrapin, Burnt Hickory, Red Hare, Monday Night Brewing, Jailhouse, and the soon-to-be Decatur-based Wild Heaven, it's only right that this city of six million-plus deserves to host Atlanta Beer Week 2012, October 20-27!

Considering the consistent "gold rush" of new breweries from around the country penetrating the state lines such as North Carolina's Mother Earth, Clown Shoes out of Massachusetts, and California's Green Flash within the past few months to name a few, eight days dedicated to ales and lagers is a no-brainer; the city's world renowned beer bars like The Porter, Taco Mac and Cypress Street; dedicated craft brew specialty shops; hundreds of local, national and foreign microbreweries; and other supporters of the craft beer movement will collectively educate, promote, and celebrate the best beverage in the world. Stay tuned for a list of parties, special deals, giveaways, exclusive beer releases, and tap takeovers starting October 20th throughout the city. Atlanta Beer Week will prove how the South was won one sip at a time.

Here are all of the events!
For more information, visit AtlantaBeerWeek.com!
Cheers!
Ale


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beast Feast Dishes are Revealed!

Promoting the Beast Feast at Whole Foods while sippin' a $4 pint of Avery IPA!
Check out the dishes and photos for the BEAST FEAST!!!

Okay, here they are folks: The dishes for tonight's BEAST FEAST!!! I am running home after being at SweetWater Brewery all day preparing for one of the illest nights Atlanta has ever witnessed. I hope you are going to be a part of this historic event! Anyway, here are some photos and the crazy ass gourmet food pairings. See you soon!!!
Chef Ed!

“Parish or Perish”
By Day: Edward Russell, Executive Chef of Parish Foods & Goods
By Night: The Athens Assassin
The Menu Says: Spiced Chicken Chili with Harissa, Golden Raisins, Chickpeas, Tomato
The Potion: The refreshing, citrusy SweetWater IPA
Last Sited: Parishatl.com; 240 N Highland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30324

Mike L!
“LaSage Rage”
By Day: Mike LaSage, Chef, Pitboss, Proprietor, Georgiaville Food Co./Bone Lick BBQ
By Night: Hellraiser
The Menu Says: Drunken Goat Chili with Rubbed Potatoes and Cilantro Slaw
The Potion: A very special cask of SweetWater black peppercorn-habanero IPA
Last Sited: Pcheen.com; P’Cheen, 701-5 Highland Ave Atlanta, GA 30312/Bone Lick BBQ, 1133 Huff Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Chef Jared
“Zombie Apocalypse Now”
By Day: Jared Lee Pyles, Executive Chef, Founder of Villains
By Night: Jared Lee Zombie Slayer
The Menu Says: The Villains Bugsy Segal: Pastrami, Russian Caviar Dressing, Cabbage, and Swiss.
The Potion: A special Villains blend of 80% LowRYEder and 20% Georgia Brown that equals 100% deliciousness
Last Sited: Roaming the streets of Atlanta. Find his next attack at Facebook.com/VillainsWickedHeroes

Chef Joey!
“Don’t Sleep”
By Day: Joey Ahn, Executive Chef at SOHO
By Night: Joey Krueger
The Menu Says: Olive Oil Poached Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Crisped Squid Ink Pasta
The Potion: A special cask of Strawberry Wheat Ale with a hint of kiwi
Chef says: coming soon
Last Sited: Sohoatlanta.com; Vinings Jubilee, 4300 Paces Ferry Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30339

Chef Deckard!
“Hard Rock”
By Day: Matthew Deckard, Co-Owner and Head Chef of Deckard’s American Tavern
By Night: Matt Wreckard
The Menu Says: Brisket Chorizo Sloppy, yeast roll, topped with Giardiniera Slaw
The Potion: The spicy, warming Festive Ale
Last Sited: Deckardstavern.com; Poncey-Highland District, 650 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast Atlanta, GA 30308

Head Brewer Nick !
“Beers for Fears
By Day: Nick Nock, Head Brewer of SweetWater Brewery
By Night: Nick the Brewtalator
The Beer List says: Georgia Brown, Exodus Porter, IPA, LowRYEder IPA, Festive, Danktoberfest, casks, and other gangster sips
Last Sited: SweetWaterbrew.com; 195 Ottley Drive Northeast  Atlanta, GA 30324

See you soon!!!
Ale

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Operation: Tucson, Arizona

Toasting off the Ska Modus Hoperandi at Tucson's Noble Hops.
I missed GABF, but I still did my thing in "The Old Pueblo"

Whaddup Fellow Sippers!

Yeah, I know I kept my "Birthday Wishes" post up for a good minute, but with all the travel, preparation for my upcoming Beast Feast at SweetWater Brewery on Thursday, writing the cover story for a major publication, and celebrating my birthday all week, I gotta do what I gotta do! Anyway, after throwing one hell of a born day jam at the Wrecking Bar...
Beer Street Journal Founder Reid Ramsey and I got it in during my awesome b-day party at the Wrecking Bar. He brought me the Fifty Fifty 2011 Eclipse Imperial Stout brewed with honey which was bananas!
...and eating this awesome cake brought by my girl Andrea Janise...

I had to pack and head to Tuscon, Arizona to review the new line of luxurious Lexus LS sedans that are coming out next year for J'Adore Magazine. On the way to the airport, I coincidentally ran into the owners of the Wrecking Bar and a couple of other beer homies who were on the way to Denver to kick it at the Great American Beer Festival. After wishing each other safe trips, I can't lie, I had the "I wanna play" face on, but hey, I have never been to Tucson and I make it a party wherever I hang my hat, so it was all good. Plus, my peoples have been giving me shout outs at the GABF via Twitter including Pisgah (@pisgahbrewing), @beerstjournal, @JBvsCBshow, @wreckingbar, and @Brewgasm were really cool and I appreciated them! I will definitely be there next year so be ready! 

After I was done being responsible and driving the hella smooth 600 HL and powerful LS 460 F Sport...
Look out for Lexus in 2013, trust me!
I got a ride to the closest legit brew bar from my hotel, the Ritz Carlton (which was gorgeous), and kicked back for a pint of the absolutely gangster Ska Modus Hoperandi at Noble Hops (see top photo). This bar flaunted one hell of a view of the mountains, had a wide selection of IPAs, stouts, wheat brews, and other delicious sippers artistically listed on a chalk board. 
The wall at Noble Hops was my kind of menu!
On the real, Manager Nicole and Chef Angel showed me a lot of love, and even the customers did everything they could to have me stay for another round, but I had to get back for the company dinner. Trust me, I will be back! If you are ever in Tuscon, hit up Noble Hops. It was majestic!
Noble Hops' Chef Angel and Manager Nicole show Ale love!

I wish all of my homies at the GABF a safe trip and hope to get out there soon so that I can Tweet all the good sheezy going down during that infamous weekend. I know it's alladat, but hey, driving Lexus whips and sipping local brews like the perfectly balanced Barrio Copperhead Pale Ale in Tucson on my time off wasn't too shabby either. 
The Barrio Copperhead Pale Ale was slammin'!
Cheers!!!

Ale


Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanks for the birthday wishes!!!


Hey Fellow Sippers!

Here is a toast to all of you courtesy of photographer extraordinaire, Chris Rank! He took this during the awesome Hotoberfest last Saturday along with my boys. It was nuts! Also, we made history tapping the first keg of the beer I brewed with Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp #80, the El Pluorado. It was a hit! Look for more pours soon!

As I celebrate another year's existence on this earth, I will have all of you in mind. 

Again, you all rock! Thanks a million!

Ale

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #80 is here!


The #80 Beer Camper Posse!

Wow, the stork has just delivered the beer I brewed with my awesome fellow Beer Campers at Sierra Nevada from June 20-22, 2012,to Atlanta! I’m talking about the Sierra Nevada El Pluorado Beer Camp #80 that will be poured for the first time in the Southeast at Hotoberfest, on Saturday, October 6th. I could talk about the entire experience hour by hour (trust me, I remember every minute!) but I am going to be short and sweet with this one: The experience was unforgettable and I learned a lot to sit down with a dozen bar managers, homebrewers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts from all over the country and negotiate what kind of beer we wanted to make. Trading ideas at a long conference table for a couple of hours discussing everything from the malt to the hops, ABV, mouthfeel, and color, we collectively came up with the El Pluorado—an El Dorado single-hopped golden ale fused with their native pluots-a plum and apricot hybrid—at 5.4 percent ABV and 39 IBUs. I have yet to try it, so I will make sure that is the first sip of the 250-plus beers I could choose from at Hotoberfest.
Sierra Nevada Co-Founder Ken Grossman chillin'.
I wish any beer lover the opportunity to experience a future Beer Camp at this incredible brewery run by, well, incredible people. 
I thank Sierra Nevada (especially Chad, Ken, Terence, Brian, Scott, Lance…aw hell, everyone!), all of the #80 Campers, the people of Chico, California, and every ingredient we used. I think these photos will narrate a good part of my trip. Trust me, I have a ton more, but, hey, you get the picture.

Simply put, Sierra Nevada is gangster.

Now for the flicks. Awww snap!
This is truly one of my favorite photos. My man J.D. just left a murder scene and...
wait, that was another time. This is when he was slicing up the blood red interiors of the pluot before adding them to the batch. 
Our beer tasting expertise was tested in the lab. A worker slid open that door and ushered in three brews. We had the pick the one that slightly off in some way or another. I wanted one of those cool frosted glasses! This was awesome.
I passed every one of the tests with flying colors for bragging rights.
Why wasn't this one of my exams at Cornell???
The future brewery manager of Sierra Nevada's Mills River, North Carolina site, Brian Grossman, and I celebrate the discovery of Sierra Nevada's secret stash of their extremely limited collaboration with Boulevard Brewery called Terra Incognita. It was crafted for Washington D.C.'s 2012 Savor and it was lip smackin'! Thanks B-Diddy!
Come on, you know I always represent when I travel out of state. I whipped out the Terrapin Phlux Capacitor Side Project for the whole crew to sip on after doing some lab testing. They appreciated the Georgia-born surprise. 
The name game. After brewing all day, we were working out the details of what to name our baby while we got our sip on in the lab. We used this spelling as a base and then it was a wrap!
Go green! After brewing, we all got on Sierra Nevada's famous 10-seat Bar Cycle, sipped some brews, and pedaled away to tour the plant. That was nuts! And yes, these are bottles of the Pale Ale. Beautiful ain't it?
Cold case. It was like Willy Wonka in that joint. Cans were also running. 
Speaking of running, I gotta bounce and do another episode of my Cruisin' For A Brewsin' show. This time, it's Hotoberfest and it's going to be bananas. This is especially true since the El Pluorado is getting poured for the first time. I hope it's bangin'! Stay tuned...

Cheers!
Ale




Friday, October 5, 2012

SweetWater's Nick Nock is a BEAST!

Here is the first of the BEAST FEAST collection! 
Also, Chef Jared Lee Pyles  from Villains has released his food and SweetWater Beer pairing:
  • The Bugsy Segal: House Pastrami, Russian “Caviar” Dressing, Swiss Cheese, Braised Cabbage. 
  • Paired with Villain's SweetWater collaboration blend: LowRyeDer and GA Brown. 80 percent/20 percent respectively
Look for more updates soon! Get your tickets here before they are sold out! See you there!
Ale

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Operation: Norfolk, Virginia



My homey Ben, the co-owner of the awesome Birch Bar.
The Green Onion and The Birch Bar 
were on point!

What’s up, Beer Sippers!

Since so many of you know that I can’t sit still because I do my best to travel the world in search of the coolest beer spots, a few fellow craft beer enthusiasts said they were heading to Norfolk, Virginia (pronounced Nor-fuk...seriously) for a couple of days and wanted to know if there were a couple places I would recommend for a great imbibing experience. Well they lucked out because I had the pleasure of hitting up this charming city recently and yep, there are some sure shots they can’t miss.
The USS Wisconsin chillin'.
Since I was only in town for two days due to a crazy travel schedule, I made sure I got my photography on shooting everything from Nauticus’  jaw-dropping USS Wisconsin battleship sitting on glistening waters to walking the cobblestone streets of the Freemason District. It only took a few minutes to realize how picturesque the city Norfolk was. But let me stay on course: the brew.
Norfolk is renowned for kickass seafood due to its location right off the water, collection of wine varieties from its hosting state, and delectable cuisine (if you want to see how awesome the food scene is, don’t miss the Granby Street Culinary Tour). Keeping this in mind, I found the best place to indulge in one of my favorite culinary combinations—mussels, pommes frites, and Belgian-style ales—at a charming bistro called the Green Onion.

The Green Onion
Green Onion’s covered patio adorned with fresh flower arrangements, a smiling staff, local art, tablecloths, and chalkboard boasting daily specials perfectly embraced the southern charm travelers flock to the Ghent region to experience. Although the numerous specials of the day had my mouth watering—especially with my seafood fanaticism building an instant craving for the Lobster Roll, Seared Diver Scallops, and famous Lobster Cheesecake I heard so much about—my mind was set on mussels. 
Flexin' my Green Onion mussel. Delicious!
The beer menu boasted an impressive variety of craft brews including Belgian-style ales, so I chose the Unibroue La Fin Du Monde­—one of the best beers in the world—which flawlessly complemented the plump, fresh and plentiful mussels that were bathing in a wine broth. And the pommes frites? A healthy serving of crisp, fresh-cut fries, but soft in the middle and spiced to perfection sealed the deal. It was one of those times where your foot taps while getting your grubbing on. The entire experience confirmed that Green Onion deserves a thumb’s up and recommendation when you are Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ in Norfolk. Lobster Cheesecake, you are mine when I come back!

The Birch Bar

After a busy day exploring the historic Freemason District of the city (look for a full account of my culinary experience on J’Adore Magazine’s website soon!), I found the perfect place to spend my evening: The Birch Bar. Since everything is relatively close in Norfolk, I heard so many things about this bar so I grabbed a cab and head over to West Ghent—a burgeoning neighborhood—with a couple of other beer enthusiasts. Plain and simple, we were not disappointed.
A fellow beer geek
diggin' the selection.
From the outside, the décor was simple: a sign that read “Birch Bar” on a lime green-colored brick wall followed by the uplifting words, “Craft Beer, Growlers, Kegs & Eats,” adjacent to a garage door and a sign brandishing drawings of various beer glassware. I was sold!
Upon entrance, it struck me as a mechanic’s workplace that was transformed into a dimly lit, intimate space complete with an L-shaped bar, 21 taps along the wall, wooden tables, coolers filled with a book’s worth of bottled beers, and my favorite feature—a chalk board taking up a whole wall listing the incredibly diverse menu of craft beers on tap from around the world. Breweries ranging from Denmark’s Mikkeller and  Nøgne Ø out of Norway, to the renowned U.S. “gypsy” brews from Stillwater Artisanal Ales were listed from the floor to the ceiling. Since I just ate an awesome meal at a colossal old school bank-turned-posh-eatery called Trilogy Bistro (who also had pretty impressive brew list), I didn’t get a chance to indulge in the Birch’s array of cheeses, famous P&J, and grilled cheese sandwiches, but the Gaverhopke/Tired Hands Bittersweet Symphony DIPA collaboration out of Belgium (7.8 ABV) served me just fine. Speaking of “served,” the super cool husband and wife team Ben and Malia—the Birch Bar’s owners—showed me hella love and even posted my sticker on their wall. We chopped it up and learned that they take the beer thing seriously, hosting special nights weekly and special events including their very own upcoming 43 Hours of Dark, featuring all of those potent imperial stouts, barley wines and other warming ales the cold season ushers in on January 15 through January 19. I pledged to not only come back, but to make sure I let the world know about the Birch Bar, a must-visit in Norfolk.
Well here you go.
Stay tuned for a recount on another part of the Old Dominion State that is becoming one of the most concentrated regions for microbreweries, Nelson County. Yep, Virginia is doing beer big!

Cheers!

Ale



Monday, October 1, 2012

The HOTOBERFEST Beer List is GANGSTER!!!

Straight, simple and plain, this beer list is nuts! 

So I am chillin' and working on the upcoming Beast Feast and finishing some articles before Monday Night Football starts and then I just come across the beer list my homies Alan, Denise, Tryon & Co. are serving up for the always kickass 2012 HOTOBERFEST beer festival this Saturday, October 6th. Here is the flyer...
...and here is the list:
Simply nuts!!!
If you are a beer enthusiast in any sense of the word, you better be there!
See you Saturday!
Ale