Monday, April 29, 2013

Celebrate Leon's Full Service's 4th birthday tonight!

Crazy beer list, cocktails galore, and grub!
Look for my feature on Miles
 in  the summer edition of
Edible Atlanta Magazine soon!
It's time to celebrate the 4th year of Leon's Full Service in Decatur Square, one of city's top destinations for craft beer, award-winning mixology, and great fare. 

The beer list is especially nuts tonight (thanks Timmy J!), talented barkeeps like my man Miles Macquarrie will be mixing some seriously creative liquid concoctions, and you will have the pleasure of indulging in tasty bites coming out of the kitchen from 5 p.m. until! 

Here are some more details below including the taps on deck, so come kick it with the Brick Store's little brother. It's going to be a boozy doozy!

The 4th Anniversary Beer List 
Red Brick 17th Anniversary
Local Option Gose
New Belgium Lips of Faith Kick
North Coast Barrel Aged Old Rasputin
The Bruery Sour In The Rye
Tilquin Gueuze
Avery Maharaja
Stone Enjoy By 5-17-13
Bells Hopslam
Mother Earth Silent Night
Oskar Blues Nitro G'knight
Sierra Nevada Ovila Barrel Aged Dubbel
Ölvisholt Lava
He’Brew Funky Jewbelation

For more information, visit the Leon’s Full Service website here.

See you there!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

TAP's Goose Island Beer Dinner is this Tuesday!

Photo courtesy of TAP
Another beer dinner? Hell yeah!

As you can see from past few posts including this one, I love beer dinners! My last one was at Big Tex Decatur with SweetWater Brewery which was a blast! (Look for a pic in the upcoming feature on April's photos of the month.) Well another one is on the horizon thanks to the slick Atlanta gastropub on the corner of Midtown's 14th and Peachtree Street, TAP, joining forces with Chicago’s own Goose Island Beer Company. On Tuesday, April 30th, at 7:30 p.m., Chef Nick McCormick will be presenting a 4-course menu paired with a very impressive roster of Goose’s award winning ales for $55 per person, including tax and gratuity. Below is the detailed menu for the evening, contact info, and, of course, the beers used to pair with Chef Nick’s mouth-watering fare. Check it:

When: Tuesday, April 30th at 7:30 p.m.
Where: TAP | 1180 Peachtree Street | Atlanta, GA 30309

The Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat paired with…
Crab-Stuffed Deviled Eggs & Bruschetta of fava bean puree with burrata and Calabrian peppers

The Soffie paired with…
Chilled Lobster Salad, mache, cucumbers, sauce gribiche, shaved fennel, lemon vinaigrette

The Matilda paired with…  
Crispy Camembert, stewed strawberries, arugula, spiced almonds, balsamic reduction

The Pepe Nero paired with…
"Hot Pastrami," beef brisket, grilled Vidalia onions and pasilla peppers, creamed potatoes, mustard sauce

The Pierre Jaques paired with…
Dark Chocolate Parfait, dark chocolate mousse, beer-soaked cherries, milk chocolate popcorn, cherry mousse

For reservations, purchase tickets, or for more information, call 404.347.2220. Also, visit the TAP website at here. To learn about Goose Island’s award-winning beers, check out Goose Island's website here.
See you there I hope!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pioneers of Beers Interview Series: Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association

Gary Glass talks homebrewing, beer laws in the South, the Craft Brewers Conference, DC’s beer scene, the annual Big Brew Celebration...

When Mississippi passed Senate Bill #2183 last month to legalize homebrewing (see the press release here), there were some great supporters who played an integral role on this moment in brewing history. Besides the great work organizations like Raise Your Pints has done (shout out to President Craig Hendry), the Director of the American Homebrewers Association, Gary Glass, was also a major player in making history down South. In fact, besides working with AHA for the last seven years, Gary has dedicated 13 years with the Brewers Association as well.
Gary Glass chillin' with...a glass!
I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, DC from March 26th through the 29th; Gary, of course, was also there. It was my first one, but I knew Mr. Glass was seasoned vet so I had to give him an interview. Read on as I get his take on the CBC 2013, what breweries were a hit in DC, plus, since Gary has started homebrewing in 1993, I am sure he has some things to say about this awesome hobby’s present and future. Check it out as he gives a detailed play-by-play on what went down in Ole Miss and what neighboring Alabama has in store when it comes to brew! The latter is the last state left to legalize homebrewing. Sheesh!

Ale: I had a blast at the CBC. Since you have been to a few, what did you think about it being in DC and made it stand out compared to the others?
Gary Glass: What wowed me at this year’s CBC, a few things. First, the sheer number of people; there were a lot of people that I know were there, but I just never saw due to the size of the event. Second, the trade show was amazing! It was nearly four times the space of last year’s BrewExpo, yet it was full of vendorsmany showcasing new hardware.

Oh, and the Welcome Reception! That was crazy!
Yes! I don’t know how we can possibly top this year’s which was held at the National Air & Space Museum. Combine 3000+ brewers, great beer, excellent food with all kinds of air and spacecraft—both old and new—and you have a real winner. 

Did you get a chance to get to go any brew spots or breweries? I hit up a few including a few spots in the Commons.
I did get to visit a few DC breweries while I was in town. I was particularly impressed by DC Brau. They've really got something special going on there. Another highlight was 3 Stars. They are small, but they are making some really interesting beers, including a Gose, that while under 3 percent ABV, it was packed with flavor—perfect for a 9 a.m. brewery tour. I was also privileged to see the Blue Jacket Brewing facility while it was still under construction. That will be a truly amazing brewpub when it opens. I guess I’ll have to plan a return trip.

Shoot, me too! You made some serious rounds, my friend. I will definitely be in the house next year when it is in Denver. Moving on to homebrewing, let’s talk about what’s going on law-wise, especially in the South.
Sure. In the world of homebrewing, we are seeing a lot of legislative activity beyond just legalizing homebrewing in Mississippi and Alabama. Georgia and Iowa both recently passed bills to officially allow homebrewers to remove their homebrew from the home for events and club meetings. Similar legislation is working its way through the Missouri, Illinois and Ohio legislatures. 
Homebrewing continues to grow around the country. We are in the process of compiling the results of our annual survey of homebrew supply retailers and are seeing that 2012 was another year of double-digit growth in the homebrewing market. 

Good to hear! I want to specifically about Mississippi’s passing of the bill. Please discuss the toughest hurdle during this campaign. What was the opposition's reasoning?
The biggest challenge in passing homebrew legislation in a state like Mississippi is educating legislators about homebrewers. We find there is often a misperception that homebrewing is the same thing as moonshining, which is not at all the case.  Homebrewers are hobbyists who are dedicated to making the most interesting and flavorful beers they can; they are not distilling and are not participating in an illicit trade for profit.  They do it because it is fun.

What was your counter-argument to your opposition and who provided the biggest support?
Raise Your Pints, an organization whose mission is to promote and enhance craft beer culture in Mississippi, played the leading role in getting homebrew legalization passed. Raise Your Pints hosted events that introduced legislators to Mississippi homebrewers and their beers.  When legislators meet the people who participate in the hobby, they are quickly dispelled of the notion that homebrewer is synonymous with moonshiner.  They quickly see the passion and creativity that goes into making great homebrew.
It doesn't hurt to point out that homebrewing has been a part of our national identity since the earliest English settlements in the new world and that many of our nation’s founders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, were homebrewers.

I wonder how good their brews were and what they made. Anyway, what is the next step for Mississippi in terms selling homebrew supplies, ingredients and everything else after the passing of this bill?
Mississippi already has two recently opened homebrew supply shops. Legalizing homebrewing will encourage more entrepreneurs to open new homebrew shops as the stigma of selling supplies for an illegal activity will be lifted, and more Mississippi residents are encourage to openly participate in the hobby. As homebrewing grows within the state, Mississippi can also expect to see more homebrewers going pro and opening their own commercial craft breweries, which will bring jobs and tax revenue to the state.

What bills are you looking for the state to pass next and how do you see the overall future for the Mississippi beer scene?
Mississippi passed legislation last year to allow higher strength beers to be sold within the state and now has legalized homebrewing, so I think the most important steps have been taken.  The new homebrew law is a good one, modeled closely after the federal homebrew law, so I don’t see any need for further changes on the homebrew front.  I’d leave it to Raise Your Pints and the craft brewers of Mississippi to determine what the next legislative goal should be.

How long do you think Alabama has to follow Mississippi’s lead?
Alabama has been working on homebrew legalization longer than Mississippi. Last year, a homebrew bill was passed by the state House and the same bill cleared a Senate committee hearing, but the legislative session ended before the bill got a vote before the full Senate.  This year, that same bill was filed in both the House and Senate and has cleared committees in both chambers. If the bills get scheduled for votes in the House and Senate, I think they will pass. If so, the Alabama law will actually go into effect before the Mississippi law, since the Alabama bill becomes effective immediately upon being signed by the Governor, while the Mississippi law does not go into effect until July 1, 2013.

What are your favorite breweries and beer bars in Mississippi?
I’ve been to Mississippi once to participate in a Raise Your Pints event where Mississippi homebrewers served their beer to members of the Mississippi state legislature along with other Mississippi state government officials.  I was truly impressed by the quality and diversity of the homebrews that were showcased at the event.  I have had the pleasure of sampling some of the excellent beers made by LazyMagnolia Brewing Co. and found the Belgian-style Blond from Lucky Town Brewing Co. to be truly outstanding.

Okay, let’s wrap it up because I know how busy you are. Let’s give our readers some closing thoughts.
I am very proud of the effort put into getting homebrewing legalized by the Mississippi homebrewing community and am glad the American Homebrewers Association was able to contribute to that effort. I am hopeful that we will see homebrewing legalized in Alabama this year as well, which would mean that Americans can legally homebrew in all 50 states for the first time since prohibition.

Speaking of the other states, who else has some serious progression going on?
In the world of homebrewing, we are seeing a lot of legislative activity beyond just legalizing homebrewing in Mississippi and Alabama. Georgia and Iowa both recently passed bills to officially allow homebrewers to remove their homebrew from the home for events and club meetings. Similar legislation is working its way through the Missouri, Illinois and Ohio legislatures. 
Overall, Ale, homebrewing continues to grow around the country. We are in the process of compiling the results of our annual survey of homebrew supply retailers and are seeing that 2012 was another year of double-digit growth in the homebrewing market. 

Oh! And talk about something you have brewing May 4th! 
Oh yes! We are also gearing up for our annual Big Brew celebration on May 4th. For Big Brew, we have homebrewers all over the world register their brewing sites, have friends come over and all brew the same recipes at the same time. It’s a really cool demonstration of homebrew solidarity and fun! [Here is more info.]

Sounds awesome! Thanks for cruisin’ for a brewsin’, Gary!

Just so you know, National Homebrew Day is May 7th! Make sure you keep up with great organizations like Raise Your Pints, the American Homebrewers Association, and Brewers Association so we can all fight the power!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Here's the SweetWater 420 Fest Schedule!

The legendary George Clinton is funkin' it up tonight at 420!
I will make this one short and Sweet. (I couldn't help myself.) Anyway, below is the ridiculous line up for this year's SweetWater 420 Fest! Although it starts off officially on Friday at 4:20 p.m. in the afternoon, I have the honor of being a part of the beer panel this evening at 7:00 p.m. on Craft Beer in the Social Media World co-starring Draft Magazine's Trevor Cravens, Reid Ramsey from Beer Street Journal and Steve Farace, SweetWater's Minister of Propaganda. Come check a brother out! (By the way, the beer dinner SweetWater did with Big Tex was another banger! Look for pictures in a few.) But for now, get in where you fit with all of the activities planned for the weekend including a performance by the Father of Funk, George Clinton with the Parliament Funkadelic. Oooooowwwwwwww!
Read on for the official info...


WHEN:                    Friday, April 19 | Saturday, April 20 | Sunday, April 21
WHERE:                  Historic Candler Park | Atlanta, GA
TIME:                      Friday, 4:20 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
ADMISSION:           Free fest admission; $5 a day for a drink wristband (21+); $150 three-day admission VIP tickets (21+)

One of Atlanta’s largest, organically grown events – SweetWater 420 Festival is jam-packed with a diverse lineup of activities, performances, artistry, food fare, and of course lip-smackin’ brews. For a full schedule including times and a festival map, please click here. (Photos courtesy of SweetWater)

“This year we’re back better than ever with a number of exciting, new experiences and our most renowned musical lineup to date,” said Jennifer Bensch, Principal at Happy Ending Productions. “From the KidZone and Silent Disco, to Planet 420’s Non-profit Village and The SweetWater Experience, we’ve worked hard to diversify our festival offerings to engage and entertain guests of all ages and backgrounds.”

Friday – April 19, 2013
SweetWater Stage: Earphunk; George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Planet 420 Solar Stage: Higher Choir; Gas South Cornhole Tournament; Papa Grows Funk
Relapse Comedy Tent: Salon du Shoguns; Astronaut University; The Real McCoy Stand-Up Comedy Show; Improv School of Atlanta; 40 Acres and a Stool; Atlanta Improv
Silent Disco: ATLiens; Kimber; Casper; DJ Canvas; Sugar Kane; Brian Tedder
The SweetWater Experience Tent: Tastings of more than 20 unique SweetWater brews and expert panel discussions: Craft Beer in a Social Media World; Stick Your Nose in It – Beer & the Senses

Saturday – April 20, 2013
SweetWater Stage: Detox Yoga Flow; Bitteroots; Chipotle Battle of the Bands Winner; Deep Blue Sun Feat. Yonrico Scott; Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk; Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
Planet 420 Solar Stage: Gas South Cornhole Tournament; Rock U Kids Band – Endless Energy; The Mobros; Anders Osbourne
Relapse Comedy Tent: Kids Comedy; Village Theatre; Launch Party; Whole World Improv Theatre; Six Ways to Sunday Stand-Up; SHAKE Comedy; Beer and Comedy Night; Joel Byars Stand-Up Show; 1AM Show; Laughing Skull Lounge
Silent Disco: Music Matters DJ Students Showcase; Paul C & the Funky Express; Knuckleheadz; Ralph & Louie (Live); Shaddex + Crude Carter; DJ AirWolf; Jiriki + George Antonios; Symbiot
The SweetWater Experience Tent: Tastings of more than 20 unique SweetWater brews and expert panel discussions: Home Brewing – Garage to Glass; A Long, Strange Trip – The Origin and History of SweetWater; The Business Side of Craft Beer; The Art and History of Cask Ale; Keeping it Local – Staying Involved in Our Community; Beer & Cheese Pairings
KidZone: Circus Camp; Atlanta Hawks – Unit 21; Farmer D – Green Kids Activities; Moonjumps; Instrument Petting Zoo and more

Sunday - April 21, 2013
SweetWater Stage: Blair Crimmins and the Hookers; The Mosier Brothers; Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Planet 420 Solar Stage: Gas South Cornhole Tournament; Rock U Kids Band – Involution; Honey Island Swamp Band
Relapse Comedy Tent: Kids Improv with Act3 Productions; Automatic Improv; Uptown Comedy; Funny Kim Presents – Urban Grind Comedy; Geekapalooza: Stand-Up Comedy from Georgia Tech; Comedy Night at The Music Room
Silent Disco: Stranger Candy; Full Frequency (Live); Sorted; MK Ultra; Esko
The SweetWater Experience Tent: Tastings of more than 20 unique SweetWater brews and expert panel discussions: Home Brewing – Garage to Glass; A Long, Strange Trip – The Origin and History of SweetWater; What’s in Your Beer?
KidZone: Circus Camp; Atlanta Hawks – Unit 21; Farmer D – Green Kids Activities; Moonjumps; Instrument Petting Zoo and more

For more information, please visit, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @420fest, or become a fan on Facebook.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Beer Dinners are awesome!

The Dogfish Head and Cypress Street Pint & Plate collabo was off the meter!
Here are some that are coming up! 
(Plus a wine dinner, too.)

One of my favorite things to do when it comes to ales and lagers is enjoying them during a beer dinner. I have grown to appreciate the culinary arts during some of my courses at Cornell University and always loved beer, so these two go hand in hand. But I won't sound like a broken record and keep telling you how beer is becoming royalty in particularly the dining world, with chefs creating fare that will perfectly complement the numerous flavor profiles ales and lagers literally bring to the table. 
Here are some shots from a few beer dinners I have had the pleasure of indulging in, along with a few that are coming up you should do everything in your power to attend. Hell, I even threw in a wine dinner in there just in case you'd rather vino with your vittles.
Hopefully I will be toasting a glass with you at a table topped with gourmet eats and craft beer from around the world in the near future. Cheers!

The Beer Dinner at Mandarin Hotel's Asiate Restaurant in New York

Asiate one of the most memorable, picturesque, and downright glamorous beer dinners I have ever had the pleasure in indulging in. Simply look at the view overlooking Manhattan's Columbus Circle. They usually have their team of sommeliers including Peter Bothwell, Annie Turso, and Sarah Ford pair whites and reds with their delectable menu selections. This time around, Asiate prepared a special beer dinner for me personally and they admitted how much they enjoyed doing it! Plus, their elite diners were breaking their necks trying to get a sneak peek of how the restaurant's prized cuisine was matched with craft beer. 
Everything from the Wagyu Beef Tenderloin alongside Chimay Blue... the Butter Poached Lobster alongside Rogue Dead Guy Ale gave me a blissful palate.

Even the dessert rocked the house: Chocolate Caramel Torte, Blood Orange Panna Cotta, Mango Pistachio Gateau, and Calamansi Soda with Lychee Sorbet was the perfect marriage with Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge Flemish Sour Ale. I commend both Chef de Cuisine Angie Berry and Executive Pastry Chef Paul Nolan for this incredible dining experience!

Hearth Pizza Tavern Beer Dinner

This was an awesome dinner hosted by Hearth Pizza Tavern pairing numerous Belgian ales with their fresh salads, flatbreads, and famous oven fired pizzas. I had a blast sitting with some funny beer reps and the pizza was fire! (That's a good thing.) Beers from Belgium as well as domestic Belgian-style craft beers such as Liefmans Fruitesse, Maredsous 6 Blonde, Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Dubbel, and Ommegang’s Art of Darkness were featured. This impressive legion of cold ones were coupled with everything from crostini to braised ribs, fresh salads, their stellar pizza baked in 600-degree hearth oven, and Morelli’s ice cream. What was also extraordinary was the price at $25. A steal! Based in Sandy Springs, make sure you check this spot out! Their staff is extra cool.

And tonight...

The Big Tex Decatur and SweetWater Beer Dinner
This was a scene from Big Tex's last beer dinner with Sierra. 
And in case you didn't see my post boasting the amount of fun I had with the Fox Brothers and their Big Tex Decatur beer dinner in Downtown Decatur with Sierra Nevada, here is a link. The good news is they are throwing down tonight and I'm damn sure to be there! Tonight, my homey Chef Rick Watson will be working with SweetWater Brewery at 7 p.m. embracing the spring season with refreshing brews and tasty fare. As an added plus, Atlanta’s favorite smooth jazz man Tommy Dean, who has been playing in Atlanta bars and clubs since the 70's, will be adding to the ambiance with his musical genius at 8 p.m.
If there are any seats left, it’s $50 (excluding tax and gratuity) for four courses including full bottles and pints of beer. You know what? I am just going to post the whole menu to show you how gangster they are going tonight. Hit up Xorbia for tickets. 
(308 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur, Ga. 30030 | | 404-377-3939)

Greeting Course
Smoked Peanuts
SweetWater Road Trip 

First Course
Buffalo Coulette Steak, Sweetwater Blue Soaked Blueberries, Tarragon Buttermilk Cheese, Fried Shallot, Local Greens
SweetWater Sixteenth Anniversary Ale Red Wheat Wine

Second Course
Southwest "Fish & Chips"- 420 Battered Corvina, Chilaquiles, Salsa Verde
SweetWater 420

Third Course
GA Lamb Lollipops- Lamb chops, Muscadine Jelly, Sorrel
Sweetwater GA Brown

Happy Ending Float with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
SweetWater Happy Ending

Cheese Plate
SweetWater Gimp (dank tank)

It should be killer! Evidently, Thursday is stacked for food pairings with adult libations. Here are a few more…

Cucina Asellina Food and Wine Pairing
There is the third installment of Cucina Asellina’s food and wine pairing tonight (4/18), which includes a 3-course wine/food pairing for $35. Here’s what they sent me about it:
“Upon arrival, guests will receive a glass of vino from host, Kevin O'Sullivan of Prime Wines and Spirits, in addition to three small plates that will be paired with a wine handpicked by Kevin. The wine options will be selected from Cucina Asellina’s extensive wine list to compliment the unique flavors of the food—because, really, it would be simply outlandish to nosh on Italian food this good without a fine glass of Italian wine at the ready. It's just how the Italians roll, and within the cozy confines of Cucina Asellina, what's not to love? As an added bonus, If guests are head-over-heels with any of the wines they try, Perrine's Wine Shop is offering a 10 percent discount on all wines served from the evening.”
For more info, go to the Event Page here.
Also hit up the Scoutmob Link here.

And one more this evening...

Parker’s on Ponce and Wild Heaven Beer Dinner

There is also a beer dinner at Parker’s on Ponce tonight featuring Wild Heaven Craft Beers.  It will be a five-course meal featuring Ode To Mercy (one of my faves), Invocation, Eschaton and their new White Blackbird Saison that's not even on the shelves yet. It’s $45 per person. Here is their website for more info.

As for future dinners, here is one...

TAP and Goose Island Beer Dinner
TAP in Midtown is hosting a dinner with Goose Island out of Chicago on April 30th at 7:30, featuring five courses for $55, which includes tax and gratuity. I will definitely be posting the menu up when it is ready!

Look for more dinner postings coming soon!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Hey Wine Lovers!: Taste of Atlanta set to host Sommelier Competition!

Hey Fellow Sippers!
Hopefully you know that although craft beer is my beverage of choice, I have no problem showing love to other libations including wine! Check out this competition for aspiring wine sommeliers that commences on Wednesday, April 24. Tickets are available here for 
tableside service for a four-course tasting and wine pairing at Del Frisco’s Grille.


Festival Hosts Second Annual Best Sommelier Competition

Like a fine wine, the Taste of Atlanta Best Sommelier Competition gets better with age. Now back for its second year, this sommelier showdown invites viniculture experts to raise their glasses and put their skills to the test. After completing the preliminary rounds, eligible participants will vie for the distinguished title of Atlanta’s best sommelier at the final competition, hosted by Del Frisco’s Grille.

Gil Kulers, certified wine educator, Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributing writer and wine consultant at Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits, will emcee the final competition, where competitors will showcase their talent for an impressive panel of judges including Master Sommelier Michael McNeilCertified Wine Educator Eric Crane and Advanced Sommeliers Jason Amick, Marie Ballard and Eddie Valente. In addition to bragging rights as Atlanta’s best sommelier, the winning enology expert will receive an etched Riedel decanter and a trip to The Alexander Valley Cabernet Academy in Sonoma, Calif. 

"Many casual diners might be surprised by the level of wine expertise in Atlanta restaurants and hotels,” said Kulers. “We have so many wine professionals on the verge of gaining some of the highest levels of certification in the world right here in Atlanta. This would place these talented men and women on footing not just with cities in the Southeast, but on a level easily comparable with New York and San Francisco.”

WHO:               Wine lovers and oenophiles across Atlanta
From the connoisseur crowd to the competition-hungry fan, Taste of Atlanta’s Best Sommelier Competition offers something for everyone.

Qualified sommeliers, wine stewards and beverage managers
Eligible participants must have three years of experience in the beverage industry, with at least two years of experience in beverage service. All applicants will be reviewed by a panel of judges.

WHAT:              Taste of Atlanta’s Second Annual Best Sommelier Competition
                                    Sponsored by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine

WHEN:             Wednesday, April 24

A “Taste of the Residences” Champagne Toast & Pre-Party: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Final Competition: 6:30 p.m.
Atlanta’s top sommeliers showcase their skills at the final competition in four sections: Food-Wine Pairing, Service Skills, Wine IQ and Wine Identification.

WHERE:           Champagne Toast & Pre-Party
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta
                        3376 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326

Final Competition
Del Frisco’s Grille
                                    3375 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
TICKETS:         $50 per ticket
Ticket includes tableside service and a four-course tasting and wine pairing presented by the city’s top sommeliers. Visit to purchase tickets.
For a 2013 Best Sommelier Competition application or for more information, visit

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barley and Mash Off 2013 is coming!

April 11th is the recipe deadline!

My man Eddie from Ale Yeah! Decatur has sent me a notice reminding all homebrewers that the 2nd annual Barley And Mash Off [BAMO] is around the corner and recipes have to be submitted by April 11th at Ale Yeah! Decatur. Collaborating with the Marlay House and Terrapin Beer Co., here is how Eddie eloquently hit me off with the details:
“BAMO is a home brew competition with a bit of a twist: a style is chosen, we order the ingredients and everybody gets together on the same day to brew their beers! This fosters camaraderie, an exchange of ideas and an all around good time.
“Last year’s beer style was a stout and this year, in honor of 4/20 and in spring, we’ll be brewing IPA’s. The tasting competition day is still TBD, but the brew day is 4/20 over at The Marlay House in Decatur. Terrapin will be on hand with beers to get us through the brew day and prizes will be awarded once our elite celebrity judges have filled in the ballots. The overall winner will take home a custom wooden brew paddle and nobody will leave without something; if nothing else, memories, there will be memories that will last a lifetime."

The Marlay House
The Fine Print: The cost is $35 to enter. Each team will need to provide their own equipment during the day of the brew (some equipment may be available).  Recipe forms can be picked up either at Ale Yeah! Decatur or The Marlay House.  The recipes will need to be received back at Ale Yeah! by 4/11 to ensure we can source everything.  Each team will need to bring 64 oz. of the brew to the judging.

Good luck everyone! If you have any other questions, call Ale Yeah! Decatur (404.992.2246) or email Eddie at And on behalf of Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ and all the beer enthusiasts out there, thank you homebewers for contributing to the craft making the world’s best beverage!


Check out this gangster bruise on Spike from Terrapin Beer Co.!

Spike literally goes cruisin' for a bruisin' the day
before the 18th annual  Clasic City Beer Fest.
Award winning brewmaster brings new 'bruise' t0 Classic City Beer Fest
Okay, the 18th Annual Classic City Brew Fest on April 7th in Athens, Georgia was an awesome time and I am going to be posting a gang of pictures that me and my crew took, but this shot deserves its own stage because it's nuts! 
This is my homey Brian "Spike" Buckowski, the co-founder and brewmaster of Terrapin Beer Co., which is also located in Athens. If you have tasted their extensive portfolio of award winning beers, you will know that Spike is a master at his craft, but when it comes to avoiding hitting deer while on a bicycle, well, not so much. 
This pic I took shows how shy and reserved a guy he is. On the real, Spike B demonstrates one of the reasons I love covering beer: The people behind the suds are so down-to-earth and simply cool as sh*t. Notice that I made the subheader the same color of his bruise. Since his story is so unbelievable, I had to call Spike and have him tell it to y'all: 
"I was on my 13-mile bike loop near my house in Athens the Saturday before the [Classic City] brew fest. I was peddling downhill when a deer popped out of the woods on my left. The next thing I know, I hit the deer in the side with my bike and flew over the handlebars. I landed on my ass, bounced back up, ate the deer, and that's how I got the bruise."
- Spike
Crazy, ain't it? Yep, although Spike literally went cruisin' for a bruisin', he was thankfully around for Classic City the next day more than happy to brandish the gangster map-looking contusion he has on his left hip, and drink some of the 350-plus brews the Fest had to offer. All in all, it made this event even more classic. 
Look for more pics from this event, plus a recap of my visit to Trappeze afterwards, coming soon!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The most awesome beer day in New York!

Dave Brodrick, founder of Blind Tiger, and Beer Sessions Radio Host Jimmy Carbone
kickin' it with me during our unforgettable episode.
Sixpoint, Beer Sessions Radio, Spuyten Duyvil, Blind Tiger...Yep! It was nuts!
Sixpoint's Alex, Heather and Andrew
had me loving their liquid mastery.

Man, oh man, did I tear up Brooklyn, NY during my East Coast tour this past week! My top highlight next to kicking it at Sixpoint Brewery (look for more pictures soon), is being a guest on my man Jimmy Carbone's awesome radio show, Beer Sessions, and the uncanny happenings that followed. We had an awesome discussion with the owner of one of the best beer bars in New York, Blind Tiger's legendary Dave Brodrick, inside one of the coolest pizza spots I have ever been in, Roberta's
Jimmywho also owns the renowned Jimmy's No. 43 farm-to-table restaurant and barwas humorous, inviting and knew his beer thanks to his stellar history in the New York brew scene. He was the perfect radio host. (Check out this historical episode discussing the Craft Brewers Conference, an interview with Green Flash Brewmaster Chuck Silva, and Atlanta's beer scene here.) But when his partner in crime, Bree O'Connorthe producer of Beer Sessionsexcitedly opened the studio door during a commercial break to tell us we had a surprise in store, things started getting unreal. In a nutshell, the beer gods had a ball making me drop my jaw in disbelief throughout the rest of the evening. Check it out: 
I always bring a beer or two from Atlanta when I travel because bottle sharing is one of the best things you can do, period! Anyway, I brought Wild Heaven's Ode To Mercy Imperial Brown Ale and their Eschaton Quad this time around, and asked Roberta's bartender to put it in the fridge until the show started. Bree grabbed them right before it commenced and behold, a customer sitting at the bar saw the bottles, flipped! He happened to be a good friend of Wild Heaven's brewmaster, Eric Johnson. Crazy, right? He happily gave Bree Eric's number, she hits Eric up, and he does a surprise call-in during the show! This beer is pretty much solely in Atlanta so the odds of something like this happening are astronomical! 
So after the great convo me, Dave, Jimmy, Eric and Green Flash Brewing's Brewmaster Chuck Silva had, beer radio would never be the same. It was that fun! Afterwards, we broke bread, err...lip-smackin' pizza, with good friends Dave from Thrillist, my homey Katie P., and one of the best IPAs I have ever had, the Peekskill Brewery Eastern Standard (6.6 percent ABV). For more beer god coincidences, the brewery's brewmaster is Jeff O'Neill formerly of Ithaca Beer Company, which is based where I was born. Things were certainly getting eerie, but I was not freaked out enough to not bar hop with my new brew crew! 
The 'brew crew' left to right: Dave from Thrillist, Bree, David from Blind Tiger, Katie P., and Jimmy sippin' the phenomenal Eastern Standard at Roberta's.
Jimmy's cool driver John pulled up in a pimped out van, and weaved in and out of crazy New York traffic to safely take us to two of the most revered beer destinations of all the boroughs. 
Spuyten Duyvil was chill.
First up was Spuyten Duyvil. I heard a lot about this spot and its seemingly countless accolades. When we walked in this rustic bar, a bartender was slicing a block of Wine Washed Cabra cheese to pair with one of their 100 or so bottled Belgian beers, a cask ale, and fantastic, rare domestic microbrews on tap. We all justly toasted off our prior radio session with Chuck by grabbing stemmed pints of his phenomenal Bullet Double IPA (10.10 percent ABV). 
From there, my last stop was Blind Tiger. I mean, come on! We were all rolling with Dave, the owner, right? The crowd of craft brew lovers parted like the Red Sea for our entourage and then I stopped in my tracks. Standing there with a beer in his hand was my college buddy Wilson Morales from Cornell University! I haven't seen him in about a decade and there he was also in shock. Hootin' and hollarin', we eventually exchanged info and swore to stay in touch. 
2013 Beerdrinker of the Year Warren Monteiro and Jimmy C.!
And then my mind was completely blown; my man Jimmy brought over a glass of GreenportHarbor Triton Barlywine (9 percent ABV) along with the 2013 Beerdrinker of the Year winnerWarren Monteiro. To win this prestigious award given by Wynkoop Brewing Co. annually, you have to be no joke regarding beer knowledge, dedication, and overall drinking the majority of the world's best ales and lagers. Warren, an esteemed journalist, globetrotter, and beer guru, was the man this year and the fact that he knew me once we were introduced was pretty flattering. We ended up taking some pics, exchanged info, and kicked it with the rest of the crew. 
When I eventually got on the subway, I had a chance to reflect on this day, and the famous logo designed by Milton Glaser said it best:

Oh yeah, and if you see this sticker on the outside of a bar in New York, it's officially a beer lover's destination. Thanks Jimmy!


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