Friday, September 27, 2013

Come kick it at Euphoria this weekend!

Greenville, SC is going to be nuts!

If you are in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend, you will see me hosting two awesome beer seminars on Saturday and taking advantage of my annual weekend pass to be gluttonous during one of my favorite food and drink festivals, Euphoria!
Here is the information on how many killer events there are including my food and beer pairings at the always happening Nose Dive gastropub in Downtown Greenville, plus a beer garden and sipping bliss on Sours, Saisons, and other hip beer styles on Saturday. (They showed me major love with this page.)
Euphoria is a classy event that brings chefs, sommeliers, gourmands, and restaurateurs from all of the nation to hangout in this beautiful city for the weekend since 2006. Looking at the 2013 itinerary, it’s going to be off the hook!

Here’s the official website’s breakdown:

A mission. A vision. A dedication to excellence.
Founded in 2006 by platinum-selling singer and songwriter Edwin McCain and restaurateur Carl Sobocinski, euphoria educates, entices, enlightens, and entertains.

This highly anticipated weekend-long event includes exclusive tasting events, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live musical performances. Dedicated to excellence, euphoria features domestic and international wines, celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, and national recording artists.

Every September this long weekend event shines a spotlight on Greenville, South Carolina¹s thriving Culinary and Arts Communities. Greenville, situated at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, stands out with its award-winning downtown, vast entertainment options and diverse population.

Supporting the community, proceeds from euphoria fund Local Boys do Good, the 501 (c)(3) created to benefit local non-profit organizations. euphoria, a weekend destination event, impressed all with its passion for quality and value.

I also make sure to visit Barley's, the Trappe Door, Quest Brewery, GBX (Greenville Beer Exchange), Community Tap and a few craft beer-slinging spots. I hope to see y’all there!



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Check me out on the new 'Ladies Night' talk show!

I had them try Bell's Two Hearted, Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout, Lindemans Framboise and Frozen Pints!

There is this new late night talk show hosted by four lovely female celebrities called 'Ladies Night' based in Atlanta and they invited me to come on board and school them on beer. Hosts Angela Gomes, Rashan Ali, Nina Brown and Jasmine Burke decided to open their minds to the world of ales and lagers, so I brought them some of the best beer available and surprised their studio audience with some as well. Everyone got their sip on while playing the infamous "I've Never" game which got kinda racy. It was awesome!
After the intro, I come on around the 6:41 mark.

The beers I picked:
Of course, I had to go with a sweet, fruity beer to open them up, so I chose the Lindemans Framboise (2.5% alcohol by volume) out of Belgium to dispel any myths that all beer is bitter. Its pink, Champagne-like appearance, and delicious flavors of raspberries and cherries won them over as expected. 

After Lindemans, I took them to a totally different route with one of the best India pale ales in the world, Bell's Two Hearted IPA (7%), which  perfectly balances its strong hop presence with malty sweetness. 

Then there was my closer; I used a beer that easily mimics one of the most popular desserts worldwide, the Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Imperial Stout (9.6%). 

Last, to really show how diverse flavors of beer can be, I hit everyone off with Frozen Pints Craft Beer Ice Cream in three different flavors. They erupted when trays of their Peach Lambic, Malted Milk Chocolate Stout, and Vanilla Bock flavors were passed around. 
I ended this fun episode by saying "Don't sleep on beer no more!" This was one helluva time and I want to sincerely thank Rob Gomes and the whole Ladies Night crew for having me on board. Look for more episodes soon.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Atlanta is going to be crazy this weekend!

Yep! I'm geeked like my homey here!

My brewing collaboration with Beer Street Journal, One MusicFest, Little 5 Fest, Fado BrewHaHa Festival, Atlanta Arts Fest, Square Pub Chile Fest, the fight…Sheesh!

After returning from a serene visit at Barnsley Resort with Toyota and Terrapin Beer Co. in the mix, I returned to a ridiculous itinerary filled with a plethora of crazy events especially on Saturday in Atlanta! Check it out:

First thing in the morning, I am homebrewing an imperial stout unlike any other with my main man and award winner Jon Shari. Stay tuned for its release during the Holidays. Then...

Beer Street Journal, Jailhouse Brewing and Ale Sharpton Collabo!

I did a brewing collaboration with gangster beer website BeerStreet Journal and Hampton, GA’s JailhouseBrewing. We are debuting it on Saturday, 1 p.m., at one of my top places to get my sip on, Midtown’s Cypress StreetPint & Plate (6th and Cypress St.)! We wanted to rep the South to the fullest so this one, using the Jailhouse Misdemeanor Amber Ale as the base, is going to include tea! There will also be other versions of it including peach and a shandy (half lemonade). Of course, art and music is involved, so come through and check it out!
Here’s a description I wrote below, the flyer with all the info, and the video at the top on how it was done...

Two of the most dedicated Atlanta-based beer aficionados, Beer Street Journal founder Reid Ramsay and beer authority Ale Sharpton, decided to come up with a beer that reflected the charming personality of the South and its burgeoning beer scene. After a few sips of their favorite beverage and some brainstorming, they decided to fuse the essence of iced tea, coriander and other all-natural flavor boosters with the base of an esteemed beer brewed within Georgia. Jailhouse Brewing’s Misdemeanor amber ale fit the bill, the Hampton-based brewery opened its doors to Reid, Ale, and a group of other dedicated enthusiasts from Atlanta to decide between a series of test batches what would work for public consumption, and voila!  The experiment turned out to be a success, a date for the launch complete with art, music, and delectable grub at Cypress Pint & Plate has been set (Saturday, September 14th at 1 p.m.), and the rest is history.

Come be a part of it and show love for local!

Crazy, right?

One MusicFest
Then there’s the One MusicFest from noon to 10:30 p.m. at Old Fourth Ward! Peep the flyer below and info here. Need I say more?


The Fado BigBrewHaHa Beer Fest
Official Description: “It’s a full day and night of over 75 beers, food, wine, spirits and bands outside on Buckhead Avenue at Fado Irish Pub... it’s going to be epic. We’ll have sampling tents lined up and down Buckhead Ave with bands, beer competitions and more.”
More info is here.

Atlanta Arts Festival
Throwing down in Piedmont Park on the 14th and 15th is the annual Atlanta Arts Festival. More information, go here.  

Square Pub’s Annual Chile Roast
…plus 4 chile beers!
More info is here.

The Little 5 Art Fest!

Live music from local talent, a vinyl exhibit, art, and hipsters galore! More info is here.

Mayweather vs. Canelo
And, of course, the fight. I’ve got Mayweather by decision, although Canelo is no joke!

Not to mention, all of the brewery tours and new releases all over the place including SweetWater, Monday Night, 5 Seasons Westside and Burnt Hickory showing off all of their liquid mastery. And then football on Sunday? Damn!
Enjoy your weekend!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Beer Mixology 101: El Jimador Tequilas and beer unite!

H. Harper Station’s award-winning mixologist Mercedes O’Brien discloses her beer cocktail recipes using Mexico’s top-selling tequila.

Cocktails with Ale!

I am beer purist and typically love to sip ales and lagers in their original form, but I’m always open to explore new ways the world’s best beverage can be enjoyed. Beer cocktails are one of the most burgeoning trends in the libation industry, and mixologists are becoming more experimental with fusing beer with gin, rum, vodka, whiskey and in this case, fine tequilas by El Jimador, Mexico’s top seller.
I got the chance to pick the brain of the lovely Mercedes O’Brien who flaunts her mixing genius regularly for H. Harper Station, one of the most revered culinary destinations in the city that’s particularly known for their extensive list of hard-to-find spirits and craft beer.
Mercedes roamed the U.S. at an early age and thanks to her dad’s military affiliation, she had the opportunity to travel throughout the U.S. before setting up shop in Atlanta to study journalism and photography at Georgia State University. After dabbling in the bar scene and gaining invaluable work experience under the guidance of who she amicably terms “H. Harper’s owner, scholar, and libations sophist” Jerry Slater since 2010, Mercedes has found her calling. “My love for cocktails spurs from a lifelong love affair with food, and washing down meals with other curious people working in the industry,” she says. “After many bottles, books, shifts, and years, I still love learning about the craft.”
Mercedes became so gangster at making cocktails, she won the Peach Jam 2013 Cocktail Competition this past June using El Jimador tequila. “My winning cocktail was called the ‘Helmet and the Feather’ [1 oz. El Jimador, 1 oz. Peach De Provence (sous vide local peaches in honey and Herbes de Provence), .75 oz. aperol, .5 oz. Dolin Dry, .25 Yellow Chartreuse, .25 lemon, garnished with a rosemary sprig and sea salt]. It was based off a favorite poem and painting of mine, ‘The Lady of Shalott.’”
Showing off more of her concoction mastery, Mercedes gave me a private tasting using three different craft beers fused with three different El Jimador tequilas at H. Harper Station’s popular bar. “I chose El Jimador Tequila for these cocktails because I fell in love with the history of the ‘jimador’ and his quest for these beautiful tequilas. You can see him on the front of each bottle, digging up and harvesting the agave and piña [pineapple]. The story of these three cocktails is based on the jimador working to marry his life with the agave, and ultimately create something out of love and dedication.”
I captured the experience with my trusty Canon and, of course, got my sip on to make sure everything was on point. Trust me, she gets busy behind the bar! Here are the three cocktails she crafted that afternoon, along with a breakdown for us all to enjoy and appreciate.

Cocktail #1: Amanecer (Dawn)
1 oz. El Jimador Blanco
.5 oz. Aperol
.25 Orgeat Syrup
.25 Lemon
.25 Simple Syrup
Shake and strain into coupe. Top with Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace and lemon peel 
Mercedes says: “I chose to pair the Sorachi Saison with the Blanco because it represents the beginning of a day’s work. Saisons were brewed for farmers to drink out on the field to get them through the day. The jimador, working in the agave field, needs something to jump into a day, hence the refreshment and brightness of the ‘Amanecer.’”

Cocktail #2: Siesta de Las Palomas (Nap for Doves)
1.5 El Jimador Reposado 
.5 oz. Strega
.5 oz. Lime Juice
Shake and strain into salt crusted Collins glass, add rocks. Top with Lagunitas IPA and a lime wheel.
Mercedes says: This recipe is a take on a classic, the "Paloma." Another insignia of the El Jimador distillery, the Paloma or Dove is a sign of prosperity. Usually made with grapefruit and soda water, the citrus, light hops, and effervescence of the Lagunitas IPA was perfect to mimic the rejuvenating qualities of the classic. Perfect for sipping during a midday break, Siesta de Las Palomas will reawaken the jimador's afternoon haze.”

Cocktail #3: Recompensa Final (Final Reward)
1.5 oz. El Jimador Añejo
.5 oz. Averna Amaro
.5 oz. agave nectar
.25 oz. Lemon
2 Dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters
Shake and strain into rocks glass, add cracked ice. Top with Red Brick’s Brick Mason - The Lost Years
Mercedes says: “Aged in Jim Beam barrels, the American Strong Ale of the Lost Years was a no nonsense match for the age of the Añejo. Right off the bat, the hazelnut and chocolate of the Lost Years spotlights the caramel of the Anejo. A slight bitterness of the Amaro and the spice of the Aztec chocolate bitters makes the Recompensa Final a well-deserved treat for the jimador's work.

All of the cocktails were pretty damn tasty and truly embraced Mercedes’ reasoning behind each one using exotic ingredients and the notes of three fantastic beers. I gave her a toast and made sure she informed us on what’s next for her. “Now that the seasons are changing, a new set of plans are in motion,” she replies. “One is helping create a new fall cocktail menu with the rest of the crew at H. Harper Station. Since I grab a lot of inspiration from food, I can't wait to sample the fresh local ingredients from the neighborhood farmers markets and use them in our cocktails, such as muscadines, apples etc. I also volunteer with Community Farmers Markets, so prepping and enjoying the market during my favorite time of year is something I'm looking forward to. More updates and drinks to come!”

Make sure you stop by H. Harper Station and sample some of Mercedes’ ingenious concoctions. Special thanks also goes out to H. Harper Station, Jacinte, Tiffany, and El Jimador. I had a blast!
Stay tuned for more beer cocktails in the future.



Thursday, September 5, 2013 posts cool beer facts!

Whaddup Fellow Craft Brew Sippers!
My campaign to promote the fact beer is the world's greatest beverage has gotten more legs under it than a centipede walk-a-thon, and I thank you for it! 
The very informative website is obviously sippin' from the same glass by posting this enlightening infographic boasting fun facts on ales and lagers, including health benefits, how brew has less calories than most cocktails (which I have been preaching for a while), and the amount of cold ones Americans sip annually to name a few. Check it out! 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cool Things Going on This Week: Part One

'Paint Nite' hits the ATL!

With Labor Day being over, I guess it's back to, well, labor! Regardless, I am always looking out for cool ways to relieve some stress, get your sip on, and do something with a significant other, family and friends. There is this national art class called Paint Nite that looks pretty damn cool. You go to a select pub, restaurant, or event space in your area (plug in your zip code here), paint your rendition of an established painter's work, order some drinks, fill your belly, and voila! You go home with your own work of art! 

I am trying it out this Wednesday at Coco Cabana. The official press release is below. Look for more options on how to kick it this week, including making beer cocktails with my homey Mercedes at H. Harper Station and El Jimador Tequila, the Porter Beer Bar's 5-day anniversary celebration, and football-related subject to kick off the 2013-2014 NFL season!
Paint, drink and be merry! “Paint Nite” events hit Atlanta nightlife
Social painting phenomenon pops up in bars throughout Atlanta

Here’s the scoop: A fresh new way to do a girl’s night out, date night, birthday party or team building event has arrived and is taking the city’s bar scene by storm. Paint Nite, a leader in the viral social painting phenomenon, today announced its expansion into the Atlanta market. Paint Nite is a fun and creative way for people to drink, paint and socialize with others in the comfort of their favorite local bar or restaurant.

“Atlanta has some of the most talented artists in the country and an amazing bar scene, the ideal combination for great Paint Nites,” said co-founder Dan Hermann. “Paint Nite offers a creative way to have a few drinks with friends or meet new people in a laid back atmosphere -- you don’t need to have an ounce of artistic ability, you just need to be open to having fun!”

A relatively new phenomenon, social painting brings people together for a guided painting session in a creative, social environment.  While participants mingle with old friends and make new ones, a professional artist provides step-by-step instruction, allowing attendees to turn a blank canvas into a final piece of personalized art in about two hours.

Active in more than 20 cities including New York, Miami, Chicago and Boston, Paint Nite presents weekly events across the U.S. and Canada, with more than 50 local artists hosting thousands of participants in over 250 different venues every week. 

Unlike social painting classes at brick & mortar locations with limited capacity and minimal food and beverage offerings, Paint Nite’s “nomadic” business model means more classes in a variety of venues designed to suit every need.  Event locations, artist information, and a sample of each featured painting can be found on  Seats are limited and event tickets, which include a 16” X 20” canvas, paints, brushes, a smock and professional instruction, are sold in advance online. If desired, drinks and food to accompany the painting experience are purchased directly from the hosting bar or restaurant.

“Paint Nite is a win-win-win for us, for local artists and for the participants,” said Helen Kirk, event sales and marketing manager at Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant on Buckhead Ave.  “While people are painting and having fun socializing with friends, we get to drive traffic on a traditionally slower night and introduce a whole new group of potential customers to our establishment.”

To locate a Paint Nite event in the Atlanta area, join the network of venues or to inquire about becoming a featured artist, visit

About Paint Nite
Paint Nite, the industry leader in social painting, offers a creative twist on a night out at the bar. Headquartered in Boston, it was founded in March 2012 by entrepreneurs Daniel Hermann and Sean McGrail and is now in more than 25 cities across the United States and Canada. A professional, local artist provides step-by-step instruction, from a blank canvas to a final piece of personalized art in about two hours while participants enjoy their favorite cocktails.  More information about Paint Nite can be found at or they can be followed at and @paintnite on Twitter.


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