Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Photo Throwback: The New Belgium Sour Symposium

Did you go to either session? It was pretty dope!

Whenever I get a chance to get a breather, I love going through my photos. Although they might not be posted right after some events happened, they are still right on time in a lot of ways. 
For instance, my homey Jared from New Belgium is about to leave ATL soon, and I thought this photo recap from their two-session Sour Symposium at Terminal West on Monday, May 20th, would be kind of cool to post. (See the flyer here.) Also, New Belgium's Snapshot was a big hit during my AllWays Open Creative team's photo exhibit at Loews Atlanta Hotel this past Saturday (thanks to all who came and supported it). Last, there are a lot of my homies captured in these pictures including fellow scribes Jessica (HeyBrewtiful.com), and Austin L. Ray (Creative Loafing), plus Wrecking Bar's Neal and Tim; Brian from Southern Brewing Company; Donald reppin' the Argosy; and of course New Belgium's "Wood Cellar Team" Lauren and Eric Salazar, Dave, Chip, and others reppin' the brew squad. Oh, beer enthusiast (and recent graduate) Jerome Lubbe and his twin bro Justin were also in the house (that's them above). 
Anyway, if you are in any of the pics, thanks for being stellar models and enjoy. This was an awesome event. We need more of this!



Monday, June 23, 2014

Celebrate Ten Years of Gangster Beers in Georgia with Rivals On Five!

It’s been a decade since Georgia raised our alcohol limit to 14 percent. Let’s kick it on July 1st in celebration!

To celebrate the anniversary of Georgia raising the alcohol by volume level of beer from 5.9 percent to 14 percent, Rivals On Five in Stone Mountain [1227 Rockbridge Rd., Stone Mountain, GA, USA 30087] is planning an amazing throwdown on Tuesday, July 1st starting at 7 p.m. With all beers exceeding 6 percent ABV (some in monstrous proportions), their beer list of one-and-dones, can’t finds, and extra potent aged brews is remarkable! To add, Partner and Executive Chef Jon Allen is extremely talented and a beast in the kitchen. I went to the Rivals and Red Hare beer dinner and was blown away by Jon's fare. and to make it even better, the tapas are "bottomless"!
Make plans to come though and book reservations asap! Here is their official description on Facebook:  

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of high gravity beer in Georgia. On July 1st, 2004, beer over the 5.9 alcohol percentage was allowed to be sold and enjoyed in Georgia. We have assembled great collection of one-offs and rarities for you to enjoy, some of which will never be available again after this event. (No joke, 2004 Left Hand Imperial Stout stored in French Chardonnay barrels is the last case ever!) Don't miss out on this event! Beer Heads Unite!!!”

All the info is on their Facebook page, website and all over the Internet, including Twitter at @rivalsonfive.
This is truly a slick spot and they are also heavy into sports, so I will be there! You should too!



Friday, June 20, 2014

Come to this awesome photo exhibit at Loews Hotel this Saturday!

AllWays Open Creative, Bacardi and Loews Atlanta Hotel have three photographers exhibiting their mastery this Saturday, 8 to midnight...and it's FREE! 

Happy Friday everyone!

People have been asking what I am working on and here is one of my events that will definitely bring the summer heat at Loews Atlanta Hotel's gangster lobby. To make sure I covered all the bases, just know that with everything I do, it will be memorable, full of surprises, and you won't be thirsty!
This time around, my AllWays Open Creative agency is doing it again by featuring more than 30 pieces by three phenomenal photographers—Patrick Heagney, Marlo Herring, and Kat Goduco—plus one of the best DJs in the city spinning, DJ Jamad! Check out the flyer above to see what else is in store including sips by Bacardi and a special beer of my choice, New Belgium's Snapshot. I had to pick that brew. Come on, a wheat beer to combat the summer heat called Snapshot?
To add, we have...
  • Complimentary bites by restaurant eleven but get there EARLY!
  • A summer-themed photo booth for guests
  • A snow cone stand making adult treats per order

No Cover.
Just summer fun.
1065 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 ● 404.745.5000

Anyway, bring your tail by tomorrow. It will be off the chain! And when you see me, grab me and say whaddup!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pliny The Elder is voted the best in the nation for 6th time in a row!

 Zymurgy magazine’s 12th annual poll is in and 
Pliny the Elder does it again!

Hey Craft Beer Sippers!

I juuuuuust got this announcement hot off the press direct from the AmericanHomebrewers Association (AHA) who announced that their members voted for the Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder as the “Best Commercial Beer in America” for its now incredible sixth year run! In its 12th annual poll run by AHA’s journal— Zymurgy magazine—their crew are undoubtedly hop heads with the first eight selections being renowned for their bitter, aromatic character. “We are blown away that Pliny has won the award six years in a row,” said Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo after hearing the news of victory. “There are so many great beers out there. It is very humbling.”
The Founders Breakfast Stout and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout rounded out the Top Ten.
As many of us know, the Elder and Alchemist Heady Topper (#5) are ridiculously hard to get unless you live next door to the brewery or you are at one of my bottle shares (Ha!), but the rest of the Top 10 should be pretty accessible in your city. Anyway, there was also votings for the Best Portfolio of BeersNew Belgium Brewing Co. scooped up the most nominations thanks to their portfolio of 60 awesome brews—and Best Import justly going to Chambly, Quebec’s Unibroue La Fin du Monde, one of my faves! Also, AHA says…
More than 1,600 breweries were represented in this year’s poll, and the Top-Ranked Brewery is Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, Calif.), which had five beers in the top 50. Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (Kalamazoo, Mich.), took second, followed by Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, Calif.) in third.
“As brewers, AHA members know when they experience excellence in a craft beer. It is a very high honor for a brewery to be recognized by this group as having the best beer in America,” said Gary Glass, director of the AHA. “The consistency in the poll results indicates that the discerning palettes of these homebrewers recognize quality and are not easily influenced by the latest fads.”

Here are the official listings of who can flex their beer muscles for 2014.
Continue to support craft brew y’all!

The Top-Ranked Beers include:
1.     Russian River Pliny the Elder
2.     Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3.     Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
4.     Bell’s Hopslam
5.     The Alchemist Heady Topper
6.     Lagunitas Sucks
7.     Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
8.     Stone Enjoy By IPA
9.     Founders Breakfast Stout
10.   Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

The Top 5 Best Portfolio of Beers:
1. New Belgium Brewing Co.
2. Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams)     
3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
5. Stone Brewing Co.    
Visit the AHA website for an exclusive interview with Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo in which he offers a few tips for making great IPAs.  Learn more about Zymurgy magazine.



Cocktails With Ale: Meet Spirit Hound Distillery’s Exec Wayne Anderson

Photos by Spirit Hound
Read how Spirit Hound got started and their rich history linked to starting Oskar Blues! 
Right off the bat, I want to let you know that the story behind Lyons, Colorado’s Spirit Hound—the city’s first distillery—is quite fascinating and fits way too perfectly with my ongoing series on fusing spirits with beer. Why? Because two of their execs—Craig Engelhorn and Wayne Anderson [above]—were greatly responsible for the existence of the king of canned craft brews, Oskar Blues.
The Hound crew makes an award-winning Spirit Hound Gin, a delicious coffee liqueur called Richardo's, the Mountain Bum Rum, and a kickass Spirit Hound Whisky. Even timelier is the fact they are bringing their roster of liquid bliss to different parts of the country including Georgia’s capital. Hence, it only makes sense to interview Wayne, one of the four original partners at Spirit Hound Distillers. 
Read on as Wayne tells us how Craig was the original brewer and father of Dale’s Pale Ale, and how he sold the first Dale’s Pale Ale six-pack! Yep! And now, thanks to Wayne’s ability to sell ice to an Eskimo, he is the head of sales and marketing for Spirit Hound. Evidently, Colorado is more than just a great state for brewing excellence. Here’s my main man Wayne to tell us how it’s done. Enjoy!

Ale Sharpton: So I did a little research on you and noticed you got your start in the craft beer world. Specifically, Oskar Blues. How did you go from there to distilling?
Wayne Anderson: For me the decision to jump into the microdistillery world was the desire to facilitate my friend Craig Engelhorn’s passion and desire to open his own distillery. Craig is easily one of the most talented people I’ve ever had the opportunity to know. He’s technically as good as it gets. He has an electrical engineering degree and worked for a long time at AT&Ts Lucent Labs before he began a second career at OB [Oskar Blues] as a commercial brewer. He’s also one of those crazy artisan craftsman type guys who can do all kinds of amazing things with wood and metal.
I can remember Craig making the comment years ago at OB that he thought if he could distill his Scottish ale, it would make a great whisky. So my thinking was that Craig is the smartest guy I know and distilling spirits was the thing that he was most passionate about doing next. I knew that the microdistilling thing was starting to come on the radar, and I thought with my connections in the beverage distribution world that we might have a good formula for success in a growing new area.

Beer brings good people together. I dig this story. So after the Scottish ale revelation, you still went with gin before the whisky. Talk about your decision on this.
For all of the Spirit Hound partners, the desire to make the Straight Colorado Whisky was the catalyst to join together and make the distillery a reality. For whisky to be proper whisky, it has to age in new American oak barrels for at least two years, though. As a young company, we couldn’t afford the luxury of just distilling whisky and waiting for the two years before we had revenue coming in. With clear spirits, you can sell them right after you distill them since there is no aging process involved.
The reason we selected gin as our first signature product is because one of the primary flavoring ingredients historically is juniper berries. Well, juniper grows like a weed all around the valley where Lyons is located. We use a combination of all fresh botanicals, but the juniper berries themselves are just wild-foraged from around the valley. Our staff picks them, but we’ve also got a deal with the Lyons locals: When you bring us a bag of juniper berries, we’ll give you the cocktail or bottle of your choice depending on the size of the bag.
Microdistilling historically has been about taking advantage of what comes from your backyard. Most farms back in the early years of America had distilleries onsite. George Washington was a distiller. It’s always been about using what is in your backyard; that’s why there are different types of spirits developed in different parts of the country and different parts of the world. Our decision to start with gin was partly based on that desire to be local with what we were producing. That and Craig’s gin recipe tastes really good.

It is! We need to talk more about your Oskar Blues connection. They are one of my favorite brewing companies.
Absolutely. Craig was the original brewer for Oskar Blues. By 1996, he had already retired from AT&T. One of his many hobbies was brewing beer at home. As a resident of Lyons and thus a patron of OB, he would pester Dale about brewing his own beer since his place was called Oskar Blues Grill and Brew. Dale agreed and Craig found a used 7-barrel system from Santa Clarita Brewing, out in California. They went out and brought it back and put it in the basement of the original OB. Craig’s first beer is now popularly known as Dale’s Pale Ale.

Yep! Well, living in Lyons, I was naturally one of the original customers and fell in love with the beer and also got to know Craig. I started working at OB back in 2000. I was part of the decision to purchase that first little two-head can filler from Cask Brewing Systems up in Canada. My deal with Dale was that if he would brew it and can it, then I would go sell it since my background up until that point had all been in outside sales. So I sold the very first case of canned Dale’s Pale Ale in September of 2002, and was the head of sales there until 2009. During that time, I was able to learn the beverage distribution business from the inside, out. 
For the first two-plus years, I personally schlepped the brewery’s products around Colorado out of the back of a little refrigerated box truck. We ended up moving into real distribution and I was able to work with some of the best distributors in Colorado and around the country. I learned a lot and made a lot of really great friends. That is how we ended up back here in Georgia and with Savannah Distributing. 

Well Savannah’s roster of craft brews is gangster and their legion of spirits are equally impressive, so congrats! So now you are coming to the A-Town to show off Spirit Hound. Talk about my city—and yours, right?
You got it! I’m super excited to be coming back to Atlanta. This is the city of my childhood; this is where I grew up. I’ve got some of my best life-long friends who are here. As a distillery, we don’t have any visions of taking the city by storm or anything like that. It’s gratifying to me to be a part of a movement that is so quality oriented. I love the idea of an old world art rearing its head again as people yearn to get back to knowing where their food and drink come from. The idea of microdistilling and injecting the level of artisanal craftsmanship into the distilling world—which craft beer has already done—is exciting. Atlanta has a very passionate, burgeoning cocktail scene and we’re just hoping to be a part of it as it evolves around the city. And I really just want my friends and family to be able to enjoy something that I had a hand in creating.

Discussing both beer and distilling, this leads to my next question: What are your thoughts on beer cocktails?
My original thought was beer is beer, booze is booze, and never should the two meet. Although after having a Left Hand Milk Stout infused with a shot of Richardo’s, my mind has been opened in new ways again.

Ha! I was the same way. That mix sounds awesome. Plus, the last three mixologists of Cocktails With Ale made me a believer! Tell us about the man behind the Richardo’s Coffee Liqueur, which is off the chain! This is a cool story too.
Rick England is a local legend here around Lyons. He married a gal who was born here and they raised their two daughters. Lyons is a small town anyway, but Rick has been the local land surveyor for many years, so he’s visited just about everybody’s property when they were buying it. Rick is the ultimate good guy, he’s involved in all the local charities, and has a huge heart so everybody loves him. 
Anyway, he and his wife Linda [pictured left] have had this home Kahlua maker hobby going for the last 25 years. They’ve been making Richardo’s in their kitchen for literally 20 years. If you were a friend, you could count on a bottle on your birthday and at the holidays. So of course, when we were buying this building, Rick was the surveyor of record and the conversation began there that maybe we should take his product and produce it in our licensed facility so he could have a legitimate offering for the rest of the world. We entered into a licensing agreement with Rick to make Richardo’s and that has evolved into him having an ownership stake in the Distillery itself.

You guys are full of some heart string-tugging stories, man! Okay, to close this interview and toast on your continued success, tell my readers what’s next for Spirit Hound.  
What’s next is the Straight Colorado Whisky. Ours is a 100 percent Colorado product and 100 percent malted barley from Alamosa [Colorado]. Some roasted malts and smoked malts give it a very Scotch-type character. Our oldest barrels are about 16 months old now. Anything labeled as ‘Straight’ has to have a 24-months minimum in a new barrel, so we’re looking at next summer for our first batches to be bottled.

Sold! Now let’s get ready for your official Atlanta launch!
Let’s do it! Cheers Ale. This is awesome!


Stay tuned as I challenge gangster mixologist Ian Cox (formerly of Wrecking Bar and soon-to-be bar chief at Luminary) to make a beer cocktail with the Spirit Hound Gin and a craft brew. Also, Spirit Hound is launching officially tonight (Wednesday) from 5 p.m., on at Smoke Belly in Atlanta! See you there I hope.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Beer Dinner is postponed!

With a few changes being made, we need to set a new date for this awesome beer dinner. I truly appreciate your support and we will definitely keep you posted when we do it. It will be worth the wait, trust me. 

Thanks so much!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ Father’s Day Dining Guide

If Dad is in Atlanta, this should help fill him up!

Unless you have arranged a bow-wrapped 2015 Porsche Panamera to pull up in Dad’s driveway tomorrow, the next best thing is to feed him. Here is a list of restaurants going something extra special for all the pops who are in Atlanta for Father’s Day. From beer specials to gourmet fare prepared especially for the gents during brunch and dinner, check out these hot dining destinations. (These descriptions are straight from the source.)

A Sunday in Midtown leads to the Dad’s Day brunch buffets at 10th & Piedmont and G’s Midtown on June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brunch is $24.95 per person. For reservations, call 404-602-551010thandpiedmont.com  

Diners in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood can take dad to Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Start with deviled eggs and shaved prosciutto or go all out with bacon-wrapped dates and blue cheese. Deciding among brunch mains is difficult with the likes of pork belly Benedict with mustard hollandaise and Grand Marnier French toast with applewood smoked bacon. If dad’s a night owl, visit the Virginia-Highland staple for dinner. For more information or to make a reservation, call 404-876-7249atkinspark.com 

Let dad relax on Father’s Day and leave the cooking up to Bantam + Biddy. Call in for the family meal, which serves three to five people ($48). The take-out only meal includes dad’s choice of whole roast chicken, meatloaf or pork loin served with a family-sized organic green salad with choice of dressing, cornbread, three family-sized sides and a half-gallon of freshly brewed tea. Call at least 30 minutes ahead of time to prepare. For the Ansley Mall location, call 404-907-3469 and for the Midtown location, call 404-835-6450bantamandbiddy.com

Some dads won’t be able to pull themselves away from World Cup action. Der Biergarten offers authentic German food plus a sportsmanlike atmosphere. Bring the whole family to share the Konig Ludwig platter, which serves six hungry people or 10 people as an appetizer. Normally, this hefty helping of jagerschnitzel, wiener schnitzel, schwuinshaxe, sausages, sauerbraten, potato salad, sauerkraut, braised red cabbage and spatzle is $96, but it’s only $60 on Father’s Day. Nosh and nibble while watching the Switzerland vs. Ecuador match at noon, France vs. Honduras at 3 p.m. or Argentina vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina at 6 p.m. For more information, call 404-521-2728.derbiergarten.com

If dad’s a pizza guy, bring him by Hearth Pizza Tavern between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. for the perfect pie. Hearth’s pizza dough is made with 100 percent organic flour and makes for a healthy and flavorful crust that’s topped with a robust sauce of fresh roasted Roma tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, vegetables and olive oil. Order an eight-inch triple meat pizza for a personal feast, topped with pepperoni, sausage, chorizo, truffle oil and fresh torn basil ($9), or opt for the 12-inch size to share ($16). For more information, call 404-252-5378hearthpizzatavern.com

Father’s Day at HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern includes bottomless mimosas for $16.95, live music on the patio from 1 to 4 p.m. and a brunch menu that indulges with apple-cinnamon pancakes topped with candied pecans or hits a lighter note with a healthy frittata. Book a reservation by calling 404-968-2288HOBNOBatlanta.com

Treat dad to a fancy meat and three at JCT. Kitchen & Bar this Father’s Day. From 5 to 9 p.m., the whole family can enjoy gourmet comfort food for $26 per person. Each diner chooses one meat, such as black skillet fried chicken, and the table agrees on three side dishes to share family style. Every table receives deviled eggs and warm biscuits with apple butter to begin, as well as a helping of farm stand salad. Round out the meal with the dessert of the day. For more information or to make a reservation, call 404-355-2252jctkitchen.com

Treat dad to a royal feast at King + Duke in Buckhead on Sunday, June 15. The brunch menu is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner service lasts from 5 to 10 p.m. Dine inside or on the patio. For more information, call 404-477-3500kinganddukeatl.com

Cater to dad’s generous nature and treat him to a spot at The Last Brigade Supper at Gaia Gardens on Sunday, June 15 at 5:30 p.m. Benefitting Wholesome Wave Georgia, the evening begins with a pre-dinner reception and tour of Love is Love Farm with owners Joe Reynolds and Judith Winfrey. The dinner reunites talented chefs who have worked side-by-side at Canoe, including Ryan Smith (Empire State South), Jason Paolini (Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch Public House), Chris Hall (Local Three, Muss & Turners), Brian Horn (JCT. Kitchen & Bar, No. 246, The Optimist), Terry Koval (The Wrecking Bar) and Gary Mennie (Canoe). Tickets are $125 per person and include wine pairings with dinner. Click here to purchase tickets.

Just north of the city in beautiful historic Crabapple, Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails’ chef Derek Dollar presents a Father’s Day brunch menu. Brunch costs $32 per person for adults and $16 per person for children 12 and younger and is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Celebrating dad later in the day? Reserve a seat for Milton’s prix fixe dinner menu for $38 per person. For more information, call 770-817-0171. miltonscuisine.com  

Dear old dads rejoice! No. 246 teams up with Hop City for a beer dinner on Sunday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy five delicious courses paired with five unique beers from Rogue Ales and Spirits for $60 per person. To reserve a seat, call 404-350-9998no.246.com

Historic Old Vinings Inn offers a Father’s Day “Man Brunch” buffet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 15. Visit the action stations for sliced marinated flank steak and whole roasted suckling hog with all the fixins’. The hot buffet displays shrimp and grits, baked ziti with truffled pork and seared chicken over spring pea risotto. Dads with a sweet tooth can enjoy the seven layer bars, dark chocolate dipped strawberries and assorted truffles and cheesecakes on the dessert bar. Brunch isn’t complete without a premium, bottomless bloody Mary bar with house pickled vegetables and hot sauces for an additional $15 per person. The buffet costs $35 for adults and $15 for children. For more information or to reserve a table, call 770-438-2282. oldviningsinn.net

Celebrate dad one day early by sipping on saisons at Orpheus Brewing on Saturday, June 14. The tasting room doors open at 2 p.m. and close at 5 p.m., giving dads enough time to mull over dinner options in the nearby Virginia-Highland or Midtown neighborhoods. For $12, dad gets a Belgian-style glass and drink tickets. orpheusbrewing.com

Ray’s Restaurants loves dad. On Father’s DayRay’s on the River in Sandy Springs is offering their award-winning buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. that costs $39.95 for adults; $19.95 for children ages five to 10. Venture in for regular dinner service from 5 to 9 p.m. For preferred seating, call 770-955-1187. In Alpharetta, Ray’s at Killer Creek is serving a buffet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. $26.95 for adults; $12.95 for children ages five to 10. The regular dinner menu is available from 5 to 9 p.m.For preferred seating, call 770-649-0064. Take dad downtown to Ray’s in the City for lunch or dinner service between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. A la carte brunch items are available during lunch. For preferred seating, call 404-524-9224. raysrestaurants.com

Treat dad to one of the best burgers in town on Father’s Day at Ted’s Montana Grill. Inspired by the pioneer spirit of the American West, Ted’s serves hand-prepared, 100 percent fresh and classic comfort food. The chef-inspired menu features the finest cuts and best selection of bison, including high quality, flavorful steaks and award-winning burgers amongst a variety of other unique menu items. They also offer souvenir photos, so bring dad by to fill up and make a memory. tedsmontanagrill.com

If dad’s natural habitat exists behind the grill, pump up his barbecue bragging rights with ingredients from Whole Foods Market. Let dad kick back and relax and brush up on grill skills with WFM videos on grilling vegetables or using parchment packets. Fill a colorful and reusable bag with dry-aged Brasstown Beef burgers, freshly baked buns and a selection of gourmet cheeses. Stop by the grab-and-go prepared foods section for smoked mozzarella pasta salad or potato salad to complete the meal and swing by the beer aisle for ice cold craft beers to wash it all down. wholefoodsmarket.com

Willy’s Mexicana Grill loves dads, so bring them in for a buy-one-get-one offer. On Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, those who purchase a kid’s meal or regular meal get a free entrée for dad. Extras aren’t included, but patrons can’t resist springing for extra chips and guacamole. To participate, show the Father’s Day flyer on Willy’s Facebook page to a cashier, or sign up for the Willy’s burritohead club to get deals like this via email. willys.com

Help TWO Celebrate This Year’s Father’s Day in a BIG Way - TWO urban licks is hosting “Dad’s Day Off” this Father’s Day brunch and dinner! Give Dad a relaxing day away from the grill and let us do all the work for you. Chef Todd Stein will offer added grill specials alongside TWO’s daily menu to give Dad a Father’s Day worthy feast. Enjoy a complimentary pint as a token of appreciation. For more information, visit twourbanlicks.com or call 404.522.4622.

Celebrate Dad in the best way with free beer! TAP will be offering all Dads, dining with their families, a complimentary pint all day long to celebrate! For more information, visit tapat1180.com or call 404.347.2220. TAP is located at 1180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Dad, we dare ya…
We triple dog dare ya…to come enjoy our featured Father’s Day special, a fully loaded 1# local grass fed beef burger with all the toppings including a sunny-side up farm egg, 3 fried green tomato slices, Farmer Greg’s bacon, Tucker Farms lettuce, house-made b&b pickles, Sweetgrass Dairy cheese all between a H&F bun. 
Wash that down with a 32oz draft beer of your choice, on special for just $7.
Featured burger is $18. If you can finish the whole thing, we’ll split the cost with you! Reserve your burger today, call 404.681.4434.

Feast with us this Father’s Day!
Honor Dad with a feast at The Spence. You and your family will enjoy 3 courses, served family-style, including The Spence’s signature appetizers of bone marrow and oysters & pearls, continue with whole roasted fish and grilled steak with accompanying sides and sauces, and end the night with a trio of desserts. Custom wine pairings are available courtesy of our own Advanced Sommelier Joon Lim.
Cost is $60 per person. Kids 12 and under are half price or can order from our daily a la carte menu that will be available as well. Limited availability. Reservations are encouraged. Visit thespenceatl.com or call 404.892.9111.​


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ale Sharpton’s Annual Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Guide

My favorite TV dad, Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx). Make your dad smile like this!
Here is Part One of a few gangster gifts for ya.
What’s up!
Come on, hook a dad up! If he’s yours, your husband, or just a good father in general who means something to ya, show him some love and consider one or a few of these awesome gifts below. Yes, the selection is random and not all beer related, but they still kick ass. Please believe it, a drug store greeting card and a clown tie are so not cool!
Look for where to treat him and his belly throughout Atlanta (including my beer dinner on the 19th) in Part 2!


Wherever Dad goes, the party goes!
Tego Audio: CERA Wireless Portable Speaker
With effortless pairing to any Bluetooth device with 3.0 technology, this small, space-age, easily portable speaker with stellar sound gets the party jumping from as far as 33 feet away! I love how at the press of a button, it pops up smoothly like something from the Jetsons. Actually, we're in that era now. Welcome to the future!
$89.99, $199.99 for the three-pack

See if Dad is royalty!
FamilyTree DNA
Now this is a meaningful gift. With this super simple test, I am sure Dad would love to find out where he comes from by ordering a DNA kit from FamilyTree DNA. Who knows? Trace his family’s migration routes, learn origins, etc. Heck, he could even be a descendant of royalty! Honestly, I just took the test and can’t wait for the results. Dad will feel the same. Make sure you have him sign a contract first stating you get a percentage in case he hits a jackpot! ($79 to $199)

Keep Dad well-suited!
Suitsupply.com to the rescue!
Want to make Dad really smile? Have him suited and booted with Suitsupply’s Spring and Summer 2014 Collection! And this chic Buckhead Atlanta retailer may make him look like a million dollars, but the cost is truly a fraction. “Suitsupply combines craftsmanship and the best luxury materials with a fresh and exciting take on the sartorial world,” says founder and CEO Fokke de Jong. Trust me, their stuff is fly!

Help Dad get his phone’s Grove on!
Grovemade: Bumper Case
Made exclusively for the iPhone, hand-sanded and oiled, this Grovemade Bumper Case is the “world’s first and only all wood bumper iPhone case crafted from maple and walnut.” Trust me, it is pretty smooth looking. And for a lil' beer element to it, this case is birthed in Portland, Oregon, which is arguably the craft beer capital of the U.S. $39

Poppin’ bottles!
The Beer Popper
With this gangster Beer Popper made of “solid 6061 billet aluminum construction and a replaceable stainless steel prying surface,” all those cheap key chains Dad has piling up in the silverware drawer will meet their fate. Plus, it ships free up until Father’s Day and hey, it says “BEER!” $25

Time for a beer literally!
Happy Hour Timepieces: The Ish
Is Dad super serious about getting his sipping on when work is over? Well this watch actually has an opener built in its buckle and a highlighted 5 to make Happy Hour his weekday priority! The strap is calfskin and the watch’s case is 316L stainless steel, plus water resistant up to 100 meters. Now he is telling time classy and practical! $99.99

Look for Part 2 featuring Beer Books!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The gangster preview of my beer dinner with Three Taverns and Saltyard!

On June 19th at 7, it's on at the Saltyard! 
What's up, Everyone!

As many of you know, I LOVE beer dinners. I have been to more than 50, and I never had a bad time at any of 'em. (Here are a few I have covered.) After doing my first beer dinner outdoors at Barnsley Resort's beer garden in Adairsville, Georgia, along with Greg Teague aka the Wine Snob a couple months ago (which sold out and went perfectly), I cherished the fun challenge of pairing a chef with my selection of craft brews to create a memorable dining experience for beer experts, novices, and gourmands. Now it's time for me to do one in my hometown and I can't wait!
After having brunch in Brookwood with Andrea Janise aka ATLFoodWriter at Atlanta's elegant, yet hip restaurant called Saltyard (see above), I was blown away by the presentation and culinary mastery of Executive Chef and Partner Nick Leahy (plus he's just a super chill dude). Since I am a seafood fanatic, I had this Soft-shell Crab Eggs Benedict dish...
Besides my love for hops, I paired it with the Terrapin Hopsecutioner to pleasantly cut through the fried coating and richness of this dish. It was a success. Afterwards, I brought up the idea of doing a beer dinner with Nick. He was with it immediately. Co-partner Kristy Jones-Favalli and media executive Noelle Jackson (Elle PR) also gave us the thumb's up and it was on! 
The first step was picking a brewery. I had to rep ATL for my first official beer dinner in the city, and chose Three Taverns based in Decatur. Undoubtedly, there were many to choose from and I will be working with a few of them as well in the future, but I just had Taverns' delicious Quasimodo Quadrupel the day before, the rest of their beers are pretty damn flawless, and Belgian-style brews are always fun to pair with fare, so hey. To add, Owner and Brewmaster Brian Purcell (below) and his staff are cooler than Fonzie snowmobiling in the X-Games, so there ya go. When I told Brian about the idea, his reply was anything I am doing, he is down with. That hit home.
That's my homey Brian Purcell aka B-Diddy.
After I got everyone's okay, I showed Nick the tasting notes of all of Three Taverns' beers, plus kindly requested that there had to be seafood somewhere on the menu; he happily came up with a course for each brew (five in total) and I was blown away! He asked me what I thought of his initial menu and I simply replied, "Hell yeah!" He did it in one take like Jay-Z.
It was then time to set the date and Saltyard designed the first flyer, so boom! Here it is:

I will be posting another update soon, but in the meantime, make sure you book a seat, maybe bring a father for a post-Father's Day gift, and come kick it with us. The price is crazily reasonable, too. Trust me, there will be other surprises in store during the evening, so come through!
Look for my upcoming photos of the Atlanta Food and Wine Fest, plus my Annual Ale Sharpton Father's Day Gift Guide too. I will have some interesting stuff a dad would actually dig in it. 

Much beer, grub and love!


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