Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's the 2015 Cruisin' For A Brewsin Last-Minute Gift Guide!

It's Buzzer-Beater Time To Complete Your List!

Hoppy…err…Happy Holidays!

Now that all those crazy promotion days are out of the way with “Black” and “Cyber” attached to them, don’t feel bad if you haven’t dropped your cash on gifts yet. It just means it's time to get down to business and get our annual Last-Minute Gift Guide shopping on! Since I am doing so much more than just covering the best libation in the world—­beer­—nowadays, here is my carefully compiled list of awesome gifts that include tech gadgets, movies, clothing, spirits, and other awesome smile bringers you should consider grabbing for friends, fam, that special someone or heck, yourself. The cool thing is there is still time to get whatever you pick delivered before especially the 25th or whatever special days apply to you.
Below, I add my two cents about the suggested gift and then include its official description straight from the source at times along with a link to where you can find it, plus a few promo codes just for you. I will be adding some other last-minute selections as the days countdown so keep coming back. Sound good? Well then grab a cart!

BUILT NY’s Growler with Neoprene Tote
I say: The popularity of using growlers especially in Georgia has certainly toned down a bit, but when you get this tote created with a wetsuit material called Neoprene to insulate 64 ounces of brew for up to four hours, it's cool again to bring these guys to parties! It comes with a growler too. In fact, I want it for the upcoming Super Bowl. Hell yeah!

They say: BUILT NY has released a brand new Growler with Neoprene Tote! This tote is designed with the same attention to detail as your favorite craft beer, and is PERFECT for carrying it to the party at the right temperature!
Features include:
  • Amber glass bottle with an ABS twit-off cap
  • Comfortably carries your favorite 64 fl. oz. brews

Tote is made from BUILT’s signature Neoprene (wetsuit material) which keeps your brews insulated for up to 4 hours! This new bottle and tote not only makes for an awesome holiday gift, but is the perfect accessory for any New Year’s Eve or upcoming Super Bowl parties!

The ManCan
I say: The stainless steel ManCan is great for anyone serious about their beer. It’s like a pub in your fridge providing the perfect pour every time! And yes, WomanCan too…

They say: The ManCan is a personal keg system that keeps your favorite beer fresh, carbonated, and delicious—the way it should be. Available in indestructible, 128oz (one-gallon) or 64oz (half-gallon) stainless steel. Two tap systems with the Perfect Pour Regulator can top these bad boys for the ultimate experience. For more information on ManCan, visit www.mancan.beer and become a fan on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Nuit Belge-Atlanta
The Foundry At Puritan Mill January 23, 2016
This is not a beer festival, this is a beer event!
I say: I can’t wait for this event; it’s so damn good it goes on tour! This Nuit Belge Belgian and Belgian-inspired beer culinary extravaganza taking place at the Foundry At Puritan Mill on January 23, 2016 sounds like a can’t-miss date. What makes this thing really over the top is the fact the expected 600 guests will be indulging in more than twelve fine local restaurants dishing out small plates while we get our sipping on; there will be chefs from Nashville, TN, and the incredible Blackberry Farm featured as well.
There are two options: There is a Blackberry Farm VIP session that takes place from 5:30-7 p.m., and the General Session is from 7-10 p.m. (Nuit Belge is made possible by Blackberry Farm, Blackberry Farm Brewery, Savannah Distributing, Hop City, Orca Coolers, Murder Point Oyster Company, and Olive and Sinclair Chocolate.) Go here for tickets before they are gone!

Here are the participating Restaurants
·         Ba Bellies
·         Bhojanic
·         Cooks & Soldiers
·         Double Zero
·         Empire State South
·         Holeman and Finch 
·         Heirloom Market BBQ
·         Iberian Pig
·         King + Duke
·         Local Three Kitchen & Bar
·         Luca
·         Octopus Bar
·         City House -Nashville Guest Restaurant
·         Blackberry Farm
·         Chocolate Tasting by Olive and Sinclair Chocolate
·         Raw bar by Murder Point Oyster Company

Frye Gift Card
They have an E-Gift Card for super last-minute gifts too!
I say: They get the finest leather for some of the hottest boots, shoes and bags in the world, period. 
A pair of kicks from this company is definitely on my wish list. Look at their selection here and tell me different. And the best part about it for especially Atlantans is they just opened a store in the now go-to hot spot Ponce CityMarket, where you can get the footwear and hot specialty items including the highly recommended Leather & Whiskey All Natural Soy Wax Candle, Travel Flask Set, Logan Overnight Bag (right) and gift cards to name a few. Boom!

They say: If you ship a Frye Gift Card to a lucky someone, here are the perks:
  • Free Ground Shipping (expedited shipping also available).
  • No expiration date or maintenance fee.
  • Personal gift message/gift box included.
  • Redeem online or at any Frye Flagship store.
  • And of it’s really last minute, get an E-Gift Card! It’s…
  • Emailed within minutes of purchase!
  • No expiration date or maintenance fee.
  • Personal gift message included.
  • Redeem online or at any Frye Flagship store.

Go big screen style!
I say: Link your computer to the big screen and watch global access to some awesome time killers in HD (or whatever your viewing pleasure demands). This is especially true for Netflix! I heard Daredevil and Narcos are dope shows, so some binge watching is about to be in effect over the Holidays!

They say: Sometimes bigger really is better. Give your loved ones the gift of their favorite online content on the big screen! Simply put, Chromecast is the easiest way to make your HDTV a smart TV - streaming movies, TV shows, videos, music and more from Chrome, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube.

Google Play Gift Cards
Read. Watch. Listen.
I say: Digital downloads to books, albums, music, movies… their selection is gangster. And hey, make it a bundle with the Chromecast suggestion above. Why not? 

They say:
Something for everyone.
Google Play has the music, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, and Android apps and games you love.
For screens of all sizes.
Google Play makes music, movies, and more accessible across devices of all sizes, whether you’re on Android, iOS, Chromecast, or the web.
Ready when you are.
Google Play gifts can be redeemed in seconds, with no credit card required.

Kimasi Washington’s The Epic album
Treat your ears right and chillax.
I say: I am jazz lover—real jazz that is, so after my friend Karl Injex (the owner of the dope lounge/restaurant hybrid The Sound Table) had tenor sax magician Kimasi Washington playing a song from his aptly titled The Epic album, I was sold! Rocking his Pandora station justified my infatuation for his very uplifting, melodic, yet complex sound that filled a necessary void to a lot of bullshit out there. It’s awesome clean-the-house music. I heard Kimasi's live show is bananas too.
For real record heads, the Deluxe Three-LP Vinyl Set is also available on Amazon amd Bandcamp.


18|8 Fine Men’s Salons Membership
Get So Fresh and So Clean While Sippin’ A Craft Brew!
I say: I had the pleasure of being treated to a quality salon facial while sipping a Monday Night Draft Kilt from draft at the 18|8 Fine Men Salon in Brookhaven (305 Brookhaven Ave, Suite A1140, Atlanta GA 30319) and it was a truly relaxing experience.
If you want to get really gangster, purchase an Executive Membership and get the VIPizzle treatment! (See the details below.) Find a location near you or your gift recipient asap. Did I mention the beer part?

They say: Executive Memberships: Join the club. Become a Member. You’re the Man. The membership program at 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons is a program to simplify your haircut and grooming regimen. When you sign up to be a member, you get the VIP treatment all year long and all the perks that come with it. Click here for more information.


Beer Books Galore!
I say: Get your reading on and learn as much as possible about brew. Here are some seriously knowledge-building titles to flip through thanks to the #1 producer, Brewers Publications. Here are a few suggestions to start with: 
Modern Homebrew Recipes by Gordon Strong ($19.95)
The Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery by Dick Cantwell ($95). All are published by Brewers Publications, the leading publisher of books on beer and brewing. 

Vinturi Spirits Aerator
I say: Who wants to sip spirits that are not to their full potential? Not me! This Vinturi Spirits Aerator will keep everything from your Cognac to vodka on point!

They say: One thing that most people don’t realize about spirits is that aerating them, especially ones like whiskey and bourbon, can seriously enhance the flavors, aroma and create a smoother finish.  However, what holds most people back is the time it takes to decant their spirits.  However, the Vinturi Spirits Aerator allows you to aerate spirits instantly. Vinturi’s patented technology, is based on the “Venturi Effect,” a scientific principle that says when a liquid flows from a wide area to a narrow area, it speeds up, causing a significant change in pressure–in this case sucking in air to mix with the spirits at a much faster pace that letting it sit in a traditional decanter.

AHA Membership Gift Card
I say: I always do whatever I can for the American Homebrewers Association, and with all that they do for the craft beer world and the overall spirit of brewing, you should become a member and see why the love is there! AHA membership benefits include access to exclusive offers, merchandise discounts and super dope events nationwide. Read about it more here


Home Chef Meal Kit Delivery Service
We get $20 off with the promo code HOLIDAY!
I say: Want to chef up gourmet fare you would usually dish out major cash for at restaurants that are delicious and pre-portioned out at a fraction of the price? Home Chef is a brilliant delivery service that will make you the aspiring chef you always wanted to be without getting a degree at a world-renowned hospitality school like, say, Cornell? (I had to plug my school in there.) Well guess what? They love us so much at Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ that they have a promo code—HOLIDAY—for $20 off your first order. Get it!

They say: Home Chef is a Chicago-based meal kit delivery service that delivers all of the fresh ingredients you need to make chef-tested meals at home. Home Chef offers gift meals varying in size and price; you can order six, 12 or 18 plates as part of a gift package for loved ones at any time, and are especially perfect for the holidays.
  • Home Chef gift meals are customized to individual tastes: Home Chef’s website features a unique taste profile, which takes into consideration information like allergies or dietary preferences, then suggests meals catered to those preferences each week
  • All gift meals include step-by-step instructions: Home Chef provides step-by-step instructions in every box to walk you through each meal, and each meal can be made in under 45 minutes keeping dinnertime quick and convenient, making it perfect for beginners or experienced cooks
  • All Home Chef meals include pre-portioned ingredients: Home Chef ships the exact amount of ingredients you need for each meal serving. It’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t enjoy grocery shopping, or can’t find time to make it to the store. This also helps eliminate waste, so you don’t have that full bundle of cilantro left to wither away in your fridge
  • It’s easy to order via Home Chef mobile app: Home Chef’s mobile app is extremely user friendly—you can also order online from your computer or iPad, and the app makes ordering on the go even easier during the busy holiday season

The DeLeón Tequila Combs Concierge Program
I say: You know anything Sean “Diddy” Combs puts his name to is usually high quality and a success. DeLeón Tequila maintains the luster of his marketing genius with the DeLeón Tequila Combs Concierge Program which includes an engraved bottle of either the Platinum or Reposado version with a message of your choice, four bespoke drink stirrers, and a personal note signed by Diddy. Take it from me, this is no everyday tequila either. The bottle alone is worth the membership!

They say: The Luxury is in the details. Take your gift-giving to #TheNextLevel with a unique engraved message of your choosing on a bottle of DeLeón™ Platinum or Reposado. Thanks to you and the Combs Concierge, your recipient will have everything they need to enjoy a celebratory toast of DeLeón neat or on the rocks - Mr. Combs' favorite.


Beer Connoisseur Magazine Premium Membership
I say:
Proud to contribute to the very first issue years ago, it’s nice that the Beer Connoisseur Magazine crew continues to report the best in beer. Now going fully digital, this would be a slick gift for anyone who loves the quality suds. Their PremiumMembership deal sounds like a good one, too. Use the promo code BCHOLIDAY15 to save $5 too! Read on…

They say: The Perfect Holiday Gift! A Premium Membership to The Beer Connoisseur is a great way to say “I Beer You!” this holiday season.
Here is what is included. 
  • Premium Web Magazine (6 issues annually + back issues) + Beer School + BC Network 
  • Exclusive Member Offers + Expert Beer Reviews + Members Forum
  • Membership benefits including the current and back magazine issues are available immediately upon activation
Enjoy $5.00 off with coupon: BCHOLIDAY15


I say: I dunno, they just seem to have some pretty damn good deals on especially the electronics side. I said this Guide includes gadgets, so here ya go. I'd probably chill on the hover boards until further notice though.

They say: Just when you thought holiday shopping couldn’t get any easier, we’ve added a ton of new products to our Holiday Gift Guide, and the savings are spectacular! Shop gifts for him, gifts for her, all the must-have toys and more for the kids, plus awesome electronics, all for less than anywhere else. Our deal hunters make it easy to shop, save, and smile this season, so don’t wait—score your favorites before they’re gone!


Get 2016 Great American Beer Festival Tickets Early!
October 6th through the 8th
I say: I have gone to the Great American Beer Fest before and it’s a blast for anyone who truly appreciates CRAFT beer. You pick your events, mingle with today’s trendsetters for the liquid gold, and have a life-long memory during the nation’s biggest beer fest of its kind. Oh, and the 8th is my birthday so hey, need I type more?

They say: Taking place Oct. 6 to 8 in Denver, this event is the premier U.S. beer festival and competition, bringing together brewers and beers that represent the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served. Buy tickets for your special someone here as soon as they go on sale, and, in the meantime, book your hotel and travel arrangements.

Look for more options soon!
And again, Hoppy Holidays!

Your homey,


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Check out the Ballast Point Spirits and Beer Dinner Friday!

Four courses! Four beers! Four spirits!

Now you know I love me some beer dinners! Well there's one coming up this coming Friday, December 11th at 7 p.m. featuring stellar beers and spirits from one of the best breweries in the world, Ballast Point, out of San Diego! 
For a mere $55 per person, there will be four courses, four beers, four spirits plus some other surprises at Cafe 33 in Marietta, GA. (2520 East Piedmont Road, Suite 106, Marietta, GA 30062; 770-977-6915). Here is the info! I hope to see you there. Should be a blast! Below is the official menu:



Donate Food and Coats On the Beltline This Saturday!

Do a good deed, stop hunger and keep someone warm between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.!


Besides donating food and/or a coat(s) if you have one, you can also volunteer to help the Urban Explorers receive donations at their annual Beltline Food & Coat Drive this Saturday, December 12th (especially in the afternoon). This is the volunteer sign up page where you can select specifics roles and shifts.
As an added plus, it is the same day as the Beltline Pub Crawl so it will be a fun day to get your walk and sip on.
Here is the info straight from the Urban Explorers, so bring in 2016 with some good karma! I hope to see ya there!


What & When
Saturday, Dec 12, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Urban Explorers of Atlanta will be hosting its 2nd Annual Food & Coat Drive. This event is held each year to alleviate the suffering experienced by the hungry and homeless in our community.

Drop-Off Location / Logistics
We will ready set up to accept donations of food, coats and blankets from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Our collection station will be at the south end of the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, where it crosses Irwin Street. We will have a 10-foot U-Haul truck parked there. You have several options for dropping items off:
1) Park & Hang Out With Us
You can park nearby and bring your items to our truck. We will have snacks, refreshments and music and you are welcome hang out with us as long as you want. Street parking is available on Auburn Ave, Lake Ave and Sampson St. You can also park in the "pay and park" lot for Krog Street Market where you will find many wonderful restaurants and shops.
2) Curb Service
If you don't have time to stop and hang out with us, you can drive right up to our truck and drop off your items. We will have volunteers on duty to help you unload right away.

Pick-Up Service: Friday, Dec 11
For those who have a large number of items, including businesses that would like to take up collections at their office, we will be available to pick up your donations on Friday, Dec 11 between 1:00PM - 5:00PM. Please contact Steve Saenz at steve@uxatl.com to discuss and make arrangements.

Prizes & Give-Aways
Those who donate two or more, items will receive a membership gift certificate that is good for 25% Off any Urban Explorers of Atlanta membership. You will also receive a special ticket that you can redeem at O4W Pizza or Little Tart Krog Market, both of which are within walking distance.

Our Community Service Organizations
The Atlanta Community Food Bank will be receiving our food donations. The Gateway Center will be receiving our blankets and coats.

Volunteer Opportunities
If you would like to help out on the day of the event, please contact Ryan Forbes at ryan@uxatl.com and let him know.

Spread The Word
Thank you for supporting the Beltline Food & Coat Drive. Please share this event with your friends and encourage them to do the same. Together, we can make a difference. We look forward to seeing you on Dec 12, if not before.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Unknown Brewing Enters Atlanta Starting Tonight!

This is tonight at the Chapter Room starting from 5 until!
Come Welcome Charlotte, NC's Unknown Brewing all week starting tonight at Taco Mac-Prado.

Hope you had a great weekend. 
Well to start off this one, Atlanta's beer selection just got even better with Unknown Brewing officially entering the market starting tonight. Not only are their beers fantastic complete with edgy marketing, but their staff is one of the coolest I have ever dealt with. I met them while doing an article on Charlotte's beer scene for FirstWeFeast.com here and did a tour with owner Brad Shell (who has local roots working with SweetWater and Terrapin before starting his own empire). Their marketing exec Kayla is the homey too! 
Anyway, for the whole week, they will be bar hopping throughout the city so come through and see...err...drink how they get down! Here are the other dates:



Friday, December 4, 2015

Check out Thrillist's article on Black People and Craft Beer

After being interviewed for this article, I knew it was going to make major, yet enlightening noise.

Cheers Everyone!

While reviewing the all-new 2016 Nissan Titan truck in Scottsdale, Arizona this week (that's my "cruisin'" side of Cruisin' For A Brewsin'), I was excited to see Twitter lighting up with the new Thrillist article written by Dave Infante called "THERE ARE ALMOST NO BLACK PEOPLE BREWING CRAFT BEER.HERE'S WHY."
Dave reached out to me and asked some great questions regarding the industry and why there is a frighteningly low number of representation from Black people in the beer industry, from employment to imbibers and consumers. He disclosed a lot of facts and conducted interviews with other African-American beer aficionados such as Harlem Brewing Company Founder Celeste Beatty, Jon Renthrope— the founder of Cajun Fire Brewing—and world-renowned brewer Annie Johnson to name a few. (And the few should be taken literally, but the list is slowly growing.) 
Beer is for everyone.
As many of you who visit this blog, read my articles including the latest one on tap designs in Issue #106 Beer Advocate, and follow me on social media (thank you!) know, I do my best to promote how fantastic the craft beer world is. Do I push the Black element? My Ale Sharpton alias does suggest my race with all due respect to the Reverend Al Sharpton, but  it was just a clever name I came up with at 2 a.m. after a few Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stouts and some greenery. Beer should be color-free unless we are discussing the actual hues of the brews being poured like straw, caramel, and dark-roasted. 
People are unaware the beer was actually invented in Africa and represented by the Sumerian Goddess of Beer, Ninkasi, thousands of years ago so beer was never a "White thing" and shouldn't be considered so now. It is what it is. I have yet to cross paths with someone who is Caucasian claim it so either. Additionally, I have been blessed to travel and visit breweries around the world due to what I do for a living, and I have yet to encounter a racial issue by anyone representing them. (There was once a beef I addressed regarding a name of a beer that was retailed by a certain microbrewery who really didn't know the history of the moniker, but after a long, informative discussion with the owner, it was eventually changed.) Beer should be celebrated and honored by everyone, and minds are opening up slowly but surely. I do not think it should be forced, but at the same time, some gradual changes can be made. Beer is for everyone.
Although I found it very disturbing that the aforementioned Annie hasn't landed a brewery gig yet with all the awards she has won, I believe the world of beer will become more diverse over time. People will realize that different races, creeds and nationalities have a lot to offer including flavor ideas, techniques, and inventiveness. Watch. 
I have a few ideas actually I am willing to explore regarding diversity, including developing initiatives, college courses, internship programs, and scholarships that teach how the world of ales and lagers include chemistry, marketing, the culinary arts, marketing, design, communications, engineering, and numerous other subjects especially Black colleges could implement. While my Cruisin' For A Brewsin' videos, Hip Hop and Celebrity Brew Tastings, beer dinners, art shows, murals, and music events me and often my company AllWays Open Creative produce to help beer cross racial boundaries like the Hebru Brantley wall sponsored by Heineken certainly help, education is another major key.
(Now also be aware of different viewpoints people who enjoy beer have on this deep subject. I saw some interesting feedback in Beer Advocate's forum on this very article you might want to peep too. Of course, like all feedback, these comments don't necessarily represent the magazine, so take in what you deem makes sense.)
Ultimately, beer will soon be addressed by only by what's coming from the taps instead of who brews, owns or sells it. And if someone wants to get in the industry, go get it. Not everyone who was white had millions to invest in their brewery. They got it from serious hustle. Ask some owners how they got started. Their passion is bananas. If there is a will, there is a way. Oh, and a side shout out to my man Kevin Blodger, co-founder and head brewer of Union Craft Brewing, Publik Draft House partner and COO Eddie Johnson, and NorthStar House co-owners Jed Ashton and Elliot Martin. They are living proof a brewery and beer bar can be owned and successful when you grind.
Stay tuned for more coverage, events, vids, articles and my annual Gift Guide coming soon.
And thanks again Thrillist. That shit was real. 

Happy Sippin'!