Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's Ale Sharpton’s 2016 Last-Minute Gift Guide


That new Google Pixel XL looks like a winner!
Been too busy to shop? I got ya covered as I do every year!
Cheers Everyone!

I honestly haven’t got my shopping on due to so much going on, but I am going to take another buzzer beater shot and score with the gifts I have below. Through some testing, rave reviews and what I consider great ideas, I compiled these babies so that you can make someone (or yourself) very happy. Heck, I even included a couple I researched for other mags I write for.
From getting your cheffin’ on, to a dope phone, putting music lovers in heaven, toasting off 2017 with the hottest beer glass style of the year, or even buying the latest Rolls-Royce for the true ballers out there, I have something for everyone!
Happy Holidays!
Ale


TeKu Glassware
You HAVE to drink the world’s greatest libation—beer—the right way, and the TeKu style of glassware has been on fire this year! Pour an IPA in these bad boys especially when company drops by and see how their eyes light up. Even a light beer would look good in this. Okay, maybe not. Regardless, the German glassmaker Rastal went out of their way to accentuate every tasting note, scent and carbonating bubble to put palates in bliss for a mere $24.95 a pair.

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Cookware
Since I love to get down in the kitchen and my family includes generations of chefs, I know the importance of good cookware. I got myself a couple early Christmas gifts this year—the Covered Fry Pan and Covered Dutch Oven by Calphalon. Selling for cheap along with a 20 percent discount here, I use them both and truly appreciate the quality; practicality thanks to the Dutch’s straining cover and pour spout for especially pasta; and the ease of avoiding sticky situations since all of their products are, well, nonstick!


Gold Star Vodka
Want to sip something for a cause? Here you go! Mark Seymour served in the Army for 11 years and was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, before injuries brought him back home to Atlanta, GA. Maintaining his dedication to the service, Mark launched Gold Star Vodka with $2 of each bottle sold going to “Gold Star Families” those who have lost loved ones in war. And get this, it’s American-made and damn good!  


Google Pixel XL
Wait, whaaaaaat? Google has its own phone? Yep! The Google Pixel XL is going to be my best friend for 2017, complete with a 5.5-inch WQHD AMOLED display for crispy vision; a long-lasting 3450 mAh battery; unlimited online storage for pics and vids; Google Assistant; and the option of 32GB and 128GB to name a few attractions. The three colors they come in are pretty slick too, including Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue.
I loved the HTC I featured in this year's Father's Day Gift Guide especially for the latest pics I took on Instagram. Now it’s Google’s turn to wow me and I am confident they will with their highly acclaimed camera. (Peep their DUO video phoning feature and Earth Live Case for the Pixel XL too.)


JBL Flip 3 Bluetooth Splashproof Speaker
Rain or shine, bring the beats to any occasion, thanks to the splashproof JBL Flip 3 speaker complete with one-button access to speakerphone calls and the ability to wirelessly connect to three separate smart devices. Now the whole family—or party you are rocking—can get their boogie on!


Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones
If you don’t want to entertain the masses but still bump Gangstarr, Pusha T, Tribe Called Quest, Radiohead or whatever sounds hot to you, these Powerbeats3 headphones deliver with phenomenal ear quality. The wireless action is also a plus with up to a 12-hour battery life. There is even an Apple W1 chip for easy pairing with Apple devices and Siri integration. Boom!



SAXX Boxers for Men
Crafted to prevent rough times below the belt with awesome comfort while keeping things snug, SAXX provides a plethora of materials and artistic patterns to step your boxer game up. Socks have been the thing boasting audacious and trippy designs; now it’s men’s underwear turn! If you are in ATL, you can find these forgiving undies at Rigby & Peller in Phipps Plaza (3500 Peachtree Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30326). If not, hit them up online! 
saxxunderwear.com


FRYE Company Bags
Yep, I love me some FRYE. Well besides their world-renowned boots I rock, Frye Company has some dope bags as well including the suede Chris Messenger ($428), antiqued Logan Billfold ($138), and travel-chic Logan Overnight in dark brown ($598). These will undoubtedly make anyone in the airport super jealous. Bag ‘em.
For my ATLiens, hit them up in Ponce City Market (675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308). If not, you know the drill…



2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn
Are you balling and deserve some pampering for getting you to that point? If money is truly no object, consider the 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn. I drove this prestigious British carmaker’s new edition on the scenic roadways of Rhode Island and didn’t want to give it up! This legitimate four-seat convertible is the epitome of luxury, power, finesse, and elegance. Flexing serious muscle with a 6.6 liter, twin-turbo V-12 engine and waaaay too many amenities to name, it starts at a measly $335,000. Pocket change, right?

Happy Holidays Y’all!

Ale

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Saltyard and Creature Comforts team up once again on Monday!

It goes down from 5 to 8 on December 19th!

Whaddup!
Next Monday, December 19, two of my Georgia favorites to work with regarding events and beer dinners—Creature Comforts and Saltyard—are teaming up once again to treat us to some delectable fare paired with sips from arguably the best brewery in the state. Featuring the latter’s Emergence, Reclaimed Rise, Koko Buni, Mutualism, Transmission and Tropicália, my homey Chef Nick Leahy will be pairing at least five dishes with the crafty ales. Even cooler, this event is for a cause by benefiting Amplify My Community, so come through between 5 and 8 pm to indulge and close this year on a lip-smackin’ note for a mere $35 per person! (Call  404.382.8088 to book them early.) The official description is below.

Cheers!
Ale

Craft beer lovers can rejoice – the folks at Saltyard and Creature Comforts are teaming up to bring Atlanta a Christmas miracle! :)

On Monday, December 19, Saltyard is hosting a philanthropic happy hour where Chef Nick Leahy will pair his delicious small plates with the Athens brewery's most popular and limited beers – including Emergence, Reclaimed Rise, Koko Buni, Mutualism, Transmission and Tropicália (keg secured last minute and not included on the flyer)!
Guests will enjoy an interactive experience in Saltyard's bar area from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. that is designed to highlight the notes in each Creature Comforts brew via a "tasting station" approach, where appropriately paired cuisine will be offered with its featured beer companion. A portion of proceeds will benefit Amplify My Community. The cost is $35 pp and tickets can be purchased on arrival. Space is limited, so we suggest guests arrive on time. 
To purchase tickets in advance, call Saltyard directly at (404) 382-8088
A sneak peek at a couple menu pairings for the evening:  
- Coffee and cinnamon doughnuts paired with Reclaimed Rise
- Georgia shrimp ceviche paired with Tropicalia 



Monday, December 12, 2016

Check me out on this fun podcast!

Grits X Grids Podcast host Joseph Szala and I talk beer trends.

Whaddup!
I love being interviewed on podcasts because they are down to earth, unadulterated and if they are having me as a guest, beer is involved. This one is with talented creative director Joseph Szala and his burgeoning show, Grits X Grids.
Popping cans of Stone IPA and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (since it was recorded around Thanksgiving) I brought to Joseph's studio based in hhis massive, industrial chic office next to Rathbun's Steak, it was a blast fielding questions regarding brewing trends, minorities in the industry, marketing strategies for breweries, my last "desert beer," and even some music. (I have a history in the music biz plus Joseph is nasty on the bass and jammed a lot in his day so it makes sense.)
Shout outs include Wild Heaven,
Service Brewery, Alchemist Heady Topper, Ballast Point, Burial, Orpheus, Three Taverns, Twain's, Monday Night, Creature Comforts and others!

Check this one out here!

Cheers!
Ale

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Stadium debuted their restaurant partners last night!

Photo by Michael Kelley
From new food concepts by Kevin Gillespie and Concentrics, to ATL standards like Chick-Fil-A, we will be eating good next year!

Cheers Y'all!
Last night, I had a chance to get a sneak peek—or should I say sneak bite—of the restaurant partners of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and I can say I am very happy with what we can indulge in while watching the Falcons and Atlanta United ball out next year. Polling 4,000 Falcons and Atlanta United fans, these were among the most popular requests to be available in the food stations throughout the soon-to-be mind-blowing complex.
Sipping a consistently delicious Creature Comforts Tropicália in one hand, I helped myself to the night’s participants including Kevin Gillespie’s new concept called Gamechanger, Antico, Chick-fil-A, Concentric Restaurants’ all-new Golden Brown and Delicious, Delia’s Chicken Sausage, Farm Burger, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Iberian Pig, Jim N Nicks, King of Pops, Ms. D’s Popcorn, the vegetarian-friendly Snackology 101 Market, Sublime Doughnuts, and Atlanta staple The Varsity. The Closed on Sundays Chicken Sandwich from the aforementioned Gamechanger (right) was one of my favorite bites of the night. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream will also be getting their scoop on at the stadium next year. 
“We decided to take a different approach based on our philosophy of listen and respond by asking the most important people – the fans – what they want.  We’ve responded,” says AMB Sports & Entertainment President Rich McKay in their press release. “Tonight, we showcased the best of Atlanta’s restaurants chosen by our fans.”
Along with this article I wrote for Lifestyle Publications highlighting what the MBS will have in store, look for more of my coverage soon including who their partnering brewery is going to be.
Rest assured, it’s going to be dope!!!
For more info on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, go here.
Holla!

Ale

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It’s a Three Taverns tap takeover this Thursday at Cameli’s Pizza!


The Rapturous, Night On Ponce, Feest Noel 
Belgian-style quad are on tizzap!

Yo!
Cameli’s Pizza at 699 Ponce De Leon Avenue aka the Ford Factory Lofts is hosting a ThreeTaverns tap takeover on Thursday, December 8th starting at 7 pm! The "Three" the hard way will include the Rapturous, Night On Ponce IPA, and the newly released (and delicious) bourbon-barrel-aged Feest Noel Belgian-style quad spiced with cardamom, cloves and allspice at 10 percent ABV. 
To add, I heard Three Taverns will continue to love with making this the renowned pizza joint the first to debut their newest IPA called Amulet from the upcoming Hop Leaf Series. Said to be a straight up juicy hop bomb at six percent, I'm like whaaaaaat?! I am there! The Amulet plus the initial trio will be the move this Thursday!

Keep sippin’ local and in this case, with a slice!

Ale

Monday, December 5, 2016

Here is the Brewers Association’s 2016 Craft Beer Year in Review

 Here is one of the facts I received from the Brewers Association's 2016 review which happens to be my favorite beer style.

Cheers Y’all!

I am always about spreading good news when it comes to craft beer, and at the Brewers Association sent me a lot of it with their defining moments, facts and figures regarding the world’s best beverage for 2016. Go here for the direct link to their Web post discussing everything from the best beer city (Portland, OR) to the impressive percentage of people who are now pairing their beers with what they eat when dining out!
In the official press release, Brewers Association Chief Economist Bart Watson says, “In the face of numerous opportunities and challenges in 2016, small and independent craft brewers continue to thrive. This community should be very proud of what it has accomplished and how far it has come.”
Shout out to the Brewers Association for all they do! Read some of the major findings direct from their official release below. Also, here is a link to the awesome infographic stating some uplifting finds small and independent breweries made happen this year.
Peep it:

In 2016…

●     Brewery Count: Five thousand strong and growing, there are now 5,005 breweries in the U.S. compared to 10,000 wineries. Almost all (99%) are small and independent craft brewers.

●     Continued Growth for the Segment: By mid-year, small and independent breweries grew by eight percent, reflecting dynamism and a bright spot for the domestic beer market.

●     Never Go Out of Styles: IPAs continue to hop up, now accounting for roughly one-quarter of craft volume.  More sessionable styles, including golden ales, pilseners and pale lagers, are up 33 percent, totaling nearly five percent of craft.

●     Freedom of Choice: As the world’s two largest brewers merged into a multinational conglomerate two and a half times the size of the U.S. beer market, the BA was at the center of the discussion, advocating for fair competition for the nation’s small and independent craft brewers and access to market ensuring beer enthusiasts get to continue to choose from a vast variety of options. Approximately 65 percent of craft beer lovers said they are drinking more craft specifically because it offers more variety.

●     Homebrewing Impact: The National Homebrew Competition continues to be the world's largest beer competition with 7,962 entries. A recent measurement of homebrewing found that its 1.2 million participants created over 11,000 jobs, resulting in more than $1 billion in spending and over $700 million in revenues.

●     Beer Destinations: Recognizing a rising interest in beer tourism, Travelocity enlisted the expertise of the BA to find the country's best beer destinations and create the very first Beer Tourism Index. Additionally, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA)—the leading community for homebrewers—unveiled a list of cities across the U.S. where homebrewing is on the rise.

●     American Craft Beer Abounds Abroad: Craft beer export volume increased by 16.3 percent, totaling 446,151 barrels and worth $116 million. More than 100 small and independent craft brewers export their beer internationally, spreading the culture and community of craft beer and a growing recognition and respect for American brewers.

●     Bipartisan Beer Support: With a craft brewery in nearly every congressional district in the country, more than half of the U.S. Congress now supports the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The BA has been a key player in moving forward this bipartisan legislation that seeks to recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for the nation’s brewers and reform burdensome laws regulating America’s brewing industry.

●     History Has Its Eyes on Beer: With support from the Brewers Association, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History announced that it will launch a three-year initiative to collect, document and preserve the history of brewing, craft brewers and the beer industry in America. The job posting for a Historian to study brewing history was one of the most viral beer stories of the year, an indicator of how much people care about this vital industry.

●     Perfect Pair: Beer and food continue to find harmony on plates and palates. Seventy-three percent of craft beer purchasers gave “complements my meal” as a very or somewhat important selection criteria in their beer choice when dining out. Sixty-three percent select beer based on the food item or meal they are planning to enjoy.

Note: Figures are a compilation of data provided by the Brewers Association, IRI Group and Nielsen and do not represent all craft beer sales. The Brewers Association will release a comprehensive annual analysis of craft brewer production in March of 2017. 


Happy Sippin'!
Ale