Friday, March 1, 2019

Yo! It’s 's 2019 USAToday 10Best Readers' Choice Awards for Beer!


Make sure y’all vote for your favorite nominees daily!
Cheers Homies!
I am happily one of the USAToday 10Best expert panelists who submit our favorite beer destinations, labels, tours and all kinds of other dope category fillers every year, and 2019 has quite an interesting list! 
Make sure you click on each category below and vote for your fave of the bunch. Of course, there are always going to be some left out that you would love to see nominated; hell, I almost cried not seeing Atlanta for Best Beer Scene since I live here and believe different, but hey, what can you do but acknowledge the great ones that made the cut? There's no wrong answer as far as I'm concerned. It's all for the love of craft beer, right? Ultimately, it's awesome that such a major platform like USAToday is providing the exposure, so get in where you fit in!
Here are the categories:
And with that, congrats to everyone who is a part of this prestigious list and an extra shout out to the other experts I was blessed to be in the company of, and Lydia Schrandt for making it all happen. 
Now get to votin’!
Best!
Ale

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The next pouring of Piano Keys will be at The Porter!

Now it's the Porter Beer Bar's turn!
This is my Instagram post announcing this and the love I have received. 
Hey Y'all!
Come through the world-famous Porter Beer Bar tonight starting at 6 p.m. for the first pour of my Piano Keys Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Imperial Stout collaboration with New Belgium! The first pouring last Thursday was at the Brick Store and that was an absolute blast as you can see here! Two sixtels tapped out in only one day and received some truly appreciated praise from everyone! And like I said, there are more venues pouring this joint that me and New Belgium are purposely spacing out to make sure everyone has an opportunity to try it throughout ATL. Well the next one is going to be at a spot I have a long history with, The Porter Beer Bar in Little Five Points, tonight, Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. This was the first bar where I filmed an episode of Cruisin' For A Brewsin' here more than eight years ago. The remaining locations' dates will be announced soon, and they include Ormsby’sArgosyMidwayHop City at Krog Street Market, the Chapter RoomLocal Republic, and Trappeze in Athens. If there are more spots, I will update them accordingly. It is super limited and it won’t be bottled just yet, but know there is a barrel-aged version dropping as well; I’m having that at the Fresh Fest in Pittsburgh this August. 
Oh! And here are answers to some popular questions that I get asked a lot:
1) Is it going to be bottled? Unfortunately, not this round, but I have a great feeling we will have to make this happen in the future. If you know me, then be assured that the bottle will be dope as hell! I have a concept already to rock. 
2) Is the event have a cover charge, do I have to RSVP, or is it free to attend? The latter! No charge. Just come through, show love, get a glass, and chill out! I will be there!
3) Is this year-round or limited? Limited right now, but I pray there will be another batch down the line. 
Sound good? Last, below is the original statement I made regarding the collaboration and the official press release. Thanks again for your support. 
Peace!
Your brother,
Ale
My statement:
“Off the bat, I want to say how much an honor it was for a craft beer pioneer like New Belgium to reach out to me. I have had the upmost respect for them, their staff, policies, how they treat employees, charitable causes, and of course, beer selections for more than two decades. When we first discussed the subject of how to further diversify the craft beer community and those who actually brew it, I thought making a beer with New Belgium to lubricate palates for productive dialogue on the matter would be a great start. Second, I wanted to brew a beer style that New Belgium has not done often, if ever; imperial stouts are also well-received across the board due to their ability to produce dessert-like flavors; who can say no to dark chocolate and vanilla? Of course, there are subtle implications with that duo to address the overall cause. Last, I’m a huge music fan and the piano is my favorite instrument; ebony and ivory keys closed the deal. I will admit, waiting to try the finished product once we all brewed it in Fort Collins has truly been a stretched-out tease. Well the wait is finally over, and it’s only beginning regarding what New Belgium and I have in store to make the craft beer industry that much more inclusive.”

The official press release:

Piano Keys Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Stout features cocoa nibs from Atlanta-based Xocolatl
Tapping event planned for Feb. 12 at The Brick Store Pub

(FORT COLLINS) What happens when an award-winning beer journalist meets up with a bunch of New Belgium beer experts to talk diversity in craft beer? They brew a beer, of course.

Piano Keys Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Stout is a collaboration between New Belgium and Dennis Malcolm Byron, aka Ale Sharpton, a popular craft beer ambassador, journalist and blogger who calls Atlanta home. Ale was invited to New Belgium’s Fort Collins brewery last November when the 100% employee-owned brewery hosted a group of beer influencers and experts to talk about racial diversity and inclusion in craft beer.

“When we first discussed the subject of how to further diversify the craft beer community and those who actually brew it, I thought making a beer with New Belgium to lubricate palates for productive dialogue on the matter would be a great start,” said Ale. “Second, I wanted to brew a beer style that New Belgium has not done too often. Imperial stouts are well received across the board due to their ability to produce dessert-like flavors; who can say no to dark chocolate and vanilla? Of course, there are subtle implications with that duo to address the overall cause.”

Piano Keys’ blend of seven malts create an imperial stout with a dark pour and rich brown head atop. Ugandan Vanilla Beans and Nicaraguan cocoa nibs from Atlanta-based Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate inspire rich aromas and impart an initial sweetness.

This single-batch, 10% ABV beer from New Belgium’s pilot brewery will soon be available on draft for a limited time at select locations in Atlanta. Piano Keys will debut in Atlanta on Feb. 12 at the Brick Store Pub, with Ale and New Belgium representatives conducting a Q&A session beginning at 7 p.m. New Belgium will tap this beer on Valentine’s Day at the Fort Collins, CO, brewery Liquid Center soon, followed by a release at the brewery’s Asheville location.

Piano Keys
ABV: 10%
Visual: Deep black with rich brown foam and lacing.
Aroma: Strong chocolate initially before giving way to overtones of coffee and roasted malt with hints of vanilla, smoke, herbs and red berries.
Flavor: Moderately sweet throughout with a slightly bitter middle building to a subtle bitter finish.
Mouthfeel/Body: Full bodied, creamy and coating.

For more information about New Belgium or any of its beers, visit www.newbelgium.com. And for a special treat, check out Ale’s Piano Keys-inspired music playlist on Spotify here.

About New Belgium Brewing


New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium brews fourteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, The Hemperor HPA, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, 1554 Enlightened Dark Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit New Belgium.com and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. w if you’re interested! 

Monday, February 11, 2019

My beer collaboration with New Belgium is about to launch!


 
It’s called Piano Keys, a Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Imperial Stout, and I can’t wait to share it with you at the first of many tappings in ATL, Athens, Fort Collins, and Asheville! The first is at the Brick Store on the 12th, followed by a ton of other gangster bars.

Whoa!
Things have been a whirlwind—in a good way—with all of the things I have going on to support this world of craft beer, but I can honestly say this collaboration with New Belgium has been occupying the most of my time and for good effin’ reason! This is a legendary brewing company, and it’s for a great cause! The goal is to help diversify the industry from the imbibers to the brewers, so why not make a dark chocolate and vanilla imperial stout? The chocolate is from Atlanta’s Xocolatl which keeps things super local, plus vanilla beans from Uganda. Ya dig it? 
I also co-produced a panel at the Fort Collins headquarters with a prestigious group of influencers of color. Participants included:
Diversity Advisors:
Dr. Janel Jackson-Beckham, BA’s Diversity Ambassador
Simone Washington, J.D., Ben & Jerry’s Int'l Social Equity Manager

Craft Beer Influencers:
Dominic Cook, Beer Kulture
Mike Potter, Black Beer Culture, Fresh Fest


I am convinced New Belgium is sincere in their efforts, so I am down to make it happen.
The first tapping of this beer will be at the legendary Brick Store in Decatur Square tomorrow on the 12th starting at 5 p.m. with a Q&A at 7 p.m., and then it will be followed by draft-only pours at other fine institutions in ATL, Athens, Asheville, and Fort Collins (where we brewed it). This includes The Porter, Ormsby’s, Argosy, Midway, Hop City at Krog Street Market, the Chapter Room, Local Republic, Trappeze in Athens, and the NB breweries in Fort Collins and Asheville. If there are more spots, I will update them accordingly. It is super limited and it won’t be bottled just yet, but know there is a barrel-aged version dropping as well; I’m having that at the Fresh Fest in Pittsburgh. 
Of course, I am going to give you a breakdown of everything as this progresses, but for now—exclusively on this site—is the full statement I made to New Belgium about how things went down in a nutshell. I also have the official press release below and poster of the Piano Keys Imperial Stout above I led the creative campaign on. Just know I truly appreciate you if you are reading this. Let’s hope this mission that we are all on helps the entire community progress globally.
Once again, thank you.
Peace.
Ale

My statement:
“Off the bat, I want to say how much an honor it was for a craft beer pioneer like New Belgium to reach out to me. I have had the upmost respect for them, their staff, policies, how they treat employees, charitable causes, and of course, beer selections for more than two decades. When we first discussed the subject of how to further diversify the craft beer community and those who actually brew it, I thought making a beer with New Belgium to lubricate palates for productive dialogue on the matter would be a great start. Second, I wanted to brew a beer style that New Belgium has not done often, if ever; imperial stouts are also well-received across the board due to their ability to produce dessert-like flavors; who can say no to dark chocolate and vanilla? Of course, there are subtle implications with that duo to address the overall cause. Last, I’m a huge music fan and the piano is my favorite instrument; ebony and ivory keys closed the deal. I will admit, waiting to try the finished product once we all brewed it in Fort Collins has truly been a stretched-out tease. Well the wait is finally over, and it’s only beginning regarding what New Belgium and I have in store to make the craft beer industry that much more inclusive.”

The official press release:

Piano Keys Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Stout features cocoa nibs from Atlanta-based Xocolatl
Tapping event planned for Feb. 12 at The Brick Store Pub

(FORT COLLINS) What happens when an award-winning beer journalist meets up with a bunch of New Belgium beer experts to talk diversity in craft beer? They brew a beer, of course.

Piano Keys Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Stout is a collaboration between New Belgium and Dennis Malcolm Byron, aka Ale Sharpton, a popular craft beer ambassador, journalist and blogger who calls Atlanta home. Ale was invited to New Belgium’s Fort Collins brewery last November when the 100% employee-owned brewery hosted a group of beer influencers and experts to talk about racial diversity and inclusion in craft beer.

“When we first discussed the subject of how to further diversify the craft beer community and those who actually brew it, I thought making a beer with New Belgium to lubricate palates for productive dialogue on the matter would be a great start,” said Ale. “Second, I wanted to brew a beer style that New Belgium has not done too often. Imperial stouts are well received across the board due to their ability to produce dessert-like flavors; who can say no to dark chocolate and vanilla? Of course, there are subtle implications with that duo to address the overall cause.”

Piano Keys’ blend of seven malts create an imperial stout with a dark pour and rich brown head atop. Ugandan Vanilla Beans and Nicaraguan cocoa nibs from Atlanta-based Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate inspire rich aromas and impart an initial sweetness.

This single-batch, 10% ABV beer from New Belgium’s pilot brewery will soon be available on draft for a limited time at select locations in Atlanta. Piano Keys will debut in Atlanta on Feb. 12 at the Brick Store Pub, with Ale and New Belgium representatives conducting a Q&A session beginning at 7 p.m. New Belgium will tap this beer on Valentine’s Day at the Fort Collins, CO, brewery Liquid Center soon, followed by a release at the brewery’s Asheville location.

Piano Keys
ABV: 10%
Visual: Deep black with rich brown foam and lacing.
Aroma: Strong chocolate initially before giving way to overtones of coffee and roasted malt with hints of vanilla, smoke, herbs and red berries.
Flavor: Moderately sweet throughout with a slightly bitter middle building to a subtle bitter finish.
Mouthfeel/Body: Full bodied, creamy and coating.

For more information about New Belgium or any of its beers, visit www.newbelgium.com. And for a special treat, check out Ale’s Piano Keys-inspired music playlist on Spotify here.

About New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work, one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses and tops Bicycling Magazine’s Best Companies for Cyclists. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium brews fourteen year-round beers: Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Fat Tire Belgian White, The Hemperor HPA, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA, Sour Saison, Honey Orange Tripel, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, 1554 Enlightened Dark Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Style Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced beer, Glutiny Pale Ale. To learn more, visit New Belgium.com and follow the brewery on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. w if you’re interested! 


Friday, January 11, 2019

Part One: What’s Poppin’ in ATL for 2019!


Photo courtesy of Blue Hominy
White Bull throws down on Saturday, Jan. 12: 
Cocktails: An American Story, Chapter 3 - “Renaissance"

Yo, yo!!!
How have y’all been for then the new year so far? I have been rockin’ and rollin’ to get some news developed to come your way soon. I promise to have more content in 2019 as well. Folks have been asking for more updates so I will find the time to give it to ya! Shit has been hectic, but in a good way. My Instagram is always updated, so for quick fixes, hit that up for sure!
Speaking of which, if you have been on there lately, you can see that I was in Beech Mountain, NC, for their annual WinterFest Beer Fest with my bro and amazing lyricist Willie The Kid. We tore it up out there and will certainly be back. Check this out!
Anyway, arriving back to my cherished hometown of ATL, I had to see what is popping this month, and beyond. My trusty insiders who keep me in the loop have provided me a list of events, openings, date night possibilities, highlights, and even Super Bowl throw downs I want you to be aware of. And with that, here is the first installment of my What’s Poppin’ in ATL for 2019. Look for more asap! Like I said, I am going to update this a lot more, have guest writers, and surprise you with something I have in the works. Stay tuned. And thank you. I appreciate you checking me out. I promise to make it worth your while.
Now let’s kick it in the A! This is straight from the source.
Your bro,
Ale
314 East Howard Avenue

Ammazza Decatur Launches Beverage Program!
Ammazza, the Atlanta-based pizzeria and restaurant, announces the launch of its much-anticipated beverage program at its newly opened Decatur location! Led by General Manager Daniel Bridges, Ammazza's drink menu offers a seasonally driven selection of creative cocktails, beer, and small production wines designed to pair with the restaurant's food menu of reimagined staples in the Italian style, such as insalata, antipasto, pasta, and made-from-scratch pizza.

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1465 Howell Mill Rd

Join the team at UrbanTree for a fresh and new INCIDER spin on cocktail classes with Independent Distilling Company. During the Jan. 24 class, guests can learn how to prepare four different full-size cocktails from take-home recipes and will receive a 750mL cider bottle of their choice. Tickets are $60/each and can be purchased here.

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656 N. Highland Ave NE
Sun., Feb. 3 - Super Bowl Watch Party
The Super Bowl is coming to Atlanta, and Sweet Auburn is the place to watch and celebrate! Throughout the game, the restaurant will offer $20 all-you-can-eat wings and $4 select draft beers.

Tues., Feb. 12 - Chinese New Year Celebration
Save the date: Sweet Auburn BBQ’s annual, beloved Chinese New Year celebration is back on Feb. 12! Inspired by the Malaysian-Chinese roots of owners and siblings Howard and Anita Hsu, a specially curated a la carte menu will include shareable plates to honor the occasion. Traditional lion dancers will also perform for guests throughout the night, and more details are to come.

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123 East Court Square (Decatur)

Sat., Jan. 12 – Cocktails: An American Story, Chapter 3 - “Renaissance"
Join The White Bull’s Beverage Director Matthew Scott as he traces the story of the cocktail. This event series provides attendees with a detailed history of the US’most memorable and iconic cocktail recipes, along with tastes of each. Guests, who must be 21+ to attend, can choose their favorite concoction from the list and work with Matthew one-on-one to recreate it themselves.
The Cosmo did more than just open the door to craft cocktails; its very name was an ethos statement for those with a desire to be seen as sophisticated drinkers. Here, the cocktail history story spends 15 years in New York, seeing the invention of the first ‘modern classic cocktail’ (Penicillin), bartenders pouring through old texts to find lost classics (Aviation), collaborating with chefs as “craft” became the service industry buzzword (fatwashed old fashioned), or developing new techniques (Dreams of My Youth). As the aughts turned into the teens, the national conscience sought to become more environmentally friendly, leading to closed loop cocktails (Katie’s Alley), and socially aware, sourcing spirits from more social welfare-minded distillers (Pisco my Heart). The class is from 12:30-2:30pm, and tickets (here) are $55/person.

Fri., Jan. 18 – Chef Pat’s Artisan Pasta Class at The Cook’s Warehouse
Chef Pat Pascarella, a.k.a. The Pasta King, will guide students through the process of pasta making with homemade featherlight gnocchi and a rich tomato ragu. Participants will learn about flours, shapes, sauces, and storage – everything to make restaurant-worthy pasta at home! The class is sold out, but interested participants can join the waitlist here, and tickets are $79/person.

The White Bull is hosting a series of six two-hour classes that explore a variety of different pastas and sauces found throughout regions in Italy. Next up is the Emilia Romagna region on January 19. From 11am to 2pm, The White Bull’s Executive Chef Pat Pascarella will guide guests through the process of making three different region-specific dishes, staying true to the ideology of “What grows together goes together.” An in-depth discussion will touch upon everything from varying types of flour to the history of each region and how that history has ultimately influenced the areas’ cuisines. Guests can enjoy a pasta dish and glass of wine at the conclusion of every class. Reservations are available here for $65 per person. Following Emilia Romagna, there will be classes on the Lazio, Tuscany, and Piedmont regions.

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Ponce City Market & The Battery

Fri., Jan. 11 - Salon Tropical Fridays
Every Friday at their Battery location, El Super Pan hosts Salon Tropical! Beginning at 8pm, guests to the restaurant can enjoy tropical drink and beer specials and Latin music from a rotating roster of local DJs. There’s no cover to attend, and free two-hour parking is available in the deck. For more info, please click here.

Sat., Jan. 12 - Rumba Saturdays
Eat and get loose Saturdays at El Super Pan’s Battery location! Beginning at 8pm, local DJs play salsa, reggaeton, pop, retro, merengue, bachata, and more, and the restaurant offers drink specials. There’s no cover to attend, and free two-hour deck parking is available.

Join El Super Pan at The Battery to celebrate the Festival de San Sebasti├ín, the Puerto Rican festival commemorating the end of the holiday season. The restaurant will honor those traditions with a multi-course dinner (including Arroz con Gandules y Lechon, Pasteles, and  Yuca Fritters), drink specials (such as Metralla, the Punch de Navidad, and Mojitos de Parcha), salsa and plena music, and dancing. The event takes place from 4-8pm and tickets are $45/each.

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99 Krog Street

Throughout January - Guided Chocolate Tour & Tasting  
Join Xocolatl for an evening of chocolate! Their team will walk guests through the chocolate making process from bean-to-bar at their micro-factory inside Krog Street Market. Following the tour, guests will enjoy a guided tasting of single origin dark chocolates made from ethically sourced cacao from around the world with wine to pair. Tickets ($25) and more information can be found here.

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1317 Logan Circle NW

Sun., Jan. 20 - Atlanta Sushi Class
Sushi lovers are invited to a special two-hour class at Second Self’s tasting room! On Jan. 20 from 2-4pm, the lesson is hosted by Birmingham Sushi Class and will teach attendees how to make perfect sushi rice, where to shop for ingredients, how to make sauces, and how to serve raw fish at home. All guests will be served two rolls and will bring home a cheat sheet filled with tips, tricks, and recipes. Tickets are $40/each and can be purchased online.

Fri., Jan. 25 - Comedy Night
Comedy Night returns to Second Self on Jan. 25! Free to attend, the show is hosted by Vas Sanchez, who will welcome several local comedians to perform beginning at 7pm. Please note the event is for adults only as there will be adult content.

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299 North Highland Avenue NE

Sun., Feb. 23 - Super Bowl Sunday: All-Day Tailgate & Watch Party
Celebrate Super Bowl Sunday at Hampton + Hudson with an all-day tailgate leading up to the big game. Brunch will be served from 10am-2:30pm, and that evening, they'll be playing the game on TVs throughout the restaurant, on the patio, and on their big screen. Food and drink specials will be available, and fans of all NFL teams are welcome.