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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Steer Me! Two cool ways to go big in 2021!

 The Mazda CX-9 Signature and Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD RST captivate in numerous ways.

Photos courtesy of Mazda and Chevrolet

Whoever said having a vehicle to host five or more passengers is uncool will be eating crow thanks to the 2021 editions of the sexy Mazda CX-9 and Tahoe 4WD RST.

2021 Tahoe 4WD RST

The Tahoe line has always been popular due to its rugged-meets-hip persona in the auto industry. In 2021, I reviewed the RST version equipped with generous standards such as the remote vehicle start, wireless charging, LED lighting combinations, hands-free power liftgate, and 9-speaker Bose sound system,  loaded with three game-changing options—Luxury (HD Surround Vision, numerous seating enhancements, driver alerts); Rear Media and Nav Package (Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium with navigation, 10.2-inch HD color touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, high-tech rear seat media system including dual 12.6-inch HD screens); and Max Trailering Package featuring the handy transfer case 2-speed and fascinating Hitch Guidance with “hitch view” for phenomenal rear visibility when carrying big loads. 

Dressed in Cherry Red Tintcoat coupled with 22-inch black wheels brandishing the respected RST designation, this SUV turned more heads than a lot of the exotic sports cars I have maneuvered in the past year. Packing the powerful 5.3-liter ECOTEC3 V8 pushing 355 horses, a 10-speed auto transmission, and all-wheel drive mobility, virtually any task will be a fun one. Equally important, you will look good doing it.

Fuel Economy: 16 city/20 highway/18 combined

Price: $68,135 (Including the three packages totaling $6,740)

For more information, visit Chevrolet.com.

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2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature

For such a gorgeous, well-equipped, three-row SUV to start at $34,160, the Mazda CX-9 line is one of the best values to pamper up to seven passengers. Coming in trims, the Signature edition is the most luxurious. This brand continues to ascend when it comes to quality, reasonable price points, consistent 5-star safety ratings, and captivating style.

For power and pleasurable driving performance, I applaud the signature SKYACTIV-G 2.5 Dynamic Pressure Turbo engine powered by 227 horsepower and 6-speed sport mode, alongside the nimble-enhancing I-ACTIV all-wheel drive.

Inside, the first and second rows come Nappa leather-trimmed; great visibility with the 10.25-inch color center display; a 360-degree view monitor; second row captain’s chairs with a center console; and the 12-speaker Bose Centerpoint 2 Surround Sound System with AudioPilot 2 adds to the pampering.

Ultimately, driving the family around is cool again; this is especially true in the reviewed “Machine Gray Metallic” exterior, titanium metallic front grille, and 20-inch alloy wheels. With all the generous standard equipment and maneuvering that rivals virtually every competitor, this large SUV is a winner.

Fuel Economy: 20 city/26 highway/23 combined

Price: $46,605 (Signature price)

For more information, visit Mazdausa.com.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Steer Me! KIA thrives with their new K5!

 

Coming in five trims, I reviewed the LXS version of this all-new sedan and loved it!

Photos courtesy of KIA

There is no mystery to my enjoyment of sporty sedans, and KIA blew me away when they had debuted the four-door Stinger a few years ago as you see here. Well, the time has come to be wowed again thanks to the launch of the all-new 2021 K5 series. Replacing the already popular Optima, KIA promises this version to be an upgrade in numerous ways with a plethora of modifications in all the right places. Coming in five different trims—LX, LXS, GT-Line, EX and GT—the K5 makes some subtle, yet appreciated physical enhancements resulting in a more welcomely aggressive, stealthy look. It’s about an inch lower, the taillights extend across the entire back of the rear for a wider perception, and the front grille is leaner with lights extended a bit horizontally wrapping around the corners with a sort of thunder-bolt finish sitting on 16-inch wheels.

I received the K5 LXS dressed in a captivating “Everlasting Silver” boasting all-wheel drive, a smart key, remote start, blind-spot collision and a smart trunk as some of its many standouts while maintaining a wallet-friendly $25,455 total. The value is astounding.

As I hoped, the driving experience matched the look. Thanks to a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine peaking at 180 horsepower with a complementing 8-speed automatic transmission and multiple drive modes, my driving experience was smooth, responsive and more corner-embracing with the AWD feature for optimal maneuverability. 

Addressing the interior, the layout is high quality with comfortable seating for up to five with the split-folding capability in the rear, while a rear-view camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity come with the 8-inch screen. Along with the aforementioned safety features, the Forward Collision-Avoidance, Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Warning, and the growingly popular Leading Vehicle Departure Alert certainly boost the driver’s confidence on the road.

I am looking forward to reviewing the other K5 models including the muscle-flexing GT versions in my Driver’s Notebook City Lifestyle columns in the very near future. In the meantime, make the K5 LXS one of your serious considerations in the KIA family of vehicles. Nice job, KIA!

KIA K5 LXS specs:

Fuel Economy: 27 city/37 highway/31 combined

Price: $25,455

For more information, visit Kia.com.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Steer Me!


The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye has
the loudest roar in the world!

American Muscle!

This duo of American-born automobiles flexes serious muscle to not only turn the heads of bystanders, but invigorate every passenger with a mind-blowing experience. Of course, the driver lucks out the most being behind the wheel.

 Photos provided by automakers

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible

The Corvette Stingray (or “Sting Ray” of yesteryear) began its mysticism since its conceptualization became a reality in 1963. And now, for the first time, the rear mid-engine platform for today’s C8 version shakes things up in stunning fashion powered by a 6.2-liter, 495-horsepower V8 engine with 8-speed dual clutch transmission.

Boasting a curvaceous shell that will leave even the most exotic sports car in envy, the power-retractable hardtop review version (also a first for a Corvette which can be activated remotely) was dressed in a classy Long Beach Red Metallic exterior sitting on 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch in the rear. The cockpit also impresses with highly recommended enhancements including the GT2 bucket seats (carbon-fiber trim and genuine Napa leather); 2LT Package (Infotainment 3 Premium System, BOSE Series 14 sound system, HD front curb camera, numerous traffic alerts, head-up display); temperature-controlled seats, wireless charging, etc.); and user-friendly controls complete with a high-definition rearview camera mirror. The Z51 Performance Package (racing-inspired embellishments including upgraded Z51 brakes, spoiler, exhaust, rear-axel ratio, suspension) further contributed to an exhilarating driving experience. 2021 boasts new interior and exterior color options such as Driver Mode Selector Visualization; FE2 suspension, and wireless phone projection. Highly recommended and reasonably priced starting at just over $66K, this Stingray should be considered one of the best cars the US has ever produced.

Price: $66,400 (MSRP); $83,875 as reviewed with multiple packages

For more information, visit Chevy.com.


Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

The word “Hellcat” perks the ear of virtually every car enthusiast, In fact, its now legendary power will immediately have muscle-car fanatics drool at the mere mention of “Redeye” attached, signifying numerous enhancements taking the Charger to another level in 2021. Dodge justly labels it a “Demon possessed” vehicle, this year’s introduction of the Redeye comes with specs that are simply jaw dropping; the 6.2-Liter HEMI engine's 797 horsepower, 707 lb.-feet of torque and a top speed of 203 mph will certainly boost the numbers of the growing legion of devotees. The fender flares get 3.5 inches of more width to the widebody platform along with the award-winning SRT Power Chiller also accompany this trim. Everything from the transmission shift speeds, to the paddle shifters, steering, traction and suspension settings can be controlled by the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, plus three SRT Drive Modes: Street (Auto), Sport and Track. The generously standard Brembo brake system keeps up to five passengers confident to offset the Hellcat’s roar.

A membership to a nearby track comes highly recommended for the future owner in order to truly experience what the Hellcat has to offer. In fact, there’s a Bondurant High Performance Driving School based in Chandler, Arizona, which Dodge sponsors to truly assist in training this animal. Whatever is considered, make it habitual to kindly decline offers to race at stoplights from disbelievers of what this four-door rocket is renowned for. Just keep them wondering as you drive off smiling.

Price: $69,995 (MSRP); $86,865 with all options listed above. 

For more information, visit Dodge.com.

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

You know how I get down. As a lifestyle writer, auto journalist and beverage expert, it took all year for me to round up these dope gifts and save you the time. And truly, anyone will enjoy these gifts. I just love writing about what I would dig and wanted to theme it. Enjoy!

Wear It Out!

Michoud & Irish Timepieces

Michoud & Irish has addressed a necessary niche: creating high-quality, classy and stunning wristwatches that are still affordable for everyone ranging from those starting their collection to the most dedicated timepiece enthusiast. Their latest addition to the family, LE COMMANDANT, welcomes stylish gents to take a dive into luxury with this gorgeous, sport-ready, fully functional gift to the wrist. Michoud-irish.com

 BM Franklin & Co. Custom Hats 

Like their many celebrity clients, consider yourself royalty and wear a customized crown handcrafted at BM Franklin & Co. Originally based in New York City, this renowned trendsetter of haberdashery has a new location in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead District. Set up a custom fitting appointment and standout from the rest in style. Trust, these hats are dope!  Bmfranklinco.com

 Kalarô Wrist Straps

Renowned for her stellar work in various industries, Filipino-American photographer Kat Goduco was inspired in 2020 to create Kalarô out of need and practicality fused with styling reflective of the artistry she has been emersed in during her globetrotting assignments. Both professional and novice photographers will appreciate these funky, multi-purpose camera wrist straps which can also be used for a clutch, flashlights, drone controllers and gimbals to name a few. The Sentinel is Kalarô’s flagship product that comes in eight color varieties. Kalarogear.com

Bring It Home!

SawyerTwain Luxury Gaming Furniture

If you want to step up and make your game room simply incredible, Sawyer Twain has the perfect solution with their upscale furnishings focused around fun. Everything from luxurious handmade pool tables to table tennis, shuffleboard, card tables and luxurious furniture for everyday use, SawyerTwain’s got your back. Sawyertwain.com

BDI Furniture Milo Aluminum Laptop Stand

Make your working from home situation more functional with this stylish and durable laptop table. Lightweight and crafted by the award-winning designer Louis A. Lara, it can be moved around the room to accommodate your different needs whether you are working from home on your laptop, reading a book or just need a place to set your cup of coffee. It’s the right size with a modern design that will certainly upgrade any space with modern style. Bdiusa.com

 Methane Studios 21st Century Schizoid Brand Book

Owners of the award-winning Methane Studios specializing in illustration and design—Mark McDevitt and Robert Lee—deliver their first book, 21st Century Schizoid Brand. This 508-page hardback flaunts 1000 limited-edition posters and print designs they created for numerous music acts during their 22-year experience including Dave Matthews Band, Jack White and the Black Keys to name a few. Anecdotes, sketches and other details behind the process are also featured. It’s perfect page turning for art and music lovers! Signed copies are also available. Methanestudios.com

Hot Wheels!

Dodge Charger Scat Pack Plus

Ball out and treat yourself or make a loved one, well, truly feel loved with this monster on wheels packing a 6.4-liter V8 HEMI engine powered by 485 mean horses. Terrorizing streets and turning heads especially in Dodge’s signature “Go Mango” paint, the very reasonable price tag starting under $40K will have you entering 2021 without looking back. Dodge.com

 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport

Enter the upcoming year with power, luxury, quality ride and a gorgeous design all in one thanks to Lexus revered ES 350 sedan complete with the F-Sport upgrade. The 2021 version comes with a few upgrades as well including blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive variable suspension, and Lexus’ signature Enform Safety Connect Suite with Wi-Fi to serve the demand for high-tech amenities. Look out for the “Black Line” package as well for an even more stealthy impression. Lexus.com

Hip Sips!

Motu Viget Brut

Produced by the prestigious Saint Julian Winery in West Michigan, the Motu Viget Brut (Mo-To Vi-Jay) has made a big impression among sparkling wine lovers. Boasting notes of fresh pear and apple with a slightly sweet finish of honey encased in a gorgeous foil-crowned bottle, this libation is perfect for classy functions, cellars, crafting cocktails or simply pleasing palates craving for a delectable adult beverage at 13 percent ABV. Order online without breaking the bank at a very reasonable $15.99 retail. Perfect for New Year’s Eve! Motuvigetspirits.com

 Red Hazel Whiskey

Enterprising siblings Ty and TK Burtin have adventurously addressed the crowded whiskey market with this cinnamon-flavored variety aimed to please everyone from the novice drinkers to the most particular sippers. This libation delivers a subtle edge of spiciness to make every session a sophisticated, yet extraordinary sipping experience whether it’s presented as a traditional Old Fashioned, on the rocks or even neat. Of course, you can make up your own concoction to wow the palate as well. Redhazel.net

Uncle Nearest Whiskey

The Uncle Nearest brand dutifully—in a posthumous effort—pays homage to the first African-American master distiller Nearest Green with a revered line of premium whiskey crafted in Tennessee. Choose from three varieties—1820 Single Barrel Edition, 100-proof 1856 and 1884 Small Batch—paired with perhaps a Cohiba stick featured below. For the whiskey enthusiast and libation historian, consider making a trip to the Nearest Green Distillery built on a 270-acre property with attractions continuously opening throughout the next few years. Unclenearest.com

 Drinks by the Dram’s Bourbon & American Whiskey Advent Calendar

Add some fun to your typical advent calendar with Drinks by the Dram’s version that pairs a variety of 12 mini styles of bourbons and whiskies to sample each day. Each mini bottle is wax sealed and delivered in a cool, yet sturdy cardboard box that converts into an advent calendar to help you count down the days of libation enjoyment.  Thespiritco.com

El Guapo Craft Cocktail Gift Set

Hone your craft cocktail knowledge and mixology skills with a set of five popular mixers— Mojito, Salted Paloma, Hurricane, Lemon Drop and Bloody Mary. The perfect gift for the cocktail connoisseur in your life. Simply pour the contents of one bottle over ice, add a shot of desired spirit (or not if you prefer a zero proof), and fill to the brim with club soda (or tomato juice for the Bloody Mary). Recipes for each flavor are printed on the box. This site even has fun ways to create cards and personal message options to make this set even more special. Elguapobitters.com

ORCA Walker Tote

Win cool points by being the coolest person walking up to any event with the coolest cooler filled with cooled drinks everyone can enjoy. The ORCA Walker Tote makers pound their chest providing imbibers with this slick container able to hold up to 18 cans or multiple wine bottles while keeping ice solid for up to three days. Magnetic carry handles, padded shoulder straps, a leak-proof interior, and a waterproof pocket for all the items that usually stuff your pockets seals the deal. Orcacoolers.com

 

Man Up!

Ovation for Men

Ovation for Men owner Shawn Crenshaw proudly boasts his fragrance’s ability to balance a variety of notes including cardamom, leather, tobacco, vanilla, vetiver and amber into every application. Although this Eau De Parfum aims to crown particularly Black men with an olfactory aura of power and excellence, everyone is invited to experience an Ovation.  Ovationfragrance.com

 Savoir Faire Soul Cafe Eau de Parfum

How many fragrances on the market are blended, bottled and boxed by hand? Musician, influencer and entrepreneur Chris Classic makes it a prerogative to take time out from his stacked itinerary to perform all of those duties in order to provide the personal touch to his Savoir Faire Soul Cafe Eau de Parfum. Nose-pleasing scent blends of blood orange, black pepper, tobacco, lavender, firewood and Arabic coffee set the stage for a lifestyle of authority-meets-finesse. Visit the site for other scents, cigar clutches, earrings and eyewear as well.  Savoirfaire.store

 Cohiba Cigars

Purposely placed as the closing gift, how about a cigar from the world-renowned Cohiba brand to light up and say goodbye to 2020 in style? Here’s an opportunity to bless an aficionado, occasional smoker or introduce a newcomer to a quality cigar experience. Add on one of Cohiba’s branded lighters, cigar cutters and ashtrays and you are sure to have the perfect holiday gift. The Royale—consisting of a three-country blend—is one of the newest additions to the family. Cohiba.com

Happy Holidays!



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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Piano Keys is Coming...

 

Photo by AllWays Open Creative

My Piano Keys Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Stout collaboration with New Belgium is coming in cans. 

Be Ready.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Creature Comforts is going to Cali!

Notice the palm trees, anyone? (Photo by Creature Comforts)

While Georgia remains the home base, they will also be throwing up the "W" in 2021 with a new brewery and taproom in L.A.!

Whether you have followed my articles and Instagram posts in the past when covering craft beer, there is no mystery that I continue to find Creature Comforts as one of the best in the industry. I’ve known them since trying the homebrewed concoctions co-founder David Stein poured me using the “Creature” name here in Atlanta years before launching the brewery in Athens, GA, was even a serious thought. Well things done changed in a big way with the announcement to opening up a new brewing location and taproom in an entirely different state. The masses would assume it would be a neighboring one like Alabama, Tennessee or Florida, but naw, they chose California. I was wowed by the news but honestly not in disbelief. It only made sense. 

Since Creature’s flagship IPA, the fruity, west coast-inspired Tropicália, hit the shelves back in 2014,  the brewing company has progressed in almost fairy tale fashion. I won’t go into detail how they blew up since I busted my ass to tell the story here (page 24), but one thing of great magnitude did change; they always proudly stated having no plans of leaving Georgia and follow a similar blueprint of Wisconsin’s beloved brewery New Glarus. Glarus still remains in solely their birth state, whereas Creature? My mom always said, “You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” 

Believe me, I will continue to have Creature’s product, especially their numerous IPA variations, stocking my fridge and covering their ongoing success story. The breaking news could’ve gone totally left by saying they were either swallowed up by a bigger entity and no longer officially “craft” orin today’s current economic climateshutting down one of their two brewing facilities in Georgia, greatly downsizing their staff, or something of similar devastation. Conversely, we needed good news for craft beer entrepreneurs and we finally got some. 

With “Cali” already embedded in the name of their most popular brew that helped pave the way, palm trees on its packaging (see the pic at the top) and going Hollywood with Thor holding a can of Trop' in the Avengers: Endgame, it almost seems like it was their destiny. As a matter of fact, Joe, one half of the Russo brothers who directed Endgame among other blockbusters, has been a huge fan for years and partnering with the brewing company to assist in the upcoming opening. Now that's gangster. Just keep Georgia on your mind, Creature. 

It was difficult to honor the embargo for announcing the news, but now I can officially say one thing: Congrats. 

The official press release is below with a lot more updates. Cheers!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Dave , Chris and Adam.


CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING CO., GEORGIA’S CRAFT BEER PHENOMENON, ANNOUNCES EXPANSION WITH NEW BREWERY AND TAPROOM OPENING IN LOS ANGELES

AUGUST 11, 2020

Slated for Summer 2021, Its First-Ever West Coast Operation Will Brew the Peach State’s Wildly Popular Craft Beers in the City of Angels

ATHENS, Ga., August 11, 2020—Creature Comforts Brewing Co., one of the fastest growing, respected and recognized new breweries in the U.S., today announces its expansion to Los Angeles with the planned opening of a new brewery and taproom. Slated for Summer 2021, it will be located in City Market South at 1124 San Julian St. in the Fashion District. This represents the first time that Creature Comforts, founded by the entrepreneurial trio of David Stein, Adam Beauchamp and Chris Herron, is expanding beyond its beloved home state of Georgia. 
The brewery will offer Californians the brand’s award-winning, finely balanced beers for the very first time. The innovative brand will be introduced to one of the U.S.’ most trendsetting states with its own robust craft beer culture.
Since launching in 2014 in Athens, Ga., an eclectic college town east of Atlanta, Creature Comforts has electrified the craft beer community with its year-round and limited release beers, with beer sales skyrocketing 2,675 percent since debuting.
Creature Comforts is known for its wide range of highly rated beers, including year-round and seasonal offerings such as Tropicália® (American IPA), Classic City® Lager (Lager), Athena (Berliner Weisse), Cosmik Debris® (Double IPA), Bibo® (Pilsner) and others. Limited releases range from Hazy Double IPAs and Fruited Berliner Weisses to rustic barrel-aged farmhouse-style ales using locally-sourced ingredients. Creature Comforts’ Los Angeles brewery will also produce select beers exclusively for the California market.
“Over the years, we have admired the stellar craft brewing scene in California and its pivotal role in advancing American beer,” says David Stein, Founder and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. “We have collaborated with outstanding brewers in Los Angeles and throughout the state, and I’m proud to call them my friends. We are committed to both bringing our beers to California and continuing to build our brand in Georgia, home to our long-time, loyal fans who have been critical to our success,” adds Stein, a creative force for the company who plans to relocate to Los Angeles to help build the brand.
A Partnership with Joe Russo: Film Director and Entrepreneur
Creature Comforts’ Los Angeles brewery is a partnership with Joe Russo, an award-winning film director and entrepreneur. While filming in Georgia, upon one sip of Tropicália®, he became a genuine fan of Creature Comforts’ brews. Over time and many conversations over beer, a human bond and a partnership emerged. Russo has been instrumental in helping the Creature Comforts team bring their brand to the West Coast. He is sharing his insights into Los Angeles and his expertise in storytelling and global brand building.
A Beer Destination with the Capacity to Produce 3.75 Million Pints a Year
Once constructed, the brewery will include a 3,000-sq. ft. taproom, a 10,000-sq. ft. production facility and copious outdoor seating. The brewery will have the capacity to grow production to 15,000 barrels (the equivalent of nearly 3.75 million pints) annually, with more than two dozen hires planned. The brewery includes a 15-barrel brewhouse with a mix of 15-barrel and 60-barrel fermenters and brite tanks, a centrifuge and a canning line.
Los Angeles Bubbles to the Top
When selecting its first market outside of Georgia, Creature Comforts combined both the founders’ personal desires with an array of analytics on American cities, including data points such as the number of breweries, population dynamics, regulatory environment, demographics and more.
“Los Angeles stood out because of its large craft beer community, the success of numerous independent, small craft breweries and California’s brewery-friendly state laws,” says Chris Herron, CEO and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. “The beautiful weather and coastal location were also factors, since a good number of our beers are great in the warmer months, and we just really love the beach! Combining those factors with the solid friendships we have made with some local breweries and the chance to work in close proximity to Joe and his team, LA became an obvious choice.”
Successful Collaborations with Los Angeles and California Breweries
Over the years, Creature Comforts has collaborated with breweries in and around Los Angeles, including Highland Park, Modern Times and Green Cheek, as well as those in other parts of California, including Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Firestone Walker and Alvarado Street.
“We are excited to join the vibrant craft beer scene in California and plan additional collaborations,” says Adam Beauchamp, Brewmaster and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. “While we are delighted to share many of our core year-round and seasonal beers, we also look forward to creating unique brews for the Los Angeles community.”
Passion & Serendipity Bring an Entrepreneurial Trio Together
The founders of Creature Comforts together shared a love of craft beer and a long-held dream of opening their own brewery. David Stein began as a home brewer in college with an unquenchable passion for beer. He turned pro after years of diligently honing his craft, while creating an underground brand of beers. He called it “Creature Comforts” to celebrate the fact that beer itself is a creature comfort.
Stein partnered with geneticist turned production brewer Adam Beauchamp, an accomplished home brewer and friend who worked for SweetWater Brewing Company. They were joined by sales, finance and business operations veteran Chris Herron, who dedicated his 12+ year career to the beer and beverage alcohol industry.
At Creature Comforts, the trio would engineer a brewery that is helping craft beer change the way Americans enjoy beer. The winning formula is the ability to consistently make finely balanced artisanal brews, craft innovative flavors that drinkers crave, embrace authentic branding and create lasting impact in the community through forward-thinking initiatives.
A Brand Inspired by Curiosity, Empathy and Sustainability
Creature Comforts celebrates the journey of being curious, pursuing one’s passion, working hard, finding happiness and, ultimately, enjoying the creature comforts of life. Its culture is deeply collaborative and empathetic, offering beers that are innovative, yet authentic. Creature Comforts also embraces eco-friendly practices.
An Award-Winning Brewery in Athens, Ga.
Since launching in 2014, Creature Comforts has embraced brewing beers that are innovative and balanced. For example, Tropicália® was on the front end of the less bitter IPA trend and focused more on the citrus and tropical aromatics from the hops. Beer fans and critics alike responded enthusiastically, both in their home base of Athens, Ga., and throughout the state. Their beers are frequently crowned as the best in their category and the brewery the best in Georgia. As a result of their success, Creature Comforts opened their second production brewery in 2018 to keep up with demand. The world class brewery houses top-of-the-line brewing equipment, a full science lab and a canning line capable of filling 280 cans per minute.
Charitable Initiatives Generate $2 Million of Value and Major Community Impact
Creature Comforts’ purpose is to foster human connection and sees its beer as a means of creating these ties. One of the company’s values is to “Make It Better” and, as such, the company is deeply committed to ensuring its local community is better because Creature Comforts is there. Its groundbreaking strategic impact programs, “Get Comfortable,” targeting those most in need, “Get Artistic,” supporting the arts, and “Brew For One,” an annual beer initiative helping one worthy individual, have generated $2 million of value for the Athens, Ga. community. These programs will also be a force for good in Los Angeles when the new brewery and taproom open in Summer 2021.
Pivoting During COVID-19 and Staying True to the Company’s Values
During the pandemic, the brand leaned into its core values, such as “Make It Better,” “Leave a Legacy,” and “People over Products.” The result was nimbly pivoting to offer drive-through pickup of select beers to satisfy thirsty locals and beginning production of hand sanitizer, for which they donated over 1,000 bottles to 37 nonprofit partner organizations at no cost. The brewery also distributed $135,000 through its “Get Comfortable” fund to local nonprofits and participated in a global brewing collaboration that supported service industry workers.
Making Beer Sustainably in Athens, Ga.
Creature Comforts embraces eco-friendly practices to minimize power usage and waste. This includes using solar power for 70 percent of the brewery’s needs and extensive LED lighting. Highly-efficient, fully automatic brewing equipment also economizes energy use, as does heat recovery in the brewhouse. In addition, spent grain goes to local cattle farms, resulting in a 99 percent total waste diversion from landfills.
A Serendipitous Tasting by an Award-Winning Film Director & Entrepreneur
Call it fate or pre-destiny, award-winning film director Joe Russo was in Atlanta shooting the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. Joe’s assistant at the time, a Georgia native, brought his attention to Tropicália®, Creature Comforts’ flagship brew that famously sold out within an hour of hitting store shelves when it launched. On his first sip, Russo was immediately hooked and became the ultimate fan, along with his cast and team. The production crew regularly waited in line to purchase six-packs that they then brought back to the set. Russo, who is always seeking new creative talent to celebrate, set out to meet Creature Comforts’ founders. Upon sharing meals and beers together, he discovered the great people behind the excellent brewery that he adored.
From Athens, Ga., to the Pinnacle of Movie History
To salute Creature Comforts’ behind-the-scenes role in the filmmaking process, Russo gave their Tropicália® and Athena beers a cameo in Avengers: Endgame, which had the most successful box office debut in history. In the film, the brews are enjoyed by no less than Thor, the heroic lead character played by Chris Hemsworth. Russo has a calling for finding amazing individuals who are outstanding at their craft and spotlighting their creations. 
Back in Los Angeles, Serendipity Strikes Again and a Partnership Emerges
Upon returning to Los Angeles, Russo serendipitously discovered a space in the same development as his AGBO production company that was zoned for a brewery. He knew that Creature Comforts had an eye on the city as an expansion market and reached out to the team. Over time, many conversations and beers, they decided to collaborate and build a Creature Comforts brewery in Los Angeles. The goal of the partnership is simply to empower the Creature Comforts team to succeed in their first expansion and help expose more people to this top-quality beer.
“Creature Comforts beers are some of the best I've ever had,” says Russo. “I was taken by the beers on their own, but when I met the team behind the brews, their standards as great human beings matched their standards as exceptional beer makers. I fell in love with their work ethic and their caring attitude towards their customers and employees, as well as their commitment to social causes. I think people in LA are going to value the way Creature Comforts builds community. Equally important, they're going to love the beer as much as I do.”

ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING COMPANY

Creature Comforts is an Athens, Georgia based brewery offering finely balanced artisanal beers. Since opening its doors in April 2014, Creature Comforts has made an imprint in the craft beer community with its award-winning, year-round and limited release beers. Committed to its local community, Creature Comforts has generated over $2 million of value for Athens through its “Get Comfortable,” “Get Artistic” and “Brew For One” programs. The company will be opening a brewery and taproom in Los Angeles in Summer 2021. To learn more about Creature Comforts, visit www.creaturecomfortsbeer.com and follow the company on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CreatureComfortsBeer/, Instagram at @creaturecomfortsbeer and Twitter at @creaturebeer.

 

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Friday, June 5, 2020

A List of Social Justice Organizations to Donate To


The Grass Roots Law Project is just one of the many to choose from. 

Straight and to the point, here are a few of the many initiatives, organizations and non-profit entities you can support for justice, fairness, equality and human rights. I will be posting more. 

A partial list of Social Justice Organizations to support and donate to:
·         JUST Georgia: https://www.just-georgia.org
·         Atlanta Solidarity Fund: https://atlsolidarity.org/#why
·         Women on the Rise: https://www.womenontherisega.org/
·         Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative: https://www.snap4freedom.org/home
·         National Bail Out (Southerners on New Ground): https://secure.actblue.com/donate/freeblackmamas2020
·         Grass Roots Law Project: https://grassrootslaw.org/
·         Color of Change: https://colorofchange.org/
·         Black Voters Matter Fund: www.blackvotersmatterfund.org
·         Movement for Black Lives Matters https://m4bl.org/
·         Fair Fight: https://fairfight.com/
·         Know Your Rights Camp:  https://knowyourrightscamp.com/

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My Black-Owned Breweries Article

I wanted to repost this Thrillist article which has received a lot of love as of late due to what much of America is going through, realizing and wanting to make a difference. Stay tuned for more lists of Black-owned businesses and progressive initiatives  that could use your support as well. 
I thank you.
Ale

Black-owned breweries you should check out and support:

Mid-Atlantic
Harlem BlueNew York, NY
Harlem Brewing Co. New York, NY
Mack BrewingPhiladelphia, PA 
Patuxent Waldorf, MD
Rhythm BrewingNew Haven, CT
Sankofa Washington, DC
Soul MegaWashington, DC
Union Craft Baltimore, MD
Shout out to Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn, NY, which is not black-owned but is helmed by trailblazing brewmaster Garrett Oliver

South
Cajun Fire New Orleans, LA
Dirtbag Ales Hope Mills, NC
Down Home Brewing Atlanta, GA
Green Bench St. Petersburg, FL
Khonso Brewing Atlanta, GA
Spaceway Rocky Mount, NC
Weathered Souls San Antonio, TX

New England
Brazo Fuerte Watertown, MA
Rhythm Brewing New Haven, CT
White Lion Springfield, MA
 

Midwest
Black Frog Holland, OH
ONE Fermentary and Taproom Minneapolis, MN
 

West Coast
Crowns and Hops Opening soon in Inglewood, CA
Metier Woodinville, WA
Warcloud Los Angeles, CA

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Peep the ‘All Together’ movement in the beer industry!

Other Half Brewing has hundreds of fellow breweries providing relief to struggling hospitality workers worldwide!

Ayyyyyyo!

How have my people been doing during this incredibly challenging time? I hope all is well.

Over here, I’ve been maintaining and staying hella busy while adjusting to this new lifestyle we have been forced to endure in 2020. While my posts on Twitter and especially Instagram have been fairly routine, keeping this website updated based on weekly occurrences has been an interesting task to maintain. Regardless, when something of great magnitude comes into my lap—particularly in the brewing industry—I have to show love.

Enter: All Together
This movement truly hits home. Initiated by Brooklyn’s own Other Half Brewing, they have invited breweries around the world to make a beer loosely based around an “open-source” IPA recipe, and then can and sell their interpretation with the goal of contributing a significant portion of the proceeds to support “hospitality professionals in each brewery’s own community” according to what they sent me directly. As of this posting, check out how many participants globally have joined the cause. Whoa!
In my home state of Georgia, numerous breweries have jumped on board, including a few delicious joints I’ve had the pleasure to sip including Halfway Crooks, Creature Comforts, Wild Heaven, Sceptre, Six Bridges, Georgia Beer, Pontoon, Southbound, Two Tides, Chattabrewchee and my homies at Service Brewing. This is not only dope, but truly necessary and I applaud everyone who has taken part.
Please hit up the link for more information here: All Together.

Support, stay healthy, and maintain. We will all get through this.

Your Bro,

Ale
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Monday, March 16, 2020

Steer Me! Car Reviews Part 5: 2020 models making their presence

 Subaru, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz make sure this year is one of their best!

Photos courtesy of automakers

With 2020 reaching its, well, eventful first quarter, carmakers Subaru, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz show no signs of complacency with new additions to their already revered portfolio. You know my contributors and I do our best to let you know what the best new options are for the road while exploring the world on four wheels, so here we go:

Subaru

2020 Subaru Outback Limited XT

Besides Subaru’s noteworthy loyalty of their customer base, corporations have made especially the Outback model one of the short list of car options to use for work. Why? Along with the carmaker’s remarkable reputation for reliability over the years, the value, road adaptability, customer service, and practicality have always kept the brand in high regards. 

Well now, the sixth generation of the Outback SUV not only sports subtle physical changes sitting on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, but substantial upgrades in the technology department, including the STARLINK 11.6-inch multimedia touchscreen; across-the-board smartphone integration; and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System to ensure eyes are kept where they’re supposed be and combat fatigue. We also love the leather-adorned interior; dual USB ports for the rear console; Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity; Lineartronic CVT; hands-free power rear gate; and All-Weather package to make sure we combat any inclement environs confidently. All in all, this midsize SUV is a winner with a very fair price tag around $38K. 

Keep the subcompact 2020 Crosstrek and Legacy sedan in mind as well. In an extremely popular segment, the Crosstrek model is one of the most comfortable, spacious, and generous cargo spaces when it comes to packing for long trips. An advanced, yet user-friendly infotainment system seals the deal to make it one of the most sound decisions when purchasing a new auto.


The top-of-the-line 2020 Legacy Limited XT also makes an impression, boasting not only the new, aforementioned STARLINK touchscreen and similar XT benefits, but also LED steering responsive headlights, increased passenger legroom, and a muscle-flexing 2.4-liter turbocharged BOXER DOHC engine pumping out up to 260 horses. Even with the power boost, this sedan still averages 27 miles per gallon combined. Also note that Subaru proudly announces that their Legacy and Outback are built on the “Subaru Global Platform, which offers increased safety, dynamics and quietness as well as reduced noise, vibration and harshness” for the win, according to their website.

For more information on Subaru’s game-changing 2020 models, visit Subaru.com.        


Hyundai

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, Venue SEL and Elantra GT

I continue to be impressed by the steady thrive of Hyundai’s products. This year’s line maintains that momentum with the Sonata Hybrid Limited, wallet-friendly Venue SEL and exhilarating Elantra GT N Line M/T.
The top-of-the-line Sonata Hybrid Limited stands out as one of the best in its segment. The Sonata’s sleek redesign was initially pleasing to the eye, followed by all the perks that came with it; I appreciated the spacious cabin for up to five passengers, its 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, 47 average miles per gallon, panoramic sunroof, Bose sound system, and simply fun driving experience backed by a 191-horsepower engine. Hyundai continues to be gracious with its tech amenities as well, including the Limited’s 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation; Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA); and mind-blowing Remote Smart Parking Assist. Controlling the climate, locks and even ignition from the owner’s phone thanks to the Blue Link Connected Car System further seals the deal at a very reasonable $35,300. The other trims include the SEL and SEL Plus for a few thousand less, but I’d go with this Limited for the full experience.

Taking a more practical approach in getting around, I also reviewed the all-new Venue in the SEL trim, where Hyundai did a fine job addressing the increasingly popular subcompact SUV market. This vehicle gets a thumbs up for its roominess, responsive steering, and aforementioned tech enhancements; I also applauded the option of manual transmission, although the continuously variable automatic (CVT) operated sufficiently. Starting at $19,150, this review model came with highly recommended Convenience (power sunroof, leather-wrapped fixtures, collision warnings) and Premium (heated seats, LED lighting, 17-inch wheels, push button start, 8-inch touchscreen with mobile-app connectivity, Blue Link) Packages totaling just over $23K. Summed up, the Venue is a fine addition to the Hyundai portfolio with especially budget-conscious consumer with families appreciating the option.

For personal preference, I’m all about aggressive driving and styling, so this hatchback Elantra had me happily intrigued. Dressed in a stunning “Intense Blue” and black interior, this edition of one of its most respected car variants boasted all the upgrades a racing enthusiast would yearn for. The N Line’s turbocharged 1.6-liter engine charged forward with 201 horses controlled by a responsive, six-speed manual (a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the other option), plus the continued Hyundai theme of cabin roominess, multi-link independent rear suspension, a spoiler, and 18-inch alloy wheels completed the sporty experience. Advanced safety technology embellishments coming standard boost a driver’s confidence, plus Android and Apple CarPlay connectivity; and leather appointments throughout the cabin collectively make the N Line’s $24,590 tag a sound purchase.
Ultimately, with Hyundai’s class-leading warranty packages, ingenuity, inventiveness and emphasis on value, this brand will maintain its brilliant luster for years to come.

For more information, visit Hyundaiusa.com.
- Dennis Malcolm Byron 


Mercedes-Benz



2020 Mercedes GLE350 4Matic SUV

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 4Matic SUV is as stunning on the road as it is on the showroom floor. This head turner garnered attention at stoplights and in parking lots throughout Atlanta as I drove the Brilliant Blue Metallic beauty through the streets. With 24-hour roadside assistance, advanced airbag protection system and the Pre-Safe Predictive Occupant Protection System, that prepares and protects the vehicle and passengers before an accident takes place. Using the sensors placed strategically throughout the vehicle, the system senses when an unavoidable collision is about to take place and will begin tightening seat belts, closing windows, and adjusting head restraints to protect passengers.
I felt very safe in this vehicle whether riding alone or with friends and family. With a 2.0 Inline turbo engine and 255 horsepower with 273 lbs. of torque, this car was just as dynamic under the hood as it is inside the vehicle. Further regarding the interior, Mercedes brings their traditional luxury standard with the soft black Nappa leather seats and a natural grain oak interior wood trim; 12.3 wide screen display; touchpad with Apple Car Play and Android Auto with full Bluetooth capabilities; heated and ventilated front seats; and heated steering wheel. Pampering optional features include the 20-inch, 5-spoke wheels with black accents; heated rear seats; surround sound and view system; four-zone automatic climate control; and soft-close doors. With a combined city and highway of 22 miles per gallon, this luxurious vehicle does not skimp on the amenities and ensures a great driving experience. But then again, that’s what Mercedes-Benz has provided us for decades.

For more information, visit Mbusa.com.
- Andrea Janise

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