Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hopslam, ACAT, Cypress Street's Anniversary...

This past weekend was bananas and Cypress Street's Anniversary is tonight!
My homies holding up my stickers at the totally awesome Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting on Saturday!
Whaddup Fellow Brew Lovers!

Man, this past weekend was absolutely bananas regarding beer happening in Georgia's capital. Atlanta is truly the shizznit when it comes to the abundance and appreciation of all those wondrous ales and lagers the world has to offer. Check it:

On Friday...
My boy Jason with Square Pub hooked up the crab cakes and Hopslam on Friday!
(Photo by Mike Moore/AllWays Open Creative)
  • It was awesome hanging out at Square Pub on Friday to take part in the Bell's Hopslam frenzy (which was great as usual), indulge in Jason's great crab cakes, and do a photo shoot with AllWays Open Creative biz partner Mike Moore and some of the coolest beer representatives in the Southeast who came out of the woodwork (stay tuned for those pics). 
The Silent Night is slammin'! 
(Photo by Mother Earth)
  • Brick Store's tap takeover by Mother Earth Brewing and sippin' the Silent Night Imperial Stout which turned out to be one of the best I ever had! Shout goes to my homey Aaron Rolka (Atlanta Beer Tours), the gorgeous Andrea Janise, bro Kevin Irv and Mother Earth's new Southeast rep, Jordan! Welcome to the ATL, J-Lo!
On Saturday...
Shooting my new vid with Thrillist.com at Hop City! 
(Photo by Chris Watkins/Thrillist.com/Atlanta)
  • I filmed a new Cruisin' For A Brewsin' video collaboration with the awesome website, Thrillist.com, with the Atlanta editor and good friend Christopher Watkins at Hop City. (Whaddup, Kraig Torres!)
Fellow beer nuts Alan (HOToberfest) and Oskar Blues Pimp Dave joined in on the fun at ACAT! 
(Photo by Tryon Rosser/HOToberfest)
  • Rushing over to the Prado to indulge and cover the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting (ACAT) with all of my beer loving homies! Now that was an awesome event! It was truly of who's who in the Atlanta beer scene. Congrats to Owen and all the EXCELLENT casks that were brewed by everyone from the West Cost's Uinta in Utah (congrats for getting 1st place!) and Lagunitas, to Georgia's Dan and Hamp's Mazurt courtesy of Burnt Hickory Brewing, SweetWater, Jailhouse, Red Brick and Wild Heaven to name a few. It was simply stellar. I can't wait to show you the flicks me and my boy Tryon with HOToberfest took!
  • Sippin' a brew (I can't remember off hand as you can understand I trust) with Oskar Blues Rep Big Dave at The Albert. Love the burger and blue cheese by the way!
On Sunday...
Happy 13th B-Day, King! 
  • Just chilled out and celebrated the birthdays of my two nephews, Kingston and Cam. I still managed to sip on some Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout though. You know how bowling alleys are with beer. Microbrews are pretty much nonexistent so I pulled a sneak-a-rooskie of this baby (below)! 

Anyway, it is now Tuesday and you know what that means! Hopefully I will see you all at the Cypress Street Pint & Plate 5th Anniversary tonight! Peep the flyer below. If you need a refreshment on how they get down, check this video out at the bottom of the post! I love Atlanta!!!



Friday, January 25, 2013

The Big Tex and Sierra Nevada Dinner was AWESOME!

Chillin' with Chef Slick Rick in the Big Tex kitchen. He rocked it!
(Photo by Mike Moore/AllWays Open Creative)
Oh man, I had an awesome time at the Big Tex and Sierra Nevada Beer Dinner last night! Besides the intimate setting in a secluded room in the back of Tex's restaurant I'd describe as "rustic-hip," the dedication, culinary expertise and time Chef Rick Watson and crew put in to perfectly (yes, perfectly) pair fare with Sierra's wondrous brews had to be documented. So, without further ado, check out what about twenty foodies and beer lovers indulged in. Do not miss the next one, trust me!

Warm, lightly salted roasted almonds set the stage for some serious grubbin' and sippin'! And then came the first taste...

First Taste
Amuse Bouche
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
(Yep, delicious! We're off to a great start!)

Course 1
Ovila Golden with Champagne Platter including Kumamoto Oyster, Caviar Toast Point, and Bacon Deviled Egg
Sierra Nevada Ovila Belgian Style Golden
(Effortlessly, all three tastes complemented each other wonderfully. Everyone was really digging the Ovila as well, especially if they had it for the first time. I reluctantly didn't drink the whole glass remembering all of the heavy hitting sippers that were coming up, plus saving room for three more courses on deck.)

Course 2
Ruthless Rye with Rueben Dog- Corned Beef Sausage, Rye Bun, Russian Dressing, Gruyere Cheese, Jalapeno Kraut
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye
(Whoa! Big Tex killed it with this one. I was in shock when I found out this was not a regular menu item. I strongly suggest they consider it. One of the best dogs and 'kraut I've ever had and I'm from New York!)

Course 3
Porter with Oxtail- Braised Oxtail, Fried Cauliflower, Pickled Shallot, Sweet Onion Rice
Sierra Nevada Porter
(That tender oxtail brought me back to my Jamaican roots, the sauce was perfectly spiced, and the pickled shallot was a nice touch. Another winner!) 

Course 4
Narwhal Imperial Stout with Hazelnut Mocha Torte-Hazelnut Meringue layered with Rich Chocolate and Espresso Cream
Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout
(Yep! As I suspected in the prior posting, this dessert was superbly decadent! By this time, we are all very conversational, full, and most importantly, blown away. Oh, and if you love imperial stouts, grab a Narwhal 4-pack. Now!)

Night Cap
Desert Amuse Bouche
2008 Bigfoot Barleywine Ale vs. 2012 Bigfoot Barleywine Ale
(Ahhhhh, a rolled cutlet and gourmet cheese went perfect with the potent Bigfoot challenge my homies and Sierra Nevada reps Dave (above) and Lance posed. There were no losers in that battle. Both were gangster!)

I'll say it again: Don't miss beer dinners. Especially ones involving Big Tex and Sierra Nevada!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Sierra Nevada and Big Tex Beer Dinner is tonight!

The last Sierra Nevada beer dinner I went to at Taco Mac - Lindbergh was off the chain.
The one tonight at Big Tex should be pretty damn good too!
I’m there!

One of my favorite events I love to do when it concerns ales and lagers is to indulge in a beer dinner. And as you can see from posts like this, whenever one comes up, I try my damnedest to announce, attend, and happily share my experience with my Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ followers. There’s just something awesome about an executive chef putting his or her culinary genius to the test by creating dishes that perfectly complement the tasting complexities of specific beers. To add, courses could reach almost ten in number from one sitting!  
Big Tex (Courtesy of Green Olive)
Well tonight (January 24, 7 p.m.) is another one and it is featuring one of my most beloved breweries and pioneers of the craft beer movement, Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada, and the executive chef Rick Watson at his restaurant, Big Tex in Decatur (308 W Ponce de Leon Ave. Decatur, Ga. 30030)! Here is the menu below.
I mean come on, the first four dishes including the amuse and Pale Ale sound mouthwatering, but check out this happy ending: 
Narwhal Imperial Stout with Hazelnut Mocha Torte-Hazelnut Meringue layered with Rich Chocolate and Espresso Cream.” 
I never had Big Tex’s eats but judging by these food shots and planned menu, Rick and crew are no joke. All in all, this sounds like a cool early Valentine’s Day gift to me. (Look for more on my annual V-Day Guide coming soon!).
Peep the menu…

First Taste
Amuse Bouche
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Course 1
Ovila Golden with Champagne Platter including Kumamoto Oyster, Caviar Toast Point, and Bacon Deviled Egg
Sierra Nevada Ovila Belgian Style Golden

Course 2
Ruthless Rye with Rueben Dog- Corned Beef Sausage, Rye Bun, Russian Dressing, Gruyere Cheese, Jalapeno Kraut
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye

Course 3
Porter with Oxtail- Braised Oxtail, Fried Cauliflower, Pickled Shallot, Sweet Onion Rice
Sierra Nevada Porter

Course 4
Narwhal Imperial Stout with Hazelnut Mocha Torte- Hazelnut Meringue layered with Rich Chocolate and Espresso Cream
Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout

Night Cap
Desert Amuse Bouche
2008 Bigfoot Barleywine Ale vs. 2012 Bigfoot Barleywine Ale

Let's get it on!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clown Shoes is featured on Cruisin' For A Brewsin!

ATL's Cypress Street Pint & Plate kicks it with Clown Shoes Brewing on my show!

I know it has been a while since I posted another episode of my beer show, Cruisin' For A Brewsin'. I appreciate the love, feedback and opportunities to film some awesome times in the brewing world, so I had to keep going. From rallies supporting alcohol sales on Sunday to pouring beers with The Porter Beer Bar's owner Molly, it's been a minute but now it's showtime once again!
Cypress Owner Billy Streck and the OBV Circus crew!
The kickass artwork by Stacey George is fly on the bottles of Clown Shoes Brewing (they are updating their site so stay tuned), and thank goodness, the beer is just as good. When these brewers from Ispwich, Massachussetts raided Atlanta last year with their 22 ounce bombers, I had to show some southern hospitality and film a new episode of Cruisin' with my partner in crime, videographer extraordinaire Mike Moore representing our creative firm AllWays Open Creative Solutions (we are officially launching the website soon!).
The setting was perfect: One of Atlanta's most respected gastropubs, Cypress Street Pint & Plate in Midtown, was hosting another crazy event during their weekly Beer Geek Tuesdays, where they feature one-and-dones, firkins, and all kinds of other goodies for beer nerds like us. This time around, the Shoes crew provided some exclusive variations of their three hot selling ales:

The Muffin Top Belgian Style Tripel IPA (10% ABV)

Hoppy Feet Black IPA (7% ABV)

Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA (7% ABV) 

To bring things over the top, acrobats from ATL's own Imperial OBV Circus squad came through and performed some crazy ass stunts, crazy grub like fried Oreos were served as follow-ups to mouthwatering Sublime Burgers made with Sublime Doughnuts' glazed treats, and of course, great suds were poured to wash it all down!
We had a blast as you can see and everything was unscripted and one take!
Okay, like I say in this video, "Enough talk. Let's go!"

For hi-res, check it on Vimeo here.
Special thanks to the Cypress Crew, Caren West PR, OVB Circus, Todd the Meat Assassin, Mike, and Rashad Suede on the beats!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pioneers of Beers: ATL Cask Ale Tasting Founder Owen Ogletree

See why the ACAT is one of the best annual beer events in Georgia’s capital.

Owen Ogletree sippin'.Photo courtesy of Owen Ogletree
There’s no mystery that I love featuring fellow beer lovers on this site who are pioneers, brewers, visionaries and simply folks who truly appreciate the craft of brewing. With that being said, I want you to meet Owen Ogletree, one of the main reasons behind Georgia’s growth as a legitimate craft beer supporter and provider. Owen’s a beer writer, a beer traveler who annually hosts kickass beer tours in Europe, a BJCP National beer judge, and the editor for www.Brewtopia.info. And if that’s not enough, he is the founder and director of two beer sippin’ events that sell out every year: the Classic City BrewFest and Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting. With the latter just around the corner (Saturday, January 26th from 3 to 6 pm to be exact), I thought it would be awesome to interview “Double O” and pick his brain regarding casks, why everyone goes crazy over them, and what to expect with the upcoming Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting that will be held at the Prado in Sandy Springs between the patios of 5 SeasonsBrewery and Taco Mac. Trust me, it’s a blast so try and snatch a ticket before it sells out again! You know I will be there!
Without further ado, here’s Owen kicking it with your homey, Ale!

Ale: How did the Cask Ale Tasting start?
Owen Ogletree: I fell in love with cask conditioned ale on my many trips to the UK and made the trek back in the '90s to the Chicago Real Ale Festival. I wanted to introduce cask ales to Georgia, so I purchased some used firkins from a supplier in England and spread these around to local brewers in the Southeast to fill for a small event held in the brewery at SweetWater nine years ago. The event was packed and turned out to be a smash hit.

A cask ale pumped at the Wrecking Bar.
I can dig it. What is the best thing about the Cask Tasting that people love? 
It’s a fun, very social event that allows everyone to taste cask ales that have several special, one-off ingredients or processes. Attendees also enjoy walking from 5 Seasons to Taco Mac and seeing how the casks compare in our different locations.

What are the basic differences with a cask and regular kegs?
Kegged beer is filtered, heat pasteurized and carbonated with artificial CO2 gas; it’s basically "dead" beer. Real ale or cask-conditioned beer is a natural, living product. At the end of fermentation, the beer is not filtered, pasteurized or artificially carbonated. It's placed into casks (called firkins)—often with extra hops for aroma—and delivered in unfinished form to pubs. Here, the beer enjoys a secondary fermentation in a cask that creates a soft carbonation sparkle and wonderful, subtle complexities. In UK pubs, when the yeast has settled, the beer is drawn by a hand-pump attached to a suction pump known as a beer engine. Some pubs without cellars still serve beer straight from the cask using a simple gravity tap. The Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting uses simple gravity taps to serve its real ales.

Yeah, they definitely take pride in serving from the casks in particularly the UK. I had a blast trying them when in London. Places like the Wrecking Bar, 5 Seasons, The Porter, Brick Store and a few others keep it real with the hand pump, but there are still some haters out there. What are some of the misconceptions? 
Some people think that cask ale is warm, murky and flat. Not true. Great cask ales should be served at cool cellar temperatures (around 50 degrees F), be almost clear, and have a soft, natural carbonation that doesn't interfere with the subtle complexities of the malt, hops and fermentation character.

Owen hard at work during
Max Larger's 2012 Homebrew Competition
Which brings us to your awesome event. How has the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting grown throughout the years?
We've kept ACAT on the small side to allow attendees to have space to relax and enjoy the beers without having to wait in lines. What has grown is the number of casks available. 15 real ales were on tap the first year, and our 2013 event will include almost 40.

Well damn!
Yep! In the beginning, we tried to allow brewers to donate the cask ales as experimental homebrews and allow attendees in for free—with the option of making a donation to the Atlanta Humane Society. Georgia told us that all homebrews must, by law, be consumed in the home, and microbreweries could not allow tasting of beers not made in the brewery. These restrictions forced us to arrange the purchase of all our cask ales through distributors and move ACAT to 5 Seasons Sandy Springs and Taco Mac Prado. I contact the breweries months in advance and ship out empty casks for filling with extra special brews for the event.

There’s always some crazy law hating on brew. Oh well. I still appreciate the dedication. What is the best beer you have ever had at the Cask Ale Tasting and what was the worst?
I love classic beer styles that have been cask conditioned. We had a cask of Heavy Seas Loose Cannon one year that was absolutely amazing— tons of crisp hops, perfect carbonation and clean malt. Yummy! The worst casks are the ones that brewers often put in the firkin too early with too much residual sugar and murky yeast. This does not happen often, but it leads to a very fizzy, foamy, muddy cask ale. Not pleasant.

What can we expect this year?
Almost 40 amazing cask ales from the best craft breweries in the USA and UK. Everything from light golden ales to oak-aged imperial stouts will be up for sampling. In the morning, a team of dedicated beer judges taste all the casks to award prizes that will be announced at the public event.

And the last question I am sure you will love: How can people get tickets?
For tickets and full information, simply head to www.ClassicCityBrew.com/acat.html. We hope to see everyone at ACAT on January 26!

You know I’m in the house! See you there, Double O!
Thanks go out to you, Ale, for taking the time to help spread the joy of cask ale!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ale Sharpton's Favorite Photos From 2012!

Who Shot Ya?
Tap Dat!
My boy Andy tappin' a keg at SweetWater Brewery!
If you have visited this site before or know me, there's no mystery to the fact I am always strapped with my trusty Canon because I love to shoot pics. I have tons of 'em and it was one of the hardest things I had to do this year, but these are a few of my favorite photos from 2012. Look for more in the future, but in the meantime, I hope you dig this eye candy. Thanks to everyone involved in these shots. You looked great!
And to you, thanks so much for following me on Twitter, Facebook, this website, various events, all of the cool mags and sites I contribute to, plus my show Cruisin' For A Brewsin'! I can't wait to see where I end up in 2013!  Just know you will be there with me.
Cheers and Happy New Year! (Hopefully you are not hungover!)
Your homey,
This was a bartender demonstrating the enjoyment of the hookah at 255 Tapas Lounge in the Castleberry District of Atlanta. This was also the first restaurant I helped with their beer list. I followed up consulting for their next venture, The Spinning Pie (Spin), next door. 

Fellow Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #80 Brewer JP showing off the remains of a pluot we used for our El Pluorado Golden Ale.

Crazy Hops.
This was one of the biggest surprises when it comes to mailers. 21st Amendment Brewery blessed me with their absolutely delicious Hop Crisis Imperial IPA and the remains from the hops they used came pouring out the box when I opened it. Awesome!

Kiss It.
I didn't think kissing booths were around anymore, but the 2012 Baconfest ATL proved me wrong! The Saran Wrap brings the times up to date, though. Ha!
I grabbed this brew in Montreal and it was one of the top 5 I have had all year. Especially when it was paired with that plate of grub you can see in the bottle on the left. Yep, the 2010 Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus (10%) is the epitome of balance and more importantly, earns the GANGSTER award!

Here are just a few of the kegs being pumped at one of the most incredible beer bars in the nation, Baltimore's Max's Taphouse. The very first time I walked in this bar, the bartender yelled "Ale!" I was floored since I never saw him before! They showed me hella love there. I will be back!

People made it a priority for me to hit up In-N-Out Burger during my visit to Sierra Nevada in Chico, California. It was pretty 'effin good, but honestly, my mind was on the brew 24/7! I mean, Sierra's brewery was basically right across the street!

Here Comes the Dank!
I was able to see the first release of SweetWater's new Dank Tank, The Gimp, and they looked like an army coming off the bottling line. SweetWater has blown the hell up (to the dismay of some haters out there), but I give credit where credit is due. Check out their ridiculous addition in the back of the brewery. This whole site is about to be on some Willy Wonka sh*t!

This is the cork on the top of the collaboration with Sierra Nevada and Boulevard  Brewing called the Terra Incognita made specifically for the 2012 edition of Savor in Washington D.C. I will be there in 2013. Believe that!  

I know, I didn't take this (although I could've lied and said the camera was on a timer); my brother did. (Thanks Lamont!) Anyway, I'm in Atlanta about to see my Yankees with my 22-year-old hat (we lost but whipped  that ass the next game) tailgating with Oskar Blues' Deviant Dale's, and the crazy reflections on the eyeglasses that make me look like a complete nut case! I hear I tend to be at times so here ya go! 

Members from ATL's OPA Circus entertained Cypress Street Pint & Plate's patrons during a special Beer Geek Tuesday featuring Clown Shoes Brewing. Look for my episode of Cruisin' For A Brewsin' I filmed there on this site soon! 

Jail Time!
I love this one because the guy pouring (Assistant Brewer John Pierce) is the one of the brewers of that special Jailhouse Brewing cold one, the Prison Camp Pils (5.5%), from their Inmate Hooch Series. What's even cooler is that he's cartoon-style on that very bottle (see him?). I came through their Hampton, GA site thanks to Atlanta Beer Tours.

Uncle Bill.
My Uncle Bill was honored by President Obama since he is a Tuskegee Airman.  This is what the President personally handed him during a handshake and he was proud to flaunt it. I know it's not a beer flick, but we did get a brew and the best crab cakes in Baltimore right after this picture at the Windsor Inn behind Uncle Billy's house. That counts, right?

Anyway, let's party and prosper in 2013! Look for more pics in a few!


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