Monday, January 26, 2015

The Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting was awesome! Here’s why…

Doing the "Ale Pose," my homies Hamp Covington and Dan Rosen won the judges' top pick for their GANGSTER Tennessee Whiskey Barrel-Aged MAZURT Russian Imperial Stout. 
Meet the winners and entire list of casks including their descriptions!

Whaddup Everyone!

Since posting the seemingly countless events involving beer for the first month of 2015 here, one of the standouts was undoubtedly last Saturday’s 11th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting put on by one of Georgia’s top reasons we are kicking ass regarding craft beer, Brewtopia’s Owen Ogletree.
Taking place at both the T.MAC-Prado and 5 Seasons Brewery in Sandy Springs, I had the honor of judging with a group of distinguished, certified aficionados including my assigned partner and good friend Phil Farrell (voted the nation’s Beerdrinker of the Year in 2011). About 20 of us met at the Chapter Room at 8 a.m. to rank about 40 overall impressive submissions by existing and emerging breweries from the U.S. and U.K.
Some of the cool things about cask ales include…
  • how there will never be one of the same due to how the brew is still "alive" to the very last drop thanks mostly to the yeast and flavors still developing
  • the taste enhancers the majority of contestants inventively add including cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, maple syrup, peppers, etc.
  • the alteration of carbonation and texture (smoother, often less effervescence)
  • and being unfiltered, which also affects the mouthfeel, appearance and sometimes flavor compared to what is sold commercially.

Basically, these are 40-plus “one and dones” created by some of the most acclaimed brewers in the world. We are talking local beer slingers such as Monday Night (who was also the chief sponsor along with All About Beer Magazine), SweetWater, Wild Heaven, Second SelfWrecking Bar, Max Lager'sRed BrickBurnt Hickory, Red Brick, Three Taverns, Terrapin, Athens, Georgia’s Creature Comforts, to New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Heavy Seas, Green Flash and even Old Speckled Hen across the pond to name just a FEW!
Anyway, after taking a break around noon, the judges got some grub and chilled out for a bit before coming back to join the public from 3 to 6 p.m. and collectively get our sip on! (I kicked it with Catch 22’s Richard Miley and his fiancé Corey at 5 Seasons WestsideCypress Street Pint & Plate, and World Of Beer ). 
Before I list the winners (but no losers overall) and all entries, I especially want to thank those folks who pulled me aside to show love for this website and recognition for the hard work I have been putting in. That means a lot!
Okay, and now for the winners. Below lists not only the first, second, and third place winners in different categories including Classic Style (straight up), Specialty (pimped out with various additions), and U.K. submissions voted by the judges, but also the People’s ChoiceMajor dap goes to the aforementioned Mazurt, plus Creature Comforts, Old Speckled Hen and Cherry Street for earning top honors! As a bonus, I have all of the incredible submissions complete with detailed, mouth-watering descriptions to further illustrate how extraordinary this event was. (Besides my photos included in this post, check out my Instagram (@realalesharpton) and Twitter (@alesharpton) for some play-by-play action.)
 
Now here we go regarding who took home medals and hella bragging rights:
The Winners
Classic Style
First Place - Creature Comforts Dayspring Grisette
Second Place - Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye
Third Place - Oskar Blues Pinner Throwback IPA

Specialty
First Place - Tennessee Whisky Barrel-Aged Mazurt Russian Imperial Stout (RIS)
Second Place - Monday Night 3 A.M. & Single
Third Place - Red Brick Cinnanilla Imperial Stout

United Kingdom Beer
First Place - Old Speckled Hen
Second Place - Ilkley Mary Jane IPA
Third Place - Old Golden Hen

People's Choice
Cherry Street O.A.S.I.S. (Old As Sh** Imperial Stout)

Congrats!!!!

The entire list of entries plus descriptions…

01 - 5 Seasons Booze Hound English-style ale was aged three months in a Heaven Hill Elijah Craig barrel before its secondary fermentation in the cask. A delicate malt character complements notes of vanilla, oak and a warm, bourbon finish.

02 - Beavertown Black Betty Black IPA (UK - 7.4% ABV). Our concept revolved around the old chewy sweets "Black Jacks & Fruit Salads." We wanted a big IPA, laced with slight roasted malts and aniseed, blended with tropical aromas of Pacific West Coast hops.

03 - Boulder Slope-Style Winter IPA is a full-bodied red ale with a big, piney hop kicker at the finish. With a perfect blend of five malts and a blast of Nugget, Crystal and Horizon hops, this cask is a cold weather IPA that's off the rails! ABV: 6.4%, IBUs: 60.

04 - Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout. A blend of dark roasted, pale and flaked malts produce rich coffee and chocolate flavors followed by a clean, dry finish. This cask version weighs in at a sessionable 4.7% ABV.

05 - Burnt Hickory Mother of Mercy is a variant of our Eerie Von XXX Spiced Apple Ale - a brown, 8% ABV ale with apples and apple pie spices infused with vanilla. It's an evil "apple pie à la mode."

06 - CHAMRA (Cool Hipsters AdMire Real Ale) Mild - A traditional English-style dark mild ale with toasty, elegant malt flavors and a clean, subtle finish. 3.5% ABV with no vanilla, no coffee, no chili peppers, no whisky barrel and no mint.

07 - Copper Creek Deez Wee Cranberry Nuts - A 9% ABV wee heavy aged on toasted pecans and cranberries. Made from the first runnings of the brewpub's malty Scottish ale.

08 - Creature Comforts DaySpring - A traditional Grisette brewed with locally-sourced wheat and a highly aromatic strain of Brettanomyces yeast. A bright, barnyardy aroma precedes light citrus/fruit flavors and a bone-dry finish in this saison-like golden ale with a light body and 4.8% ABV.

09 - Green Flash Serrano Chili Double Stout with cinnamon and cocoa nibs - A spicy twist on our classic Double Stout, with notes of cinnamon and chocolate melding with a bold, roasty character, finishing with a subtle, spicy chili kick.

10 - Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (UK - 6% ABV) is a remarkably smooth, creamy, 6% ABV porter with a beautiful, velvety mouthfeel. Enjoy flavors of coffee, slightly buttered toffee, roasted malt, dark chocolate, earthy hops and a mild cherry ester.

11 - Heavy Seas Cross Bones Session IPA. A crisp, refreshing, 4.5% ABV hoppy ale bursting with floral and citrus notes backed by a satisfying, malty backbone. This cask contains additional hops and a dose of applewood.

12 - Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey. Any monkey can dump 400 pounds of hops into a kettle and call it an IPA, but it takes control and restraint to make a graceful English IPA. Enjoy this special cask that's dry-hopped with four ounces of Boadicea.

13 - Moon River Depravity or Divinity Abbey-style Dubbel with fresh ginger and cranberries in the cask. "Dubbel D" is an 8.3% ABV, malty-sweet brew with hints of raisin and plum from dark candi syrup and spicy yeast esters. Will it bring you closer to Depravity or Divinity?

14 - O'Dempsey's Your Black Heart Russian Imperial Stout. With an upfront deep roasted flavor, countered by the smooth, sweet taste of chocolate, this 90 IBU, 9% ABV cask packs flavors augmented by additions of Madagascar vanilla beans and cocoa nibs.

15 - Old Golden Hen (UK - 4.1% ABV). This quaffable English golden ale is made with the finest pale malts and Galaxy hops. Look for subtle tropical fruit notes and a deliciously smooth finish.

16 - Old Speckled Hen (UK - 4.5% ABV). A classic English bitter with a rich, amber color and graceful fruity aromas accentuated by gorgeous toffee malt complexity and a refreshingly dry finish.

17 - Oskar Blues Pinner Throwback IPA. Pale malts, aromatic and carapils are thrown together to create the backdrop for a blend of nine different hops. Tropical citrus and sweet fruits lace the aroma and flavor, while toasted bread notes emerge in the finish. 4.9% ABV.

18 - Rahr & Sons Snowmageddon Imperial Oatmeal Stout is named to commemorate the collapse of our brewery's roof in 2010, due to heavy snowfall. In this cask, we've infused fresh, organic mint and roasted cocoa nibs to create "SnowMintCocoageddon."

19 - Red Brick Cinnanilla Imperial Stout. The base beer is our newest Brick Mason release - an imperial stout based on our 20th anniversary recipe. Its big notes of dark chocolate and espresso beans are complemented by subtle additions of vanilla and cinnamon.

20 - Service Brewing Wheat Wine shows off a deep amber color with an aroma of apple, raisin and honey. With assertive notes of sweet malt, followed by light hints of spice and fruit, this potent brew ends with a complex, warming finish.

21 - Thomas Creek Coffee Oatmeal Stout with blueberries and maple syrup is an 8% ABV, creamy black ale with a dark roasted flavor and delectable coffee aroma. Additions of fresh blueberries and pure maple syrup add an interesting allure.

22 - Three Taverns Dubbel Shot is an 8% ABV oatmeal coffee Belgian-style dubbel with an addition in the cask of bourbon-infused coffee nibs, cocoa nibs and vanilla beans.

23 - TN Whiskey Barrel-Aged MAZURT RIS. In the hills of Tennessee, whiskey is king. A fast car, Daisy Mae and a gallon of hooch. Our Russian imperial stout is brewed with deep roasted Kenyan coffee, Vermont grade-B maple syrup, Madagascar vanilla, organic Peruvian cocoa nibs and GA wildflower honey. This MAZURT RIS version was recklessly aged in a TN whiskey barrel. 13.6% ABV.

24 - Twain's Nelson Blaster Oatmeal India Red. Boom! Get blasted with New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops in this 6.3% ABV, wildly dry-hopped ale that'll rock your face! Brewed with Columbus, Citra and Chinook, then dry-hopped in the firkin with Nelson Sauvin.

25 - Wild Heaven Invocation Belgian-style strong golden ale with cranberries, ginger and cinnamon. Belgian aromatic malts provide hints of dried fruit, while added cranberries and spices amp-up the complexity. 8.5% ABV.


26 - Abita Vanilla Oatmeal Stout is a cask version of Naughty Quaker aged with Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. Expect pronounced flavors and aromas of vanilla and dark malts. 6.5% ABV, 35 IBUs.

27 - Cherry Street O.A.S.I.S. (Old As Sh** Imperial Stout). The 40th birthday beer made for our over-the-hill brewer Chris, this 10.1% ABV imperial stout is infused with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans soaked in Sarsaparilla whiskey. 

28 - Dark Star Revelation (UK - 5.7% ABV). Pale ale with Chico ale yeast and Warrior, Cascade, Columbus, Crystal and Chinook by the sack full - then dry-hopped using our 'Hoptimizer' industrial-sized hookah. Expect plenty of tangerine, citrus and tropical fruit flavors.

29 - Eagle Creek What Time is it? Peanut Butter & Jelly Time! We started with our roasty, dry Irish stout and crammed it full of honey-roasted peanuts and fresh local strawberries. It's a very light-bodied beer with flavors that remind you of being a kid.

30 - Hobson's Manor Ale (UK - 5.5% ABV) - Brewed to celebrate England's Severn Valley Railway Manor Class steam engines, this amber ale offers aromas and flavors that reflect fresh grains, hops and biscuit crust.

31 - Ilkley Mary Jane IPA (UK - 6.0% ABV) is a trans-Atlantic India Pale Ale that relies on English hops for bittering and North American hops for a floral aroma. Based on an award-winning Yorkshire ale, this version boasts notes of honey and a pleasant, lingering bitterness.

32 - Ilkley Mayan Chocolate Chipotle Stout (UK - 6.5% ABV). They may not have gotten all their predictions right, but they knew how to brew great beer! Inspired by an ancient Mayan recipe, this extraordinary stout is velvety smooth, bittersweet, and has a subtle, smoky fire in its belly.

33 - JailHouse Slammin' Melons. A voluptuous handful of juicy Huell Melon hops went into this cask of our popular Slammer Wheat. Look for cantaloupe and honeydew aromas backed by a base of pilsner and wheat malts. 5% ABV.

34 - Jekyll Hop Dang Diggity IPA double dry-hopped on cedar. After sitting on dry-hops for several days, this bad boy went straight from the fermenter into the cask, where we added a second dose of dry-hops, along with aromatic cedar chips.
          
35 - Max Lager's Mystery Cask - A blend of Scotch ale, Rye Doppelbock and Imperial Stout primed with a krausen of Hopsplosion. This beer sat in the cask with toasted oak for two years, proving that the brewer sometimes forgets he made a cask!

36 - Monday Night 3 A.M. & Single is a cask version of Eye Patch 6.2% IPA aged on coffee, vanilla and dark Godiva chocolate. This bold-flavored cask screams, "I just broke up with my cheating boyfriend, so I'm gonna eat whatever I want - straight from the carton!"

37 - Mother Earth IPA - Light copper in color, with an intense hop aroma and bitterness from our hopback that allows fresh hop cones to take this IPA to unexpected places. This special cask includes a dose of a hybrid strain of Cascade and Chinook whole flower hops grown on our own estate.

38 - New Belgium Portage Porter dry-hopped with US Goldings. A 6.3% ABV dark ale with notes of coffee, chocolate, toast, hops and smoked almonds. An upfront sweetness and slight, roasty bitterness give way to a creamy, dry finish.

39 - Red Hare Rumple-Sticky-Stouts-Kin is our Oatmeal Sticky Stout with a kick of dark chocolate and one other special, boozy ingredient. Can you guess its name?

40 - Second Self JunIPA is an IPA inspired by gin. Brewed with Amarillo, Centennial and Ahtanum hops plus juniper berries, the beer is then dosed with juniper and rosemary - producing flavors similar to a citrusy gin.

41 - Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye. Rye's black pepper-like flavor has been prized by distillers and brewers for centuries, and this character comes to life in Ruthless - a rugged IPA with fruity, citrusy and herbal hops countered by dry, rye spiciness.

42 - Southbound The Reaper is a fruity, spicy, warming Belgian style quad with toasted coconut, toffee and coco nibs. 9.6% ABV.

43 - Starr Hill Belgian-Style Tripel with red wine-soaked oak chips offers aromas of fruit, spice, pepper, coriander and wood followed by sweet and spicy palate notes highlighted by earthy hints, tannins, mild hop bitterness and alcohol warmth. 9.5% ABV.

44 - SweetWater ​​Chicks Dig It. IPA dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe hash, with a generous amount of fresh raspberries and a hint of mint.

45 - Terrapin Wake 'N' Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout. This delicious cask is infused with vanilla beans, four pounds of raspberries, and primed with grade-B maple syrup. 9.4% ABV.

 46 - Wrecking Bar Oatmeal Cookie Porter - A traditional brown porter brewed with flaked oats for added smoothness, and infused with rum-soaked dark raisins, Indonesian cinnamon bark and a touch of vanilla to emulate a freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookie.

47 - Yes Face Brass Monkey Nuts. A 4.0% ABV, English-style session brown ale meets Georgia's state bean -- the peanut. The result is nuts!


And again, there were no losers in this joint so a congratulations to everyone! Just like the last ten ACATs, we all had a blast! Don’t miss 2016’s! 

Cheers!
Your homey,

Ale

* By the way, good lookin' out to my brother Lamont and whoever took that shot of me with the crowd. I was a buzzin' like my cousin to remember who it was. For real, my memory does really suck sometimes. Forgive me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SweetWater Brewing’s Second Helping IPA is back!


SWB_2ndHelpIPA_TGK_02_600
Just released, get it to support a good cause before it’s gone! 

Whaddup!

SweetWater Brewing’s Second Helping IPA is becoming one of my favorite beers to look forward to each year. In its second annual production, this tasty sipper brewed with five—count ‘em—five varieties of hops including Simcoe, Bravo, Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo, perfectly balanced with Juniper berries resulting in a 7.4 percent ABV potency and 69 IBUs.
The best part about this beer is it is served up for a great cause. Originally brewed and inspired by the late great Atlanta chef, Ryan Hidinger, and SweetWater before he fell victim to cancer in January of 2014, all profits from the sales of the Second Helping go back to The Giving Kitchen to support their necessary grants to in-need workers in particularly the hospitality industry. Last year’s first rendition of Second Helping raised about $40,000. In fact, this initiative financially assisted a good friend of mine through a tragic accident last year which I helped raise awareness about on this site. (See the details here.)
“The Giving Kitchen would not exist without partners like SweetWater Brewery and United Distributors,” said Giving Kitchen Executive Director Stephanie Galer in a SweetWater press release. “Last year, our supporters allowed us to provide financial assistance to over 120 industry employees facing unanticipated crisis; workers like Carlin Guite who was unable to serve for over a year while she underwent treatment for breast cancer.”
SweetWater Founder Freddy Bensch added, “The outpouring of love and support we receive from Atlanta’s hospitality community blows us away every day. Here at SweetWater, we were moved by the opportunity to support our local food and beverage industry with such a fantastic brew. It’s an honor to participate in carrying on Ryan’s legacy and shining a big light onto The Giving Kitchen’s great deeds.”
And here’s another plus: It’s slammin’! There are also some fundraisers going on throughout Atlanta in the spirit of Second Helping so look for those too. I will be Tweeting whatever I hear about. First up is tonight’s first pour at the Brick Store at 5 p.m. featuring the “Third Helping”— a cask of Second Helping with an extra pound of juniper berries, and the last tapping is on January 27th at Cypress Street!
More information on The Giving Kitchen and a list of events can also be found at www.thegivingkitchen.org. There is also a cool video about the Second Helping here as well.

Cheers!
Ale



Thursday, January 8, 2015

Awesome January beer and spirit events in ATL and Athens, Georgia!

From amazing dinners to annual celebrations, it's on!

I’m baaaaack!

Whaddup y’all! First of all, I want to thank you for helping me reach 2,000,000 visits last year! I will make sure to continue returning the love as much as possible. There are so many things happening that graciously require my involvement (Jezebel Magazine, FirstWeFeast.com, Urban Lux, Men’s Book, car reviews, television appearances, my Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ beer show, and running my AllWays Open Creative Agency to name a few), but this website is my heart with you in mind. Again, thank you!
Okay, to start off the new year after my on this I just returned from extensive travel including visits to Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, so it’s time for Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ to kick off 2015 in full throttle regarding the beer scene particularly in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia.
From a listing of impressive upcoming feasts from Southbound, Meehan’s, and The Pig In The Pearl boasting my favorite pairing—beer and cuisine—to the 11th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting; Terrapin’s Annual Athens Wake-n-Bake Off; and even a dining event based on variations of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, Georgia continues to kick ass when it comes to helping us reach liquid bliss!
I included the descriptions I received straight from sources with Web links, and a little of my commentary here and there, so get ready to plan on helluva remaining January!
Look for more events coming soon. It’s good to be back!  This year is going to be, well, gangster!

Southbound does a beer dinner with Green Flash Brewing
Tuesday, January 13th at 7 p.m.

This classy affair is a definite! I am in there like swimwear! An impressive roster of culinary geniuses collaborate at Southbound in Chamblee (5394 Peachtree Rd, Chamblee, GA, 30341) to pair their fare with one of the most gangster breweries in the nation, Green Flash, for one night only! The menu looks awesome! See below with the scoop:
On Tuesday, January 13th at 7 pm, Southbound restaurant in Chamblee will host a collaborative beer dinner with award-winning, West Coast craft brewery Green Flash Brewing Co., featuring five courses created by Southbound's Executive Chef Ryan Smith and guest chefs Josh Hopkins of Empire State South, Jarrett Stieber of pop-up restaurant Eat Me Speak Me, Ryan Smith of Staplehouse, and Eric Ottensmeyer of Leon's Full Service. Green Flash was founded in California in 2002 and is based in San Diego.
The dinner will be celebrated in Southbound's rustic and elegant upstairs room for private events, which features an ornately carved wooden bar reclaimed from the historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis. $70 per person; reservations are available online here.
Here is the menu:
·         Amuse: scallop crudo, citrus salad, serrano (from Ryan Smith of Southbound)
·         Cold smoked trout crudo, pickled mustard greens, xo sauce (from Josh Hopkins of Empire State South)
·         Cauliflower with kalamata olive, satsuma orange, gochugaru, cured tofu (from Jarrett Stieber of Eat Me Speak Me)
·         Butter poached sturgeon (lightly cured and smoked), sweatbread, fennel, grapefruit, enoki (from Ryan Smith of Southbound)
·         White oak pastures guinea hen, celeriac, caramelized creme fraiche, toasted koji (from Ryan Smith of Staplehouse)
·         Raspberry jelly donuts & chocolate-coffee-toffee ice cream (from Eric Ottensmeyer of Leon's Full Service)

About Southbound
Opened in June 2014, Southbound is housed in a historic, former Masonic lodge in Chamblee, Georgia, just 15 minutes from midtown Atlanta. Ryan Smith, formerly of Watershed, serves as Executive Chef, and the market-driven menu pays homage to classic Southern cuisine while highlighting the freshest ingredients from nearby farms. Southbound is owned by Mike Plummer (born in Midwest, formerly in construction, worked in winemaking for Garretson Wines in CA) and Dennis Lange (Atlanta native, formerly of Local Three, Five Seasons Brewery, and Yakotori Den Chan). Southbound recently welcomed Maggie Meroney as Wine Director. Maggie is a French Wine Scholar with decades of experience teaching wine courses, guiding tastings, and managing wine cellars. Located at 5394 Peachtree Rd, Chamblee, GA, 30341, Southbound is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

The Mad Hatter-Themed Beer Dinner Meehan’s Sandy Springs
Thursday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m.

I’m definitely going to this one based on the Alice In Wonderland theme alone! Here’s the scoop:
Join Alice, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit and the rest of the characters for a Mad Hatter themed dinner at Meehan’s Sandy Springs. The five-course dinner, featuring New Holland Brewery, will be held on January 15 at 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy Chef Stephen Welch’s innovative menu featuring, Savory Sweet Potato Cookie, Mock Turtle Soup, Smoked & Fried Blue Foot Mushrooms, Braised Rabbit Ragu and Lemon Torte, Lemon Tart & Lemon Pudding. Tickets are $60 (excluding tax and gratuity) and can be reserved by calling 404.843.8058. More info is here: Meehans-Sandy Springs

The Pig & The Pearl Launches Third Thursday Beer Dinner Series with Orpheus
Thursday, January 15 featuring Orpheus Brewing

I have been wanting to hit up this Atlantic Station-based dining destination featuring the mastery of Celebrity Chef Todd Richards for the longest!
Here’s the scoop:
The Pig & The Pearl, Atlantic Station's smokehouse-meets-raw-bar, is brewing up a brand new beer dinner series for the new year. Hosted on the third Thursday of every month, each brew master dinner will feature selections from a local brewery paired with three courses of delicious creations from executive chef Todd Richards.
The series kicks off on Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m. with Orpheus Brewing. The evening will begin with a reception featuring Orpheus Brewing's first release, Atalanta, and passed appetizers such as tuna and trout tartare and smoked oyster toast. The three-course dinner showcases Orpheus Brewing's second flagship beer, Lyric Ale, as well as sours Sykophantes and Wandering Blues. Pairings include The Pig & The Pearl's Szechuan pork belly, smoked short beef ribs and huckleberry pound cake. Cost is $50 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 404-541-0930
Founded in 2013, Orpheus Brewing offers beers unique to the Southeast and is dedicated to producing artful, craft beers within its lineup of saisons, sours, hops and barrels. The brewery is located in Midtown overlooking Piedmont Park and the Beltline.
The Pig & The Pearl has garnered rave reviews and attention since its July opening in Atlantic Station. Owners Todd Martin, Cindy Shera and chef Todd Richards of The Shed at Glenwood have created a buzz-worthy second restaurant featuring artfully prepared and chef-driven food that's approachable and fun. The menu is a one-stop shop for all things smoked with brisket, pork shoulder, duck and sausage alongside fresh raw and smoked seafood and shellfish.
For more information, visit thepigandthepearl.com or the restaurant’s Facebook page. The Pig & The Pearl is located at 1380 Atlantic Avenue NW, immediately adjacent to the valet stand and across from the Red 1 stairwell. Lunch and dinner are available seven days a week, Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Terrapin’s Annual Athens Wake-n-Bake Off 
January 17, 2015 in the Foundry Ballroom at Graduate Athens
I am not only going, but I am judging this joint! That W-N-B Coffee Oatmeal Stout is one of the best not only in the state but in the world and it is celebrating its tenth year! Plus you get a W-n-B collector’s mug!
Here’s the scoop:
Terrapin Beer Co.'s highly-acclaimed Monster Beer W-n-B Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout, known as Wake-n-Bake to the beer's fans, celebrates its 10th birthday this month. As part of the festivities, Terrapin is hosting its annual Athens Wake-n-Bake Off on January 17, 2015 in the Foundry Ballroom at Graduate Athens. The event will feature a baking competition with proceeds benefiting Wholesome Wave Georgia.
The Athens Wake-n-Bake Off challenges cooks to create a baked dish, either sweet or savory, using any Terrapin beer as an ingredient. A panel of judges tastes each offering to decide the winner of the coveted Silver Spatula. Event attendees are also able to vote for their favorite to name the People's Choice winner.
While Terrapin has hosted previous annual Wake-n-Bake Off competitions in Athens, this year will prove to be the largest event yet. With two competitor categories (professional cook and home cook) and over 40 entrants total, guests are sure to get their fill and find a favorite treat while supporting a much-needed organization. Wholesome Wave Georgia works to provide access to fresh, locally grown foods to low-income Georgians by doubling the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit dollars at partner markets throughout the state.
In addition to the Wake-n-Bake Off, Terrapin is asking fans to commemorate Wake-n-Bake's 10th anniversary in photo form. Fans can enter the Wake-n-Bake Place-n-Take photo contest through January 15 by creating a "perfect 10" with a bottle of Wake-n-Bake. For examples and to enter, see www.terrapinbeer.com/contests.
Tickets to the Athens Wake-n-Bake Off are on sale now online for $15 at www.terrapinbeer.com/bakeoff. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the event for $20. Tickets include admission, a souvenir Wake-n-Bake mug, the first pour of Terrapin beer, a raffle ticket for a chance to win Terrapin merchandise, and samples of the baked dishes entered in the competition. 

The 11th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting
Saturday, January 24 from 3 to 6 at Sandy Springs-Prado

On Saturday, January 24 at 5 Seasons and Taco Mac Prado in Sandy Springs, I am participating in the judging of the 11th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting. My thirsty self has to be there at 8 a.m. in the morning to see what the standouts are from more than 40 unique craft beers representing America and the United Kingdom—all served from traditional, English-style casks! When the event starts at 3 pm and ends at 6, you and the Georgia beer community will be sippin’ a diverse range of brew styles from puckering IPAs to gangster bourbon barrel-aged stouts! What’s even cooler is that attendees are drinking for a cause: It's a benefit for the Atlanta Humane Society.
Hey, anything Georgia beer authority Owen Ogletree of Brewtopia and Classic City Brew is a part of, I am supporting, so I hope to see ya there! It’s a blast, trust me! Get your ticket before they are sold out. Here’s more info: http://classiccitybrew.com/acat.html 

Johnnie Walker ‘Burns Night’ Dinner at Rí Rá Irish Pub, Atlanta
January 24th, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Yep! I do spirits too. This one sounds awesome at arguably the best Irish pub in town! here is the menu.
Here’s the scoop:
Rí Rá Irish Pub—Atlanta, will be hosting a Johnnie Walker “Burns Supper” on the 24th of January 2015 (www.rira.com/atlanta, 1080 Peachtree St., Suite 1, Atlanta, GA 30309, 404.477.1700). This special dinner event honors the Scots ‘Bard’ Robert Burns, regarded as the national poet of Scotland and celebrated worldwide every January. The tradition of the Burns Supper started in 1803 in Ayrshire, Scotland and has since found a receptive audience around the world wherever Scots & Celts have settled, including here in Atlanta, GA.
 Guests will enjoy a traditional four course menu and each course will be paired with a whisky from the Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky range. The ‘Supper’ will allow guests to feast on traditional Scottish fare including Cock-a-leekie soup, followed by a Winter Salad of Scallops & Black Pudding, Grilled Salmon Balmoral or Traditional Haggis with Neeps & Tatties, and a Raspberry Cranachan to round off the meal. A piper, a highland fling or two and even a toast or two will make this a night to remember. Tickets for this special evening are $40 or $35 pre-sale. Places are limited and tickets can be purchased from the pub.
Rí Rá Atlanta has a great lineup of live entertainment this month featuring Saturday night performances from Pistol Town, Satellite Boulevard, Jakob & The good People, The Scott Moody Band and The Garrison Blagg Band. Entertainment continues throughout the week with Free Roll Poker on Sundays, Rolling Jackpot Trivia on Tuesdays, ‘Live Band’ Karaoke on Thursdays and DJ DRTI on Fridays.

See y’all soon!

Ale

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last minute dinner plans for New Year's Eve!

ATL has a lot of options below, and I'm eating at 
Loews Hotel!

Happy New Year's Eve!

Besides the events I listed in a prior post here going on throughout Atlanta, Loews Atlanta Hotel (1065 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA  30309) just sent me their dinner menu for tonight and it's bananas! Besides the seafood including crab, meats, appetizers, sides (truffle mac & cheese), salads and desserts, the price at $85 (plus tax and gratuity) seals the deal for me, so I am there...again! (I went last year and was blown away.) And Lord knows I've been to this posh hotel numerous times in the past due to the numerous art events I produced with my AllWays Open Creative Agency, weekend DJs we booked for them, and overnight escapes once in a while, but the food is another MAJOR component to my constant patronage thanks to Master Chef Olivier Gaupin and Pastry Chef John BellBut lucky for you, there are a couple of seats left, so call now and book them for the time slots available so that you too can bring in 2015 in culinary bliss! 
Below is the menu for tonight themed by the seasons. Need I say more? There are also awesome specials on drinks where you can get four (4) hours of open bar premium spirits at $140 or four hours of open bar with VIP service for $180 (plus tax)! 
To add, DJ Silk Wolf is lighting up the lobby on the ones and twos for free throughout the evening! 
Regardless of what you do for this evening and the games tomorrow, I want to wish you safe and festive New Year. I have love for all of you who have visited my site and made it grow exponentially this past year. I can't wait to show you what I have in store for 2015! Just know I have your best interest in mind. 

Much love and cheers! 
Your homey,
Ale


Summer
Fresh oyster, stone crab claws, steamed shrimp, king crab Legs
 Salad station:
Winter greens, our great selection of topping, hummus

Fall
Classic beef wellington, morel mushroom and Andouille sausage
Duxelle, port and rosemary reduction
Smoked rib roast, onions, béarnaise, horseradish crème fraiche
Salt crusted halibut, Georgia onions and bacon jam, lemon tarragon beurre blanc
Sous vive smoked Atlanta salon, creamed leeks, caviar lemon preserve

Winter
Sides:
*Truffle Mac & Cheese
*Steamed Asparagus
*Creamed Potatoes
*Lentil & Ham Hock Stew
*Wild Mushroom Fricase
*Creamy Grits
*Tomato-basil Fondue

Spring
Desserts:
Created by our own Pastry Chef John Bell



Friday, December 12, 2014

Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’s Annual Last Minute Gift Guide

Get your shoppin' on! These gifts are kickass!

Hoppy Holidays!

It’s that time again and I wanted to make sure your Holiday shopping goes that much easier, so look no further than my annual Cruisin’ For A Brewsin’ Last Minute Gift Guide! I am launching this one a little bit earlier than usual so that you have time to receive deliveries on all of these cool gift ideas that were either pitched to me, I used, I came across on the Net, or just thought you—my cherished readers—would consider.
I get a lot of love for doing these gift guides (plus I tremendously enjoy doing them) over the years, so here is 2014’s Holiday edition featuring everything from inventive beer paraphernalia to original gift certificate ideas, travel hot spots, books, gadgets, clothing and more! Did I mention beer? 
Anyway, hook up your friends, family, that special someone…or yourself!  

Cheers!
Ale
*I will be updating this site until it is hitting the last second so look for my announcements of additions on my Twitter account (@alesharpton).
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As promised above, I said I would add gifts periodically leading up to Christmas Day so here ya go!:


Northern Brewing Gift Card
Want a Christmas buzzer beater? Here it is!
To really make things last minute, I added another awesome gift that can be bought even on the day of Christmas (or whatever Holiday you celebrate)!
We have what they boast to be the largest homebrew supplier in the country (which I truly believe)­—Northern Brewer—providing the opportunity to buy an Email Gift Card for beer brewing supplies that’s delivered directly to the recipient’s email address. These great folks also have wine and cheesemaking kits in case you really want to turn your pinky up, so go for it!

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Mountain Top Cabins in Blue Ridge, Georgia
Head for the mountains!
At the top of my list for favorite getaways is Blue Ridge, Georgia and staying at one of the luxurious cabins Mountain Top provides. You should certainly consider getting one and taking people you can tolerate and enjoy for a weekend (or week) of woosah!
Indoors, you can do everything from play pool, watch satellite television, start a fire, roast marshmallows outdoors at a fire pit, release stress in a hot tub, make an extravagant meal in a gourmet kitchen, play board games…basically do the things you never get the chance to do during your regular hustle and bustle life. Plus, the fresh air will prompt you to explore the outdoors and visit Blue Ridge’s gorgeous environs, its charming downtown (especially hit up the Blue Ridge Brewery, the Irish pub called Boro Inn, score growlers at Out Of The Blue, and dine at the delicious Harvest On Main); also take the family to the nationally renowned Mercier Orchards (the turnovers are to die for). The best way to do this is to get a gift certificate (see above) so that you or your recipient can plan trips accordingly. They have great deals at Mountain Top so this is the perfect present for anyone including yourself!
Visit Mountaintopcabinrentals.com for more info.
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Zippo Hand Warmer
Show Old Man Winter who’s boss!

Speaking of camping in the mountains, the longtime Zippo lighter and accessory company would certainly enhance the trip and ensure you can literally handle this chrome Hand Warmer. Fitting into virtually any pocket, it comes with a filler cup, warming bag, and up to 12 hours of function time, so anyone can brave the outdoors that much easier for only $19.95. www.zippo.com

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Buy someone some ‘Uncommon Goods’!
The UncommonGoods.com website has something for even the most finicky individual.
I go hunting for sites that sell extra cool items and this is one of them! Uncommon Goods features extraordinary, yet often practical gifts created by a community of artists, craftsmen and makers. They really got me with their collection of beer paraphernalia. From brew kits to glasses that come with an opener at its base, there is a gang of gifts to choose from. They even acknowledge the creators of practically every item they sell.
The All About Beer Card Deck aka Ace of Brews is one of my faves that they have to offer because I love me some spades and everyone playing gets an insightful beer fact on every card! This is chump change at $15.95.
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World Bottled Beers: 50 Classic Brews to Sip and Savour
Drinking…err, reading is fundamental.
How about a hardcover beer book that's die-cut to the actual size of a bottle featuring 50 of the best tasty ales and lagers the world has to offer? World Bottled Beers: 50 Classic Brews to Sip and Savour is a gangster page turner for your tabletop; it promises to consistently spark up good conversation and earn you cool points on the regular. Award-winning Beer Writer Adrien Tierney-Jones, Art Director Sarah Rock, and Photographer Simon Murrell feature the country of origin, alcohol by volume, and an expert review makes this a no-brainer for any beer enthusiast. MSRP at $14.99, but there are great deals here.
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Filson 72-Hour Bag
A bag equipped with a charging station? Bag it!
I truly dig cool bags that are both fashionable and practical, so this Filson 72-hour bag is certainly up my alley. Besides its rugged-meets-hipster look, it boasts a waxed exterior to weather inclement environs, and get this: It comes with a concealed Joey charging system in the front pocket for your gadgets to save you from searching for wall outlets like an electrician! ($425)
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The Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Ceramic Carbon Watch
For the true ballers who want to know what time it is…
I have received a little feedback from some gents with a heavy wallet asking me to post some items in future gift guides that are, shall we say, lavish? Well here you go! Hublot watches are at the top of the game when it comes to timepieces. (I mean come on, they are getting numerous shout outs in rap songs now so there you go!) Anyway, there are only 100 of these Big Bang Ferrari Ceramic Carbon watches available on the market for a mere $29,800. What do you get?
·         The Case: 45 mm. Polished and Satin-finished Black Ceramic 
·         The Bezel: Yellow Composite Resin Lower Bezel with six H-shaped Black Titanium Screws 
·         The Dial and Hands: Sapphire Dial. Yellow Appliques Satin-finished Black-plated Hands with Yellow Luminescent Black and Yellow Chronograph Second and Minute Counter Hands 
·         The Movement: UNICO Manufacture Self-winding Chronograph Flyback Movement with Column Wheel 
·         The Power Reserve: 72 hours 
·         The Straps and Clasp: Black Rubber and Black Schedoni Leather Straps with Yellow Stitching. Black PVD Titanium with Carbon Insert Deployant Buckle Clasp 
Lavish enough for ya? Hit up this site for details...and drooling.
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The Innis & Gunn Scotch Whisky Porter
From their seasonal Porter to some recipes with their original, I&G does it big in Scotland!
Spice up your holidays with the new Scotch Whisky Porter straight out of the
Edinburgh, Scotland-based brewing headquarters of Innis & Gunn. These guys have always received accolades for the barrel-aged concoctions that pair well with just about anything (especially cigars), so now it’s time for this tasty Porter that’s matured over oak infused with a Scotch Whisky at a warming 7.4% ABV. Aroma and tasting notes include caramel, toffee, roasted coffee beans and a porter must—cocoa. I dig it and so will your recipient of this gift! More info on Innis & Gunn can be found here
Oh! And if you are a fan of the Original Innis & Gunn brew, grab a few bottles and get your mixology on with these two delicious recipes below:
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American Born Moonshine
The only time you would want to be mooned!
Presented in slick, patented mason jars topped with a cork-like closure and filled with the pure ingredients of true moonshine—corn, sugar and water—here comes a line of award-winning spirits straight from Nashville, Tennessee. Just entering the Atlanta market, American Born brilliantly pays homage to the unaged corn whiskey and rum recipes from way back in American history boasting three flavors—Original (103 proof), Apple Pie (83 proof) and Dixie Sweet Tea (83). Find out where these potent winter warmers are on their website, www.americanbornmoonshine.com. Now let’s get mooned, American Born style!
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Prep Sportswear
Represent with these old school gear!

Being a sports fanatic, I came across Prep Sportswear who boast how they offer “the largest array of custom fan apparel” representing all the major sports including baseball, hockey, football, basketball, soccer, and others. Well I had fun going through all the squads they had available from all over the world, so I thought you would too. I also like how they give you the opportunity to customize it down to the color, size and of course, team. So find a city, college, sport and squad you want to rep and order a shirt, towel, hoodie, or whatever and rock it! PrepSportswear.com is the official website and you can find some great deals on especially college t-shirts here. Go team!
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The “Can-Era” Lens Drink Cooler
This has a shot of being the coolest koozie ever!
Okay, back to reality for those who may be a few dollars short of buying that $30,000 Hublot watch above. this “Can-Era” Lens Drink Cooler from is one of the coolest koozies I have seen, period. Keeping our hands warms while holding a cold brew for events like tailgating or whatever, this will certainly get some looks your way. Especially from needy photographers who will try to steal it when you put it down. It looks that real. Cop this and other kooky paraphernalia at BigMouthToys.com. You have to register in their site to get the prices for some reason, but go old school and call 'em: 1-800-592-0293. Hit up Amazon for a great deal here as well.
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The Unibroue Éphémère Canneberge
Cranberries in brew? Hell yeah!
Chambly, Quebec’s Unibroue, the maker of one of my favorite beers in the world—La Fin du Monde—now presents their latest seasonal release, Éphémère Canneberge, a delicately spiced white ale brewed with ripe cranberries at 5.5 percent ABV.
“I'm especially proud to say that we are one of the few breweries in the world to referment 100 percent of our ales directly in the keg, one keg at a time. This is also the case for our Cranberry Éphémère,” Brewmaster Jerry Vietz boasts. “This festive version of the Éphémère is a white ale flavored with fruit and spices, with fine bubbles and a white lacy head. It has a delicate cranberry flavor, with just the right balance of sweetness and acidity.”
As its name suggests, Éphémère is a series of fruit ales that started in the spring of 2001, featuring apple, blackcurrant, peach, and raspberry. Now it’s cranberry’s turn. And the bottle art is kickass. Here’s Unibroue’s Beer Sommelier presenting their Cranberry Éphémère and their Éphémère beercocktail. For more info, hit up www.unibroue.com.
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Happy Socks
Kick it in these fly stockings, ya heard?
I love socks. These are hot. I want them. Period. Straight from Sweden for $12 a pair, you will go bowling or try on shoes in random stores just to show these babies off. They have some pretty slick underwear too! Check 'em out here and if you are in Atlanta, hit up the slick boutique store on 1048 North Highland, William Wren.
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2015 SweetWater 420 Fest
Grab some early bird special tickets to see the legendary Snoop Dogg!
Now this is one helluva gift you can get while the gettin’ is good. Do you see this lineup? Go here for details and to cop some early bird special tickets for this jam on April 17th through the 19th.