Picked this one up on a recent trip to Redstone Liquors. Kamal suggested it and as long as it's not something too far out there I usually take him up on his recommendations. Wanted to try something a little different tonight, so figured I'd give it a try. It's billed as a "stout brewed with real cocoa and vanilla beans."
Non-filtered ale I love this beer. I love their Racer 5 so thought I’d give it a chance when I saw it on the beer menu at Harry’s in Allston I thought I’d try it out. The initial nose is really grape-y (more like cough medicine than an actual grape.) Had a really deep caramel taste. I really enjoyed this, but definitely had to switch to something a little lighter. I’d definitely drink it again though!
Last weekend I went down to Atlanta to visit my girlfriend, and besides going to the aquarium(great) and the World of Coke (don’t bother), she was nice enough to indulge my beer geekery and allowed me to go to a few beer spots. First was Sweetwater Brewery, which opened in 1997 and has grown to be one of the largest craft beer producers in the southeast putting out about 75,000 barrels a year with plans to grow to over 100,000. Sweetwater opens its doors four days a week to the public (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5:30-7, and Saturday from 2:30-4:30). For $8 you get a logo pint glass to keep along with six drink tickets, with each pour being anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of a pint depending on the server. When we went they had seven beers on tap; most beers are one ticket but the higher alcohol beers required two. The tasting room was packed! They have both indoor standing room and an outside area where you can also have your glasses filled. I sampled five beers when, the IPA, 420 Pale Ale, Georgia Brown (an english brown), Sch’wheat (american pale wheat), and the Happy Ending Imperial Stout (2 tickets). I passed on their Blue (blueberry) and the Exodus Porter. All five beers were solid with the IPA and Imperial Stout being my favorites. They also have tours running every 20-30 minutes or so.Just outside of Atlanta, in Decatur, is the Brick Store Pub. Recently, Beer Advocate named it the #2 Place to Have a Pint in the world. We went here on Sunday afternoon after brunch when the pub was relatively slow (probably a good thing). It is deceptively big, a little narrow, but long with a really cool Belgian bar upstairs. They have an extensive tap list and an extremely long bottle list as well as a specialty bottle/cellar list. The downstairs bar has around 15-20 beers on tap while the Belgian bar has 8. Our server was extremely knowledgeable and helped me make choices since everything looked appealing. I ended up trying three beers based on what I can get at home, the first was Jolly Pumpkins Maracaibo Especial, a belgian strong dark ale that had a really nice sour component to it as well. I followed that up with the Terrapin Rye Squared, a double IPA, and ended with a Belgian selection, the De Dolle Dulle Teve (photo below), a tripel. We also ordered some hot pretzels, which went really well with the beer. Overall, the place has a really nice vibe and is a cool place to grab a few drinks.
I consider myself a beer geek. When I heard about this movie [Beer Wars on Amazon] I bought it immediately hoping that it would give me some behind the scenes looks at some of the small guys with some information on regulation and the changing taste preferences for craft beers.I loved the first hour (of 90 min total) of this movie. It gave some great background on Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, and of the startup brewery Moonshot Beer (which I had never heard of despite in its city of origin). During this time of the movie it really builds upon some of the hard-working entrepreneurial spirit of some of the small beer founders and shows some of the challenges of the industry. There are a few moments when Anit states facts that have you raising eyebrows but for the most part it makes you want to never buy Budweiser, Miller, or Coors products again (78% of the market). …then it turned into a Michael Moore movie. The last third of this movie was horrible, and undid all the anti-Budweiser sentiment the first part of the movie established. By the end we were rolling our eyes and chalking the industry up to good ol’ fashion capitalism. Sure, the legislation behind the 3-tier system (Brewers, Distributors, Stores) needs some reform but who can blame Budweiser for looking out for their own profits? Takeaways:
1) Previously I thought Dogfish Head as a great brewery but thought Sam Calagione was a reincarnation of Bill & Ted. I now have absolutely nothing but respect for him and his passion. I’m certainly going to go out of my way to support DFH when I can and he’s always welcome at my bar.
2) Moonshot is bound to fail. With 16 well-written reviews on BA it has an “F” rating – the first of its type that I’ve ever seen on the site in my 7+ years as a member.
3) The three-tier system needs reform but the public will need to get involved to make such reform happen as only the Big Three brewers (now two) have the resources to afford lobbyists in their favor. (I’ll just continue to vote with my dollars.) Overall, I wouldn’t pay $20 to see this again. NetFlix it or borrow it from a friend. While I love supporting the craft beer industry this movie fell short on delivering. If you’re looking for a good beer movie, check out Modern Marvel’s “Brewing” or the Brew Masters TV series (both available on Amazon).
Coming back from a long weekend away, I was surprised to see a beautiful package waiting for me on the front stoop. Looking forward to putting this cold behind me and giving these a try. Thanks to Jason for sending them my way.