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Archive for February, 2010

Brew Your Cask Off Action This Weekend

The guest brewers invited to take part in SweetWater’s “Brew Your Cask Off” Cask Ale Festival will be at the brewery this weekend working on their special recipes.

Look for familiar faces from Brick Store Pub,  Midway Pub, The Porter Beer Bar, Atlanta Humane Society, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, All About Beer, Southern Brew News and yes, the AJC.

brew your cask logo

On Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28., Sweetwater will turn its  security camera into a “Cask Cam” so viewers can check out all the action online: www.brewyourcaskoff.com

Think of it as a sort of Beer Geek Olympics. And look for an update on the upcoming festival here later this week and on Thursday in Beer Town in the Food section of the AJC.

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Red Wine Stains–Trouble No More

Wine Away is a remarkable product that has pulled my fanny out of the fire more than once. It is also my pat answer to the frequently asked question: “How do you get rid of red wine stains?”

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Bob Townsend’s Beer Pick

Samuel Adams Noble Pils
The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
$7.99-$8.99/ six-pack at metro beverage and grocery stores

Profile: While the chill of winter is still all around, Noble Pils, the new spring seasonal from Samuel Adams, holds the promise of brighter days ahead. Last year, the European-style pilsner won the hearts of voters in the 5th annual Samuel Adams “Beer Lover’s Choice” awards. Brewed with four “Noble hops” from Germany and one from the Czech Republic, including Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and Saaz, it features a crisp bitterness and floral aroma, balanced by a sweet kiss of Bohemian pilsner malt.

Pair with: Pair this clean lager’s bright bitterness and floral aromatics with bright, spicy Asian and Latin or South American dishes. It’s also a good match for many varieties seafood, especially shellfish. Try it with a shrimp or oyster Po Boy or a lobster roll.

NoblePils6pk

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Mercer Wine Estates Pinot Gris

Availability of Alsatian-style pinot gris pales, however, when measured against simpler pinot grigios—and overly oaked chardonnays, for that matter (sort of the point of the column).

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Beer Town: Craft Beer Maverick Larry Bell

Since finally arriving in the Atlanta in 2009, the beers of Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery have become much buzzed about, and on at least one occasion the object of a fierce buying frenzy.

In late January, Bell’s Hopslam, a big, hoppy double IPA brewed with honey, had beer geeks scrambling to find a six-pack or even a pint of the limited-release winter seasonal.

Bell’s history dates to 1983, when Larry Bell founded Kalamazoo Brewing Co. as a home brew shop. Bell, who is known as both a pioneer and something of a maverick in the craft brewing business, started selling beer in 1985, famously boiling his first batches in a 15-gallon soup kettle.

Now, Bell’s ranks as the 20th largest U.S. brewer, producing over 125,000 barrels of beer in 2009.

I caught up with Larry Bell during his recent visit to Atlanta. True to his reputation, he was more than willing to offer his opinion on the current state of craft brewing and reveal what’s going on at Bell’s.

Larry Bell at Bell's Eccentric Cafe

Larry Bell at Bell's …

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The Rise And Fall Of Critter Wines

Real Zebras don’t change their stripes, but the times may be changing for critter wines.

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Bob Townsend’s Beer Pick

New Belgium Ranger India Pale Ale
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO
$8.99/ six-pack at metro beverage and grocery stores; also on draft at select bars and restaurants.

ranger-ipa

Profile: Best known for its Belgian-style beers, Colorado’s New Belgium recently released Ranger India Pale Ale, a distinctly American-style IPA. Bright with Simcoe, Chinook and Cascade hops, which impart strong citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of pine, there’s also a pleasing caramel malt backbone. Named for New Belgium’s cadre of friendly sales folk, Ranger is welcome addition to the brewery’s new year-round line up of Explore Series beers.

Pair with: This lively but easy drinking IPA would make an affable companion for all sorts of pub grub, including burgers, hot wings, and fish and chips. And it would be just as fine beside spicy Asian dishes and hearty cheeses.

Continue reading Bob Townsend’s Beer Pick »

Pinot Noir Gets Personal

If I’m having chicken and risotto, I’m like a spoiled kid if I don’t have a pinot noir. For example, you might hear me say: [spoken in my best whiney voice.] “This is really good, but if I just had pinot, it’d be sooo muuuch better.”

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Beer Town: The Cheese Stands With The Beer

Beer and cheese tastings are nothing new around Atlanta. But suddenly it seems more and more cheese is showing up alongside beer both at familiar and surprising places.

Recently, the Ritz Carlton Buckhead (3434 Peachtree Road N.E., 404-237-2700) began offering a selection of three paired beers and cheeses from a menu created by sommelier Robert Evans. The tasting is available daily for $18 in the Lobby Lounge.

Rogue Creamery

Not surprisingly, the Ritz’s take is quite elegant, with cheeses artfully arranged on a wooden board, accompanied by crackers and nuts, plus jellies and jams from Fairywood Thicket farm in Fairburn, GA.

Currently, Evans is featuring two Oregon companies, Rogue Creamery and Rogue Brewery — which aren’t affiliated, except by location, dedication to quality, and some collaborations that blend beer and cheese.

The pairings include, Morimoto Soba Ale and Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar, Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Smokey Blue Cheese, and Chocolate Stout and Chocolate Stout …

Continue reading Beer Town: The Cheese Stands With The Beer »