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Archive for March, 2010

A Wine Guy In Beer-Land

This summer, I attended a Beer vs. Wine Smackdown at the Taste of Atlanta Festival with Bob. Ostensibly, it was supposed to be scholarly debate on which libation is more food friendly. It devolved into something approaching a shouting match with wine being labeled as “snooty.”

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Beer Town Does Wine and that’s no April Fools’ joke

I love wine. And that’s no April Fools’ joke.

I’ve been writing about beer for nearly a decade. During that time
I’ve been taken with the increasing creativity and sophistication of
craft brewers and breweries.

To me, there’s nothing in the wine world that can compare to the wild
style and dark rich aromas and flavors of, say, a Founders Kentucky
Breakfast Stout or a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron. And for my money,
more often than not, beer is a better match for food of all kinds,
including desserts, and especially spicy dishes.

But on this day dedicated to jesters and pranks, I’m ditching the
malts and hops and switching hats with my wine savvy colleague Gil
Kulers to wax poetic about the fruit of the vine.


“Wine is sunlight, held together by water,” Galileo Galilei famously wrote.

I couldn’t think of a better description. Most of the little I know
about wine has been learned during bright days touring California’s
wondrous wine regions, from Mendocino …

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Ribera del Duero’s Highs and Lows

controlled tasting. The dozen crianza and better wines were as expected. Mostly yummy. The younger wines had a few pleasant surprises for me, which I will share with you this week, but about half of them hurt me to taste, definitely thumbs down material.

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Beer Pick: Great Divide Hoss

Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager
Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, Colo.
$10.49/ six-pack; also available on draft at select beer bars.

Profile: First released as a fall seasonal in 2009, Hoss Rye Lager became a year-round offering in February. The fact that Hoss won a bronze medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival and was named one of the “25 Best New Beers in America” by Maxim magazine likely helped spur that decision.


Whatever the reason, Great Divide has added an interesting niche to its portfolio of big, bold ales with this balanced and flavorful take on an uncommon style. The recipe is based on rich German Märzen/ Oktoberfest lagers. But malted rye gives it a subtle spicy complexity amid the expected bready sweetness. And unlike the average Oktoberfest, there’s a hop presence in the crisp finish.

Pair with: Great Divide recommends pairing Hoss with bratwurst, barbecue chicken, pork tacos, Camembert cheese or German chocolate cake. Somehow, though, a grilled …

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Sweetwater Brew Your Cask Off Winners

This roundup sent from Sweetwater:

In case you haven’t heard, here is the rundown of the 2010 winners.


1st PLACE: #32 Fontaines | Hop n’ Spicy

2nd PLACE: #49 Gibneys | ELT ale

3rd PLACE: #11 Taco Mac | PNS reserve

4th PLACE: #79 Locos | Moose Brew

#50 Cypress Street | Knobzilla Vanilla Oatmeal Stout

#37 Raging Burrito | Raging Xocolate

We are also stoked to announce our Charity Winner! With a whopping 356 votes – Atlanta Humane Society will receive $1876.00 from Brew Your Cask Off!

Remember the top 4 winning brews and the people’s choice will be recreated and served at the upcoming SweetWater 420 Fest this April 17th and 18th in Candler Park!

Check out for all the details

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2007 Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc

What’s wrong with the crisp green apple, pear and lemony yumminess of chardonnay? Or the lemongrass, grapefruit and melon wonderfulness of sauvignon blanc? Nothing. Well, nothing that a little butter can’t help, right? But the keyword here is “little.”

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Geek-out at mother of beer gatherings

Last week, the Brewers Association released the 2009 numbers for craft beer sales. Once again, it was good news for smaller breweries such as Atlanta’s Sweetwater and Athens’ Terrapin.

While the big beer companies, including No. 1 ranked Anheuser-Busch InBev, have been reporting some of the worst sales numbers since the 1950s, in 2009 craft beer sales were up 7.2% by volume and 10.3% by dollars over the previous year.

Nowhere is the enthusiasm for craft beer more evident than on Internet beer review and rating sites such as Beer Advocate ( and Rate Beer (

Now boasting memberships in the hundreds of thousands and reviews in the millions, the sites are run by and for beer geeks intent on searching out the world’s best and rarest beers. Not surprisingly, they tend to have little interest in the likes of Budweiser or Miller.

On March 6, the Brick Store Pub in Decatur hosted an annual afternoon meet-up for Beer Advocate members, …

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Rogue Ales brewmaster John Maier in Atlanta

One of the true pioneers of American craft beer, Rogue Ales brewmaster John Maier will be in Atlanta this week. And one Georgia brewer couldn’t be more excited.

john-maier (Rogue Ales brewmaster John Maier)

“John is my brewing idol,” said Terrapin brewmaster Brian “Spike” Buckowski. “Jim Koch [Boston Beer Co.] got me drinking craft beer. And John Maier got me brewing craft beer.”

Maier and Buckowski will be teaming up for a pair of Rouge-Terrapin collaboration beer dinners at Summits in Cumming on March 15  and Summits in Snellville on March 16. The ten course tasting menu will feature familiar, new and rare beers from Rogue and Terrapin.

Among the offerings from Rogue: Dirtoir Black Lager from the limited availability Chatoe Rogue series made with hops and malt from the brewery’s own fields; Latona 20th anniversary American strong ale; and four year old aged Old Crustacean barleywine. From Terrapin: Capt’n Krunkles black IPA, the newest brew from the Side Project …

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Anyone For Merlot Anymore?

Lemming-like wine drinkers in America followed Miles’ lead, turning up their noses at the suggestion of drinking oh-so-boring merlot. Or at least that’s the story we’re supposed to believe.

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St. Patrick’s Day comes early at Fadó

Not content to throw one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Atlanta, every year Fadó Irish Pub in Buckhead puts together a week of fun leading up to its rollicking street festival.

Of course, proper pints are a big part of the “session on” celebrations. March 11 at 7 p.m., the Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale launch party at Fadó Atlanta is a chance to get an early taste of the newest draft beer from Ireland, with samples and “swag” giveaways throughout the evening.
Brewed by Guinness and served on nitrogen, Kilkenny has the proud, creamy head and smooth mouth feel that Guinness Stout draft lovers crave. Except for the nitro boost, Kilkenny is nearly identical to another Guinness product, Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale, with a lovely ruby-glow color, mild caramel flavor, and a hint of that classic Guinness hop bitterness in the finish.

Kilkenny isn’t a beer geek sort of pint. But at 4.5% alcohol by volume, it’s a good session alternative to Guinness. And …

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