All the Southern Hemisphere wines delivered way beyond expectations, frankly leaving their pinot-producing counterparts in the USA in their dusty, dried cherry rear view mirror.
It took five years and a new governor, but on April 12 the General Assembly gave final approval to legislation that should lead to Sunday alcohol sales in Georgia.
Gov. Nathan Deal has said he will sign the bill. After that, it will be up to city councils and county commissions to put the question to the voters, and referendums could be on ballots as early as the November elections.
Beer lovers were elated when the bill finally passed. Many, including members of Georgians for World-Class Beer, had lobbied long and hard and attended rallies at the Capitol when it seemed the legislation was all but dead.
Somehow, though, I never quite caught their enthusiasm. I’m happy that, like 47 other states, we’ll have the choice to buy beer (or wine or spirits) on Sunday. But I don’t see it adding much to our beer culture. And I still think the July 2004 GWCB-sponsored law that allowed beer over 6 percent alcohol by volume was the moment that changed everything.
More than anything, I am put off by the aroma of spirits, which I describe as harshly medicinal, the smell of an electrical fire and something akin to a rotten egg. So as I stuck my nose in these glasses of Scotch, I was surprised to find green apple, orange peel, bacon fat, honey comb, toasted coconut, vanilla and, yes, flowers. Where was the electrical fire?
Sierra Nevada Ovila Abbey Dubbel
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif
$9.99/ 750 ml cork-and-cage bottle at metro beverage stores.
Profile: The new project from Sierra Nevada is a collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, Calif., just a few miles from the Sierra brewery in Chico. Of course, monastic brewing goes back centuries in Europe. But Ovila Abbey Dubbel, the first of three limited-edition releases in the series, is an American craft beer rarity. Created in the classic style of a Belgian dubbel, the malty dark ale has the sweet flavors of stone fruits and caramelized sugar, along with moderate bitterness, lively carbonation and touch of clove-like spice from the Belgian-style yeast.
Pair with: The dark malt and caramelized flavors of Ovila make a fine match for rich, gamey dishes, such as lamb, duck or venison. And it’s a natural for grilled steak or beef stew, such as Belgian carbonnade flamande.
Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News,
In early 2010, The New York Times ran a feature about growlers, an old-fashioned beer vessel that was suddenly “the beer accessory of the moment” among shoppers in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope.
Until recently, growlers — 64-ounce glass jugs filled and refilled with draft beer — couldn’t be found anywhere in Georgia. In fact, most beer geeks and beverage store owners figured growlers weren’t legal here.
But at 5 p.m. on April 14, Hop City owner Kraig Torres will be the first to sell growlers in Atlanta when he opens the new “growler station” at his Westside beer and wine shop.
“We are finally bringing metro Atlanta in line with the beer-drinking population outside the state of Georgia,” Torres said. “We’ll have 16 rotating taps, primarily with beers that aren’t available in bottles.”
Four months ago, partners Paul Saunders, Denny Young and Sean Galvin opened the first Georgia growler shop, the Beer Growler in Athens. But
21st Amendment Bitter American Extra Pale Ale
21st Amendment Brewery, San Francisco, Calif
$8.99/ six-pack cans.
Profile: 21st Amendment’s new seasonal taps into two hot craft beer trends — full-flavored, lower alcohol “session” ales and quality canned products. At 4.4 percent alcohol by volume, Bitter American Extra Pale Ale is brewed with Golden Promise Pale and other specialty malts, plus Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe and Centennial hops. Dark gold in color with a frothy head, it displays floral, citrus and bready aromas and a nice balance of hoppy bitterness and malty complexity. The image of Ham the space chimp on the can is a bizarre but clever touch.
Pair with: American pales ales are nearly foolproof food beers and Bitter American is no exception. Throw it up against Latin, Asian or all-American cuisine, from tacos to noodles to burgers, and it will make an easygoing match.
Bob Townsend is editor of Southern Brew News, a bimonthly beer
As I wrote about last year, Atlanta’s Richard Roper was one of the two grand champion winners of the 2010 Samuel Adams American Homebrew contest.
As a finalist in the nationwide competition, Roper won a trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. As a grand champion, his Friar Hop Ale was brewed and bottled by the Boston Beer Co. and Roper received a $5,000 royalty.
But all that excitement only served as a prelude to finally being able to taste and share his beer at a special Atlanta Longshot launch party at the Fred in Sandy Springs on Tuesday April 29.
Sam Adams brewer Bob Cannon, who is the familiar guy with the long beard on Boston Beer Co. commercials, was on hand to offer a toast as guests enjoyed samples of Roper’s beer.
What’s more, Friar Hop, with Roper’s face on the label, is hitting stores right now as part of the new Longshot variety pack ($9.99).
“It’s an opportunity for