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Archive for April, 2012

Beer Town: Southern beer culture keeps on growing

I’ve been crowing about the rise of craft beer in the Southeast forever, it seems. But it’s time to crow some more.

Credit: Hyosub Shin, AJC

Credit: Hyosub Shin, AJC

New numbers from the Brewers Association confirm that craft beer sales were up again and strong throughout the region last year. In the same report, Atlanta’s Sweetwater reached another major milestone, coming in at No. 24 among the top 50 craft brewing companies in the U.S., based on 2011 beer sales volume.

But some of the biggest news to hit recently wasn’t so much about facts and figures as it was the strong beer culture that’s taken root since small breweries like Sweetwater and Asheville’s Highland pioneered making beer around here in the ’90s.

In late January, the No. 2 craft beer company in the country, California’s Sierra Nevada, announced it soon would be breaking ground on a new 90-acre brewing complex with a restaurant and music venue, located 12 miles south of Asheville, along the French Broad River.

In early …

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Kulers Uncorked: Platypreserve

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

The Platypreserve in action at Stone Mountain Park.

The Platypreserve in action at Stone Mountain Park.

No one ever accused the Family Kulers of traveling lightly. On a recent two-night camping adventure to Stone Mountain Park, the station wagon looked more like a troop carrier setting out on a nine-month deployment. One of the many necessary accoutrements on our camping supply list—and perhaps the bulkiest—is wine.

Camping for me is a pretty wine-intensive affair. There is lots of cooking, eating, hiking and sitting around the campfire with friends playing music or re-telling old stories. All these activities go better with a glass or two of wine. Multiply this fact by me, my wife and any number of camping colleagues and you’re packing a lot of bottles.

One solution to this problem is boxed wines. While they are lighter and less bulky than glass bottles, they have one drawback. Quality of boxed wines has increased exponentially over the years, but they still cannot match Ridge Vineyards, Stag’s Leap …

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Beer Town: Eagle and Lion brings cask-conditioned ale to Griffin

Griffin may seem an unlikely place for an authentic English-style brewery. But the Eagle and Lion is the rare vision of owner/brewer Mark Broe, a man on a mission to make cask-conditioned “real ale” readily available, mainly because it’s what he likes to drink.

Mark Broe in the brewhouse

Mark Broe in the brewhouse

Broe, whose family lived in Riverdale for 30 years, fell in love with cask ale while working as a chiropractor in England. In fact, he loved it so much, he decided to ditch his chiropractor job and become a brewer, training at Brewlab at the University of Sunderland before working several years at the Grand Union Brewery in London.

“The difficulty of getting really good real ale made me decide to become a brewer,” Broe said. “And I was very fortunate to get a job right out of brewing school.”

After coming back to Georgia to be closer to his aging parents, Broe worked at Atlanta Brewing Co., while struggling to find the right place to finally brew his own beer.

Griffin wasn’t …

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Kulers Uncorked: Oveja Negra

Gil Kulers, CWE

Gil Kulers, CWE

2010 Oveja Negra Cabernet Franc-Carmenere, Reserva, Maule Valley, Chile

2010 Oveja Negra Cabernet Franc-Carmenere, Reserva, Maule Valley, Chile

  • $13
  • Two Thumbs Up
  • Aromas of dark chocolate, black cherry and plum with a note of black licorice and cola. Medium-plus body with juicy, tart, dark berry and cranberry fruit with a pleasant minty, herbal note on the finish.

Easter dinner is every bit the train wreck that Thanksgiving is, at least from the perspective of picking the perfect wine. Such abundance, such variety, sweet stuff, tart stuff, salty stuff. No one wine will do. A forest of wine bottles would cover your table to accommodate the pairings for the varied dishes.

So abandon all hope ye who aspire to find that “perfect” Easter wine.

What you can do is have a nice selection of what I call Goldilocks wines, not too big, not too small, not too oaky, wines that are juuust right.

Cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay lovers will notice the absence of their favorite wines in the following list. While there are exceptions, cabs …

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