Tastings

This was the main takeaway from our Hop City beer tasting at Octane this week, in which we gave free pint glasses to those who dressed as pirates or wore kilts.

This makes intuitive sense, once you think about it. A kilt is a commitment. An eye patch is easy. A kilt costs serious money and requires someone who has either really high self esteem or no fashion sense to wear one (sometimes both). An eye patch can be as easy as wrapping a dirty napkin around your eye, in some cases. See below for exactly what I’m talking about.

We’ll start with the pirate family… including the one and only kilt-wearing man we served.

Let not the cuteness of this young pirate fool you. For he will STEAL YOUR BOOTY!

The bird makes the outfit. Unless that’s a part of her arm? In which case I suggest immediate medical attention.

Perhaps he’s not dressed “as a pirate,” but that’s a pirate expression if I ever saw one. I wonder what unfortunate swashbuckling incident led to 4 ┬ápirates simultaneously losing sight in their right eyes? Probably an octopus with hot pokers for arms. (And yes, I know the real reason pirates wear eye patches.)

You aren’t fooling anyone, sir. That is a napkin over your glasses. But we’ll count it, because you do look ridiculous, and that’s the first rule of pirate fashion.

Sell it with that face, Captain Duct Tape!

And finally, the cutest pirate couple AAAARRRH-ound.

We need your help. We’ve entered the phase where we will be transitioning Monday Night events away from a random garage on the west side of town to bars and restaurants serving Monday Night beers, all over the Atlanta area (and eventually Georgia). This will allow us to meet more people in different parts of Atlanta, and give us a venue to provide beer for sale (which we cannot do out of a garage for obvious reasons). However, we haven’t yet put too much thought into what a post-garage Monday Night event should look like.

What would you be most excited about? Here are a few thought starters, but we really want your fresh thinking. Leave a comment, if you dare.

  • Meeting the owners (prediction: this will not be a winning suggestion)
  • Drink specials on Monday Night beers
  • Random schwag giveaways (we wouldn’t be able to give away stuff to everyone, though)
  • Games or trivia
  • Food options paired specifically for Monday Night beers
  • Bringing in interesting guests such as authors, scientists, or pirate experts

nate-newsLooking for some food to make that pairs with (and includes) Monday Night beers? Probably not, since you can’t buy our beer yet. If you’re into cooking and into Monday Night, you might want to keep this post bookmarked for future reference.

My Nashville-based brother Nate hosted a tasting party with his chef-girlfriend Colby. They came up with some recipes for onion rings and pizza, made with and paired with our Eye Patch Ale and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale. Mmmmm.

P.S. My brother runs a website called “Nate News.” Big egos seem to be a running theme in our family.

Jeff and I found ourselves in Decatur yesterday for the annual Decatur Beer Fest. What a great time. The weather was perfect, there were a ton of great beers, and we actually bumped into a bunch of people we knew.

Before we get into the beers, I would like to go on record as saying that I hate pretzel necklaces. It’s always difficult to recap a beer festival. You drink so many beers, pour out a bunch of the crappy ones (I do anyway) and always end up with less capacity for memory than when you started, if you catch my meaning. However, these were a few of my favorites:

  • Duck-Rabbit Imperial Russian Stout: tasted more like a barleywine than a stout, but quite delicious
  • Avery Kaiser: an imperial Oktoberfest. Normally I don’t like Oktoberfests, but this was one malty, high gravity bombshell of a beer.
  • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy: an imperial stout in a can? My oh my this beer was money.
  • Port Brewing: there were 2 excellent beers from Port, and I can’t for the life of me remember their names. One was a Belgian IPA, a collaboration between Tomme Arthur and, uh, someone else. The other was a funky, funky farmhouse ale. Delightful.
  • Post Road Pumpkin Ale: of the 2 pumpkin ales Jeff and I tried, this was hands-down the winner.
  • Flying Dog Horn Dog Barleywine: I’ve had a bunch of Flying Dog beers, but not the barleywine. It was great. Had it towards the end of the festival, don’t remember much else.

There were, of course, other highlights. The cool tasting glasses we got, for one:

Though for $35 the glasses better be cool. We also tried the Budweiser American Ale. Much has been said of this beer recently, and I think it deserves its own post. Look out for that later this week. And Jeff tried to convince me that the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat is an acceptable beer. It tastes like cough syrup. To which Jeff replied, “I LOVE cough syrup.”

I think the 28 rating on RateBeer.com says it all.

It’s been a crazy week, as you may have surmised from the lack of interesting posts. We’ve been in the process of changing hosts. It hasn’t been as smooth as we would have hoped (read: our website has been down more than we’d like), but we’re confident that the worst is behind us. And with that in mind, we’re looking forward. To the weekend. And more specifically, to the Great Decatur Beer Tasting Festival (hereafter called the Decatur Beer Fest).

Jeff and I will be making the trek out to the East side of Atlanta from our comfy cocoons on the West side to drink some beer in the heart of downtown Decatur. We hope to see some of ya’ll there. I’ll be wearing my classy MNB t-shirt. There will be 77 breweries represented. Some of the ones I’m looking most forward to are:

  • Allagash
  • Duck-Rabbit
  • Highland
  • Dogfish Head
  • Avery
  • Great Divide
  • Left Hand
  • North Coast
  • Lagunitas
  • Victory
  • Stone
  • Merchant du Vin
  • Ommegang
  • Unibroue
  • Budweiser American Ale (haven’t tried it yet, eager to hate it)

Jeff, I’m sure, has his own list. And he’s probably more snobby about it. Look for an update early next week. My goal is to get Jeff plastered (not easy) and then get him to pose topless with the volunteers (probably easy). We’ll see how that goes.

The Great American Beer Festival is the mecca of beer festivals in America. 400 brewers, 1800 beers, 3 days (and plenty of water). And it’s going on right now. If there was one place that someone looking to start a brewery should go, this would be the place. But we’re not in Denver, we’re in Atlanta. Why?

Because we’re losers. I wanted to go, but couldn’t swing the vacation day(s) right now. Jeff and Joel are equally swamped. And while this may be the right place to go, I’m not sure if the timing is right. This time next year we will be much farther along in terms of planning ? who knows, maybe we will have launched already! But no excuses, we’re losers.

In spite of this fact, we’ve been living vicariously through our beer blogging friends who are attending. You can follow along on Twitter, or just read a few of our favorite posts thus far:

Surviving the GABF: Great tips from DJ over at Fermentarium on how to get through the GABF alive. Free beer, after all, has the power to elevate AND the power to cripple.

Celebrating an Anniversary: Chipper Dave from Fermentedly Challenged (who I will undoubtedly crush in this week’s beer blogger fantasy football league matchup) recaps his day of volunteering at the GABF. 14 hours. Was it worth it?

First off, be sure to vote for us as the best homebrewing blog over at Beer Bits 2 (check the sidebar). We may not be the best straight homebrewing blog, but some poor soul nominated us, and we’re determined to win this popularity contest. I will NOT be the ugly guy that no one wants to take to prom.

And now a quick recap of the HOToberfest beer festival that Joel and I attended Saturday afternoon with Joel’s cousin Matt. This new (first year) beer festival was held in Glenwood Park. $35 got you a tasting glass and free range of the tents. There were plenty of great beers there ? some of my favorites were from Unibroue, Allagash, Avery, Victory and Dogfish Head. Matt brought along his camera and apparently has some skills:

Joel and I also had a good semi-buzzed discussion about tap handles. I think Terrapin does a great job with this (see above). The keys in my mind are:

  • Consistency
  • Bold, easily readable letters of the beer style
  • Something a little different

We’ll be thinking about MNB tap handles further. I want them to be made of diamonds and glitter, but Jeff said no. Be sure to vote for us!