Turns out, Dalton had it right all along.

For any fans of the cinematic classic, “Roadhouse”, you’ll know the answer to this question, and the theme of today’s post: what was Dalton’s 3rd and most important piece of advice to his new crew at the Double Deuce? BE NICE. Yes, today is a complete and 100% departure from beer, but I feel that there are way more important issues going on right now.

What happened? And when did it happen? I don’t recall a single moment that came and instantaneously changed how people interact with each other. It was probably a very slow progression … a creep that slowly dragged humankind from a place from being nice to a place of not being nice. Yes, I know it’s more complicated than that; but still – it seems like we have lost the ability to be nice to each other.

We, as a people, seem hellbent on destroying each other. Quoting a second genius masterpiece of film “Terminator 2”: John Connor asks the Terminator, “We’re not going to make it, are we? Humans, I mean.” The reply … “It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.” I used to think of that as quality dystopian-style fiction. But is it really? I feel that the overly simplified core of this issue is that we have ceased knowing the difference between disagreeing and disliking. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: it’s okay to disagree with someone and still like them. Let’s look at a few examples from our modern world and see current reality versus a new alternative.

Example 1: Bob is a big fan of Donald Trump. Sam thinks that Donald Trump is a terrible leader and a bad person.

Current reality. Sam says that Bob is a racist and hates women. He probably dropped out of high school and owns an AR-15. Bob calls Sam a snowflake and accuses him of hating America and being a socialist.

New proposal: Sam asks Bob why he supports Trump the way that he does. He follows by saying that he can see the reasoning behind some of his policies but cannot agree with many of them and certainly does not approve of his interactions with people on Twitter. Bob says that he can understand those concerns but reiterates his belief that Trump is only trying to do what’s best for the economy of the US (and also agrees that it would be best if they took his Twitter-machine away.) They agree that it many not be best for them to discuss politics with each other, but can’t wait to see what it’s like to watch the Masters in November.

Bottom line: they agree to disagree … in a civil way. They can still be friends and know that they disagree on some point. They were NICE to each other.

Example 2: Sally goes to the grocery store while wearing a mask and gloves. Jane goes to the same grocery store wearing no protective devices.

Current reality: Sally yells at Jane for endangering the lives of everyone in the store; being completely selfish and reckless with the human race. Not only that but she walked the wrong direction in the canned vegetable aisle! Jane snidely mocks Sally for believing the media-fueled hype about this faux pandemic that’s only being used as a stunt to sell advertising on the nightly news.

New proposal: Jane and Sally agree to disagree. Sally will continue to be very cognizant of her surroundings and will sanitize everything she purchases when she gets home. Jane understands that people feel differently than she does about the current situation. In this case, perception is reality and she will obey the directional markings on the floor and will avoid close contact with other people in the store whenever possible.

Bottom line: They’re respectful of each other’s differing opinions. I guess you could say that they’re NICE to each other.

Example 3: You see someone drinking a Bud Light Orange with a smile on their face.

Current reality: you walk over and ask them if they’re enjoying their watered-down, mass-produced cough syrup. They turn on you and scoff at your $27 bottle of barrel-aged triple-dry hopped Imperial banana milkshake sour IPA. An argument ensues. Beer is spilled … people cry.

New proposal: you do you and allow others to do the same. You realize that we all have different tastes and people don’t have to like everything you like and dislike everything you dislike. Maybe you walk over and say, “Hey, I see you like that orange flavor. Have you ever tried <insert citrus-tasting, low-bitterness beer name here>? I think you’ll get that same citrus flavor but a different overall experience.”

Bottom line: He may try it, he may not. Either way, there’s no judging or beershaming. We can all still BE NICE to each other.

 

Conclusion? BE NICE to each other. It’s absolutely 100% okay (and encouraged) to disagree with each other from time to time. But that should never be an excuse to DISLIKE someone. There is a major difference, and until we start learning that lesson, the chasm between us will only grow larger. Start today: JUST. BE. NICE

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Actually, don’t. I’ll explain.

Turns out, Robert Matthew Van Winkle was way ahead of his time, or he was a closet craft beer aficionado in the late 1980s. Better known as Vanilla Ice, Van Winkle once penned the words to “Ice Ice Baby” and followed those same words in the chorus with ‘too cold, too cold.’ And that’s what leads us into today’s discussion.

Craft beer snob before his time …

You’ve been there before. You’ve been asked the question. And you’ve probably said yes at times (especially when it’s in the middle of a hot summer’s day and you need something refreshing.) I’m referring to the question from the bartender when you order a bottle of beer …. “Do you want a frozen mug with that?” On the surface, the question sounds innocuous enough. Cold beer + cold mug = colder beer and summer refreshment. But there’s a lot more to it than that. In short, a frozen mug kills the beer. I won’t get too science-y, but …

What happens to beer when it goes into a frozen mug?

  • Generally, a frozen mug isn’t super clean. Ice particles can grab hold of the sides of the glass … and then all kinds of gross stuff can stick to the ice particles. No bueno. Unless the glass is first rinsed before serving, you’re probably getting a dirty glass.
  • Frozen beer can make the protein in beer basically fall out of the solution and create a think skin on the top of the beer. You’ve probably seen this before. <Sarcasm> Shout out to Heineken who has embraced this phenomenon and promoted it as a sign of super cold beer. </Sarcasm>.
  • CO2 can separate from the beer. And what does that give us? FLAT beer. Again – no bueno!
  • Finally, if you’re drinking a beer between 30-40 degrees, you probably can’t taste it. Liquids that cold basically numb your palate and mask or altogether eliminate the flavor. And maybe that’s a good thing?!
    Note: the Homebrewers Association only recommends that one style of beer be served under 40 degrees. Any guesses? “American Mainstream Light Lagers.” Yes, that’s it’s own style apparently.

Bottom line here is that a frozen mug changes the nature and flavor (and maybe even texture) of the beer and is frowned upon. Beer snobs of the world will tell you not to do it. And they’ll scoff at a bartender who offers one. So, with all of this information readily available, why do bars still do it? Most people on the planet see it as the best way to get beer into the gullet. The public wants it – the market offers it. It’s just that simple.

At the end of the day, who cares? You do you. If you find yourself rollin’ in a 5.0 with the ragtop down so your hair can blow and need a super cold beer in a frozen mug? Have at it! You deserve that flat, flavorless, ice cube called American Mainstream Light Lager!

Word to your mother.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Yes … even amid all the Corona-chaos that has caused the world to grind to a halt, breweries are still pushing out new releases. We got our hands on two of those recently and want to get you the details so that you can run out and stock the shelves. (Yes, it’s still legal to visit breweries which have been deemed essential services.)

On April 2nd at 10:31 am, Pontoon Brewing put up a Facebook post, announcing a new beer called Grand Theft Otter. If you’ve followed Pontoon at all, you have probably seen beers referring to otters and/or beers with Otter in the title. Again, this latest one was announced at 10:31 am. I know a guy (ok, it was me) who immediately saw it, ordered it online, and was at the brewery receiving my fresh new delivery at curbside from Tom. (And I scored some brewery-made hand sanitizer to boot.) Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

GTO is a double New England IPA that’s later double dry-hopped with Citra, Cashmere, and Centennial hops. So, yes, it’s a DDH DNEIPA. I don’t know if I’m sad or proud that I know what all that means. I’ll admit that I had high hopes for this one, basically because it was from Pontoon and they can do no wrong. At first sip, I was disappointed, and I can’t tell you why. The flavor just had something that was off-putting. I kept going, fighting the good fight, and something interesting happened. It grew on me … pretty quickly, For the same reason that I recommend not giving an Untappd rating until after 3-4 sips, this beer absolutely got better with each sip. The flavors are pretty intense – the hop bitterness is mostly covered with the citrus, but it’s still there more than more NEIPAs you’ve had. That may have been what threw me off in the beginning. But give it a few sips, and I think you’ll find that it balances really well and packs a pretty good punch too!

 

At about the same time, Reformation released a beer in collaboration with Variant and Sprayberry Bottle Shop. Drink Well with Others is the third in a series of beers dedicated to giving to charitable causes. The first two were for Sporty Girl and World Adoption Day – but V3 is for a cause that hits way closer to home. As we’ve previously discussed, the Covid-19 hysteria has the potential to be economically devastating for brewery workers. Proceeds from this beer will go to support a GoFundMe campaign for Reformation’s furloughed and out-of-work staff. Fantastic cause … rock-star level beer. Think pineapple + vanilla and don’t think about anything else. Described as a Pineapple Milkshake IPA with “insane amounts of fresh Madagascar Vanilla beans, Sabro & Strata hops, and lactose,” this one walks, talks, and acts exactly like you’d think based on that description. If you don’t like pineapple, just walk away. If you do, buckle up and have a field day! This is insanely and maybe even frighteningly drinkable – at north of 7%, it could cause some blurry vision. Delicioud beer + great cause = victory.

 

Thank you to all the local craft breweries that are still working everyday to make OUR days a little better. We salute you!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Enough has been written about it …
All the cliches have been over cliched …
We all  know that we’re unprecedented times and that the ripple effects and long-term repercussions will go way beyond what we could currently envision.  I mean, if I would have told you 6 months ago that all sports would be cancelled or postponed and we’d be in a police-state lockdown emergency, you’d have assumed that I had been way too deep in the beer. But that’s where we find ourselves. At least we have this: breweries have been deemed essential services so that we can maintain our sanity.

And that’s what today’s post is all about. It’s vital, now more than ever, to support your local breweries. My brother-in-law and I have turned Saturdays into “let’s see how many different breweries we can visit” days. Last Saturday – there were three. Yesterday, we hit four more. The challenge is on – how many will you visit this week?*** Something feels great about visiting and supporting local businesses. And the staff is always SO thankful. I can talk for days about drinking craft beer versus the mass-produced stuff I usually rail against. But let’s get into some deeper reasoning here. I give you the top 5 reasons to drink local, especially now.

  1. Your local craft brewery is not flush with wads and truckloads of cash. They operate on pretty thin margins, which means that major economic chaos (kinda like this whole Corona thing) could have devastating consequences to your local watering hole. You love your local brewery. So do I. Now close your eyes, and imagine that it has been boarded up. That IPA or amber that you loved is now just a memory. The good times playing cornhole in the parking lot or just discussing beer at the bar … all long gone. This isn’t some kinda-sorta-maybe-potential future. It’s a realistic concern and something that we can help mitigate. I am certain that AB-InBev and Molson Coors can weather this storm … so let’s work to bring the craft guys through, too.
  2. These are your neighbors. I’m not talking about the building – I mean the people working there. Again … close your eyes. Think about your favorite local brewery. If you’re like me, there are people working there that you recognize. The same amazing and friendly faces that you see day-after-day, week-over-week. They’re likely either on the doorstep of being laid off or are in very a dire financial situation because their income has been severely diminished. Every visit to a local brewery helps them. You have a choice – help them remain at the brewery, serving the community, or you can envision them waiting in the unemployment line.
  3. They’re working their tails off for us. Most breweries have turned to online sales and curbside delivery. These businesses have 100% shifted their operations in a way to 1) stay afloat and 2) still get delicious craft beer in your hands. Watching these people that I know walk to my car curbside, wearing gloves and masks, to deliver beer is very humbling to me. They’re serving and working extremely hard. I feel like I owe it to them to continue supporting them and telling as many people as I can to do the same.
  4. They’re not ceasing to innovate. I’ve visited a LOT of breweries in the last week. My bride may tell you that it’s because I’m rapidly emptying the beer fridge because of three kids locked in the house with no end in sight. (She’s right, by the way.) But it’s also because these breweries are still working on new flavors and dropping fun new releases. Some might think a business would circle the wagons and go uber-conservative now. So many breweries are being bold and innovative in the midst of the crisis, and it’s awesome! (More to come in a future post.)
  5. The beer is delicious. That is all.

Go. Yes, in most places it’s still legal. Go and visit a brewery. Buy a 6-pack or three. And if you can’t do that, go online and buy a gift card for future use. Get a shirt, a glass, a frisbie … just do what you can to support them. And make sure you tip BIG. Remember, tips can be a decent portion of the income for your friendly neighborhood brewery worker. I’m going with no less than 25% … will you do the same?

 

 

*** Just for fun. Since the ‘Rona hit us, I’ve visited Pontoon (twice), Burnt Hickory, Glover Park, Schoolhouse, Cherry Street (Halcyon), Jekyll, Currahee, and Reformation.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

I’m going to contradict myself in this post … more on that in a minute.

It’s just beer, people. As you may know, I was on the scene for the Pontoon/ Sprayberry Rainbow Smiggles release on Friday. It was a vibrant scene, and I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect, in terms of lines and crowds … and crowd management. The doors were set to open at 5pm, and although I knew a line would form in advance, I didn’t know how long it would be. I got there at 4:45, in no way expecting to be near the front. Surely enough, I was +/- 100 people back. The doors eventually opened and the line started crawling forward. With a four 4-pack max, I assumed it would be a pretty smooth affair. (Somewhat complicating things was the addition of 2 additional bottles for purchase along with the removal of an additional special can release. Consumers were probably trying to figure out what they could buy and what was no longer available.) Regardless, as I got about 10 people from the counter, it was announced that it was now a one 4-pack maximum per person. To say that there was frustration and disappointment in the crowd doesn’t quite capture the emotion. I was able (as a somewhat rational adult) to understand the situation, process my emotions and go on about my day. As I left the brewery with my bottles and singular 4-pack, I saw people still in line, red-faced screaming at staff at being unprofessional, unprepared, etc. He was close to stroke levels of stress and anger … over a beer. And I couldn’t help but think, it’s just beer.

Fast forward to yesterday when my friend CH sent me this article. The short version … people were camping out for a special beer release at Other Half Brewing in New York. A man and his date stumbled by and starting yelling at craft beer snobs for being so ridiculous as to camp out for a beer. (Note: please read the article; the comedy inside is phenomenal. Example: the belligerent started pelting the campers with cans of White Claw. Hence the title of this post.) The story culminates with the couple getting a gun from their residence and threatening to put a Glock in someone’s mouth.

via GIPHY

Again … it’s just beer, people. Losing your mind because you don’t get enough of the special release or assaulting people because you disagree with their beverage choices … is it really worth it? And now for the contradiction I mentioned earlier. It’s all about context. A few years ago, I was with a few friends at a very well-known craft brewery in Chicago. We were poring over their impressive and extensive draft selections. I couldn’t decide what my 4th beer was going to be, and the server said (and I quote), “Dude, it’s just beer. Pick one.” I’m sorry, but what?? I agree with that concept if someone is losing their mind and fails to know how to act like a human being over beer, but to tell me I should just pick any beer when trying to put my flight together – fine, just give me a Zima Gold. Again … it’s all about context. Had I been pitching a full-on tantrum over an empty keg, I would have deserved the “Dude, it’s just beer.” But deciding between a quad and a barleywine as my flight finisher is a real head-scratcher!

 

Bottom line here … it’s all about context. I mean, it’s just beer, except when it isn’t.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington
Smiggles Can Art
The bunny has been overserved

There’s hype and then there’s hype.

I’m not referring to run-of-the-mill, buzz around town in the beer snob circles hype. And this isn’t even a FOMO/ need to make sure I’m in line to get a taste hype. I’m talking Atlas lets the Earth fall off his shoulders – construction on 285 halts – cats and dogs living together – outright hysteria.

So, what’s causing all the buzz? A beer from Pontoon called Rainbow Smiggles. Fun to say, and creating a buzz that I don’t recall ever seeing for a beer that no one has ever tasted. This is such an unknown quantity, and yet Fortune, MSN, CBS46, and a bajillion other global media outlets continue to report on it. There are two ways to look at this: the glass half empty guy says, “You better deliver with something phenomenal or it’s going to be a big bust.” The glass half full guy will say that the publicity is a one-of-a-kind ride, and we should all hop on.

Your intrepid neighborhood beerblogger went to the release party at 5pm today. Put me in the bucket of ‘glass half full.’ Wait – just put me in a bucket of this amazingly unique and fabulous brew. This collaboration between Pontoon and Sprayberry Bottle Shop brought the masses: lines of people clamoring for a drop, a swig, or as many 4-packs as they’d sell of this magic-in-a-glass. It’s a Berliner-Weisse brewed with … wait for it … 100+ boxes of Trix cereal and over 300 pounds of Skittles. The can art of a Trix-style white rabbit vomiting a rainbow into a brewing tank tells you what to expect. They added a Uhaul full of strawberries, pineapples, vanilla, and lactose to the brew, too.

What’s the result? Yes, please. Glass half full means, please fill it to the rim again. And again. And then maybe again again. It’s a Berliner, as previously mentioned, so it has the tart flavors. (This is when you say, “Well, duh. It has metric ton of Skittles in it.”) Berliners are tart to begin with, and then adding Skittles and the fruit have potential to put it over the top. Ahhhh, but that’s where the sweetness of the Trix, and smoothness from vanilla and lactose counter-balance the tart. It can be a very delicate process (aka trial and error) to try to hit that right balance. Too much in either direction and you’re either drinking lemon rind or a strawberry milkshake. This one tiptoes on that line and delivers a fantastic beer, and I know it sounds of but the purple Skittle is the strongest flavor.

I’d say more, but let’s leave it to Brij Patel, head dude at Georgia’s #1 bottle shop, Sprayberry, “The best thing about our industry now, is that we are willing to push the limits and come up with the most creative beer possible. The best thing about partnering with Pontoon is that they are always willing to push the boundaries. There is a reason they were rated the best new brewery last year in the state of Georgia.” Couldn’t agree more; Pontoon has been killing it with sours recently, especially with stuff like Fruit Cup Vol. 1, Double Cup Purple Stuff, and Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries.

This is the ultimate while supplies last moment, but get in your car and go to Sprayberry (because Pontoon already sold out) and load up on the Smiggles. Tonight, you’ll taste the rainbow!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

Close your eyes, and let’s take a trip back in time. (Figuratively close your eyes, or get someone to read this to you.)

You’re 10 years old … it’s the middle of summer, and you’re playing outside with a gaggle of friends. Tag, hide & seek, running through the sprinkler. You’re happy; you’re carefree; and you don’t even notice that the heat is suffocating. The only concern you have is the internal struggle of not wanting today to end versus excitement over what tomorrow will bring. And then … those magic words from your mom …

I’ve got ice cream!!

But it wasn’t just ice cream – it was an orange creamsicle. It was orange, but it was sweet and creamy. Yes, it melted off the stick and onto your hand … but that was part of the fun. Yes, you’d be a sticky mess as a result, but that was part of summer. Can you taste it? Do you remember those times in the yard with your friends? This beer will take you back to the exact same place.

We’ve written about Wild Leap several times. From sours and hazy IPAs to stouts and dessert beers, they’ve been knocking it out of the park for over two years now. First brewed in early 2019, WL’s original Truck Chaser was immediately a huge crowd favorite. They followed that success with a Strawberry Eclair version that was mostly well-received, but had many people thinking that the original was better. Fast forward to early 2020 and Wild Leap brought back the Orange Creamsicle version.

Let’s go back to our time machine. Eating that orange creamsicle in the yard … what did you taste? Sweetness – orange – creaminess. All good things. And all of those are there when you take a sip of Truck Chaser Orange Creamsicle Double IPA (and some vanilla beans for fun, too). Wait … what? This sweet, creamy, citrusy beer is a DOUBLE IPA?!? Yes, yes it is. This ain’t your daddy’s IPA … tasting faintly of pine resin. This is a fabulously well-balanced and sinfully delicious beer.

From CEO/ Founder Anthony Rodriguez: “We’ve had so much fun creating this beer and fine-tuning the blend of hops and creamy milkshake flavor. We’re excited it’s back and we can’t wait to share what we’ve got in store for 2020.”

We can’t wait either, Mr. Rodriguez.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

This coming Monday is the big day. Well, it’s actually the tenth big day. More on that in a minute.
Updated. Information on Alpha Abstraction X is at the end of the post.

It has been very well-documented that Wild Leap in LaGrange continues to churn out amazing beers. Voted best new brewery in the country, they don’t just specialize in one style of beer. You want something sour? Done. Feeling like you want to go dark and heavy? They have you covered. Need a lawnmower beer after that workout? They’re your huckleberry.

But they probably have gained more acclaim and praise over the Alpha Abstraction series. Wild Leap first burst onto the scene with Alpha Abstraction Volume 1 in June 2018. It was an absolute home run, and so the series has continued. Every version, if I recall correctly, has clocked in at exactly 8% ABV. Always double dry-hopped, but always with a different hop or combination of hops.

Well, the tenth version of Alpha Abstraction will be released on Monday. Early social media teases make it seem as though it will simply be called ‘X’. In an effort to keep thing straight, I decided to list the nine previous versions, and which hops they featured. And I added a brief description of the flavor profile of each of those hops as well. As soon as details on X are released, I’ll update this post with the latest …

 

Volume 1: A combination of Loral and Citra hops

Loral – Mostly known for carrying lemony-citrus flavors and aromas, it also adds a floral and sometimes peppery character.

Citra – Citra has a pretty wide array, most notably citrus flavors (obviously), like lime, grapefruit, and orange.

Volume 2: Citra and Galaxy hops

(Note, the next seven versions feature a singular hop, instead of Citra plus a second one.)

Galaxy – Galaxy brings straight fruit flavors – nothing bitter or pine tree-esque. Think citrus, pineapple, tropical fruit.

Volume 3: Mosaic

Mosaic is all over the map, depending on how and when it’s used in the process. Some say that Galaxy brings in berry flavors or even sweeter notes, like bubblegum. Others will argue that Galaxy can be grassy or piney, with a little bit of peppery spice.

Volume 4: Denali

Denali has four main flavors … pineapple, citrus, pineapple, and more citrus. That’s it.

Volume 5: Nelson Sauvin

A newer varietal, this hop has some crisp white wine characteristics – with hints of apricot and mango.

Volume 6: Lotus

This was an experimental hop without a real name when Wild Leap chose it. Now known as Lotus, this hop has a phenomenal combination of tropical fruit, vanilla, and orange.

Volume 7: Barbe Rouge

Developed in the Alsace region of France, Barbe Rouge takes the rouge to heart, bringing aromas and flavors or red currant, strawberry, and raspberry into dance with the tropical fruit flavors.

Volume 8: Enigma

Somewhat like Mosaic, Enigma hops can take on a wide variety of flavors, depending on a lot of factors. This Australian hop serves a chameleon role in the brewing process and can be heavier (red currant and raspberry) or lighter/ crisper (pinto gris and tropical fruit.)

Volume 9: Michigan Chinook

These fellas can bring the heat – both with some spice and some smoky/ piney flavors. They can be aggressive when overused, but also bring a distinct grapefruit flavor when done properly.

Volume X: Strata and Cashmere

UPDATE

On Monday, December 9, Wild Leap announced that AA X will be available next week and features Strata and Cashmere hops.

Strata – I’ve heard these described as ‘passion fruit pot.’ On the fruit side, you’ll get some mango and passion fruit, with a little grapefruit mixed in. On the other side, well … you know. There’s going to be a hint of cannabis, for those of you who know what that might taste like.

Cashmere – Cashmere can bring in notes of coconut, melon, and grapefruit, but can also a coriander aroma. This one tends to be a little more delicate, so it will be interesting to see how this pairs with the Strata flavors. I cannot wait to try this one!

Cheers!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

It’s that time of year again: it’s time to mortgage our vital organs and children’s’ futures so that we can find the biggest, baddest, bestest deals on the latest in consumer goods. Black Friday will be here in just a few days. And I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been there. Yes – I have camped out at Target to make sure I was in the door at midnight to save $11 on the ‘it’ toy of the year. And with the way people treat each other inside those stores, I’d rather become a hermit and never see the light of day again.

But, I bring to you today a new version of Black Friday specials … brewery specials. Below are some of the Atlanta-area breweries that are either opening their doors super early on Friday, releasing special beers, or offering other specials. Sure, you can go and sit in traffic at 4am to duke it out at the outlet mall for a parking spot, so that you can to arm-wrestle over the last piece of discounted Fisher-Price platic; or you can saddle up at one of the city’s finest watering holes for some delicious beer. I’ll let you choose …

Black Friday Beer Specials!

(note: not meant to be a comprehensive list. If there’s something you think I should add, leave it in the comments below.)

Dry County Brewing

  • Open time: 5-10 am; 4-12 pm
  • New release: Mint Chocolate Stout
  • Also on tap: Old 41, Gourd 41, KBA, Barrel-Aged Quad and More
  • Live Music: Steven Brooks Band
  • Food Truck: Joella’s Hot Chicken

 

Creature Comforts

CCBC has created a new event for this year, special re-releases of a ton of special beers. And they’re adding a few new ones too. Head by if you’re interested in finding some bottles of:

  • Concurrence Blend (#1-4)
  • Subtle Alchemy Blend (#1-3)
  • The Curious #14 and #15
  • Many, many others

Live music from True Born Sons & the Lucky Jones.

 

Cherry Street Brewing

Cherry Street is back again with their Kegs N Eggs Black Friday event.

  • Bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary bar? Check.
  • Live music? Check.
  • Breakfast buffet with classic Southern favorites? Check.
  • Holiday beers tapping at 9:30 am? YES!

 

Reformation Brewery

Reformation will open Friday morning at 6am and will have breakfast available from the Maple Street Biscuit Company.

Other than offering discounts on swag, Reformation and will also be busting out some vintage bourbon barrel-aged Jude and some Pinot-aged Cadence. Color me there! First come, first served.

 

Scofflaw Brewing

Go big or go home. Scofflaw is crushing the Black Friday world with a six-bottle Absentium release. Available this Friday:

  • Cognac Barrel Aged Absentium Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Absentium Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Vanilla Absentium Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Coffee Absentium Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Hazelnut Absentium Stout
  • Rum Barrel Aged Coconut Absentium Stout

You can get a 6-pack or individual bottles. And I want all of them. ALL of them.

 

Pontoon Brewing

And it wouldn’t be Black Friday if there wasn’t someone ready to start the fun on Thursday night. Pontoon did a collab with Variant, Gate City, and Sprayberry Bottle Shop. It was a stupid-good Imperial Milk Stout that came out about a year ago. And now it’s back!  This one is a must-have and Pontoon will open at 9pm Thursday night, releasing this monster into the wild. This year, it’s coming in two versions:

🍫Mexi-Cocoa – Peruvian chocolate, Vietnamese cinnamon bark & Madagascar vanilla caviar
🌰Rocky Road – Peruvian chocolate, toasted marshmallow & almonds and Madagascar vanilla caviar.

Translation? Yes, please.

 

Of course, there are plenty of other specials from breweries and pubs all over the city. Feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comments below. And I’ll see you out there on Friday!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

As my friend Daniel put it … it pays to go to beer festivals. Back in the spring, we wrote about going to the Roswell Beer Festival. While there, other than having an otherworldly great time, we also met some fantastic people, in particular the gang from Pontoon Brewing. We hit it off, and they invited Russ and me back to Pontoon for a ‘tasting panel’ a few days later. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we were in. Here’s the short version … breweries will sometimes invite friends from other breweries, growler shop owners, industry experts, and beer media (that’s us!) to a special private tasting of some select beers. It’s usually to get honest feedback on the beer, either what to do differently on a pilot batch of beer; or what to consider for future versions of beer that will soon be out in the wild. Bonus … they had a chef come in and create food pairings for each of the four beers. Rock star status achieved.

Fast forward to this week, they had me back again. THIS time, we were tasting three beers that will be released this week and one pilot batch that is just in testing mode right now. It’s a seasonal that will hopefully come out later this year. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to try several beers before they’re even released. So, here ya go. A quick review of the three beers to be released this week and then the one that will hopefully emerge later in the year.

L-R … Belgian Tripel, Hazenado, Snozz Crumble, Fluffier Otter.
Chicken/gouda skewers, chocolate puff pastry, bacon-wrapped pork w/ cherry coulis, meatballs

Belgian Tripel

I’ve really become a sucker for a good tripel recently, and this one didn’t disappoint. It was a little boozy (9.5% really came through) and slightly syrupy to me, but the flavor was on point. I am certain that there will be some tweaks before this becomes available later this year. Really, really, really can’t wait.

Hazenado

It’s a Double IPA (DIPA) brewed with lactose and vanilla. The lactose, as expected, brought a creamy smoothness to it. Combined with a beautiful nose of pineapple (at least that’s what I got), this is a total home run. The flavor was an intoxicating mixture of milkshake and mild bitterness, very nicely counterbalanced with the sweet citrus from the hops. Yeah, I’ll be back later this week to have this one again.

Snozz Crumble

Pontoon has had a lot of success with a line of tart-creamy Berliner Weisse beers called, “Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries.” (Mad kudos on the reference there.) They took one of them for a ride with the Snozz Crumble, adding a pastry/cinnamon flavor to it. This had a very crisp mouthfeel, and was slightly more sour than I typically like. It has an absolutely stunning color to it and will be sure to be a hit with the sour drinkers out there.

Fluffier Otter

Again, Pontoon has resurrected a former favorite and transformed it into something new. The original, Fluffy Otter, is an oatmeal creme stout and is my favorite Pontoon beer ever. Basically, it’s a S’more in stout form. Now … add peanut butter. Fluffier Otter is an old school fluffernutter sandwich in a 9% abv stout. I almost didn’t want to drink it because it just smelled SO GOOD.

 

Again, Hazenado, Snozz Crumble, and Fluffier Otter will all be available this week! One is being released each of the next three days … check their site to see which one is dropping when. And then GO!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington