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
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

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

Frequent visitors to BGB will certainly know that we don’t always celebrate beer from our industry’s massive brewing conglomerates. But we also know and understand that we need to give credit where credit is due. Bud Light (and Ab-InBev) received a lot of publicity for their “No Corn Syrup Added” campaign first unveiled during the Super Bowl. On the other hand, the nation’s corn farmers fired back with a salvo of criticism directed at the brewing giant.

Today, AB-InBev announced their version of an olive branch. We received an advance 6-pack of a clever new beer … Bud Light Corn. It’s a compromise of sorts, while attempting to appease the corn lobby by making a corn-based beer, ABIB is sticking to their guns and somehow brewing this beer without adding corn syrup. A crazy feat of brewing ingenuity! And now for the beer review …

The taste is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. It’s a delicious and intoxicating combination of flavors. Think creamed corn mixed with a flavorless bubbly yellow liquid. Crazy levels of sweetness from the corn, mixed with … basically no flavor from the beer … combines to really send a shock to the system. And weighing in a 2.3% ABV with zero IBUs, it’s really crushable. You can drink these all day long and not feel a thing! And, in an interesting subplot, corn carries a massive amount of carbs. Take THAT, all you Mic Ultra-loving freaks!

 

Here’s to you Ab-InBev. Kudos for heeding the call of the masses, creating a beer that appeases your detractors while still holding true to your roots – providing America with a flavorless liquid masquerading as beer.

Stay tuned as we preview some more new releases in the coming weeks, as AB-InBev and Miller Coors try to reach new audiences:

  • Miller HighER Life. Now made with real Cannabis Oil!
  • Mic Ultra Peach Mango Salsa. Muy caliente!
  • Coors Light Buffalo-Blue Cheese. Maybe it will finally have some flavor …

 

 

And oh by the way. If you haven’t figured it out already, Happy April Fools Day!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

“There’s a new brewery opening, you wanna go?”

For me, that is like a kid hearing “Hey, they are giving out free candy, you want some?”

I am always up for visiting a new brewery as I can’t wait to experience the vibe. Steady Hand has been gypsy brewing for a couple of years, so hearing they were going to get their own space was pretty exciting. The fact they chose one of the fastest growing areas of Atlanta shows that they truly want to make an impact on the ATL brewery scene, and the opening day crowd definitely showed them the love.

The new brewery is located off Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard on Atlanta’s up and coming westside, just across the street from Top Golf (beer and ball striking…sounds good to me!). The space that Kevin & Brian Sullivan found works perfectly, with large open spaces and a bar that rivals almost any taproom. There is also plenty of outdoor space and I can see this place being perfect for corporate rentals or social events. During the opening they had a fun tribute band playing (Skyballs) and the crowd was soaking up the atmosphere. Speaking of the crowd, they managed to keep a diverse group of attendees happy with activities both inside and out. There were families there with young children, twenty somethings looking for a fun afternoon and ‘older’ folks (hey, I almost qualify) just taking it all in.

Wait…I got so engrossed in the vibe I haven’t talked about the beer! They had eleven brews on the board, with truly something for everyone. From the 5.3% Some Recklessness Pale Ale to the 9% Nitro Irish Coffee Stout, they truly covered the range of flavor profiles with a couple of fun surprises along the way. Talking to several of the attendees the Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale was a definite winner and the Tangerine variant of their Flower Business DIPA might have been the show stopper. I personally thought the Future Mind Porter was the champion for my taste buds, but as always…results may vary with yours. 😊

 

Beer Thoughts:

Some Recklessness Pale Ale – Easy drinker. Great porch peer and would pair nicely with the cornhole offered at Steady Hand.

Searching for Gold Farmhouse Ale – Smooth. Great beer for spring for sure.

Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale – Okay, this was surprising. Didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, and my wife loved it. Winner Winner.

Flower Business DIPA – Great DIPA with a very sly 9% that sneaks up on you

Tangerine Flower Business – Yum. Yum. Yum. If this wasn’t 9%, I could drink a case of it.

Paradise Waits IPA – Not my favorite of theirs, but the hopheads seemed to love it.

Future Mind Porter – I gave this one the gold medal for the day. Rich, roasty and everything a porter should be. ON my next visit I will be looking for it!

I had a few minutes to chat with Steady Hand co-founder Kevin Sullivan about what they have created, and you could tell he was very proud of both the beer and the setting. He said they wanted to create a place that everyone could enjoy themselves and keep making good beer. They are operating a 30-barrel system with plenty of room for expansion, and he hope that they can just “keep this going and continue to expand”.

With what I saw and tasted, it’s apparent that Steady Hand has landed with quite the impact on the Georgia craft brewing scene and I’m looking forward to my next visit and I’ll be dragging Mike along too.

(photo creds go to my wife Tracey!)

Russ Webb by Russ Webb

I’m smarter than I look. I know … it’s not a difficult task, but it’s true nonetheless. How do I know that I am? Let me tell you a story. I recently was planning a trip out of town for a work conference. It would be about a 5-6 hour drive to get there, and I had to be there at 10:30 in the morning. Naturally, I decided to go up the night before to maintain some level of sanity and to avoid dozing off on the windy mountain roads. In checking my trusty map (aka, Google) I saw that the most direct route from home to conference would send me through, wait for it, Asheville, NC. I’m going to allow you to put 2 and 2 together to find the happy conclusion on this little story.

My planning, plotting, and scheming led to a relatively impromptu and far-too-brief visit to Asheville … basically the Beer Mecca of the Southeast. I knew I wanted to visit the Sierra Nevada facility (fantastic visit) and then 2-3 other breweries downtown. In some of my Facebook beer snob groups, I have heard many people praising certain breweries in the downtown area., and I have a few of my own as well.  In the interest of time, I narrowed it down to two: Burial and Green Man.  I was about halfway to Green Man, when I spotted the logo of another highly recommended brewery on my way! It was an image of a bee buzzing around a hop … representing Bhramari Brewing Company. Super pumped, I stopped in, and I could not be any happier about making that decision!

Rock on, rock star

The dude at the bar was super fun … equal parts laid-back and very excited to talk about their beer. It’s EXACTLY what everyone should be when working at a brewery. He chatted when it was time to chat, talked beer when he could tell I wanted to, left people alone when they just wanted a quiet pint. Dude was on point. Also, he’s pretty awesome with a photobomb  —–>
I ordered a flight, and generally liked everything, especially two of them. ONE of those two is the subject of this review. All the Boys is a series of Milkshake IPAs from Bhramari. The first was released in August 2017 and was brewed with Mango and Lychee. The second one came out in February of this year, featuring guava and graham crackers. 😳 This THIRD version had only been available for a few days when I got there: All the Boys Volume 3 is brewed with passionfruit and dragonfruit. This beer is PINK. And I don’t mean, it looks like a standard, regular beer with some light pink undertones. It’s straight Kool-aid pink. But do NOT let that throw you off. This is a legit IPA, weighing in at 7% abv.

Did I mention that it was PINK?

Milkshake IPAs, if you’re not familiar with the concept, are IPAs brewed with lactose. That lactose brings a very smooth texture, reduces a bunch of the bitterness, and gives the beer a slightly thicker mouthfeel. Describing a beer using the word ‘milkshake’ can be disconcerting for some, but I implore you to give it a whirl – it’s worth it. All the Boys 3 has a nice sweet nose, with slight hints of hoppiness – definitely fruit-forward. The taste is almost surreal. Yes, the fruit comes through immediately; but it’s married so nicely with the bitterness from the hops. Some beers have flavors that come in different stages. But this one had such a great consistent flavor throughout the sip. Sweet, balanced with slight bitterness (IBU is only at 30) and consistency throughout … all finishing with a slightly dry taste. This beer is dangerous.

The vibe in this place was awesome. The food looked outstanding. The staff was exactly what I wanted. The beer was all VERY good and in many cases, different from what you’ll find elsewhere. This place is a must if you’re in Asheville. Yes … I still love Sierra and Green Man and Burial and Wedge. But Bhramari has moved to the top of my “must-see” list for anyone going to Asheville.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

One of my favorite songs from my favorite band (U2) is called “Every Breaking Wave.” I’m sure that there are numerous interpretations as to the true meaning of the lyrics, but I take it to mean that people should stop running to the next big thing/ next big idea as soon as it surfaces. It seems as though each day brings a new “best idea ever” and minions run to it as quickly as they can. As the song states, each breaking wave means that there will be more.

I give that preamble to say that I’m not usually prone to run after every breaking beer wave. The greatest beer in the history of mankind is being released every single day. And people scurry like crazy to wait in line for hours because they HAVE to have it. One on hand, I get it. The FOMO mentality drives people to do crazy things in order to experience that beer. And I have felt those pangs of remorse as I know I missing a special barrel-aged release of one of my favorites. But I also can understand the general public’s perception that we’re all lunatics. Someone finds the new ‘it’ beer, and legions of people crash every local package store to find any hidden morsel.

And today, I’m writing a review on one of those beers. 😳

Wild Leap is a relatively new brewery in LaGrange, GA.  Just 13 months old, they are already creating some breaking wave beers! In June of this year, they released a limited run of a Double IPA called Alpha Abstraction. Reviews were off the charts and people began chasing the wave to find AA wherever they could. Brewed with a combination of Loral and Citra hops, it tiptoed the line between bitter and citrus-y sweet; and for many, it found a great balance. Fast-forward to August, and Wild Leap released Alpha Abstraction Vol. 2 … with an altered hop profile (Galaxy replaced Loral). Again, the juicy/hazy IPA-loving public went nuts.

And now, it’s time for … you guessed it … Volume 3. For this go-round, Wild Leap features Mosaic hops, which bring different aromas and flavors into play. This one has much more of a tropical feel … think mangos and grapefruit. It’s a beautiful beer, and it has very, very powerful and pronounced notes on the nose. It’s a fantastic attack on the senses, and then it leads into … bliss. The mouthfeel is tremendous: it’s somehow smooth and somewhat tingly at the same time. Tingly may not be a word, but you get what I mean. You can taste those Mosaic hops, but not in an “I just drank a pine tree” bitter sort of way. (That’s what dry-hopping does kids; it brings the aroma and flavor out of the hops without introducing too much bitterness.) The tropical fruit sweetness, mixed with slight bitterness from the hops … it’s exceptionally well done. As my Untappd review says, this may be the best IPA I’ve ever had.

I’m warning you. This beer is dangerous. All of the Alpha Abstraction beers have weighed in at 8% alcohol but only 35 IBUs, insanely low for a Double IPA. Maybe I need to start chasing more of those breaking waves!

Bonus points. The quote on the side of the can could NOT be more perfect for this blog!

Comment below with the beers you want us to review next!

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington

FOOTBALL season is finally back! The long, nasty annual drought of nothing but baseball is finally done, and we get to return to the world’s greatest sports season … football! And, as a Facebook friend of mine recently put it, we now get to start referring to each other as tailgaters instead of alcoholics.

And that brings us to today’s post. As we begin stocking up on beer for our favorite tailgate, the question becomes, “What should I get?” Instead of stocking up on cases of Costco Kirkland’s Signature Light Beer (because it’s cheap and super light), can’t we spend a little bit more and still get something with nice flavor, but that isn’t too heavy? I mean, I love a quad, stout, or amber before just about any other style. But the thought of an all-day Dragon’s Milk binge in 90+ degree Atlanta heat is NOT a pleasant one. Tailgating in the south, especially early in the season, requires a little more work. So, without further preamble, what are some beers we can find in Georgia that will both taste fantastic, but will allow us to enjoy them throughout the day?

This is NOT meant to be a comprehensive list. This list is supposed to include beers that are …
1. Lower in ABV
2. Findable (not picking something that’s only available in crowlers in Indiana)
3. Not ‘heavy’, so you can have more than 2 and not feel like you have to waddle into the game.

In no particular order (with ABV)…

  • Burnt Hickory (Kennesaw) The Revival Lager (5%)
  • Wild Leap (LaGrange) Local Gold Blonde Ale (5.4%)
  • Service (Savannah)
    • Rally Point Pilsner (4.6%)
    • Ground Pounder Pale Ale (4.6%)
  • Creature Comforts (Athens)
    • Bibo Pilsner (5.5%)
    • Automatic Pale Ale (5.2%)
  • Reformation (Woodstock) Haddy Witbier (4.8%)
  • Pontoon (Sandy Springs) Hazy River India Pale Lager (5.5%)
  • Red Hare (Marietta) Long Day Lager (4.98%)
  • Grumpy Old Men (Blue Ridge) Moon Over Blue Ridge Pale Wheat Ale (5.7%)
  • Gate City (Roswell) 20 Grand Cream Ale (4.7%)
  • Jailhouse (Hampton) Federale Mexican-style Lager (4.95%)
  • Jekyll (Alpharetta) American Lager (4.6%)
  • Cherry Street (Cumming) Hammered Monkey Hefeweizen (5.5%)
  • Macon  (Macon) Love Cherry Beer (5%)
  • Left Nut (Gainesville) Lappland Blonde Ale (4.5%)
  • Red Brick (Atlanta) Hibiscuwit Witbier (5%)
  • Orpheus (Atlanta) Serpent Bite Sour (6%)
  • Wild Heaven (Avondale Estates) White Blackbird Saison (6%)
  • Monday Night (Atlanta) I’m On a Boat (4.8%)

What am I missing? What’s your go-to tailgating beer? Oh, and did you notice? These breweries are from all over the state! It’s a great time to be alive!!

Happy tailgating everyone! And may the hops be ever in your favor.

Mike Pennington by Mike Pennington