I tried to follow my own plan for the festival, starting out in the middle, then working my way around clockwise starting from the Savannah Distributing section. Unfortunately, there were so many good beers to sample, many of which I had not tried or had not tried in a long time, that I barely made it out of the middle by the time Kingsized took the stage and I took a little break.
After that, I managed to get to some of the offerings by Georgia Crown Distributing, like Brooklyn and Unibroue, before the beer started running out. No matter. I enjoyed several amazing brews, some of which cost $10 to $15 for a 750-ml bottle at the store, then capped it all off with an Oskar Blues Ten Fidy imperial stout at the Brick Store Pub. The perfect ending to a near perfect day.
Best of the Fest: Perhaps it is hops fatigue from all the double IPAs I have had lately, but malt-forward beers dominate my picks:
He’Brew Jewbelation 11 : “This one goes to 11.” Dark fruit, amazing aroma, complex, balanced. More complex than can be appreciated at a beer festival. Get it.
Avery Anniversary Ale 14 : Not to go overboard on kitchen-sink anniversary ales (we are reaching a point of ridiculousness here, aren’t we?), but like the Jewbelation. this is a wonderful, malty mess; quite enjoyable.
Liefman’s Goudenbond : Unique, funky malts and yeasts characterize this top-rated Flemish brown ale. Now available at the Brick Store Pub. Go.
Abbaye D’Aulne brune : Amazing malt aroma and flavor that is for all the world like baking brown bread. Spicy hops and clove balance it out. A rare treat.
Heavy Seas Winter Storm : It‘s the Beer Pick of the Week.
Beer Dinner News
The beer dinner scheduled for Oct. 29 at the 5th Earl Market in Decatur featuring beers from Avery Brewing Company has been cancelled. However, you might want to stop by Sunday 3-7 p.m. for an Allagash Brewing Company kick-off party to launch its introduction to Georgia. The White, Dubbel, Grand Cru, and Four beers will be featured.
If you are still yearning for a beer dinner to attend Monday night, The Glenwood in East Atlanta Village is sponsoring a groaning board of a feast (Oct. 29). This new restaurant and bar has a nice selection of beers in bottles and a few on tap. Their first beer dinner features four main courses of German-style food, an hors d’oeuvres course, and a dessert, all paired with German beers. The food includes rabbit and rye gnocchi with butternut squash, duck schnitzel with scalloped potatoes, and bone-in pork chop encrusted with pretzels and grain mustard. The beers include Schneider & Sons hefeweizen, Ayinger Celebrator dopplebock, three selections from Paulaner, and a Reissdorf kolsch. Tickets are $60 and include gratuity. Call 404-672-6066 to make your reservation.
Less than 10 tickets remain for the Twainapin joint beer dinner between Twain’s and Terrapin Beer Company as of this writing (Thursday, Oct. 25), so get them now before they are gone. The dinner will feature beer selections from both breweries, including a joint cask of honey porter brewed by Jordan Fleetwood from Twain’s and Spike Buckowski of Terrapin. Other special treats are planned as well, including casks of Terrapin Rye Squared Ale and Descent of Man Barrel-Aged Coffee Stout. The menu will include smoked prime rib, spicy boiled peanuts, Sweet Grass Dairy pecan-encrusted goat cheese, and autumn squash soup. Tickets are on sale at the bar at Twain’s for $50.
Other beer news
• The fourth annual Smyrna Hops & Barley Beer Tasting (who knew?) is Saturday, Nov. 3, from 1-6 p.m. at Smyrna Market Village. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the gate and only 3,000 will be sold. The event benefits the Owen T. Wheeler Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
• Last night the Alpharetta 5 Seasons had a special treat for its regular Thursday night cask tapping. A batch of pumpkin ale was added to an actual giant pumpkin, which served as the firkin for serving the finished beer. The farmer who grew the pumpkin was the honorary tapmaster. Head Brewer Crawford Moran stated unequivocally that this was a stunt, albeit a stupidly fun one. The Great Pumpkin Ale, featuring 80 lbs of roasted organic pumpkin, should be available from a regular tap starting next week, but you better hurry; only one 15-barrel batch was brewed, since pumpkin is a notoriously difficult brewing ingredient that clogs up the brewing equipment. “My normal brewing day is about 9 hours, but this one was about 16 hours,” Crawford said. Don’t let his hard work go to waste.
Talking Head columnist Jeff Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.