The stouts and porters are looking less inviting as the weather warms, and local and national breweries are rolling out their spring offerings. Here are a few new varieties to look for on the shelves and some upcoming beer events to help you celebrate the retreat of Old Man Winter (such as he manifests himself here in the Deep South).
Terrapin Beer Company is comfortably ensconced in its new brewery in Athens and is rolling out the spring seasonal in its Monster Beer Tour, the Rye Squared. This is a strong (8.5 percent), double-IPA-style beer similar to the Big Hoppy Monster, but with more of a grapefruitlike hop character and the added spiciness of rye malt. The new facility is also giving head brewer Spike Buckowski the ability to crank out a series of one-off, experimental beers that he has dubbed Side Project. These beers will be available in limited quantities in 22-ounce bomber bottles. Buckowski is shooting his hop wad on the first beer in the series, dubbed Hop Shortage, his way of thumbing his nose at the current shortage of the precious humulus lupulus buds. Look for it at the end of March, to be followed by other unique concoctions.
Five Seasons in Alpharetta currently has a full slate of house-made beers, most of which have been in rotation at one time or another. The second in the rarely seen serenade series is the Dark Star Stout, which presumably benefitted from Grateful Dead tunes being played for it in the fermenter. If it were wine, it would undoubtedly be "jammy." A new offering is the Saison duBob, a tribute to AJC beer writer Bob Townsend. Brewed in the style of Belgian/French farmhouse ales, it features a complex yeast character and soft malts that complement the dry, crisp hops.
Two beer dinners of note next week: On Thursday, March 30, Food 101 in Sandy Springs hosts a beer dinner featuring Terrapin beers. Click here for a menu and call 404-497-9703 for reservations. If you are up for a little road trip to the mountains, on Friday, March 28, Altstadter Weinstube & Biergarten in Helen will be featuring the excellent beers from Kulmbacher, a brewery that merged four breweries in the Bavarian town of Kulmbach. Call the restaurant at 706-878-4090 for more details and to make reservations.
Sunday Sales Update
I never thought I would say these words, but "Hooray for Glenn Richardson!" On Friday, the cantankerous speaker of the House invoked the Wizard of Override on the issue of Sunday package sales of alcohol after Gov. Sonny Perdue started rattling his veto saber. The legislation to allow local-option referenda on Sunday sales took a new path last week when the House Regulated Industries Committee decided to attach the measure to Senate Bill 454, which would allow alcohol by the drink on Sunday at the new Gwinnett Braves stadium, as well as alcohol sales by limousine services.
Perdue has expressed support for S.B. 454 as originally presented, but has consistently rejected Sunday package sales. He was clearly miffed by the modification of the bill, which would force him to veto a sorely needed revenue generator for Gwinnett County's precarious adventure in minor league ball to remain consistent on the ban of Sunday sales. It also brought to light his duplicity on the topic of Sunday sales. Whatever sanctity of the Sabbath was preserved by the prohibition of Sunday sales is apparently thrown out the window when it comes to supporting sporting venues and other special interests. When it comes to allowing voters to decide whether they want Sunday sales, however, Perdue becomes the head of the nanny state he has consistently opposed.
Several legislators have gone on record as supporting Sunday sales, but haven't been allowed to vote for it thus far, with the bills consistently getting bottled up (so to speak) in committee because of the work of Perdue and his cronies. With the latest development, the bill may at least get to the floor for a vote, allowing voters the opportunity to see who supports their view.
To express your support for S.B. 454, go to the Sunday Sales Coalition's website, where you will find an e-mail generator that will quickly identify your representatives and send them a customized e-mail on the topic. If you haven't done so already, sign the online petition as well, which recently topped 50,000 signatures.