Sunday, September 13, 2009
Hotlanta and HolzBrew Happenings
During my stay in the glorious south I learned a few things. Chiefly, that Atlanta is a bad ass city for beer. I was somewhat surprised considering that until 2003 the state of Georgia was restricted to beers with 6.0% ABV or lower. Second, Sweetwater is the king of the thing in Atlanta.
While in Atlanta for the Hokie - Tide game (the game that need never be mentioned again, from hereon forward) I managed to sneak in a little beer travel. On the flight, I remembered to bring a BeerAdvocate from last year that featured Atlanta. We were put up in Midtown at the Hotel Palomar (great name, sounds like Shalamar). The closet bar to the hotel was Marlow's Tavern and as this trip was for a bachelor party, we spent many an hour at Marlow's. I was pleasantly pleased to find that Marlow's had a nice selection of draft craft. I got by with a steady diet of Sweetwater's 420 Pale Ale and IPA.
Other haunts that we hit up while on the prowl were The Vortex, a biker style bar with an impressive selection of draft and bottled beer; Engine 11, a cool bar setup in an old firehouse, make sure to ask for Quickie, he'll buy you a shot on the house; Taco Mac, this place wins hands down for most robust draft selection I have ever seen with 140 on tap; Sidebar, a sister bar to Engine 11; Front Page News, a New Orleans style bar with a bloody mary bar and plenty of Sweetwater on draft; and STATS, a massive sports bar, that I was lucky enough to find Terrapin Rye Pale Ale at.
I tried a whole lot of different beers while in ATL, but I'd have to say Sweetwater's IPA was the most impressive. A very balanced IPA, the maltiness and hopiness are quite evenly dominant. The hops provide an intense floral flavor. The malt gives a bready and biscuit flavor.
My only regret was that I did not get to visit the famous Brick Store Pub in Decatur. Oh well, I guess you've can't check everything off the list, because then you'd never have a reason to go back.
Other happenings lately in the homebrew world, I racked the Tripel Sunrise today to secondary. I siphoned off a little for a taste and was pleasantly surprised. Real sweet and fruit juicy up front with a noticeable hop kick. The only thing negative was that it was somewhat dirty in appearance, with lots of yeast in suspension. But considering that I plan to shelf it for at least another 2.5 months before bottling, I hope some of that yeast with fall out of suspension.
I also brewed a Belgian brune ( or brown) ale today. This one I kind of threw together without much in the way of research, but sometimes I find that you are pleasantly surprised when brewing with nothing but an idea. I racked the wort on top of the Tripel Sunrise's yeast cake. Instead of using my usual immersion chiller setup, which frequently takes well over an hour to chill to 75 degrees, I immersed the copper tubing in a bucket of ice water and ran the wort through the tubing. Next time I am going to have to add more ice, because the wort came out around 95 degrees, which is most likely going to mess with my brune.
Last, I have been kicking around a brew project in my mind for the last week or so. Operation barleyquor, why stop at barleywine? Barleyquor would be a naturally fermented libation hopefully reaching 25% ABV. Is it even possible? I have no idea. I have read up on some homebrewers making 120 IPA clones such as Homebrew Chef at 21% ABV. I think this would be a great novelty to brew that could be enjoyed over the next couple of years.
That's all for now. Stay inspired!