Bike Beer Repeat

Thanks to  our friend Emeline for organizing today's Ride Bikes, Drink Beer, Repeat - Westside Edition. Most of the group met at 10:45am in Inman Park and then cycled through downtown Atlanta to the westside of town. First stop: Redbrick Brewery. Second stop: lunch at the Atlanta Food Truck Park (O&I shared a fried avocado BLT and BBQ pork tacos). Third stop: Monday Night Brewing (let me just say: damn, their space is so great - major kudos for creating such a trendy yet welcoming atmosphere). On the ride we met some cool folks that I hope to see again and the slower pace allowed me to appreciate a lot of historic architecture that I had previously overlooked. Thanks again Emeline!

Total ride (from home): 19 miles • map at bottom


To celebrate the New Year, Oliver and I took a road trip to Texas. We spent New Years Eve in Austin and then made stops in a few different places during the drive back to Atlanta. Austin didn't quite live up to it's self proclaimed status as "weird" but there were a lot of cool things about the city that I thought Atlanta could learn from. In particular, public support for bicycling and beer. I was so impressed by the amount of bike parking. All over the city there were entire parking spots devoted to bike lock ups (in Atlanta we're lucky to find one tiny lock up on the sidewalk). The beers laws are also more progressive then those in Atlanta. In Austin the growler shops doubled as bars - something currently illegal in Georgia. 

Instead of writing about our favorite spots from the road trip I've made them into "pins" so be sure to check out Pinterest page! Happy New Year!

Imbibing through Asheville, NC

Being married to a beer geek has some perks - destination travel is one of them: to celebrate O's birthday we planned a  long weekend in Asheville, North Carolina (Beer City USA), with a focus on breweries. We booked a really nice room in an AirBnB walking distance from downtown, made Friday night dinner reservations at the The Admiral and played the rest by ear. By Sunday morning I was impressed, this trip to Asheville definitely exceeded all my expectations. 

The Asheville breakdown:
Where to drink:
• Wicked Weed Brewing -  to our surprise, Cliff Williams (the bassist from AC/DC), showed up during our visit to tap the keg of a special beer (Dirty Weeds, a play on "Dirty Deeds") he'd brewed with this brewery. Be sure to spend time downstairs in the tasting room; great sunlight during the sunset + picnic tables + delicious sour beers = perfect place to spend a late afternoon. I was also very excited by the historical reference on the doors to the restrooms. Photos below: do you get it!? 
• Wedge Brewing - I'm in love with this place. Seriously - I want to move in. Everything about it made me feel like I was back at RISD. What's not to love: good beer, a food truck, corn hole, twinkling strung lights, cool metal marionettes/giant puppets/sculptures and laid back creative professionals. Go after sundown to best appreciate the atmosphere.

Where to eat:
• The Admiral - everything was worth writing home about: food, service & ambiance. Plan ahead because I hear they often have a wait. It's a great place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary; just let them know ahead of time.
• White Duck Taco Shop - around the corner from Wedge Brewery. Swing by for a late night snack.
• Over Easy - delicious breakfast in an intimate setting. Don't miss their perfect biscuits!

Where to spend time during the day:
Woolworth Walk Art Gallery
• Lexington Park Antiques
• Malaprops Book Store
• Ok fine, the Biltmore Estate - but only if you haven't been there before. I've been so many times I have to strain to find it interesting. 

Also noteworthy:
• Green Man Brewing - when we stopped by at noon they hadn't yet opened for the day
• Barley's Tap Room - the birth place of Asheville's brewing scene
• Ben's Tune Up - cool atmosphere but weak beer list

Fancy Beer Friday: Redbrick 17th Anniversary

It's not Friday but this beer was worth the wait. Believe me, I've been waiting all year for it.

Over the past four years or so the owners/board of our favorite local brewery have been loosening the reigns on Brewmaster Dave McClure*.  The most pronounced result is the Brick Mason series (and Hoplanta). While it consists of some dynamite beers: Wee Heavy (yep), Vanilla Gorilla (duh). Double IPA (obviously); the anniversary series is world class.

Each anniversary ale is the Red Brick Brown aged in whiskey barrels. They started series with the 15th spending a little over a year on on Pappy Van Winkle barrels. It's become somewhat of  a legend around these parts. (In fact, a beer loving buddy of ours gave us two bottles as a wedding gift.) The 16th was the same base aged for six months in Jack Daniels barrels. I'm not JD's biggest fan and it was a little hot at 11% but I'm looking forward to pulling a bottle out of our cellar  to compare with this years. This years 17th though. Oh this years beer...

The 17th sat on Jim Beam** barrels and it is dynamite. It clocks in at a head leveling 8.5%. As it warms up, it is as complex as a good bottle of bitters. Don't tell my wife, but I'm buying a case of this.

*I don't really know anything about the politics behind the scenes at Red Brick, all I know is that Dave can crank out some stellar suds.

**I may like Jim Beam as much as I like Jack which is to say, not at all. Luckily we're speaking beer, not whiskey.

- Oliver

Fancy Beer Friday: Lagunitas' Undercover Investigation Ale

It's five o'clock somewhere and you deserve a beer!

Lagunita's Undercover Investigation SHUT DOWN Ale is a hoppy, bitter, high gravity ale with a great back story. It commemorates what the brewery refers to as the "Saint Patrick's Day massacre of 2005". 

In the Saint Valentine's Day massacre of 1929  two prohibition era gangsters, dressed as police officers, opened fire on members of a rival gang in a Chicago garage. The bait? Whiskey.

76 years later, during the Lagunita's "massacre", eight California Alcohol Beverage officers, dressed as regular people, busted the brewery for "disorderly house and moral turpitude". Their actual offense? A few beer drinkers in the beer garden were lighting up doobies (does anyone still say doobies?). The citation led to an attempt to revoke the brewery's license - which eventually led to this fantastic fancy beer. For more details about the bust watch the following video (but fast forward to the 30 second mark everything before that is intro). 

Fancy Beer Friday: Ruby Redbird

It's happy hour, do you know where you beer is?

A new seasonal beer has crossed my path twice in the last few weeks (a thousand miles apart). For me, most seasonal beers blend together: all the summer beers taste the same, same for winter, fall and spring. They're each appropriate for the weather and I enjoy them while they're around - but they're not super memorable. So I was pleasantly surprised by the refreshing ginger kick in Shiner's Ruby Redbird summer brew. Ruby has the perfect body for summer with the added bonus of being affordable and easy to find thoughout the US. (Shown here in bottles in Chicago and on draft at Augustines in Atlanta). Grab a six pack tonight and try it for yourself!

Fancy Beer Friday: Guys Weekend

It's happy hour, do you know where your beer is?

While I was in Chicago for girlcation Oliver was at a cabin in Northeast Georgia for "Lake Beer Day" (read: guys weekend). I asked him to photograph a few of his favorite beers so we could feature them on the blog. I suppose I should have been more specific with my art direction... His photos are to the left. How many beers is that?! 

Fancy Beer Friday: Porter Beer Bar

It's happy hour, do you know where your beer is?

The Atlanta Beer Twitterverse wasn't blowing up with "must haves" this week so Oliver and I headed to the Porter in L5P for a bit of fancy beer after dinner on Tuesday. The Porter is a sure thing for "fancy beer" in Atlanta. Since their inception in September 2008 they've been recognized as one of the best beer bars in the world and the best beer bar in the country. We love it not just for the exceptional beer list but also for the food, atmosphere and service. If you're in Atlanta and you like beer then make time to go to the Porter. 

The sour beer Oliver and I enjoyed at home last week is child's play compared to the one he ordered at the Porter. The Featherleggy Bulrusher Sour Stout by Anderson Valley is as  funkified and pungent a sour beer as I've ever had. 

I on the other hand was looking for something to satifsy a dessert craving so I went directly to the Stout/Porter section of the menu. I wanted something thick and chocolately and I was happy to find Left Hand's Jack Black Porter. It's light on carbonation and rich on chocolate. I recommend this one for any chocoholic new to craft beer. 
*Note! Neither of us tried the "Clown Shoes Clementine" (we're not big on weitbiers)  but I love the name so I wanted to share it with you. Photos of our beers picks from the menu are below.

Fancy Beer Friday

It's happy hour, do you know where your beer is?

I've decided to capitalize on Oliver's beer snobbery with a new regular feature I'm calling: Fancy Beer Friday. At least once a week Oliver brings home (or heads out for) a "fancy" beer that is only in town (or in season) for a short time. From now on I'll be passing on his insider beer knowledge just in time for happy hour on Friday.

This week we shared a new limited edition from the Lips of Faith series by New Belgium. The fancy Lips of Faith bombers never fail to please; Tart Lychee especially so. This one combines two of my favorite beer variations: oak aged and sour. If you haven't had a sour beer yet this a great place to start. Sour beers are refreshing and a perfect fit for hot summer days. But beware! This beer rings in at an impressive 8.5% (read: it will get you drunk - fast).

Bottoms up!

Brick Store's Yard Sale Breakfast

*This post is only moderately heart healthy! Everything in moderation, including moderation!

This morning Brick Store hosted their second Yard Sale Breakfast. What is a yard sale breakfast? Well, for this internationally recognized beer bar it is a chance to sell off their extra glassware while also serving an exceptional selection of breakfast-centric beers. (Think: beers made with coffee or maple). Oh, there are also pancakes.

Oliver and I set our alarm for 6:30am and by 7:00 we were on our bikes with a thermos of coffee in the pannier. Knowing a late arrival would jeopardize our place in line we took the seven mile ride at a fast pace. Even so, when we arrived there was already a queue around the block and our Twitter beer friends were on their second tastes of shared bottles. When the doors opened at 8:00 we high tailed it to the Belgian bar upstairs. Breakfast was the typical American fare (pancakes, sausage or bacon, grits or fruit) but the beer and comardiere were fantastic. I started with a Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout then moved to the Terrapin Wake n Bake and finished up with a Great Divide Espresso Yeti. In addition to seeing some (but not all) of our favorite Twitter beer geek friends we also met some awesome, like-minded new friends. By 11:30 most of the beer list had been 86ed and we knew it was time to head home. Thanks to the Brickstore for providing an awesome alternative/pregame for the East Atlanta Beer Fest!

Next up: finding something green and fiber-rich to eat...

Happy Saturday everyone!

Dinner from the garden: first cabbage!

Hooray! Three months of dedication have led to my first harvested cabbage! A 5 pounder at that. It was chopped into jalapeno coleslaw and used to top Oliver's grilled Amberjack tacos. Since we had company over for dinner Oliver broke out fancy beer for dessert too (Founders CBS is divine).

Today is a very good day. Hoping you all can say the same. XO - Cullen 

Weekend on Georgia's Golden Isles

We spent the weekend visiting my Dad and his wife at their home on one of coastal Georgia's barrier islands. It's always nice to get away from the city for a couple days and do a few things outside the regular routine. Saturday we took a three hour kayak trip* that started on the beach and wound through the tidal marshes. Later in the day we visited the isolated and eery Driftwood Beach. Once a majestic forest of live oaks draped in Spanish moss it now feels more post apocalyptic then antebellum.  

*Half way through the kayak trip I realized  my camera's white balance was still set to "indoors". I was pretty bummed and have done my best to correct the photos. Even so, it may be obvious at which point the setting was corrected. More photos of the trip can be found on my flickr page.

Last but not least we enjoyed a six pack of IPA from Intuition Works located in nearby Jacksonville, Florida. Thanks to my Dad's wife for surprising us with some local beers! And now we're off to YDFM to our week's worth of grocery shopping...

Wednesday is brewday

Wednesday is local-brew-day; or at least it used to be. In 2006 I was working at Carters (on 14th and Peachtree) and the (then*) Atlanta Brewing Company's brewhouse was just a few blocks to the west. My friends and I had a standing engagement to meet every Wednesday after work for $4 drafts. We'd sit on the loading docks and watch the sunset. It was perfect. 

Six years, several miles and a couple dollars later the operation is still going strong. The brewery now operates on the other side of town and the brewtour prices aren't quite as thrifty they used to be. A handful of new microbreweries have opened around town but they have been unsuccessful at breaking our loyalty to ABC/Redbrick*. (Sweetwater be damned - we're Redbrick folks.)

Those friends from the loading dock drinking days are the same ones that introduced Oliver and I in 2009. No matter how much everyones' lives have changed we still know we can count on weeknights at Redbrick for great beer and friendship.  Suffice it to say:  I love my local craft brewery. Thanks Redbrick. 
*ABC vs Redbrick:. The brewery recently rebranded, going from "Atlanta Brewing Company" to "Redbrick". It's been a lively transition, full of design work and new catch phrases, but who cares about the name as long as the beer is awesome. With the rebranding, they've given the brewer a lot more freedom (and that's a great thing). 
**Visit our Facebook page for photos of the old brewery.

Draft beer at home! A Christmas miracle

For Christmas last year Oliver asked for the supplies to turn his mini-fridge into a draft tower. He was making enough home brew to warrant turning our dinner room slash office into a part time bar so I agreed. A year later I'm happy to say it's been a very fun addition to our home! There have been only two mishaps: a memorable beer explosion and a disconnected line that leaked a couple of gallons of beer across the floor. Fortunately we were home for both and we able to save the beer and the floor!

Currently on tap are Micah's* Bourbon Vanilla Porter and the end of a keg of German Altbeir. On deck is a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. 

The collection of growlers is growing too. (A growler is pretty much a "to go" thermos for toting around your draft beer). These three are our favorites. 

The fancy handle is from the brewpub Albany Pump Station in New York.   We stumbled upon it during a road trip last November and couldn't resist the outrageous design. To the right is Wind River Brewing, a brewpub in Pinedale, Wyoming. (Oliver's Dad was a part owner and operator.) That particular growler was with us in Nebraska while we watched Perseid meteor shower from an airmattress in the bed of our truck. And finally, the Porter Beer Bar's 3rd anniversary growler. The Porter is one of Atlanta's two internationally recognized beer bars; it's also one our personal favorites.

*Micah is Oliver's sister. She visited from Massachusetts over Thanksgiving. 

Crockpot pork butt = tacos & enchiladas

This week was full of south of the border favorites. Oliver slow cooked a shoulder roast overnight and then used the pulled pork to make enchiladas and tacos that kept us fed Monday through Friday. (Don't worry, in the photo to the left I ate two for dinner and saved the remaining two for lunch). For dessert on Thursday we shared a bomber of Great Divide's oak aged chocolate stout.

I've been busy trying to add more items to the etsy shop before black Friday while simultaneously preparing the house for six guests on Thanksgiving (two of them overnight). When not at home I can think of million things I need to do; once home I can only remember a few them. Sigh... oh well, I'm sure it will all get done somehow.

Even though at times I feel overwhelmed by my to do list, I still have not cut corners on the exercise. Tuesday I spent 25 minutes doing an intense work out on the elliptical machine and then followed it up with ten minutes of weights. Thursday I spent only ten minutes on elliptical but made sure to set the machine at  my top pace for the entire duration. After the short blast of cardio I focused on weights for 25 minutes: chest press, dips, bicep curls, squats with 60lbs added to the bar, several triceps exercises and more.