Create Georgia Beer Jobs

I’m all for our breweries in Georgia. I’ve started to focus on the beer industry in my home state since there are so many beer bloggers out there, and this issue couldn’t be more important to brewers here and now.

When I was in Colorado and was introduced to what is now craft beer (back then we simply called it microbrew), I was at dinner with a friend.  I tried a brown ale called Alligator Ale at a Hops brewery in Colorado Springs.  My friend had the same, and after dinner he told the waitress he wanted a growler of Alligator Ale.  I had no idea what he was asking for.

The waitress brought him a half-gallon jug of Alligator Ale to take home.  I immediately ordered the same and understood what greatness I had just realized.  That was in or about the year 1999.  One can still do this in Colorado at a brewpub.

Fast-forward to, say, 2014 – except now I’m in Georgia at a brewery or brewpub.  If I wanted to take a growler of beer home from a brewpub I am simply out of luck – Georgia is still not up to speed on the benefits of allowing breweries and brewpubs to sell limited amounts of fresh beer directly to consumers.  45 states allow some form of direct sales, by the way.  We are not one of them.

New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado has opened a new brewing facility in Asheville, NC.  It has been said that they included Georgia in their search for an east-coast home, but our current laws caused them to hastily pass us over.  North Carolina will end up with 140 more jobs because we’re just not a welcoming state.  While I’m on the subject, other breweries from the other side of the country have broken ground over this way but not in Georgia.  Sierra Nevada (California) and Oskar Blues (Colorado) also chose North Carolina, and Stone Brewing (California) chose Virginia.

The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild is behind an effort to change our laws, and they need a lobbyist to run in the trenches for us.  If you live in Georgia (hell, even if you don’t) and you love craft beer, please support the efforts to raise this state above #47 in breweries per capita.

This IndieGoGo project ends January 2 and is currently not getting enough attention.  The Georgia Craft Brewers Guild needs $30K for the legal help, and I need more full growlers of fresh beer.

At the very least, go sign the petition at gabeerjobs.com to let folks know you’re on board.

And here’s my take: Imagine I own a brewpub.  Right now I can only sell the beer I make to the people inside my brewpub, and they have to consume it before they leave.  If I become allowed to fill growlers with my beer for folks to take home and enjoy, I will

  1. Sell more beer
  2. Generate more tax revenue
  3. Make more beer
  4. Hire more people to help make and sell beer
  5. Buy less beer from breweries in other states
  6. Not have drunk people leave the brewpub (they can have one or two with dinner and take some to-go)

There are probably more benefits, but the big things for the politicians are job creation (check) and increased revenue (uh, check).  Let’s get things moving forward and maybe I’ll start that brewpub.

Cheers!

TK’s Beer & Wine, Now With Growlers!

My Beer Friends,

TK’s Beer & Wine in Tifton, Georgia, has been a virtual oasis for local beer enthusiasts for almost two years now.  Troy (the owner) runs the store with a few employees and has done a fantastic job advocating for his customers and doing his best to have good craft beer available.IMG_7043

Adding to this awesomeness, I am proud to announce that Troy has expanded the store to include twenty taps from which he can fill your quart or half-gallon growler.  Yes, you read that correctly: 20 taps.  For growlersIn TiftonIt’s true.

A little about growlers: the word growler dates back to the 1800s when customers of the local tavern would buy beer to-go and take it home in a covered pail.  As they walked home with the pail they’d inevitably shake it, causing the CO2 to escape (like shaking a bottle of soda).  The lid would gurgle as the gas forced it open a bit, sometimes sounding like a growl.  Growlers today are typically 32-, 64-, or 128-ounce containers, commonly made of glass and used to package draught beer at a brewer or retailer for consumption at home.  Georgia state law has only allowed growlers for a couple of years now, and only from retail establishments.

Our local availability of take-home draught craft beer has many benefits.  For starters, TK’s is the only retailer refilling growlers within a 90-mile radius.  Second, not all small craft breweries have a packaging line (read: bottles and cans) limiting their availability only to restaurants and bars who can serve beer on tap.  Before Georgia allowed growlers, there were many craft beers you could only find on tap and you couldn’t take it home.  Now you can.

There are some seasonal and other limited-quantity beers that even the larger craft breweries don’t put in bottles or cans – they release it only in kegs.  With the ability to get a quantity of draught beer to take home, we can experience so much more of what the craft beer industry has to offer.

And since draught beer packaged this way is in larger quantities, the product moves faster – this equates to fresher beer, which is closer to what the brewer wants you to experience.  Bottles and cans can sit on the shelf for months, which is not always a good thing.  Draught beer will move faster and be replaced by other fresh beer much sooner.

IMG_7036TK’s has some breweries’ year-round offerings (e.g. Brooklyn Lager, Sam Adams Boston Lager), and limited seasonals from well-known and upcoming brewers (Dogfish Head Punkin, Founders Rubæus).  Check out TK’s Facebook page for updates on what they have available, or call them!  Prices vary based on quantity. Currently they can fill your 32-ounce and 64-ounce growlers, or you can buy one of theirs for $7.99 (plus the price of the beer).  Re-fill anytime!

Whatever you do, go check it out if you’re in the area or just passing through.  TK’s also has a decent walk-in cooler with a wide variety of craft beers available.  Go take a look!

Monday Night Drafty Kilt

Have you ever wanted to wear a kilt?  I know a certain restaurant chain where the female servers wear kilts too short, but then again those aren’t kilts and they serve a different purpose.  I also saw Samuel Jackson wearing a kilt in a movie but that’s probably irrelevant.  Anyway, I stopped in to Moondog Growlers in Dunwoody, Georgia during my conference over the weekend and had a few tastes of what they had on tap.  Scott was super-nice and made us welcome to stay and enjoy ourselves.

Moondog Growlers Sign

Or until 9:00, at which time he promised to kick us out.  This was completely understandable – it was Saturday night and this was a store, not a bar.  It is a great place and I recommend it to any- and everyone.  The Dunwoody store has 40 taps and is decorated in an excellent fashion.  Never have I seen such fantastic woodwork in an independent retail location.

I tasted some IPAs I’d never had a chance to before, such as Jailhouse Brewing’s Mugshot IPA, Red Brick Brewing’s HopLanta, and Hop Head Red by Green Flash Brewing.  I also had Victory Lager since I had the chance to grab a quick half-pint.  And it was excellent as expected.

Back to the kilt – I wanted to take home something in a growler that I wouldn’t be able to find down south where I live, and I knew a beer from Monday Night would certainly be impossible to find outside of the Atlanta Metro area.  At the time, Moondog Growlers had two of their beers on tap: Fu Manbrew Belgian-Style Witbier and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale.

I have previously been unaware of exactly what style the Scottish Ale is, but after pouring this one and putting my nose down the glass, I found it: Scotch.

Very alcoholic on the nose, with hints of red wood and a cider-like tingle.  It has a very strong flavor profile that presents itself on the middle of the tongue, with a warm alcoholic finish and little aftertaste.  Scott told me this was a daily drinker, and I believed him.  Not for me, though.  My daily drinker must be a session beer so I can enjoy a few over a few hours; this one kicks my ass at 7.2% ABV.  Still a wonderful reception, to be had again or given as a special gift to someone who enjoys heavy, tasty, malty beers.  I have a few friends, and this might just blow their kilts up.

Style: Scottish Ale/Wee Heavy
Pairs with: Itself and strongly-flavored dishes; chocolate, some cheeses, I expect.
ABV: 7.2%
Availability: Year-round

Find out more at mondaynightbrewing.com

More about Moondog Growlers at moondoggrowlers.com

Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout

I got to go to Atlanta this weekend for a work-related conference and took the opportunity to visit a couple of the new growler stores that have popped up into the scene in the northern metro area.  One of these was The Beer Growler, of which there are currently five locations total – I went to the one in Alpharetta.  I should also mention it was a Sunday afternoon.

I chose Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout, because the fact that it’ll be in a growler I’ll need to drink it over a few days after opening it, but no longer than three.  A good stout is easy to drink and light on the palate, a definite for a daily drinker since I have no friends who’ll come over to help.  The folks at The Beer Growler also mentioned that this was a special edition and wouldn’t be around long or found in bottles.  Therein lies the greatness of the growler store – the ability to take home something the brewery didn’t put in a bottle.

A first pour of this rich, dark treat gives notes of wood, chocolate, and even some coffee.  A thick khaki head forms and stays a while, but not the whole time.  It is thick without feeling like a loaf of bread, and flavorful without being too hoppy.  To me, this is the right amount of malt so that it doesn’t overstay its welcome in my mouth.  It warms the back of the tongue and the throat with an aftertaste of alcohol, and at 6.1% ABV subtle enough not to get upset about.

I did find from the page at Bell’s Web site that it’s a Winter seasonal, and it is available in bottles and draft.  However, it wasn’t found in the bottle that day and I took a chance on a Bell’s beer being fantastic.  I won.

I had three in a row that night and I must say I forced myself to stop there.  I’d hate to think I ruined a chance at my second opinion, but the first one speaks for itself.  I’d get this one again, only I’d love to share it next time…

Style: Stout
Pairs with: Spicy and/or tomato-based (Italian, Thai) and even milk chocolate and caramel, I’d say…
ABV: 6.1%
Availability: Winter