Monday, November 24, 2014

Victoria Coombs: A Lady Who Loves Beer

Enrolled in full-time Art Direction studies, mother to seven children, and representing Georgia's Girls Pint Out in East Atlanta (and I thought I was busy), she's also the proud co-owner of Them Two Birds along with her husband Aaron. 

This Woman's crazy big heart, courageous spirit, and kickass work ethic is an inspiration to dream bigger, work harder, and love more--and I know I'm not alone in thinking so. 

Meet Victoria Coombs: a lady who loves beer!

Tell us about you. Where are you from? How did you end up in Georgia? Do you think Atlanta will be your forever home?
"I was born and raised in Woodstock GA. My husband, Aaron, and I recently moved to downtown Atlanta and we love it. Although Georgia will always be home, I do not believe it will be my forever home. I would like to live all over the world once our children are grown."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pretzels + Beer = Officially Good Together

Pretzels and beer. It's a combination that works, and when it comes to Knotty Pretzels, they're making things official.

Using the hashtag #theofficialpretzelofbeer, you can officially lend them your support by contributing to their Kickstarter campaign, which went live in November and expires December 14th.

They recently reached out to ask if I'd accept some free samples, and I agreed to give them a taste test. I got a chance to try samples of both their Zesty Italian and Hot Wing flavors, and both were a big hit in my house.

Kid-approved (even the hot wing flavor wasn't too hot for my four-year-old to handle), the herbs in the Zesty Italian, though not officially listed as an ingredient, had a subtle rosemary quality that I really enjoyed.

There's a good reason I don't keep snack foods like this around the house. I can't stop eating them! Although the two flavors they sent paired best with a Pale Lager or Imperial Pilsner in my opinion, an IPA or Pale Ale (depending on the hop profile) would not be out of place.

They have a quality crunch that outshines the bargain brands we usually bring home, and were reminiscent of the "fancy" bagged pretzel varieties I've brought home on occasion (like those mixed varieties with nuts and small sourdough crisps).

I'd love to see some more explicit pairing suggestions, and more variety--like pretzels dipped in dark chocolate paired with an Imperial Stout perhaps? Or sweet and spicy curry pretzels with something of the Belgian variety? Now I need beer, and pretzels.

I definitely recommend you give these a try. And if you get a chance, let the folks at Knotty Pretzels know what you think by posting your own impressions to any of their social media listed below.

Let Knotty Pretzels know what you think!


Full disclosure: The images and opinions here are my own. Although samples were provided for review, no paid sponsorship or endorsement exists between Knotty Pretzels and HEYBREWTIFUL. Sponsored posts and/or sending samples of your product for feedback or review does not guarantee or secure endorsement or favorable promotion. I will always give my honest feedback on all items regardless of paid sponsorship. Inquiries and other requests should be sent to the address listed on my contact page, with the understanding that not all requests will be accepted or considered. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creating a Snack-Centered Craft Beer Feast

Craft beer pairings don't have to be complicated. In fact, it's possible to put together an elegant and simple feast entirely from foods of the snack variety. I put together a selection of store bought items (and suggested styles of beer) for a throw-together craft beer feast that will have you giving thanks in no time.

Why snacks?

Salty and sweet barside snacks work for a reason--because beer is built on malt, and (though to varying degrees) malt is the sweet sidecar to bittering and flavoring hops that makes us drool. And as any beer that is balanced with both bitter and sweet will prove, these flavors offer the perfect counterpoint for creating deliciousness. And they don't have to be of the typical peanut and pretzel variety either (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Not only is a snack-centered feast easier than creating an entire meal, but it's a lot more fun for less formal gatherings where you'd rather open up those larger bottles to share with friends without worrying about meal prep (or involved cleanup afterward).

Without further ado, here are my top picks for the table, which include an array of store-bought cookies, chocolates, and salty standbys you can pick up the day of (or days before) your gathering.

My must-have salty and sweet items for creating a snack-centered craft beer feast:

  1. Popcorn! H&F caramel bacon popcorn, to be exact. I seriously recommend you buy an extra tub of this (for personal use only). By itself? A dream. With beer? A fantasy come true. As an alternative, look for tins or bags of candy-coated or kettle cooked popcorn.  
  2. Olives! A range of green and black marinated olives and thinly sliced salami or other cured meats. Harry's in Marietta has a great selection (just be careful of those pits, or make sure to choose from the pitted options).
  3. Cookies & Chips! Fruit-filled, chocolate-dipped, flakey and buttery cookies and crunchy sweets--including fig-filled rugelach, dark chocolate dipped pretzels, dehydrated apple or sweet potato chips. You get the idea.
  4. Cheese & Crackers! Soft, fresh cheeses rolled in herbs and flavorings, or aged and funky cut from the block--cheese is a fun and easy pairing with beer. I picked up these pretty little rounds (made by from Caly Road Creamery) from The Stout Brothers, but Sweet Grass Dairy is another local and very tasty choice if you ask me. And don't forget the crackers (seed-covered or salted ones are my favorite).
  5. Pie! In all its iterations: apple, pecan, chocolate, sweet potato, cranberry-pear... you name it! OK, pie isn't really a snack, but I found servings of each in two-person servings at my local grocer. Why not slice them up into littler bites and serve them all? (There can never be too much pie).

Need ideas for beers to go with your holiday table? Check out this style guide for a tour of beers that are perfect for meals with a savory and sweet menu, or swing by your local growler shop or bottle shop with your menu in mind and ask for suggestions (they're almost always eager to help).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Craft Beer Mocked on Cover of The New Yorker: Geeks Unsure If They Should Celebrate

Entitled "Hip Hops" and created by Peter de Sève, The New Yorker's November cover was a sign to some that craft beer has "made it." 

Others, notably Oliver Gray of Literature & Libation (who won first place for best beer blog in this year's North American Beer Writers Guild contest), were less enthused:
"It plays to stereotypes. Are we guilty, as a community, of perpetuating those? We sure are. So many beards. So much plaid. Does that make this a clever cover, or anything accurate? Nope."
Adopting the posture and air of a sommelier presenting wine to diners in a fine restaurant, the waiter in the image, dressed in his finest flannel and denim, politely displays the bottle for the woman at a communal table, waiting for her approval before (presumably) pouring the contents into a glass.

Though his pretentious display is largely ignored by others in the scene, the man across from her scrutinizes his own beer, nose upraised and lips pursed in the theatrical manner of a connoisseur.

Yes, it's snobbery. But it's all pretend.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Leigh Germy: A Lady Who Loves Beer

Meet Leigh. She's Terrapin Beer Company's Atlanta Market Rep. and an all around awesome Lady. 

A crazy talented photographer, and a resource for healthy balance between beer and brewing up a hella strong immune system (she gave me some rad tips on juicing a while back) this sweet and sassy beer beauty jumped in to fill the feature for Atlanta's October Lady Who Loves Beer. 

Thanks Leigh!

Hey, go ahead and wish her a happy birthday while you're at it by drinking a Terrapin beer (it's her birthday month, she tells me).

Tell us about you. Where are you from? How did you end up in Georgia? Do you think Athens will be your forever home?

"I'm a nomad from the midwest. My family moved around most of my childhood. I moved to Atlanta 10 years ago, looking for something new and warmer weather. I live in Decatur currently. I always dream about going West; who knows what will happen?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

{Cookies & Beer} Oatmeal Cookies with a Grown Up Twist

On a whim, I picked up some dried tart cherries that were on clearance and thought they'd make a fun alternative to raisins for my all-time favorite cookie--oatmeal chocolate chip with raisins.

After a little first day of Fall walk with the kiddo this week, we baked up some oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate chips and chopped dried cherries (we taste-tested the combo while making them, of course). The salty, chewy, chocolaty, bitter, tart combination is right up my alley.

I also had Goat Boy, an Imperial Weizenbock on hand, and opened it up to savor with these lovelies. Almond milk for the kiddo, and we were two happy campers. Cheers!

The beer is spicy, with notes of clove and mild banana aroma. The clove gets more noticeable as the beer warms, and the beautiful reddish color of the beer is just perfect for an early Fall afternoon.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Jen Price {A Lady Who Loves Beer}

While her brick and mortar might still be a ways off, she says she's gone to bed dreaming of the customers who frequent her "beer boutique" every night for two years. And she's recently taken a huge step forward in making that dream--reality.

A transportation planner by day, this Lady has led a not-so-secret life as a craft beer evangelist in her off hours, and is hoping to one day make it a full-time affair.

Already up and running with a mobile craft beer education venue called Atlanta Beer Boutique, she's partnered with businesses in the Atlanta area to make use of their space, and is spreading "the good word" through events featuring craft beer cocktails and food pairings located throughout the city.

With a series of 'Perfect Pairings' on the calendar in coming months (you can sign up here for updates)--she's focused on bringing non-beer drinkers who have been turned away in the past--to the gospel of craft beer.

I had a chance to sit down with Jen last week (over some beers of course) and chat about her first loves and future plans.

Meet Jen Price: a lady who loves beer.  

Have you always been into beer? How did you get interested in it?
I think my earliest memory of drinking beer is with my Dad. Probably at 5, maybe. He used to drink High Life. The champagne of beers. I would prepare his beer, when I knew he was coming home. Pour it for him into his glass, and he would let me drink the foam off the top.

It’s my first choice. Next to that might be liquor, and if nothing else is available then I might drink wine. I would probably have water before I drink wine.


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