Thursday, January 29, 2015

{Blast from the Past} Suwanee Beer Fest




By the time March rolls around I'm ready to ditch my indoor drinking habits for some festival style sipping. And for me (and the rest of north-metro area) the Suwanee Beer Fest seems to be just what the drinking doctor ordered.

Get yourself some discounted festival fare for the occasion thanks to The Peach State Ale Trail who are offering up $20 for first time Uber riders! Just use code GAALETRAIL to take advantage of this offer.

In attendance two years and counting, here's five reasons you should kick off your house slippers and get sipping with it in Suwanee this March 14th:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Caren West: A Lady Who Loves Beer


Photo credit Teodora Nicolae
Naming her dad as her ideal drinking buddy, she says that although she prefers more hop-forward beers when given a beer list, she'll try just about anything (including drinking a PBR when the time calls for it). Hells yeah.

Celebrating nearly a decade of business in Atlanta handling public relations for some very beer-centric clients (including Wild Heaven, Frozen Pints, and Cypress Street Pint & Plate to name a few) this social butterfly really knows how to throw a party and is a powerhouse of positive energy and enthusiasm wherever she goes.

Meet Caren West: a lady who loves beer.

How did you end up in Atlanta, and do you think you'll stay for always?
"To make a very long story short: I graduated from Auburn University, so ended up spending a lot of time in Atlanta throughout my college career, but never thought I would make it my home. After I graduated, I spent one last glorious summer at the beach working at the Weekapaug Inn in Rhode Island, moved to South Carolina for hot minute, and then the next thing I knew I found myself in Atlanta looking for jobs.

I love our city. I am so proud to live in Atlanta and own a business here. I don't see myself leaving any time soon (or really ever) other than buying property in other cities and the beach, but I will always have a home in Atlanta. I made a very conscious decision to open a business in Atlanta and will continue to do my best to support the community and all the incredible businesses and people who make our city so great."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Craft Beer Report Card: Have We "Failed Our Female Fan Base"?


**This post has been updated with amendments to clarify an earlier version.




I'm rather fond of men. I happen to married to one, so that works in my favor.

The shaven, the non-shaven, the hipster and not-so-hipster--men in all their delightful array of loveliness, directness, stewardship, etc. That they happen to co-habit the culture of craft beer along with me is even more reason to raise my glass in celebration.

It has been MEN, among all my supporters, that have been some of my most loyal and consistent friends, and I am deeply glad for it. Although many a reader, writer, and editor inquiring about my site has attempted to frame it otherwise. (And yes, my Lady friends have also got my back. Holla!)

It's also worth mentioning that I have a son, and there is nothing about his maleness that offends me. It seems absurd to even have to make a statement like that. His boy-ness (yes, I'm possibly making up a word; deal with it) has been a gift to me, and if I'm being honest, also a relief--I feel far too inferior in the ways of womanhood to raise daughters.

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.

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