Saturday, December 2, 2023

Maximizing Your Beer Travel on a Budget

 By Owen Ogletree

For people who enjoy craft beer, there's no better way to see a city than through "craft beer tourism." When checking out a town's top brewery and pub locations, travelers typically become exposed to the area's best entertainment centers, restaurants, sights, culture and people. Folks wanting to make the most of their beer travels on a limited budget should note the following valuable tips. 
When visiting a new city for a "beercation," it's usually best to start with breakfast and visits to the city's best non-beer tourist sites in the morning. After all, you can't drink beer all day. offers excellent recommendations and reviews regarding a city's top restaurants and visitor attractions. Following lunch for a good food base, visits to breweries and pubs crank up in the afternoon. 
TripAdvisor Screenshot
Do the Research
Be sure to conduct plenty of pre-planning for any beercation. Google makes an excellent source to scope out a city's best breweries and read reviews. If you are a fan of the Untappd app, try to check the overall scores for each brewery in a destination. Keep in mind that delicious, old-school classic beer styles and the breweries that produce them often score a bit lower on Untappd than more trendy styles and locales, so approach the app's scores and reviews with a grain of salt. 
Start in the Southeast
With its excellent airports and multitude of cities with concentrations of craft beer breweries and pubs, the southeastern United States makes for an easy and approachable introduction to craft beer tourism. Once you've mastered domestic beercations, expand your beery travel horizons to international destinations such as Canada, Ireland, England, Amsterdam, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic. Remember to apply for a passport well in advance. 
Just a few favorite craft beer hubs of the Southeast include New Orleans, Louisiana; Birmingham, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta and Athens, Georgia; Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida; and the extraordinary beer mecca of Asheville, North Carolina. Don't overextend yourself on a beer trip. It's usually best to pick a city hub, score a nice hotel room or B&B and focus on the central breweries, taprooms and outstanding beer-centric pubs and restaurants in the area. Use Google as a resource for figuring out the hours of each business, as there's nothing worse than showing up to a closed taproom. 
Safety ranks as the most important consideration on a beer trip. Designate a non-imbibing driver, do lots of walking and use taxis, public transportation and ride-share options like Uber and Lyft. GoogleMaps provides extensive timetables and route planning, making logistics and daily public transport scheduling easy. For a nominal fee, many beer-centric cities in the Southeast offer shuttle buses that drive participants around to various breweries in town.
Google My Maps Screenshot 
Map Your Spots
As a helpful part of Google Documents, Google My Maps allows users to create personalized digital maps of cities that users can mark with "pins" to keep track of hotels, tourist spots and all interesting craft beer locations. Google My Maps can be loaded on smartphones, allowing beer travelers easy navigation to targeted points. Loading a Google My Map with a multitude of points of interest is extremely quick and straightforward. You'll never miss or forget a brewery destination again. 
Budget Flying Means More Beer Money
Beer travelers wanting to save money should subscribe to air travel discount email newsletters such as Going (formerly Scott's Cheap Flights), Thrifty Traveler, Kayak or Google Flights. A useful rule of thumb is to find a deep airline discount to an interesting city, book it, and then figure out all the best destinations there. You'll end up seeing the world on a budget. Picking a location and hoping for a sale fare usually means travelers will pay more. 
If you have a solid beer destination in mind that currently requires an expensive air ticket, set up price drop alerts online. Kayak, Skyscanner, Google Flights and will send email alerts when airfares go on sale for a specific destination and date.
Affording more air travel to beer destinations involves being loyal to a major airline that possesses a hub in a nearby city. If you fly this airline enough to get a frequent flyer status boost to a superior level, you'll be rewarded with free upgrades, mileage boosts, companion fare certificates, sale fares and access to lounges with free food and drinks. For instance, if you frequently fly out of Atlanta, Delta should be your go-to airline. Atlanta-area beer travelers should also remember also to search Delta flights from Birmingham or Greenville (South Carolina), as these will usually connect in Atlanta and can sometimes provide substantial savings over flying direct. Charlotte (North Carolina) and Miami rank as major hubs for American Airlines. 
Points and Miles from Credit Cards
It's frustrating that actual flying doesn't earn you miles significantly, especially when booking the least expensive fares. These days, airlines award miles based on the amount of money the ticket costs rather than actual flying mileage. To rack up travel points for a beer trip, people should focus on earning points through everyday credit card spending. 
Once you've picked your loyalty airline in your hub city, do a bit of online research regarding credit cards that provide generous mileage bonuses based on monthly spending on the card. For example, the Delta Skymiles American Express offers huge mileage additions based on your spending. Sure, the card charges about a couple of hundred dollars a year as a membership fee, but frequent flyers will get this back several times over with free mileage air tickets, complimentary checked bags and annual companion fare certificates. Other cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, allow customers to designate bonus points toward miles with many airlines and hotel chains. Both cards offer generous airline mileage bonuses just for signing up and spending a certain amount during the first months. It's essential to pay off the balances on these cards in full at the end of each billing cycle. Finance charges can be costly and negate mileage bonuses quickly. If travel is a priority, use your mileage bonus credit card to pay for as many of your monthly purchases as you can, then watch your airline miles add up.
Do You Really Need a Rental Car?
The best advice regarding rental cars would be to avoid renting a car unless absolutely necessary. With convenient rideshare options available in most cities, who wants to be responsible for driving a rental car on a beer trip anyway? It can be stressful, inconvenient and unsafe. Also, car rental companies are masters of squeezing every penny out of customers. If you must rent a car, compare prices from several companies on websites such as Kayak, Expedia or Orbitz. Avoid shady, off-brand rental companies with low review scores, as these companies make money by forcing unnecessary options on customers, offering subpar vehicles and sometimes charging you for previous damage you didn't cause. 
Use a credit card at the car rental counter that offers full vehicle coverage, and decline the expensive car rental company insurance fees. Check with your credit card company and home car insurance firm to be sure you are fully covered. Never agree to pay more at the counter for a vehicle upgrade. Most times, the agents will push you to pay for a more expensive car because the cheaper car you booked is unavailable. You'll end up getting the upgrade for free in the end. Companies will also push you to pay for the full tank of gas that comes with the car so you won't have to fill the tank before returning the car. Never do this. Always bring the car back full. Imagine paying the rental company for an entire tank of fuel when picking up the car and then returning the vehicle with a half-full tank. Don't throw your money away.
When picking up a rental car, always make time to take a detailed video or photos of any preexisting dings or damage. Remember to look at the wheels and roof of the vehicle and check inside for damage to seats and windows. Without damage documentation before driving off, you could be charged for damage that you did not cause.
Where to Stay?
Use discount travel search sites like Hotwire, Kayak,, Vrbo, Agoda and TripAdvisor to find the best hotel deals. If hotel rooms in a particular city cost a fortune, consider other options like Airbnb that can put extra beer money in your pocket. When two couples or a group of four or so friends team up for a beer excursion, getting a two-bedroom house or apartment on Airbnb can save a ton over booking two expensive hotel rooms. If you are a government employee or belong to AAA or AARP, check the hotel's website for special discounts. 
When enjoying a beercation, always remember to stay safe and in tune with your body. Drinking lots of water, taking vitamin B supplements and spacing out beer stops with walking or food breaks go a long way in avoiding hangovers and not becoming "beered out." Splitting a beer flight with a friend during a brewery visit allows beer travelers to try a wide range of brews instead of just gulping down a pint. Above all, have fun and enjoy your beery travels!
Owen Ogletree has spent over 35 years traveling the world in search of exceptional craft beer. To join one of his popular and affordable group beer excursions, CLICK HERE.
Originally Published in:

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Vintage Beer Evaluation: How Well Did They Age?

In 2023, Owen Ogletree gathered beer judges/enthusiasts Kerri Allen, Ian Meents, Erich Fietkau, Brian Bailey and Mark Hall (L-R) to evaluate ten vintage beers of varying styles. Our comments below reflect how well each beer held up over the years, and the tasters also picked favorites.

2014 Ritterguts Gose

Gose, 4.7% ABV
Ritterguts Gose GmBH
Borna/Saxony, Germany
Hazy gold in color with aromas of apple cider, latex, light vinegar and brown sugar. Flavors include hints of apple cider vinegar, an appropriate level of salt and a touch of coriander. It's like a mild apple pie with no pie spices. The palate also picks up notes of lemons, acidity and a hint of wet cardboard. The acid content seems to have preserved many flavors and nuances of the original character of the beer.

2014 Old Stock Ale Cellar Reserve
Old Ale aged in wheated whiskey barrels, 14.4% ABV
North Coast Brewing Company
Ft. Bragg, CA, USA
The appearance comes across as murky brown with almost no carbonation. Aromas emerge that include barrel vanillins, strong malt, rum, oak, prunes, raisins, molasses, dark fruits and raw dough. Hints of oxidized ethanol are also present. On the tongue, the beer produces flavors of prunes, raisins, rum, brown sugar, spices, cinnamon and a lingering warmth. A hint of bittering hops has persisted. The beer seems reminiscent of a barrel-aged dark rum.

2009 Fuller's Vintage Ale
Old Ale, 8.5% ABV
Fuller's Brewery
Chiswick, London, UK
When poured, the beer appears hazy brown with light carbonation and a light layer of tan foam. We found soft aromas of malt, toffee, coriander spice, caramel malts, nice fruity esters and almost no oxidation. Flavors include moderate malt, vanilla, figs, plums and raisins. The ale seems surprisingly bright for its age. There's also a tannin hint, perhaps from the English bittering hops. A slight paper note evolves as the beer warms, but the ale remains remarkably appealing and drinkable. The dryish finish comes across as quite pleasant, but the tasters noted that most of the flavors seem much milder than expected.

2014 La Folie Sour Brown Ale
Flanders-style Brown Ale/Oud Bruin aged three years 0n French Oak, 7.0% ABV
New Belgium Brewing
Ft. Collins, CO, USA
The appearance is almost clear, with a brown hue and an extremely mild head. The nose 
detects strawberries, acidity, a light acetic note, brown candy sugar, fig preserves and a Marmite nuance. On the palate, the ale's high acidity (low pH) is powerful but acceptable. There's a note of strawberries and balsamic vinegar with hints of phenols, caramel malt and zero hop bitterness. The sour ale finishes dry with a fruity/acidic character. 

2015 Terrapin Richland Reserve
Double IPA aged in rum barrels, 12.0% ABV
Terrapin Beer Company
Athens, GA, USA
This hazy ale pours with a cloudy, amber/brown hue and light tan head. Aromas include aged rum, wet cardboard, moderate oxidation, overripe fruit and a hint of phenols. We found flavors of fruit, old dark honey, dark cherries, plums, figs, residual sugar, caramel, prune juice and overripe raisins. This ale demonstrates lots of oxidation character and now seems more like an English Old Ale than a DIPA. It's still a good sipper, though. 

2018 Rullquin Stout
Stout/Lambic Blend, 7.0% ABV
Braserie Artisanale de Rulles & Gueuzerie Tilquin
Dark brown in color with substantial clarity, this beer contained the best carbonation on the table. The head appears tan in color. Of course, the nose picks up lambic/gueuze notes backed by chocolate, berries, citrus hints, lactic acid and Brettanomyces complexity. This ale tastes like a beautiful gueuze lambic mixed with a malty brown ale. The bright and appealing beer tastes of apricot and kiwi. Lambic character dominates the dark malts somewhat, but the blend still works well. The light/medium body finishes somewhat dry and ends with an interesting wild grape nuance. 

2008 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale
English Barleywine, 11.5% ABV
J.W. Lees & Company
Manchester, UK
The appearance is murky brown with absolutely no carbonation or foam. Impressive aromas include prunes, dark fruit, raisins, oxidation, dark chocolate, toffee and lightly burnt sugar. The palate picks up rich dark malt, chocolate and brown sugar, followed by some vegetal notes similar to old bell pepper and celery. Other notes include soy sauce, sesame seeds and green peanuts - reminiscent of an Asian stir-fry. The finish includes a sweet, malty, pleasant aftertaste. 

2013 Burton Baton
Double IPA aged in oak barrels, 10.0% ABV
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, DE, USA
Muddy light brown in color with a minuscule layer of foam, this strong ale delivers aromas of caramel candy, oxidized malt and a hint of hops. It's quite impressive that a mild hop note has persisted in this beer. Flavors include a wort-like note, abundant caramel malt and pleasing fruity esters. Hops peek through like an old man's spark in his eye while on life support. There are also toffee notes, dark cherries, prunes, overripe fruit and a note of light Madeira, sherry and port wines. 

2015 Locals Stash Reserve Series
Triple Chocolate Imperial Porter, 7.0% ABV
Crazy Mountain Brewing Company
Denver, CO, USA
The color is deep brown with almost perfect clarity. A minor head persists for quite a bit. The nose picks up bitter chocolate, ashy tobacco, Maduro cigar, dark cherries with chocolate and a light acidic note. Smells a bit like old fudge dessert. Flavors include tart acidity, vegetal notes, a thin body, a hint of light chocolate, soy sauce and nuances of a Yoo-hoo chocolate drink. This beer probably would have fared better over the years if it held a higher gravity (greater alcohol content). 

2015 Departed Spirit
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, 10% ABV
Three Taverns Craft Brewery
Decatur, GA, USA
The beer pours with a nearly opaque appearance, black color and a moderate head that's impressive for the beer's age. Aromas include vanillin, wood tannins, bourbon, chocolate, dark cigars, toasted oak, toasted coconut, dark cherries and a hint of smoke. Look for flavors such as upfront rich malt, bitter chocolate, rich fruity esters and oaky vanilla. There's a hint of cardboard, a medium/full body and a dryish finish that probably comes from the age. Hints of popsicle sticks emerge in this flavorful and tasty strong ale that tastes a bit like a Maduro cigar soaked in molasses. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Embracing the Classics


By Owen Ogletree
In America's insanely creative modern craft beer landscape, can a brewery thrive by focusing on classic beer styles? All present-day craft beers have origins in the classics, but in recent years, modern beer drinkers appeared to be abandoning time-honored brews in favor of trendy avant-garde styles. This article showcases five Georgia breweries that have resuscitated enthusiasm for classic beer styles while becoming extremely popular and successful in the process. 
Moon River Brewing Company
Savannah, Georgia
With origins going back to 1999 on lovely Bay Street in Savannah, Moon River brewpub ranks as a classic in its own right. Owner/brewmaster John Pinkerton boasts a long history of brewing traditional beers in an old-world pub atmosphere and historic building. This ranks as the main reason that Alex Yendell counts himself fortunate to have served as Moon River's brewer for the last six years. 
Yendell relates, "More than anything, I enjoy the challenge of brewing the classics. The time and care it takes to properly pull off a good pilsner or dunkel make these beers that much more exciting to execute. Don't get me wrong, we have to brew the occasional hazy IPA or kettle sour, but brewing beers where flaws can't be hidden behind fruit puree or an absurd amount of hops is so much more rewarding."
Yendell sees brewing as a type of art where the classics provide the inspiration and foundation for future artists to create new works. "I recently brewed a Roggenbier," Yendell says. "The fact that a post-Reinheitsgebot brewing community nearly forgot this style makes its resurgence much more impressive. Brewing a beer with such a heavy rye content was a cool way to buck tradition while brewing a classic."
Moon River's John Pinkerton
Pinkerton and Yendell see a vast difference between customers who long for classic beer styles and other patrons who chase all the new trends. "We brew a little of everything, so people have options," Yendell explains. "That being said, someone coming to Moon River and telling me how much they love our robust porter certainly means more to me than when someone complains that our hazy isn't hazy enough. At the end of the day, we can't please everyone, so we just brew what we like. I think our passion and dedication show in our beers."
Bold Monk Brewing Company
Atlanta, Georgia
Patrons who visit Bold Monk for the first time are immediately impressed by the brewpub's attractive layout, which features a spacious bar, cozy seating areas, a foeder barrel room, an upstairs library bar and a forested beer garden. What's more impressive is the fact that a Belgian-inspired tripel, a quad and a slow-poured European-style pilsner rank as Bold Monk's best-selling brews. 
Bold Monk co-owner/brewmaster John Roberts believes that most classic beer styles have endured for a reason. "I think it's important that we continue to make classic styles, and these are the beers that I like to drink," he declares. "Other brewers can make the gimmicky beers loaded with lactose, unfermented fruit purée and kids' cereals. I just don’t see these as my style of beer."
When asked to name a favorite classic beer he's made recently, Roberts struggles. "I love all our beers," he says. "If I have to choose, I'd probably pick our Common Ground Koelsch. We made it for two friends' wedding that was held at Bold Monk. The bride is from Cologne, Germany, and her family was coming for the wedding. I think we nailed the style, as the bride and family were impressed.
At first, Bold Monk's distributor seemed a bit concerned about the challenge of trying to sell cans of Belgian-style beer in the current market. "It still blows my mind how much Indominus Quad and The Way Tripel we sell," Roberts explains. "Our distributor was taken aback when sales of the quad actually increased in the summer months! I’d say my customers are definitely enjoying our classics."
Athentic Brewing Company
Athens, Georgia
Located in the "Classic City" of Athens, Athentic Brewing Company prides itself on offering a comfortable, welcoming and inclusive brewery taproom that focuses on classic styles served on draft and in casks. Athentic's co-owner/founder Paul Skinner loves classic styles because of the appeal, history and drinkability of these lagers and ales. With a strong nod to our European craft beer roots, Athentic produces classics that include Crispy Boh Czech Lager, GOAT Maibock, Athenticity Helles Lager, Tmave Pivo Dark Czech Lager, Mind the Gap English Dark Mild, Thrasher Brown Ale, Old Ward Barleywine, Saison de Athentique and Upright Hermit Dry Irish Stout. 
Skinner notes, "It's rewarding to showcase our brewing abilities when making these classics and demonstrate our attention to quality ingredients and process control. Ultimately, we hope that craft beer in the U.S. will always include the classics as both a brewing tradition and a nod to the early public houses where communities gathered. It's important that folks know the origins of beer, even if they've fallen in love with something new and different."
Athentic's Paul Skinner
Skinner recognizes that world travel produces a deeper love of classic styles in beer drinkers. He relates, "Mind the Gap English Mild, our first Athentic cask ale, was inspired by a beer trip to London, where I fell in love with this style. Serving it from a cask was so much fun, and our customers enjoyed comparing the cask's natural carbonation to the kegged version's forced carbonation." 
Round Trip Brewing Company
Atlanta, Georgia
Craig Mycoskie's role as CEO and director of brewing operations at Round Trip Brewing allows him to choose the brewery's beer styles and concoct the recipes. Known for its outstanding German-inspired brews, Round Trip believes that classic beer styles remain vital to modern beer culture. 
Chasing beer trends may seem profitable in the short term, but from a business perspective, Mycoskie sees value in embracing the enduring classic styles. "In the long-term, classic styles will always remain, and my goal is to make small tweaks to improve our recipes with every batch," he says. "For example, I’ve introduced a decoction method in many batches, including our Straight Outta Munich, to enhance the malt profile and flavors."
Mycoskie's "aha" moment took place while attending brewing school in Munich. He explains, "Each afternoon, the other students and I would venture to breweries and beer gardens to drink too much helles. After a certain point, I realized how amazing and well-crafted these sessionable lagers are. They were super delicious without being overly complicated, and you can still be wowed after a few sips. Since then, I've chased after recreating and building on these beers."
Round Trip's delicious Verit 11° Czech Amber Lager means “believe” in the Czech language. Mycoskie challenged himself to create a Czech-style lager using a decoction mash to drive the malt character. "My inspiration came from a brewing panel discussion I was on in Denver with Eric Larkin of Cohesion Brewing," Mycoskie recalls. "When Eric suggested that decoction was essential in creating great Czech beer, I felt this would make a good challenge, and I’m extremely happy with how it turned out. We're starting to become a destination brewery for lager lovers."
Good Word Brewing & Public House
Duluth, Georgia
When the initial brewer for Good Word left suddenly, co-owner Todd DiMatteo stepped up and started using his extensive homebrewing skills in his brewpub's brewhouse. Sure, he was nervous, but his quick learning skills and dedication paid off. Nowadays, Good Word's exceptional classic beer styles have solidified DiMatteo as one of the Atlanta area's most talented craft brewers. 
Di Matteo shares, "I tend to research historic brewing ideas and unfamiliar beer styles. Trying to imagine what some old recipe or lost beer style may have tasted like by reading the stats and ingredients is interesting to me. Visitors to Good Word will find a range of 16-20 beers that showcase classic lagers, historical styles and English-type ales. I guess the older I get, the more I get comfortable on this hill. This makes me sound like I’m not a fan of change or experimentation, but that’s not completely true. I just tend to brew beers that I ultimately want to drink."'
DiMatteo believes that social media has been a recent factor in propelling craft beer in unforeseen ways. "There’s this sense of 'everything right now' in the brewery scene that makes it hard to have core beers or showcase classic styles," he notes. "It's all about how many new releases a week a brewery is dropping. Modern brewers are constantly trying to top or outdo beer recipes with something even wilder, and this bums me out."
Despite knowing better, DiMatteo still pays attention to Untappd, where some users will say that Good Word doesn't offer enough "exciting" new styles. "I know Untappd is not really a great metric," DiMatteo declares. "It's a reminder that what I do isn’t for everybody just yet. Craft beer drinkers are on a journey. Palates will change and evolve, and I will be here waiting with my beloved classic styles." 
First Published in:

Friday, May 12, 2023

Tasty Southeastern Beer Reviews & Food Pairings

By Owen Ogletree and Kerri Allen
Hooter Brown
Oyster City Brewing Company
Apalachicola, Florida
Imperial Brown Ale, 8.5% ABV
Deep brown in color with a moderate tan head, this beer offers aromas of dark malt, cocoa, chocolate, toffee, pie crust and mild, pleasant, dark fruit esters. The palate picks up alcohol warmth along with slightly sweet malt complexity backed by caramel and chocolate candy notes. There's also complexity from nuances of raisin, fig and ripe plum esters. Appropriately, almost no roasted malt character emerges in this wonderfully malty, medium-bodied brown ale. Pair with desserts such as cheesecake, fruit tarts and French vanilla ice cream.
Imperial Hopsecutioner IPA
Terrapin Beer Company
Athens, Georgia
Double IPA, 9.8% ABV
Almost clear with just a hint of haze, the deep amber color and long-lasting off-white foam make this strong ale quite attractive. Look for moderate aromas originating from a range of U.S. hops that are reminiscent of citrus, pineapple and pine resin. The hefty malt bill also comes through on the nose with notes of caramel and toffee. A bit sweet for style, the beer's crystal malts and toasted malts are lightly balanced by tropical, resiny hop flavors. The big malt canvas could perhaps benefit from a bit more hop bitterness, and the beer finishes malty and boozy with a hint of alcohol spice and warmth. Pair this potent ale with gumbo, pad Thai or Indian butter chicken.
Retrospect IPA
Arches Brewing
Hapeville, Georgia
West Coast-Style IPA, 6.5% ABV
This ale pours with a deep amber color that falls on the dark end of the style's color spectrum. Brilliantly clear, the ale also boasts a substantial layer of tan foam. The nose picks up malt, caramel, toasted bread crust, light fruity esters and hop notes of citrus, pine resin and a hint of blood orange pith. On the tongue, malty, toffee-like notes appear up front, followed by earthy hop flavors and hints of pine bark. Hop bitterness seems mild for the style, but the beer comes across as quite approachable. One taster noticed a nuance of dark berries and pineapple in the ester profile. Pour this beer alongside turkey burgers with brown mustard or lemon pepper chicken wings.
Passion on Ponce IPA
Three Taverns Craft Brewery
Decatur, Georgia
American IPA with Passion Fruit, Orange & Guava, 7.5% ABV
With a deep gold color and apricot hue, this fruited IPA pours with a fluffy off-white head and almost perfect clarity. Expect aroma notes of rich passion fruit along with some orange hints and an earthy, tropical fruit juice character. A touch of hoppy pine resin notes comes through in the background. The flavors seem more balanced than the fruity nose, with citrusy American hops peeking through the fruit canvas. On the palate, a light malt character transitions quickly into a mélange of orange pith, tart passion fruit and earthy guava. The beer finishes dry with a light/medium body and a tasty bitter hop/fruit nuance that lingers on the back of the tongue in a welcoming way. Drink this beer with a plate of Caribbean grilled shrimp or jerk chicken with grilled pineapple. 
Italian-Style Pilz
Ology Brewing Company
Tallahassee, Florida
Italian-Style Pilsner, 5.0% ABV
Expecting a crystal-clear, crisp pilsner? Think again. Ology's take on the style pours with a gold/orange hue and appropriate white foam, but the lager showcases an unexpected haze. Aromas come through that make the beer seem more like a hop-forward hazy pale ale with tropical fruit notes. There's pilsner malt in the smell, along with significant New World hop character. On the palate, the beer again comes across like a hazy India Pale Lager with earthy hops, mineral-rich water and tropical fruit notes similar to light papaya. The beer finishes with a chalky dryness and pleasing hop nuance. Overall, this selection is delicious and enjoyable, even if it doesn't match the Italian pilsner style guidelines to a tee. White pizza or raw oysters would make a beautiful match for this lager.
Pales in Comparison
Edmund's Oast Brewing
Charleston, South Carolina
Double Dry-Hopped Hazy Pale Ale, 5.0% ABV
The beer pours with a golden color, moderate haze and a light layer of off-white bubbles. Aroma notes include green tea, jasmine, Mandarin oranges, kiwi fruit, light malt and cereal grains. Upon taking a sip, the palate registers many of the same aroma characteristics. There are also hints of buttery cashews and light, fruity hop flavor notes. The ale finishes dry with mild hop bitterness and a tropical citrus nuance. This pale ale's malt profile produces an appealing, refreshing, light body and character. The cereal grains help create the haze and perhaps somewhat mute the malt and hop complexity. The dry nature of this beer makes for a smart pairing with gyoza potstickers or shrimp with lobster sauce.
Wild Streak
Bearded Iris Brewing
Nashville, Tennessee
Sour Ale with Rosemary, Orange Peel & Vanilla, 5.1% ABV
A golden tone, white foam and slight haze highlight the appearance of this complex sour ale. Rosemary and other herb notes dominate the aroma profile, with peppercorns, crisp lactic acid, passion fruit, citrus peel, lemon and cucumber nuances emerging to enhance the overall flavor canvas. Expect a light body and crisp, refreshing, fruity, dry finish that continues to showcase the rosemary/herbal character after swallowing. The beer seems reminiscent of a dry, lightly acidic, refreshing white wine. Good pairings would include green olives, linguine with clam sauce or oven-roasted potatoes.
Chandeleur Island Brewing Company
Gulfport, Mississippi
Golden Ale, 5.0% ABV
With a golden tone, nice layer of white foam and attractive clarity, this quaffable golden ale serves up mild malt aromas and flavors of lightly sweet bread along with some cereal notes from additions of wheat and corn. The light body comes across as soft and lightly creamy with a hint of malt sweetness in the finish, balanced by a touch of citrusy American hop flavor and mild bitterness. Fruity esters are restrained, and the ale could almost pass for a lager, due to the clean nature of the mouthfeel and finish. This classic "beer-flavored-beer" shines with subtle complexity and good technical merit. In the spirit of the Gulf Coast, this beer would pair perfectly with a grouper sandwich and fries.
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Friday, January 6, 2023

Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting Beer List: 1/21/2023

Scroll Down for the FULL LIST OF CASK ALES, winners, and photos from the fest:

Important Festival Notes:

  • WEAR YOUR BEADS. These are required for entry and for being served.
  • ALLERGENS: Some beers contain nuts and other allergens. Check descriptions below.
  • Ribbons for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place Avant-Garde and Classic-Style casks will be posted on casks at 4 PM. Festival attendees can use the link below to vote for People's Choice cask. 
  • Floors are wet - please use constant caution. 
  • Don't drink and drive! Use Uber and Lyft.
  • Attendees get 10% off delicious food items at Bold Monk today!
  • Beers are subject to change without notice.
  • ACAT code of conduct is posted below. 

CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite cask before 5 PM on festival day. Use the unique six-digit passcode from your green ticket to vote. 


01. 6S Brewing Oil Change Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. An oil change is recommended every 5000 miles, but this Oil Change is great anytime! Our 7.5% ABV American Imperial Stout is bubbly, black and silky with notes of coffee, chocolate, toasted coconut and caramel. Aging for five months in Stranahan’s whiskey barrels helped create this smooth, aromatic, rich and creamy ale that offers whiskey on the nose and a warming finish.

02. Akademia Phobia Imperial Stout contains a powerful 13.0% ABV with additions of Nutter Butter cookies, Madagascar vanilla beans and chipotle peppers.

03. Arches Brewing Lost the Plot. This 7% ABV British-Style Strong Ale is reminiscent of decadent, rich English toffee and fruitcake with a firm, appealing bitterness for balance. Hop aromas offer subtle lavender and earth notes.

04. Athentic Bold Faced Rye is a 5.8% ABV Roggenbier. The mix of 60% rye in the grain bill and the Hefeweizen yeast creates rich and complex flavors of caramel, toffee, clove and pumpernickel bread. The mouthfeel is delightfully smooth and pillowy.

05. No Cask in This Slot

06. Bold Monk Dark Angel is a blend of ASW Resurgens Rye barrel-aged Sir Isaac Quad re-fermented with mission figs and two-year-old foeder fermented Angels in the Architecture. Bright notes of citrus and acid meld harmoniously with rich caramel and dark fruit - all brought together by spicy barrel rye notes and well-aged funk. 8% ABV.

07. Braselton Brewing Handshake IPA - A subdued West Coast-Style IPA with Columbus, Loral, Azacca and Veterans Blend hops throughout. This delicious IPA starts floral and transitions to a piney finish.

08. Burnt Hickory Withered Cherry Blackberry Cobbler Berliner premiers as a 4.5% ABV fruit-forward tart wheat ale. Soured with proprietary bacteria and cleaned up in the kettle pre-fermentation, this beer has the sweet and tart flavors of pie and is named for Atlanta Doom/Black Metal legends Withered.

09. Cherry Street Brewing BananACAT is a 10% ABV bourbon barrel-aged Belgian-Style Quad aged for 12 months in a Four Roses 10-Year Select barrel with ripe bananas and toasted walnuts with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, dates and vanilla.

10. PEOPLE'S CHOICE CASK WINNER -- Lincoln Fill Station / Cherry Street The Buffalo Rider. An 11% ABV German chocolate Imperial Stout aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel with toasted coconut, dates, vanilla and Ghirardelli chocolate. Buffalo Trace barrel-aged maple syrup was used as the primer for cask-conditioning.

11. Cøntrast Artisan Ales Mammy's Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Stout. We hope you're wearing a sweater, because it's about to get super cozy in here with this 5.3% ABV dreamy, silky Oatmeal Stout that embodies a favorite classic breakfast bowl. It's smooth, comfy goodness in a glass.

12. Creature Comforts Vuja De: London Porter. Vuja De is an exploratory series with historical influence that looks at classic beer brands in a new, yet familiar, way. With this 5.0% ABV addition to the series, we honor the legendary Fuller's London Porter. This special cask offers a creamy roast flavor with a touch of salinity.

13. THIRD PLACE CLASSIC STYLE -- Cultivation Brewing Simple Habits. This 5.8% ABV nod to traditional Farmhouse Ales was fermented with French Saison yeast and brewed with Pilsner and Vienna malts balanced by Hallertau Blanc and Nelson Sauvin hops.

14. Elsewhere Brewing Vaunted East Coast IPA. For this hazy IPA, we blended juicy and citrusy aspects. Additions of 2022 harvested Mt. Hood whole cone hops to this special cask help accentuate a warm spice character and create a unique and approachable 6.5% ABV offering with 20 IBUs.

15. Eventide Brewing Cup of Excellence is a 6.7% ABV coffee Milk Stout aged on Madagascar vanilla beans and oak spirals. Expect a sweet, malty profile with a creamy coffee finish.

16. Good Word Brewing Analog Life is a 3.6% ABV English-Style Dark Mild Ale that's loaded with elegant, subtle complexity and immense drinkability.

17. Halfway Crooks 10˚P Černé Pivo. This Czech-Style Black Lager with 4.2% ABV was done in collaboration with Cohesion Brewing in Denver, and the elegant beer uses Epiphany base and specialty dark malts. The hop bill is 100% Saaz. This Czech dark lager offers a touch more roasted character and dark color than a Tmavý. This exclusive version was krausened in the cask and cold lagered.

18. Hop Atomica Sweater Weather is an American Strong Ale with 9.3% ABV and 51 IBUs. It's hopped with Magnum, Goldings, Willamette and Saaz. Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, grains of paradise, orange peel and vanilla beans were added to the cask to spice up this rich "winter warmer" ale.

19. Hopstix GMT is our 5.7% ABV take on a contemporary English IPA. We started with a foundation of Maris Otter and UK crystal malts, along with multiple hop additions in the kettle and a healthy dry-hopping with Olacana and Jester. These elements combine to form toasted bread and toffee notes highlighted with bright citrus and tea nuances.

20. Khonso Brewing Long Tall Sally. Just like one of our favorite songs by Little Richard Penniman, this 11.5% ABV Barleywine is fun. Our Barleywine offers a deep amber color, smooth body, caramel maltiness, and notes of raisin. This one is like Sally - built for speed!


21. Liquid Nation Brewing Lick The Wrapper. This 5.5% ABV peanut butter and chocolate milk porter will make you question whether you’re drinking a glass of suds or munching a peanut butter cup. We start with a generous use of roasted and chocolate malts, sprinkle in just the right amount of hops, mix in some peanut butter and let it “bake” until ready. Expect a sweet porter with big notes of chocolate and peanut butter.

22. Little Cottage Beyond the Edge of Existence. This 4.8% ESB was brewed with Maris Otter and a touch of crystal malt for the grain bill, along with Nugget and East Kent Goldings for the hop additions. A toasted, bread-like character with a little caramel comes through in this full-bodied UK-style bitter. A medium hop bitterness rounds things out.

23. Lost Druid Menai British-Style Golden Ale is a 5% ABV rounded and smooth cask that features a unique blend of hops that showcases a highly-desired orange marmalade note while providing a balanced, hop-forward, subtle bready malt backbone. Golden straw in color, this style is a thirst quencher. Once produced solely as a refreshing summer beer, British-Style Golden Ales are now enjoyed year-round in the UK.

24. Magnanimous Brewing Sorath is a 6% ABV Czech-Style Dark Lager constructed with elegant European malts and Hallertau Mittelfruh hops. Expect a clean fermentation profile highlighted by impressive malt and noble hop character.

25. Mandatory Fun Beer Works Blood Stripe. This Irish Red Ale Braggot from Smyrna was aged in a rye barrel with additions of orange blossom honey. 

26. Max Lager's Fooler's ESB makes for a truly classic cask. Look for a full-bodied, amber-colored ale with medium bitterness and pleasant fruity notes. East Kent Goldings hops were used for an earthy, herbal English hop character.  ABV: 5.4%.

27. Monday Night Prague Fog Czech Dark Lager is brewed with noble hops and floor-malted dark Bohemian pilsner malt. Its character is balanced by roasty/toasty notes. With this 3.7% ABV ultra-drinkable beer, you’ll find yourself ensconced in Prague Fog all winter long.

28. Monkey Wrench Brewing Coconuts & Bolts is a 6.3% ABV English-Style Porter constructed with six different malts. Look for upfront notes of espresso balanced with coconut and cacao nibs.

29. Moon River Apparition Ale is an English-Style Pale Ale that sits at 5% ABV. Brewed with Maris Otter malt and traditional Timothy Taylor ale yeast, this beer begs to be cask-conditioned. A special dry-hopping of East Kent Goldings in the firkin accentuates the honey-like caramel qualities of the malt.

30. New Realm Yankee Invasion ESB is what we are calling an "International ESB." Brewed in the English style with all English malts, this cask also features German Mandarina Bavaria hops and American Amarillo hops. It's amber in color with impressive biscuit and caramel malt character, along with fruit-forward hop flavors. 6.4% ABV, 49 IBUs.

31. Normaltown "A Proper Mountie Breakfast." We sought to create a strong breakfast stout that could stand up to a cold Canadian winter. With flaked oats, maple bacon extract, oak spirals and a hint of cinnamon, this dark ale won’t fail to warm you up and remind you why breakfast is the most important meal. 10.5% ABV, (Note: Contains soy and dairy from the maple bacon extract.)

32. Orpheus Ultramega Imperial Stout - A silky rye strong stout with layers of dark chocolate, molasses and baking spices. No adjuncts were harmed in the making of this powerful brew that comes in at 11.4% ABV.

33. Piedmont Brewery If I Could Quit - A clean 5.0% ABV lager brewed with a heavy-handed amount of honey malt balanced with Hersbrucker hops. A subtle sweetness and lingering honey flavor on the back end make this an appealing winter lager.

34. Pontoon Brewing AquaChronic Double IPA is 8% ABV and dry-hopped with Galaxy, Enigma and Citra. This is a bigger brother of our AquaTronic Double IPA with beefier hops. 

35. Gate City Dunkles Bock with Spices is a malty German-Style amber lager with tasty additions of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. 6.5% ABV. 

36. Red Hare The Last Big Beer in a Small Town is an 8.5% ABV barrel-aged Milk Stout brewed with Ecuadorian cocoa nibs and aged in a bourbon barrel that previously held our award-winning rum. Part of our ongoing “double barrel” projects, this sweet stout provides notes of chocolate, vanilla, plum and warming rum. 

37. Reformation Brewery English Barleywine pays tribute to the rich, complex and intense Barleywine style that is now making a thankful comeback. This 11.2% ABV cask version is brewed with additions of blackstrap molasses and Tahitian vanilla.


38. Rock Solid Brewing Not My Gumdrop Buttons! is a flavorful American Stout that comes in at 7.3% ABV with cinnamon, ginger and clove added to this exclusive cask.

39. Round Trip Brewing Decocted & Concocted is a decocted Czech Amber Lager made with Weyermann floor-malted Bohemian Pilsner and Carared malts. A dose of cold brew coffee from Docent Coffee Roasters was added to this special cask.

40. Sabbath Brewing Three Bedrooms on Beech Creek Orchards - Our oak-fermented wild sour ale base was re-fermented on carbonic macerated wild foraged muscadines from Beech Creek Orchards. 6.9% ABV.

41. Sceptre Brewing Arts Hexproof is a 4.3% ABV double dry-hopped Pale Ale brewed with Riverbend Southern Craft Malt and oats with heaps of Zappa and Loral Lupulin hops, along with a dose of Hopzoil Hazy.

42. Schoolhouse Brewing Cran Piano. This 6.0% ABV kettle-soured Berliner Weisse was loaded with cranberries, resulting in a beer that is both tart and invigorating.  Sophisticated and classy, yet intense, it'll have your taste buds humming along in contentment. 

43. Shiner Candy Cane Porter is crafted with two-row malt accompanied by a duo of dark malts for color and toasty flavors, as well as flaked oats which impart a smooth mouthfeel. In addition, we infused this 10% ABV sipper with a vast amount of cocoa to give it a comforting chocolate note to partner with the fresh mint that was added near the end of fermentation in the same vein that one would dry-hop an IPA. The complex porter in this firkin was marinated on wood that was soaked with Garrison Brother’s Bourbon.

44. Six Bridges Innit Bruv Ordinary Bitter. This 4.6% ABV session ale contains Maris Otter, crystal 45, biscuit and Victory malts, along with Fuggle hops and London yeast. Like the older bloke at the pub used to say, "Need that balance in your life and your beer, mate. That malty character is a real delight innit. But mind the bitter finish - it's cracking skulls, bruv! Look at that color too, mate, blimey! Pour this one in the glass, and then Bob’s your uncle, innit?"

45. Southbound Brewing Hot'lin IPA uses our popular Hop'lin West Coast-Style IPA as a base, with additions of jalapeno and pineapple cranking up the complexity in this mouth-watering cask that holds 6.3% ABV and 40 IBUs.

46. STATS Brewpub Albatross is a 6.4% ABV American IPA conditioned in the cask on mangos and serrano peppers. Expect an appealing hop profile backed by wonderful fruit and chili notes.


47. FIRST PLACE CLASSIC STYLE -- StillFire Brewing Withershin Walter's Old English Ale. This delectable, malty ale comes in at 9% ABV. Enjoy this classic English-Style Old Ale that was aged tenderly for maximum flavour and complexity.

48. Terrapin Athens Cask Perception Imperial IPA starts with our base beer Depth Perception, and finishes with additions of CTZ, Centennial and Simcoe dry-hops in the cask. Our 9.1% ABV red ale base is aggressively hopped with CTZ, Chinook and Crystal hops, while backed by CaraMalt and crystal 45 for a pleasant sweetness and full mouthfeel. 

49. Terrapin Atlanta Walk & Balk is a twist on a complex classic beer style. Our Golden Weizenbock has been combined with chocolate, paying homage to a ballpark favorite combination of bananas and chocolate.

50. SECOND PLACE CLASSIC STYLE -- Three Taverns Double Dry-Hopped Night on Ponce IPA. We took our base IPA and dry-hopped in the cask with an additional charge of Galaxy and Simcoe hops. Expect an extra layer of tropical fruit, grapefruit and pine notes, along with the prevalent citrus character of A Night on Ponce IPA.

51. Torched Hop Wai Wai Express IPA. This 7.9% IPA was heavily hopped with New Zealand-grown Nelson Sauvin and US-grown Citra. Phantasm powder from New Zealand grape skins was added to the kettle, and the beer was fermented with a thiolized yeast strain. Look for notes of Pinot Gris grapes, mango and tropical fruits.

52. Twain's Brewpub & Billiards Brux Ambré is a 6% ABV Biere de Garde that was aged for four years on Brettanomyces bruxellensis yeast in a red wine barrel. Look for rich barrel elements and notes of red wine with deep, funky Brett character. Sip slowly, as this ale develops over time in your glass.

53. THIRD PLACE AVANT-GARDE STYLE -- Two Tides How Much Cheese is too Much Cheese? Check out our mint chocolate cheesecake Imperial Stout that's made with Andes mints, cheesecake, graham crackers and vanilla. 9.9% ABV.

54. Variant Brewing Broken Mind is a 13.5% ABV imperial pastry stout with additions of macadamia nuts, white chocolate, sea salt and a blend of Tahitian, Papua New Guinea and Peruvian vanilla beans.

55. SECOND PLACE AVANT-GARDE STYLE -- Viking Alchemist The Raven Mead. Don't miss this luscious dark cherry mead made with additions of blackberry, black currant, blueberry, clove, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla and orange.

56. FIRST PLACE AVANT-GARDE STYLE -- Wild Heaven 5 Points German-Style Doppelbock ranks as our fifth collaboration with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey. This traditional strong dark lager was aged in Bulleit 95 Rye barrels. Expect notes of rich, toasty buttered toffee, raisins and rye bourbon. 9.25% ABV.

57. Wrecking Bar Wreckinator Dopplebock. A rich and robust Bavarian-style strong lager with notes of gooey caramel, burnt sugar and dark fruit. There are no adjuncts here - just beer! 6.8% ABV. 

CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite cask before 5 PM on festival day. Use the unique six-digit passcode from your green ticket to vote.

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Photos by Mary Fiorello, Patricia Watt and Ashton Smith.