Hops: Zeus (for bittering), Zeus & Cascade (for flavor & aroma)
Winner of the 2008 Gold in the American Pale Ale category at The Hickory Hops Festival and Carolina Championship of Beer, this pale ale pours an attractive golden, brass color with a "permanent" off-white head and good lace stickage. Expect the nose to present grains, grapefruit seeds, a sprig of fresh mint, aspirin, caramel, a gentle hoppy spiciness, and an overall citrusy hop tone. Note that this beer goes down relatively bitter, but this is nicely balanced by a solid caramel malt backbone. In fact, the balance in this brew is excellent. Look for the flavor to strike with bitter notes first, then later sweeter tones as malts surge to establish equilibrium and balance. You'll then experience a resurgence of tight bitterness in the back of the throat and rear of tongue, with a relative sharpness to the bitterness, and a slightly medicinal, prickly hop spiciness. All in all, a very nicely balanced, easy-to-drink pale ale. Pair with good company and another beer.
We've been fans of this brewery for a while, but this is the first time we've featured them. The Atlanta Brewing Company (ABC) is the oldest operational craft brewery in the state of Georgia. Like numerous areas of the south, restrictive prohibition-era "hangover" laws have meant slow momentum for the craft brew scene. The fact that this is the oldest of the state's craft breweries, and was founded in 1993, kind of gives you an idea of not only what type of pace the beer scene has been developing at, but, really, how far ahead of the curve ABC was when they decided to set up shop. In late 2005, new ownership and management joined longtime ABC brewmaster Dave McClure. Robert Budd, President, and Dave Weil, Director of Operations, have been hard at work with Dave in building their brands and getting more people turned on to good beer than you can shake a Georgia peach at (yes, we do reserve the right to create our own ridiculous expressions over here in the newsletter department) .
Their Red Brick Ale was the first beer they brewed and it remains their flagship brand. This month we're featuring this beer and their Peachtree Pale Ale, but the brewery also serves up a traditional, German-style Hefeweizen in the summertime, a hearty double-chocolate Oatmeal Porter in the winter, and an American-style Blonde Ale (aka Golden Ale) all year round. Then there are their limited release beers like their Red Brick Barrel Select, a beer that recently took home the Gold Medal from the World Beer Cup in the Wood and Barrel Aged Beer category. This is their Red Brick Ale aged in Jim Beam Bourbon barrels for 10 months. Now that's some southern comfort if we've ever heard it.
In 2006, the Atlanta Brewing Company was named one of "10 great places to see what's brewing in beer" by USA Today. We agree—especially amidst the awakening of craft-brewed beer's collective consciousness that's currently happening in the south. Turns out ABC also has a great guided tour and beer tasting every Wednesday and Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Four to six beers are offered on tap, and a brand-spankin' new tasting room with all the creature comforts one needs for such an affair is currently in the works. Pay 'em a visit and say "Hi" for us.
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (404) 355-5558 or check out their web site at www.atlantabrewing.com.
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