ATLANTA WINTER BEERFEST 2016

Saturday, January 31st at 1pm

Location: The Masquerade

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 2/15/2016

While the low clouds and frosty morning dew have plagued the land for months, the long winter wasn’t as brutal as the one before, yet the town-folk were ready for some good old-fashioned sunshine and warmer temps. Once Atlanta Winter Beer Fest comes around, there is light at the end of the cold, winter tunnel, and it’s always the best way to kick-off festival season 2016. This year, the weather was almost warm, and the beautiful day, along with the unlimited winter beer made for an ideal Atlanta festival day. We love Atlanta Winter Beerfest!

We always challenge ourselves to find new and exciting beers to chat about and this year was no exception. Over the last few years with the local brewery phenomenon, and the bigger brands clawing to keep up, beer is getting more exciting with new and inventive ingredients to step it up a notch. Be it nuts, chocolate, and everything in between, brewers are pulling out all the stops to entice beer aficionados to buy their beer. Bring it, we say. That being said there were a few fun beers we discovered at this beer festival.

The best beer that IMG_8307we hadn’t tried of Atlanta Winter Beer Fest was Orpheus’ The Ferryman. This Imperial Stout has a little bit of everything from the darkness of the malt, to the nuttiness of the hazelnut, and sweetness of the vanilla. It was the right balance between the sweet and bitter. Has anyone else noticed that a lot of breweries are using hazelnuts in their brew? Monday Night’s Georgian Imperial Stout has it, as well as Southern Sky had a specialty one with hazelnut for one of its employee’s birthdays. It does ad a good flavor to it. We’ll take it!

Some other good beers we discovered were Unknown Brewing Co out of Charlotte’s Silverback Stout. It was a good drinkable stout even if it was a little bitterer, hoppy than I like. It has a lot of chocolate up front and that makes up for the bitter finish at the end. Unknown Brewing just launched in Atlanta in December so you should be able to find something yummy from them at your local haunt. We’re keeping an eye out as we’d love to try the Imperial Stouts they offer. Finally, Burnt Hickory didn’t bring my favorite, Big Shanty Stout, due to the fact it was so popular they were literally OUT, but they had a good Brown Ale called Mudhoney (yes, a tribute to THAT Mudhoney). It was a balanced beer between hops and malt that ended with a sweeter honey hint. Have we mentioned we love the rock-n-roll themed names Burnt Hickory gives all their beers? They have great selection of beers AND name them something fabulous that appeals to our love of rock! Well done, gentlemen.

http://atlantawinterbeerfest.com/

 

ATLANTA WINE PARTY – WINTER 2016

Saturday, January 16th at 6pm

Location: Opera Nightclub

By Liz Attaway, Posted 1/27/16

It’s the pop of the cork, the smell of apple tartness, the smooth dance of cascading fluid into a clear glass, and that first taste that was met with excited anticipation that what makes wine so satisfying. If you’ve ever been to a winery with a good tasting, you know there is a joy in finding something new to try be it a tasty new white, red, or rose wine. Atlanta Wine Festival has that excited anticipation, like a grand scale wine tasting with a few of your closest friends. Are you ready for a glass? Thought so!

IMG_8263There were a ton of varietals available to taste at Atlanta Wine Festival, and of those tastes, there were a few that stood out. As for the whites, the best one of the night was the Villa “Il Fresco” Italian Prosecco champagne. It was a Northern Italian wine that started tart and ended with a hint of sweet and fizzy bubbles. It was crisp, like a green apple, but was neither sweet nor too dry. It was just right. I’m not a huge Prosecco drinker, but it speaks to the quality of this wine, that it ended up being my favorite. No surprise that it was and Italian wine; it’s always my favorite country for wine. Another good white was a California Chardonnay from Spellbound. Chardonnays are also not my go-to wine when I’m out with friends or relaxing at home, but this one was different. It was fuller, buttery, and smoother than some of its peers, while not having any smoke or oak to overpower its kiwi, light body. I’d buy this out or to enjoy at home any time. It was very drinkable. Finally, I have to mention the Private Selection Pinot Grigio by Robert Modavi. I know it’s not a cream of the crop brand but it one of those wines that you could have a couple of glasses of and enjoy from beginning to end. It’s the right amount of apple, tart, and smooth ending. It could be a good go-to for those hot summer nights.

I couldn’t write this article and not mention at least one Red. Red wine is really a required taste, and it’s something I’ve tried to get into but just haven’t. It’s sometimes too heavy, makes me tired or I would rather have something lighter and crisper. That being said, I did have one red that I really liked: the Red Blend by Saved. It had a lot of personality with mixed fruit, not dry or sweet, with robust finish. Plus, it was so popular it was almost all gone by the time I got there half way through the night. Who can argue with that?

Like all good wine tastings, they must end. The lights go down and the doors to the winery are shut, as the wine ferments in the barrels or casks below. Don’t fret, it all be here tomorrow. So, sharpen your pencil, grab your scrap paper, and get tasting. Bummed you missed Atlanta Wine Festival? Atlanta Beer Festivals has a ton of events coming up including Winter Beer Fest, Atlanta Brunch Festival in March, and more. Here’s their site for more information about these events: http://atlantabeerfestivals.com/

Cheers!

ACWORTH BEER FESTIVAL: PORTER SEASON

Saturday, November 14th at 1pm

Location: Downtown Acworth

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/30/2015

In quaint city in far North Atlanta is a cute downtown full of locally owned bars, restaurants, shops, and many things to do. The city of Acworth is beautiful and a great place to hold a beer fest! You get all the small city charm and all the fun of a beer fest in one place! We hadn’t been to the Acworth Beer Festival before and had a blast, as well as enjoyed the beautiful November weather and all the porter/stout we could drink. That being said, porter season is in full swing, we dove into this experience full force.

IMG_8155We found some great beers from local breweries around Georgia. We can’t be happier that our friends at Southern Sky Brewery is finally putting their products out at beer festivals and even more exciting was we got to FINALLY try the Schwarzchild Porter. It’s an English-Style Robust porter dark porter full of malt but drinks more like a stout. It was smooth, chocolatey, expresso-forward, and dark, but a hint of sweet, just like we like it! They are having their big opening January 23rd, you know we’ll be there! Check out their Facebook page about the event here.

Speaking of Stouts, what’s better than Big Shanty Graham Cracker Stout from Burnt Hickory Brewery? Nothing. It’s one of our favorite beers being brewed in Atlanta. It has that malt that we love along with the smooth finish of almost a chocolate/expresso, yet has a hint of sweet from the actual graham crackers and honey they use when they brew. It’s pretty sublime. In the same vein, another one of our favorite Stouts in Atlanta is Red Hare’s Sticky Stout. It’s a little bitterer than some of the other ones but it still is smooth and malty, but very drinkable.

IMG_8156Finally, another surprise was the River Street Praline Brown Ale from Eagle Creek Brewing Co out of Statesboro. Don’t be fooled by the name, there is no pralines used in the making of this beer! But how does it taste like candied pralines? It’s their strong caramel and chocolate flavors they use with specialty malts that just taste nutty! Also they age the beer in Madagascar Vanilla. This beer is smooth and tasty. You should try it if you like strong ales, stouts, and porters.

Another successful beer festivals under our belt and enjoying the brewery explosion in Atlanta. It’s been so great getting out and trying new beers and finding new favorites. We will be looking for these in our favorite watering holes this winter. Atlanta Beer Festivals put on this festival. They have some fun new experiences coming up this winter with Atlanta Wine Festival on January 16th, 2 sessions of Winter Beer Festival on January 30th and the just announced Atlanta Brunch Festival on March 5th. Here’s a link to their site! http://atlantabeerfestivals.com/

GREAT ATLANTA BEER FEST 2015

Saturday, September 26th at 3pm

Location: Turner Field

It’s the best baseball memory you have: the crack of the bat, the crowd clapping and jumping, a familiar tune playing on the loud speakers. That’s what it feels like when you visit Turner Field: you’re favorite baseball memory, even if there isn’t any baseball being played at all. We’re back at the Great Atlanta Beer Fest like a beer fest with the atmosphere of a baseball game. It’s always a good time, despite the sprinkles in the air. Let’s jump into this year’s festival…

My favorite part of the fall is the influx of pumpkin and pumpkin beers, unfortunately there weren’t many to choose from at the beer fest. Most people said they brought what their distributors want them to bring regardless of season. Strike one for the distributors as variety is the spice of life, and all IPCP24nS3WEAA8YX7As isn’t something that excites me. I’m a dark beer/porter/sour kind of girl. But for the porters there was the Jekyll Smoked Porter, which is always a good, local porter full of malt and almost chocolatey. There was also and Starr Hill’s Pumpkin Porter, Boxcarr. It’s dark and strong with actual pumpkin added to the mash to make the right amount of pumpkin to porter. It was a little nutmeggy (yep, I like to make up words) on the end but overall pretty good.

One of the highlights beyond the beer, was that Southern Sky Brewing, and up and coming brewery had one of their first beer fest outings and they brought their Worlds Apart Ale. They say it’s a hybrid ale with a mix of Belgium white and an Irish red. That’s pretty spot on with a light beginning and ale end. It’s versatile beer that you can drink all year round. What I’m really looking forward to is the Schwarzchild Porter that Near told me drinks more like a stout. Sign me up!

The weather was rainy, misty and gloomy but the beers and the atmosphere made it all worth the day at Turner Field. Next year, maybe we’ll get a beautiful 70 degree day with all porters, stouts and pumpkin beers. Wouldn’t that be awesome? A girl can dream, can’t she? Now go and enjoy your favorite beer and look forward to the next beer fest! There’s always Boos and Brews on Halloween and several others each weekend until then.

THE CORK PULLERS BEER, WINE, AND SPIRITS FESTIVAL 2015

Saturday, August 29th at 3pm

Location: Candler Park

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: http://www.corkpullerstour.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

With billowing clouds and small spurts of sunshine, there was the distinct smell of fresh cut grass in the air surrounding the lush Candler Park. Atlanta’s first annual Cork Puller’s Beer, Wine, and Spirits Fest got underway with a trifecta, holy trinity of drink choices: beer, wine and liquor. The crowd wIMG_7719as decent but we never felt like we waited too long for a drink and plenty of space to sit and watch the bands. Here are the highlights of this year’s Cork Pullers.

What would an almost fall festival be without the emergence of the year’s porters, Oktoberfests, and pumpkin ales? The best beer I hadn’t tried at the festival was the Misdemeanor Porter by Jailhouse. It was smooth and malty but not too heavy for a good drinking beer any time of year. Someday, we’ll make it to Hampton to visit them. I’ll come right out and say it, I’m not a huge Sierra Nevada fan. Too. Many. Hops. To my surprise Sierra Nevada has come out with an OctoberFest that is slightly heavier and not too hoppy. I enjoyed this one! Terrapin had just tapped their PumpkinFest the night before so there was plenty to go around at Cork Pullers. Finally, always a delight are some of my favorite Atlanta beers from Monday Night with their Drafty Kilt, and Orpheus’ Atalanta Plum Saison. Too bad the tents weren’t next to each other and I just would have thrown down a chair and hung there.IMG_7717

The other big player was the wine. There were two good whites that I really enjoyed: The D’Arenberg The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc and Columbian Crest Unoaked Chardonnay out of Washington State. The Sav Blanc was a smoother, crisper wine without the traditional over the top grapefruit nose. I enjoyed that. The chardonnay was very smooth with a hint of butter at the end. It was good for a hot summer day. There was also liquor, but I’m not a big liquor person so I stuck to beer and wine. Even though I’m not big on it, the festival goers sure would as the lines for both Jack Daniels and American Born Moonshine were pretty much the longest lines at the festival. They must have had something good.

I have to take a moment here to throw kudos out to Cork Pullers for having the BEST water station we’ve ever seen at a beer festival. Everyone was impressed! Everyone needs to hydrate in the heat, so this was genius. GENIUS, I say! So that’ll about do it for this fun new festival. Until next year…

ATLANTA WINE PARTY – SUMMER EDITION

Saturday, July 25th at 6pm

Location: Opera

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ATLANTA WINE PARTY: http://atlantawineparty.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

 

The steam rises from the freshly dampened pavement and the air was stagnant like a thick layer of mist billowing into the early evening sky. Late July in Atlanta can be volatile to the elements, hot, sticky, smoldering, stifling, yet oddly alluring, oh who am I kidding; it’s time to head back inside until fall braces us with its cooling presence. It’s also a good time for a crisp, cold white wine with several hundred of our closest friends. Enter, Atlanta Wine Party Summer Edition. It made for a fabulous event, full of short skirts, short lines, fine wines and evening in the air conditioning far away from the hot July Georgia heat.

The majesty of Opera’s beautiful décor, elaborate wood work, and cascading chandeliers always takes your breath away. Being a renovated opera house would do that to a place. With this beautiful background, the wines just seemed more regal. I was very impressed with the wide variety of everything from whites, reds, blends, Roses, and champagne.

wine festThere were several very good white wines. My favorite was the Santa Christina Pinot Grigio from Italy. It had the DOCG logo, which is Italy’s highest classification of Italian wines. It was sweeter at first with banana and tropical fruit but very smooth and ended with a slight apple crisp. It was so smooth I went back a few times for more. I would have bought a bottle if they were offering! I also enjoyed a Gavi varietal from Riva Leone Italy. It had a high quality DOCG seal and was crisp with a tart aftertaste of mainly acid and green apple.  Also, there was the Benvolio Pinot Grigio from Italy that boasted of wild flowers and apple, it was a little more fruit forward with a smoother tarter end, a little fruitier than a like but the tart aftertaste saved the day. I’m not huge on New Zealand or Australian white wines. That being said, I guess I just hadn’t tried the better ones. I found one I really liked called d’Arenberg “Stump Jump” that was a Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc mix that was slightly sweet up front with floral and grapefruit, but not enough to be too harsh, then into a lime/apple crisp at the end. They were all worth a try if you’re into whites.

I even found a red wine that I would take home and drink regularly. I couldn’t believe it! It was a French Grenache, Syrah, Carignan blend varietal by Gerard Bertrand called “Tautavei.” The wine nose was a mix of raspberry and cranberry and that’s how the flavor started off then it went slightly dry and ended with a slight tart. There was no oak or smoke, which I don’t like. It was smooth and light enough for the hot summer months. Just look for the red circle and cross bottle if you’d like to try this one!

No sooner did we get there, that it felt like the event was over. We made our way back out into the steamy night with a slight smile on our faces. We had new favorite wines, new friends, and new memories that would keep this night in our minds for the rest of the summer. Cheers.

WILD HEAVEN’S EMERGENCY CHICKEN PICKIN

Saturday, June 27th at 7pm

Location: Wild Heaven Brewery

IMG_7586  By Liz and John Attaway

  The forecast called for rain with little chance of a dry hour that night in June. The patio was lit with party lights, while the tent was up protecting the precious chicken cargo from the impending doom. It was a brave effort but unnecessary as the clouds spaced out in the late afternoon sky. As the sun set in the west, the clouds had a pink, blue, and purple glow that was glorious and beautiful, showing the world that even a rainy day has a silver lining. What was so beautiful about this sunset was sitting a-top their entrance is the Wild Heaven logo where the pink, blue and purple cloud background shown through the big windows and behind the logo, it was a beautiful site for the Emergency Chicken Pickin event.

Wild Heaven’s Emergency Chicken Pickin was about two things: chicken and beer. This chicken was something to write home about; it was that good! With Pine Street Market grilling succulent Springer Mountain Chicken that was marinated in Wild Heaven’s Emergency beer, what wasn’t to like? It was cooked with the skin on and bone in to give you the moisture needed to make it tender and juicy. I had a snack before I went but I ate a whole piece ½ of white mIMG_7587eat and John got another piece too. More, please.

Beyond the chicken was the beer, John’s favorite is the Let There Be Light, an American Pale ale, that is one of the more hoppy options at the brewery. What I really like about Wild Heaven that they don’t over hop their beer. My favorite was the Eschaton, which is a malty, Belgian-Style Quadruple. It’s dark, malty, beautifully balanced and would be so good with chocolate. Of the new offerings, we really enjoyed Emergency, as well as the Pearly Gates No 19. Emergency is a Pil-style Session Ale. It’s one of those summer beers you can get a six pack of and sip on at the pool. It’s light, bright, and an easy drinker but not so light you feel like your drinking a light beer. The Pearly Gates No 19 was a special beer only for this event and it had a little more bit   e and bolder flavor and a slight nutty aftertaste.

With the good turn-out, the glorious sun set, and chicken and beer pairing, the event seemed to be a hit. We were IMG_7582impressed with the quality of the chicken and the beer offerings of the night. If you’d like more information on Wild Heaven, their beers, and their tours/tastings check out their site at http://wildheavencraftbeers.com/

See you next time, Nick!

DAD’S GARAGE & FRIENDS 2015 AT THE FOX THEATRE

Saturday, June 13th at 8pm

Location: The Fox Theatre

 FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.dadsgarage.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

There is a sign in the heart of a big city that glitters against the night sky. It is notorious for its beautiful ballets and mesmerizing musicals. The town folk all hold it in the highest regard and visit it several times a year in all their finest; ladies in their ball gowns and gentlemen in their tuxes and top hats. Just think about pulling up in a Model-T and walking down the red carpet. Those days are gone but the nostalgia and the sign still stands, as glittering and prestigious as ever. Welcome to The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Juxtaposing the beauty and prestige is Dad’s Garage, an improv troupe that is irreverent and playful, while entertaining Atlanta without any of the pretense. That’s what made the Dad’s Garage & Friends event so interesting: East meets West, North meets South, Paula Abdul’s Opposites Attract. You catch the drift. Tonight, Dad’s Garage finds itself getting all dressed up, even “Schmancy”. Well played, Dad’s Garage, well played.

To go along with their new shiny shoes and bow ties, Dad’s Garage & Friends boasted many celebrity friends that Kevin Gillese, the Artistic Director of Dad’s Garage, said “you’ll never see this combination of actors again.” That’s what I call: #truth. Of those featured celebrities were Amber Nash and Lucky Yates who voice Pam and Krieger on the show Archer from FX. Followed by Fred Willard who has appeared on TV shows from Modern Family to Mad About You to Rosanne. Colin Mochrie, a frequent Dad’s Garage visiting actor, is from the original and CW reboot of Whose Line is it Anyway. Cedric Yarbough who portrayed Deputy S. Jones/Rufus from Reno 911. Gary Anthony Williams who wore a loud pink button down voices Uncle Ruckus on Adult Swim’s The Boondocks, and was recently seen in The Internship. Last but not least, there was also David Willis, who is the voice of Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force on Adult Swim.

Beyond the cele11393151_1599988356932535_7023246345605088045_nbs was some very funny skits, sketches, songs, and modern dances. My favorite skit was the Atlanta Opera sings the skit that Mochrie described as, “the first opera with an NC-17 rating.” They took audience ideas like Frisbees, Batman and the Penguin conversation, and the invention of the Cotton Gin and incorporated them into a script that the Opera singers would put their spin on. It became naught quickly. Like the Batman and Penguin skit, it was like a duck with Tourette’s. Topics ranged from friends, lovers, flying, the devil (but spelled kdevil), and cotton. I laughed so hard I almost cried when the typos became rampant and the Opera Sings had to sing the words exactly as typed. The look on their faces was PRICELESS. Worth. Every. Penny.

Keeping with the Atlanta Opera, who was a partner for the night, was the Atlanta Opera sings Jaden Smith’s Tweets. Yes, Jaden Smith of Will Smith fame. The best ones were “Most Trees are Blue” and “Dying is mainstream #money.” The Atlanta Opera wasn’t the only ones singing as Yarborough and Williams took audience suggestions and were tasked with improving a song that incorporated the audience’s ideas. A young lady in the front named “Kat” gave them the suggestion of a giraffe. They sang about this giraffe to the tune of Reggae and the funniest, Gospel Hip Hop, totally made up for this event but one part choir, one part Kayne West (who was a guest host, kind of). It was a hoot.

Beyond the song shenanigans, as advertised, the Dad’s Garage troupe did their version of “Too Many Cooks” The Musical. Of course, it started with a very large family at home. Other elements that they blended into the musical was Coat, Smarf, the cat-like puppet that reminded us for Alf, and the machete wielding killer. In “Too Many Cooks” style, (SPOILER ALERT) the killer lops the head off of a bunch of the actors and ended with him standing among the dead. I think I’ve seen this before…

A few other tidbits that were amusing included Two Lies and a Truth, where Gary Anthony Williams had the best line saying that he tried to dig his way to the devil. Meatwad admitted that he got paid in tater tots (because let’s not lie, their awesome). The segment about 1-star reviews on Yelp for Atlanta Attractions includ11247890_10207012962464763_7945729679863100524_ned a scathing review of the beloved Clermont Lounge. The reviewer stated that it’s “a great place to get an incurable disease.” I would admit that I wouldn’t wear opened toed shoes or a long dress there. It may stick to the floor. Shudder. Finally, we got a treat with an exclusive improved Archer scene that was specially made for the event. Lucky Yates, who voices Krieger, and Amber Nash, who voices Pam both lent their voices and it was just like watching an actual Archer episode. Krieger must have really pissed off that big cat that kept attacking him. So fun.

With a few Hitler gabs and a literal choir, the Dad’s Garage and Friends came to a close. What an enjoyable night full of laughter and wonder. We’ve actually never been to an actual Dad’s Garage show, we’ll have to get out to a show and see what they do day-in and day-out to keep so many close friends (and good ones at that). Maybe once they take over that church in the Old Fourth Ward. Dad’s Garage has been around since 1995. They used to be located in Inman Park and have been displaced recently to perform at 7 Stages Theatre until their permanent home is finished. ANNOUNCEMENT: They will be opening on New Year’s Even 2015-16 in their new location! Cue the Choir.

Want to get out to The Fox Theatre? Here’s their web address to see upcoming shows and ticket information here: https://foxtheatre.org/

 

SWEETWATER 420 FEST 2015

Friday, April 17th to Sunday, April 19th at

Location: Centennial Olympic Park

FOR MORE INFORMATION http://www.sweetwater420fest.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

There is nothing more beautiful than the Atlanta Skyline at night with the lights a-glow, while the skywheel floats gracefully clock-wise changing from green to red to blue. What makes it even more wondrous is the unending sea of people covering a large amounts of muddied earth. They all sway in time to the beat, while the rhythmic lights from the stage cast shadows onto that sea of moving people. Just imagine this moment with the skyline in the background, and you stand watching Primus from the side of the stage taking it all in. Epic.

All the grounds were muddied from the Friday night rain, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 420 festival goers. They seemed more excited and eager than ever before. While we were there, we didn’t even need a rain coat. Well, almost didn’t, and that was a miracle. Experience wise, our favorite was that we got to go through the VIP Big Fish area and Honey Hole and they were both worth every minute. We would highly recommend them to anyone who attends next year! They had everything from discounted food and beer to relaxation tents and a special VIP area to watch the show. On top of that, they had a back-stage platform, where VIP could watch any show from basically the front row. And even better was the VIP walk-way between the Big Fish area and the VIP watching area. You got to walk through the crowd and watch the front row enjoy the music. We got a lot of high fives. It made you feel like a celebrity!  <CELEBRITY ALERT> OR you can actually stand next to a celebrity, like Josh Hutcherson (Peeta in The Hunger Games)! Yes, that happened but we didn’t want to bother him. <CELEBRITY ALERT>

Now for the music. Cage The Elephant was hands down the best show of the weekend with lead singer Matt Shultz’s energy, and the well-known songs like “Shake Me Down.”  Matt couldn’t help contain his excitement to be performing by jumping multiple times on the guitarist Brad Shultz’s back. We’ve seen them before so I wasn’t surprised with how good they were and how much the crowd enjoyed the show. That being said, I wasn’t surprised when Matt jumped into the crowd and sang as he crowd surfed. The crowd went wild.

The Sunday headliner, 311 was that band from late high school and early college that was new, exciting, and different. They remind me of being young and innocent with my whole life ahead of me. They remind me of the people from my past, the old friendships, relationships, and going away to college. Needless to say that, they are a bit nostalgic to me. I don’t think I’ve seen them since 1998 Rock Fest that was held at the Atlanta Horse Park. It was a line-up of late 90’s bands that included Silverchair, The Offspring, and Live. A lot of time has passed since then, but what struck me about 311, was even though they have aged their music is still as fun as I remember. They started the set out with “Beautiful Disaster” and they played a lot of their greatest hits especially my favorite “Down.”  With every song, the crowd erupted with excitement and they seemed to love it and so did we. It was a trip down memory lane.

And like every festival, it must come to an end. With that, Sweetwater 420 Festival winded down and the crowd parted out of the green, iron gates of Centennial Olympic Park. All is quiet there, the stage and grounds are empty. The moon peers through the clouds and looks down on it knowing what a great weekend it was in Atlanta. It knows that all who attended will remember Sweetwater 420 in 2015 fondly and thinking, “until next year.”

IMG_7151 IMG_7227 IMG_72622fef20ebc3b96468f51e2b77f0b85065 7d1a197dd57dd9825a754c1a4fc28729

 

hogs and hops atlanta

HOGS AND HOPS 2015

Saturday, April 11th at 1pm

Location: Masquerade Music Park

Can a corn dog change your life? Yes. Yes it can.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.hogsandhopsatlanta.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

The billowing BBQ smoke twisted its way into the clear, spring air, while meat, veggies, and even doughnuts were welcoming their finishing touches before the masses descended upon them. This year’s Hogs and Hops 2015 was a mecca of BBQ taste testing with everything from pork sausage, corn dogs, pulled pork, Hawaiian park tacos, bacon, collard, mac and cheese, wings, and even corn, donuts, and popsicles.  Beyond the cuisine, there was beer to pair and entertainment to watch. So we sipped along, chowed down, and enjoyed every savory bite.  There were so many good things to taste, we should have brought our elastic waist pants.

Let’s dive right in to the meat and potatoes of this festival: the BBQ! Of all the offerings at Hogs and Hops, Smoke Ring’s pulled pork was the of the pork BBQ category. It was slightly smoky, tender on the inside, yet a delightful crisp on the outside. It was so tender and flavorful that we had seconds. I’d have to say, my favorite overall tasting was the Pallookaville Corn Dogs. More carnie food than BBQ, it was a flavorful, salty, pork hotdog enveloped in a perfectly fried cheese batter that had a sweet, fluffy inside and crisp, fried outside. It was salty, sweet and glorious. Bravo, Pallookaville! Can a corn dog change your life? Yes. Yes it can. Now I get why your lines are epically long at festivals. Let’s not forget DBA Barbeque that brought a smorgasbord of goodies that included their deliciously delightful smoked turkey, as well as their crisp bacon. Starting with the smoked turkey, which was the best pork alternative being tender and juicy. They also were the only participant that brought bacon. That’s a win in our books.  John had about 10 helpings. I think those were probably his favorite.

Beyond the traditional BBQ offerings was Sweet Auburn’s pork taco filled with pork, sauce, and slaw. I have to say the sweet, Asian inspired slaw was the perfect topping, even go as far to say the best part of this taco. We enjoyed it! In the veggie category two stood out: Hottie Hawgs corn and Pallookaville’s Collards. The corn was the right amount of sweet and smoky, topped with butter and seasoning salt, of course, hold the butter for me. I snuck a piece of DBA’s bacon around a piece of my corn. I must say what a mashup that was! Healthy BBQ option? I think so! Then, the collards at Pallookaville were crunchy, balanced with vinegar and slight ham flavor. I’ll take a big fat bowl any day.

Deserts were scarce but they did have several King of Pops flavors and The Naked Donut Co. We love the Naked Donut Co and their donuts remind me of benefits. Little flavor pillows fried and topped with whatever you want from deulce de leche, candied bacon, cinnamon, brown sugar, to maple glaze. Too bad they were out of the candied bacon, but who could blame them they had the longest line at the festival. I bet it was divine. Picture it with me now.

One tidbit about the beer before we bring Hogs and Hops 2015 to a close: did you know Porters go well with smoked BBQ? You learn something new every day! It’s the right amount of malt that mixes with the meat’s smoke that really does it! My favorite of the porters was Jekyll’s Smoked Porter. It paired the best with the pulled pork from Smoke Ring. Reformation also had a very good stout called Stark with a good balance of malt and hops. I also discovered was Eagle Creek Puffs Magic Stout. I like Irish Stouts so-so and will drink one in a pinch but this one had more body and flavor, not as “nitro” or bland as most Irish Stouts I encounter. I also like that it wasn’t as dry.

With too much food in our bellies and some beer on our minds, I left with only one on my mind: stuffed. Can we do it again this weekend? If you find you missed out on this one and you’d like to come out to one of Atlanta Beer Festival’s other events there are many coming up including Kennesaw Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, May 2nd and then Summer Beer Festival back at The Masquerade, Saturday, June 20th. Cheers!

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