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By Liz and John Attaway
On a beautiful, warmer, almost spring day with the Atlanta skyline looming over Atlantic station was the 2015 Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival. What a way to kick-off the spring festival season where you could almost feel spring starting! From all types of beers, to high end bourbons, to food truck after food truck of BBQ, the festival had a little something for everyone and then some. This year’s crowning glory was the first annual Shrine of Swine where porkus maximus was achieved with an hourly whole hog tasting.
The first thing on the agenda was finding new and exciting beers to sip. John and I agreed Heavy Seas was one of the best with their Loose Cannon, which was John’s favorite and mine was the Strong Scottish Ale in the Desert Island Series. It’s an 8% APV limited beer with notes of malt and chocolate, yet drinkable and light enough to have more than one. Loose Cannon is Heavy Seas flagship beer, which is an IPA with three different hops with notes of grapefruit and pine (Soap anyone?). Other beers we enjoyed were Jekyll’s Export Stout, which is a local brew out of Alpharetta. What I like about the Export Stout is an Imperial Stout with very deep malt notes, dark roast, raisin, and a hint of smoke. Second was Finch’s Stash Stout which had deep chocolate notes, as well as Southern Tier’s Chokolat. Both were heavy on the chocolate and reminded me of hot cocoa. Yum.
Along with the beer, the Tasting Tent was an exceptional place to learn about some local breweries. First up was Red Hare with their four year-round beers: Cotton Tale Pale Ale, Watership Brown, Gateway IPA and the Long Day Lager. John liked the Gateway and Cotton Tale, while give me the Watership Brown all day. What I enjoyed about the Watership Brown are the chocolate and malt notes. The other brewery was Monday Night. One of my favorite local beers is the Drafty Kilt from Monday Night and is one of their mainstays. I’ve discussed Drafty Kilt before but it’s dark and roasted Ale but drinks like a stout with a light touch. I could drink it all day. Now just to get out to both breweries!
BBQ. As I mentioned before was Shrine of Swine, in its first year it was an instant sensation that everyone was talking about. Beyond the whole hog tasting general attendees could purchase BBQ from the plethora of food trucks offering pulled pork sandwiches to beef brisket. The lines got long so they must have been offering up some serious grub. If you were lucky enough to go VIP, they had pulled pork Shane’s, Pork rinds with pimento cheese from Smoke Belly, several offerings from Pit Master BBQ and much more including Pork Belly and flavored bacon. Let’s also not forget Salvage Jerky was handing out Sriracha Bacon. Yum.
Overall, it was a fun-filled warm day in late February. We watched giant Jenga, saw a heated game of corn hole, and enjoyed the warm weather.