Your Friday Drinking Instructions has Georgia on the Mind

I'm in Atlanta for the Final Four. This means Atlanta beers and some good ol' Southern food. If you're in Atlanta, check out these three brewing options - well worth the time.

I'm in Atlanta for the Final Four, which means I get to talk about some fantastic Georgia brews today. Over the next three days, I fully intend to explore Atlanta - it's changed a lot since I was last here in late 2008. As an aside - I'll be at Holeman and Finch for Sunday brunch and a burger with Elder Shash - if you're around, come shoot the shit about the game, win or lose.

So far I've had a chance to check out three of Atlanta's best breweries - man, my life is hard.

Your Weekend IPA: Hoplanta

First, I got a chance to check out Red Brick Brewing's Hoplanta. I'm starting to like IPAs, which is mostly my coworkers' fault. This one, though, kind of tastes like what I think an Allman Brothers song sounds like - sweet like honey, but just a little bit bitter. Observe:

It's that good - not live at the Fillmore good, but good. Check it out - especially if you're not sure about getting IPAs. I'm a sucker for great names (see: Jacksin, Satisfaction) and this is no exception. The craft market is getting so crowded that a snappy name and great packaging will take you far - or just being on tap in Midtown. Atlanta's huge, man. For an IPA, this beer's kind of amber - it's more reddish and as a result a bit less bitter than other IPAs I've had recently.

Your Pet Cause/Actually Delicious Ale

Drink one of these suckers if you want to feel good about yourself:

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It's the Tree Hugger Ale from Terrapin Brewing - I've seen it up and down the East Coast, and while it's not an Atlanta beer, per se - it's a great ale. Kind of amber, but much more like a British Pub ale. It's a really solid beer, been around nearly twenty years now - an eternity in craft standards. The cool thing about it is that it's brewed to support the Dogwood Alliance, which helps protect Southern forests - worth a click if you're into that kind of thing. Socially conscious beer is the ultimate yuppie hobby, but it's still awesome. I had this beer with some of of the pub's beer battered fried pickles, which happened to use flat Tree Hugger ale. Not like I could taste the beer, but it was kind of awesome.

Your Springtime Beer of Choice

Have I mentioned I'm a sucker for branding? Jailhouse Brewing, based out of Hampton, GA, is awesome - and their Slammer Wheat is the first (and therefore the best) wheat I've had this season.

Slammerwheatnew_medium

The beer only got a 49 on RateBeer but an 81 on BeerAdvocate, so opinions differ widely here. I dont' generally like beers that are too sweet, especially wheats - and this one isn't that sweet. I love UFO's hefe, and this isn't that good, but it's more refined.

I'm more in line with the BA score than the RB score, but I do think it's a tad sweet - drinking it in 70 degree weather is probably a lot better than drinking it in 50 degree weather. It's a wheat beer. No need for fruit in it, but a lemon wouldn't be the worst thing ever.

I had a second one straight from the bottle and for some reason it tasted better than in a glass. I wonder if other beers have this issue - unfortunately, I couldn't find this one on draft but really wanted to try it.

On a more sports related note, I'm pretty excited to be in Atlanta this weekend. Better sportswriters than I have covered the matchups and the Final Four extensively, but this is a bucket list thing for me. Quick keys to the game, from seeing Syracuse play three times this year and get slammed twice by the Hoyas and beating them once:

  • Get the ball over the first part of the zone and into a responsible long guy at the top of the key -> make a smart pass or quick catch and shoot after that. Otto Porter is amazing at that. Maybe THJ can handle that - just don't let him put the ball on the floor because his efficiency plummets.
  • Contain Syracuse's three-point shooting. Mostly making sure Southerland can't do anything without a hand in his face, and making Fair drive into those terrible midrange jumpers he loves. He's a sniper from the corner as well. Winning the 3-point battle means probably winning the game.
  • Box out. Their bigs live off of putbacks and ate up Georgetown in the game they won - but Nate Lubick and Porter managed to control Syracuse on the boards in the other games. This is not the game for McGary to regress to the mean. He needs to be strong, and GRIII needs to make sure Fair stays quiet.

Cheers, Michigan Faithful! Enjoy the games - should be great to watch.

also so much love for this GQ bit...

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