Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Athens' Beer Week Commences: Starting New Traditions

Athens has long been known for putting out great musicians, intense love of Dawg's football, and more recently we are on the map for craft beer. Athens also maintains an incredible foodie scene with several locally owned restaurants which happens to pair nicely with our brewpub and three breweries (with more on the way).

Street view of Five and Ten
Out of the food scene a star has shone in the form of Hugh Acheson. Owner of Five and Ten, The National, Empire State South, and The Florence, Hugh has made a national and international name for himself with television appearances on Top Chef, Master Chef and many more accomplishments. On Monday, April 4, 2016 which marked the official start to Athens beer week, beer brewers, brewery owners, writers, judges, and general beer lovers broke bread together at what, I hope is a new beer week tradition. At Hugh's first Athens' restaurant, Five and Ten (new location) we enjoyed a dinner designed by Hugh himself and paired with beer from our three local breweries, Terrapin, Creature Comforts, and Southern Brewing Company (SBC).

Beer Wench hangs with the famous Chef  Hugh Acheson
We started on the very traditionally southern front porch enjoying Southern Brewing Company's Oak Aged Wild Southern Ale. Made with raspberries and a plethora of funk inducing organisms, this beer spent time in SBC's foedor (pronounced food-er) which is a large wooden vat originally designed for aging wine but now being used by several breweries for their wild fermented beers. This beer was followed by five courses of mouth watering food and beer pairings from  grilled spring onions and asparagus partnered with Terrapin's Sound Czech Pils, a lobster and chickpea salad with Creature Comforts Cosmik Debris, Quail stuffed with Chicken Farce with Creature Comforts Paradiso, Grilled Dekle Steak (I had duck leg comfit - can't eat the mammals.) with Terrapin Poivre Potion Saison, and finally a brown butter rhubarb tart with SBC's Southern Sour Stout. We could not have had a better example of local foodie talent than this!

We learned how the different brews came to life, discussed the many pairings, and  many kudos were given to local celebrity, Owen Ogletree, founder of Classic City Brew Fest, as being one of the people who has help to boost the craft beer scene in Athens. Athens' beer week is relatively new. The culminating event is Classic City Brew Fest on Sunday, April 10th (21st year running and the oldest festival in Georgia). The week long celebration of beer began building around the festival as we gained breweries and craft beer bars. All good things must come to an end but we left the dinner sated, old friendships renewed, new friendships kindled, and excited for the many other events happening in our town this week. We are hoping that this dinner, a great start for the week, will become a tradition for future Athens beer weeks.

I will be covering many events this week. Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to find  where the action is. So if you are in town, or close by, come celebrate beer week with us. We would be glad to have you. If you have never been to Classic City Brew Fest, it is a must do! According to Owen, tickets are still on sale. If you can't join us, raise a glass of your favorite brew and let's toast to beer weeks everywhere.  Remember eat well and drink good beer.

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