Georgia (Beer) On My Mind

I <3 beer.
Which is to say I love beer.
Would marry it if that didn’t violate my current nuptial status.
Seriously.
Srsly.

I’ve even just had a nice jolt of dopamine by hitting the “save draft” button while editing this very entry.

Clearly, I’m in desperate need of Mmmm, Beer [hear Homer say it: mp3].

What got my beer tooth tingling was a particularly tasty cask ale – Saint Arnold Elissa IPA – that I drank at Ginger Man in Austin, TX during SXSWi. The beer got me thinking about cask ales and drinking good beers regularly (apart from the all-too-seldom Monday Night and the stash in the beer fridge) at places local, knowledgeable, inviting and well-stocked.

My normal haunts have rotating selections – places like Taco Mac, Varner’s and Smyrna World of Beverages – but I feel like I’m doing a disservice to beer-drinking by not branching out enough.

So after checking out the cask situation in the local two things happened:

  1. I did the whole 5 Favorite Beers on Facebook
  2. Garrett emailed me about the grand opening of Hop City Craft Beer & Wine at the new 5 Season Westside this Thursday, April 2.

So now I have a conundrum. Go drink some free beer and eat some free food at a beer establishment on Thursday (and hang out with some very cool, like-minded folks) or do I go the Social Media Club Atlanta meeting at Manuel’s and do the same thing in a different venue with different folks?

I know, I know. Rough life, huh?

I think I’m leaning heavily towards the grand opening, only because I saw some of the Social Media Club folks in Austin and I’d like to sample the new wares/digs over Manuel’s (which I already know/love).

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some new sites and tools I’m using in my beer quest:

  • Beer Counter for iPhone
  • Worked like a charm @ SXSWi and I managed my (over)indulgences.

  • 97 Bottles
  • A beer rating social network that ties in nicely to OpenID and my other social accounts. I’ve been looking to jump ship from RateBeer to BeerAdvocate for some time (damn you, locked-in ratings!) but I’m giving this the old college try.

  • BJCP Styles for iPhone
  • No self-respecting beer snob should leave home without a copy of the rules.

Since I’m cobbling together a big beer post, it’d be great if folks wanted to vote in the AJC/Evening Edge’s 2009 Beer Bracket Final Four for the best IPA. It’s down to the Final Four and Atlanta’s own Sweetwater IPA is in the running, having already captured the judges’ votes and looking for a win amongst readers.

And if you’ve got a few seconds more in your day to devote to beer-related clicking, take Monday Night Brewery’s survey [via JohnMcNicholas].

Until Thursday, drink a beer for me.

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