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Will volunteer for beer 

Tasting and pouring

I fell down on my job Saturday. Not literally, although that would not have been surprising. I forgot to take any notes at the Creative Loafing Beer Festival, so I can only report what I remember through a hazy film, not unlike the one in the Stoudt's Double IPA that I am drinking right now.

I took MARTA, which may be SMARTA, but is also SLOWA, so when I got there I had to make up time before my volunteer shift started. I started running around like a kid in a candy store and completely forgot about the notebook in my pocket.

Anyway, I did follow my suggestion from last week by starting out with a few "session" beers, including a couple of pilsners (Thomas Creek, meh; Victory Prima Pils, yum), and Cooper's Pale Ale (let’s just say it could use some work). One problem with session beers is that most of them just aren't that remarkable. Choose carefully.

Moving on to bigger beers, I finally got to try the Storm King Imperial Stout from Victory that is one of the top rated beers in the world (it should be noted that imperial stouts are well-represented at the top of beer geek ratings). And this one is indeed quite good, although I plan to revisit it when it is not 90 degrees out. Man, that is a big beer!

I visited briefly with Terrapin Brewmaster Spike Buckowski who was showing off his wares (and by that I mean his beers). Terrapin has rolled out its Imperial Pilsner, the summer offering from its Monster Beer Tour. This rich, malty beer is made from all American ingredients, including an American variety of Saaz hops. It’s a tasty brew, although I had trouble detecting the noble hop aroma and bite in the finish that are characteristic of a pilsner. But I say screw the style police.

When I got around to volunteering, I had a blast serving Dogfish Head beers to the never-ending stream of happy imbibers. The Midas Touch, my beer pick from few weeks back, was a huge hit, especially for those looking for something "light." I warned them that it was light in body only and packs a wallop. No problem; they lapped it up like Pooh on a honey pot. Women were especially fond of it, making it a good pick for date night. I told the Savannah Distributing Company rep that they were going to sell a lot of that the next day. Except that the next day was Sunday.

Speaking of ridiculous beer laws, you may have noticed that none of the state’s brewpubs were represented at the beer festival. That is because they can’t promote their beers there since they don’t have distributors. This is like having a festival for Georgia restaurants but only allowing the chains to be there. Ask your senator or representative why local industry is being handicapped.

Meanwhile, Owen Ogletree at Brewtopia Events, sponsor of the Classic City Brew Fest in Athens, reports that the Georgia Department of Revenue has a new idea for handicapping local industry. It wants to limit the sample pours on brewery tours in Georgia to 2 ounces of each beer style, with a maximum limit of only 16 ounces. If a brewery only has four beers available to taste, then only 8 ounces can be poured at the tour. Apparently they think these modest beer giveaways are cutting into their revenue. This seems especially untimely since Atlanta Brewing Company recently spent a bunch of money on the tasting room at its new brewing facility. If you would like to give the Department of Revenue a piece of your mind (and who wouldn't?), send an e-mail to Commissioner Graham at regcomments@dor.ga.gov. Be sure to reference "Notice Number AT-2007-1" on all comments.

For more information, see Beer Info.

Talking Head columnist Jeff Holland can be reached at jeff.holland@creativeloafing.com.

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