So instead of tasting sake last Friday, we got to tour Savannah Distributing and tried some great beers. A not at all disappointing change of plans.
We headed out to their offices/warehouse in Tucker, where our host Koji works. They distribute beer, wine, liquor, and even some energy drinks and sodas. They’ve been distributing in Atlanta for about 12 years (since 1938 in Savannah) and they handle some of the larger microbrews (if that makes sense). If I understood correctly, if they’re the distributor for a particular product, let’s say Lagunitas, they’re the ones who supply every restaurant, liquor store, and anywhere else that product is sold in the Atlanta area. So basically, if you’ve ever enjoyed a beer from Dogfish Head, Lagunitas, Smuttynose, Stone Brewing, up-and-comers The Duck Rabbit, or any number of other great microbrews, say “THANK YOU SAVANNAH DISTRIBUTING”. Seriously. Send them a card or something, you cheap bastards.
Lots of Lagunitas
Heaps of Dogfish Head
We then made our way over to the liquor/wine/sake side. I was a dunce and forgot to take pictures, but believe me when I say that they definitely have liquors, wines, and sakes in their warehouse. It’s a fact. I just can’t show them to you.
Next we decided to sit down and try some beers. YES. Here’s some quick notes on some of the beers I tried:
Smuttynose Hanami Ale: Pretty great. It’s seasonal, and just came out. It’s brewed with natural cherry juice, but it’s not what you’d think. It’s the tart ACTUAL cherry flavor, very light in the background of what’s otherwise a medium-bodied ale. This would be a great introductory beer to someone who’s not used to drinking beers with more substance.
Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale: What a fantastic beer. Bright gold, it’s earthy, citrusy, and downright refreshing. Another one that’s complex and drinkable at the same time. Easily the best saison I’ve had.
Pulque Cool Passion: Well this was…interesting. Pulque is made from maguey, a form of agave, which is what tequila is made from. Fermented pulque can be made into mezcal, which longtime readers will remember is my least favorite liquor I’ve ever had and makes me want to die. But I’m getting off topic. This tastes nothing like mezcal, thankfully. You can’t really call this a beer, there’s no carbonation, and it’s thick and syrupy. It’s sweet at first but there’s an underlying spice and earthiness to it that’s hard to explain. I’d link to their site so you could find out more about it, but I can’t find one. I’ll just say that it’s unlike anything I’ve ever drank, and I’ve drank a lot.
I tried a few others, nothing else stood out all that much. Mojo IPA was a pretty hoppy IPA. And I had the first cider I’ve had in a long time that I liked, but I forgot the name and somehow didn’t take a picture of it. IDIOT. It was much less sweet than most ciders, made from granny smith apples. Crisp and tart. I’m sure I’ll see it in a liquor store someday and remember it.
Since we work with a number of restaurants on various things, we discussed setting up a beer pairing meal in the future. Maybe work with our pals at Kuroshio, and pair sushi (and the other food there) with beers. INTRIGUING, no? I’d go. Is that something you guys would come to? I’d make sure it was tasty and affordable. Maybe we’d meet…start talking and find out we have a lot of the same interests. Maybe I’d tell a joke, and you’d laugh and touch my arm, and a connection would be made. Maybe we’d make out in the parking lot, not in the gross way some people do, but tender and meaningful. Maybe we’d fall in love and eat sushi and drink beer for the rest of our lives. So many maybes.
So big thanks to Savannah Distributing and Koji, we had a great time and hopefully we can set up a tasting or pairing in the future and get some great booze in the hands and faces of these people.
*UPDATE* OH, I totally forgot to give the answer to the question asked in the comments. White Russian asked if there is any difference between sake produced here in the US and sake in Japan. The answer is YES, there IS a difference. Koji told me that most sake in Japan is small batch, and handmade in it’s process. American sake is machine processed and takes a few “shortcuts” in production. He said it isn’t what you couldn’t technically call it “cheating”, because it still fits in the rules of making sake, but it’s definitely not the same quality process that you’d get from a Japanese-made sake.
Very cool; thanks for the answer (I had a sneaking suspicion)!
I’ll have to try that Smuttynose. Sounds like something I would like.
Also, thank you for saying “but I’m getting off topic” rather than “but I digress.” I hate people that say “but I digress.” Especially on blogs.
I know that’s off topic, but…you know
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