The Dirty South Beer Love at GABF

I love my Dirty South. For those who know me or have met me, you know I wear my Southern accent with pride. I may sound like a hick from time to time, but I’m not about to be ashamed of my heritage. So what is the Dirty South?

According to Urban Dictionary, the Dirty South is a “Term of endearment for the area of the United States that includes much of the former Confederacy; includes southern Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, northern Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and eastern Texas.”

And being from one state and having lived in two others, I figure it’s time to give props to the land of my Southern Bell-ness.


I want to take that pitcher and go sit on a lawnchair by the pool.

Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower, 4.9%: This beer is the definition of crisp and refreshing. There is a reason it won Gold in the category of German-style Kolsch. It’s downright delicious. I could happily drink this beer without thinking. And sometimes, in the heat of summer especially, that’s all we want as beer drinkers. We don’t ALWAYS want to analyze, sip, smell, and rate beers. Which is why I often seek out beers like this when it’s too hot to think.

But if you want notes, here they are: Crisp citrus and floral notes on the nose with a clean, mildly fruity hop character on the palate. Precise, balanced, and exactly what it should be. Wouldn’t change a thing!

Saint Arnold, located in Houston is “Texas’ Oldest Craft Brewery.” It was founded in 1994 by longtime homebrewer Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol. Well known and loved in the South, Saint Arnold is now known nationwide for its GABF win. And it is so well deserved. Congrats guys.

FYI: In case you didn’t know already, Saint Arnold is the Patron Saint of Brewers. Go Arnold!


Sweetwater Brewing Dank Tank Quad, 11% ABV: Mmm, I like this Quad. It has all of those wonderfully rich notes of caramel, brown sugar that you would aspect on the nose and palate. But, and this is important, it has great clarity, acidity, carbonation level, and bitterness. In combination with a drying finish, this result is a clean Quad. I often find it difficult to drink American Quads because of an often cloying attribute. This one is dangerously drinkable. Well done.

Sweetwater was founded in 1997 by former University of Colorado roommates Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney. They are currently located in my old stomping ground of Midtown Atlanta in a 25,000 square foot facility with the ability to brew 100,000 barrels a year! CLICK HERE to read more about their history.


Terrapin Beer Co Monks Revenge Belgian IPA, 9.8% ABV: Tasted in comparison to their Hopsecutioner IPA. And I definitely liked this one better. Why you ask? Perhaps it is my spoiled palate of crazy-hopped California IPA’s. With a name like Hopsecutioner, you better be prepared to bring the ruckus. And this one just doesn’t. It’s refreshing and clean, but my expectation is to be assaulted.

The Monk’s Revenge is wonderfully balanced, with a rounded nose of yeast, candied sugar, and both fruity and piney hop aromas. It is a perfect blend of a Tripel with the brightness and cleanness of an IPA. Enjoyed this brew.

Terrapin began in 2002 with the release of its first beer, Rye Pale Ale, which won Gold at the 2002 GABF, just 6 months later. Founders Spike Buckowski (homebrewer since 1993) and John Cochran have expanded their facilities in less than a decade to a 40,000 square facility in the college haven of Athens, Georgia. Students and Southern beer lovers alike crave both their sessionable and unique beers. They even have an homage beer to Georgia hip-hop giants Outkast with a beer entitled “So Fresh and So Green Green.”


Real Ale Devil’s Backbone (Belgian-style Tripel) 8.1% ABV: I am instantly drawn to this beer by the name, as it is also the title of an amazing movie byPan’s Labyrinth filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. If you haven’t seen either, you are seriously missing out.In this case, it is named for the ridge that lies between Blanco and Wimberley, Texas.

Real Ale's Eric Ogershok.

Lots of candied sugar, signature Belgian yeast, and spice on the nose and palate. But nicely, this beer is not heavy-handed or overdone. In fact, my complaint with many American Tripels is that almost-sickening overdose of that candied sugar element. And I know I am not alone here. This beer is balanced, well-made, and perfectly drinkable. And at 8.1%, it won’t knock you over either!

Real Ales, began in 1996, resides in Texas Hill Country. Now operating on a 60-barrel system, Real Ales is making a national name for themselves with impressive beers such as Sisyphus Barleywine and their Mysterium Verum series.


Sing along with me...

Devils Backbone Danzig, 8% ABV : Upon suggestion of Julian Shrago, an incredible brewer I greatly respect, I headed over to this relatively unknown brewery from Virginia.

While it was their Gold Leaf Lager that took Gold at GABF, it was their Danzig that caught my eye. I mean Danzig! “Mothaaaa…Tell your children not to walk my way….”Ok, I digress. This beer took Silver in the Baltic-style Porter Category at the 2009 GABF, and was awarded Gold at the 2010 World Beer Cup.

THIS is what I wish more Baltic-style Porters tasted like. It’s rich, it’s smokey (and you know this beer girl loves her some smoke), and isn’t full of overwhelming doses of caramel and malt that lays on your tongue and doesn’t let go. I have had my run with cloying Baltic Porters in my day, and I was so pleasantly satisfied with this beer. It’s smooth, clean, balanced, and expertly made. More power to Baltic Porters made like this one.

Devils Backbone, located in Roseland, Virginia, is quickly becoming a BIG name in the Craft Beer World. The 2010 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery and Brewmaster Small Brewpub, they also took home an impressive 2 Golds and 2 Bronzes at the 2010 GABF. Under the brewing genius of Jason Oliver, these guys are on a serious role. And considering their beer is not bottled, I feel especially thankful to have tasted them at GABF.

Until tomorrow, drink beer, feel a little dirty, and have some fun.



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