Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Local Homebrewer makes good | April 26, 2011

I love to drink locally. When one lives in a part of the world not adjacent to a deluge of jaw-dropping wine, “drinking locally” often means drinking beer…

…provided one doesn’t reside in an Amish community. In which case, “drinking locally” would involve a taste of Goody Smythe’s freshly-churned buttermilk. ‘Tis a fortifying buttermilk that puts a good start to a day of hand-crafting rocking chairs and those dancing wooden puppets on sticks.
Fortunately, Atlanta is not very Amish, and there’s plenty of good local beer. Terrapin, Sweetwater, and Red Brick get most of the accolade, with smaller operations like 5 Seasons Brewing and Wild Heaven more-than-nobly filling in the gaps.
Whenever I hear of a new Atlanta brewing operation, I get geeked up, and I kick wine to the curb (Don’t worry, wine. I’m a fickle bitch). Furthermore, when I find out the guy behind the new local beer was just a home brewer making some great suds, I decide I need to meet that person. Or at least take a picture of him to paste creepily on the mirror of my personal home brewing dungeon:
Randy Dempsey is the mad genius behind O’Dempsey’s beer. Okay, he’s not very mad at all. Rather, a quite friendly chap who loves talking about beer and hockey (clearly, not originally from Atlanta). Basically, the guy had been home brewing forever, and someone finally convinced him to go pro. I’d much rather you read the story here than allow me to skewer it with obscure tangents, as is my modus operandi.
I got to taste a couple of Randy’s beers a week ago along with some cheese at Muss & Turner’s. My doctor told me specifically to stay away from 1. Beer and 2. Cheese. But he’s probably an idiot.
Disclosure: the nice folks at Muss & Turner’s either comped me this beer/cheese tasting, or I stole it. Not really sure. I had come there originally for other reasons, and then I guess my charisma took over. Or, I dined and dashed. So, either ‘thanks’ or ‘sorry’ to Jessica Moss, the charming M&T’s beer nerd.

O’Dempsey’s Big Red Ale was a far cry from what one usually gets from fledgling brewers- that is to say, Pale Ale. I was pleased to discover that it smelled similar to a batch of beer I made once. While most brewers should take offense to this comment, it was a pretty good batch. Deus ex machina, I suppose. But I’m sure Randy knew what he was doing. The Big Red- as I said, unlike a Pale Ale- was more malty than hoppy, and ready for a burger. Went well with some of the cheeses, too. If you took a burger and put blue cheese on it, then drank some of Randy’s Big Red Ale, you’d be in a situation commonly known as “flavor country’. It’s a country that has no rules, smells wonderful, and makes you fat. Like the Netherlands without all the patchouli.

Yet, it was this delightful tipple that really got me excited about O’Dempsey’s. The Inukshuk IPA (meaning “India Pale Ale”, a style popularized by the Brits in the 1800’s) delivered the piney, citrusy nose that welcomes all IPA lovers, but it was smooth and totally balanced in the mouth- belying its 7% alcohol content. Sometimes, higher-gravity beers can come off as too sweet or too thick or too alcoholic on the palate. But, like the carefully balanced stones that construct the Inuit statue bearing this beer’s namesake, this one was in harmony. If I hadn’t had to drive home, I probably would’ve sipped on these until I was way out of harmony.
The wine bloggers (present company included) like to go all apey about wine and food and the edict that they belong together. I’d defend that notion to the death (actually, I’d probably concede if it came to that), but there’s no rule saying beer should only be slugged with nachos and hot dogs and hot dogs with nacho cheese on them. Beer was meant for the dinner table, and Randy Dempsey’s offerings fit the menu. Seek them out when you’re in Georgia. And you should be in Georgia, because we have good beer.

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