Now back in Athens, GA, which is where I spend most of the "off-season," i.e, vacation.
I've already made the requisite trips to the better bottle shops in the area (Five Points Bottle Shop and Village Wine & Spirits) and have come away with several interesting beers to sample. The selection of craft beers here just keeps getting better and better, and each time I find new beers to try and old reliable ones to revisit.
The other day at Five Points Bottle Shop I picked up several, including:
Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher
Founders Nemesis 2010
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA
Terrapin Maggie's Farmhouse Ale
Bells Two Hearted Ale
I also had a long chat with the Five Points' owner about the current state of the Japanese craft beer scene. He stocks the most commonly exported Japanese micros, including Baird, Hitachino Nest, and Yona Yona. When I mentioned my friend, Chris Poel (lead brewer at Baird), he mentioned that he knows someone who used to work there.
The two Five Points stores in Athens have one of the best selections of beer in the southeast US. You can see the store's web site HERE. Also, have a look at the store's many positive reviews on RateBeer HERE.
I had gone into the Five Points store looking for Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum and the Boston-Weihenstephaner collaboration, Infinium. But apparently he had received only a case or two of each, and both had sold out very quickly. However, he called a bottle shop, Turtle Creek Wine & Spirits, located in Winder (about 25 miles away), and that shop still had some bottles of Infinium. So, the next day I drove down there and bought the following:
Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout
Bells Hopslam Ale
Some of these will return with me to Japan for sampling sessions with Lefty and the brew gang; others, will be tasted here in Athens; while still others have been stashed away for aging.