Talking Head - New things brewing at local breweries

McNerney Joins 5 Seasons. The 5 Seasons at the Prado seems to have weathered its storm with Sembler Company and is forging ahead with the announcement of a new head brewer to replace the departing Glen Sprouse. Kevin McNerney, one of the founders and former brewmaster of Sweetwater Brewing Company, will be turning out the Seven Sisters Munchner and other Sprouse favorites from the past, along with new beers of his own devising.

McNerney comes to 5 Seasons after 15 years at the forefront of the craft brewing industry, including stints at Rocky Mountain Brewing Company and Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, CO, and Mammoth Brewing Company, in Mammoth, CA, before founding Sweetwater Brewing Company in Atlanta with three other partners in 1996, at just 26 years of age. As brewmaster at Sweetwater, his brews helped make it one of the most well-regarded regional breweries in the country. In fact, Sweetwater Motorboat recently won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. Nevertheless, McNerney is looking forward to returning to the more low-pressure atmosphere of a brewpub after the hectic pace at Sweetwater. "It lends itself to more creativity, rather than brewing the same beer over and over," says McNerney. "It's exactly what my career needs right now."

McNerney will be tapping his first creation, Hopgasm, on Nov. 12. As might be deduced, it is an IPA, but not overly aggressive, McNerney says. He adds that the construction at the Prado is complete and that access is no problem, so be sure to stop in soon and check out his new digs.

Terrapin Side Project No. 3. The third installment of Terrapin Beer Company's Side Project series, Gamma Ray Wheatwine, hit stores last week. The 11% ABV beer is brewed from 50% wheat, some Munich malt, and 700 lbs. of Tupelo and Sourwood honey from Savannah Bee Company. Brewer Spike Buckowski has experimented with honey before, with great results, and the honey wheatwine is likewise a hit. I'm pretty sure this is what they serve in Heaven. Quantities are reportedly very limited, so if you want it, you best grab it before it is gone.

Gimme Shelter. Max Lager's Wood Fired Grill & Brewery downtown will be donating 50 cents of every pint of its new Gimme Shelter Bock sold to The Gateway Center, the facility recently established by the City of Atlanta to combat homelessness. Max Lager's managing member, Alan LeBlanc says, "Max Lager's has been serving downtown for over ten years, and we applaud the continuing efforts of Mayor Franklin to address the professional panhandler issue that exists in the city. We wanted to do more than just provide moral support, so we came up with the idea of creating a fun way to do good."

Max Gimme Shelter Bock is billed as "a rich-bodied, mahogany-colored, traditional German style beer with malty characteristics that produce a smooth, refreshing beer." At 8.5% ABV it is more like a doppelbock in terms of strength.

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