By Charles Arnold
March is the month for that favorite party, the time we celebrate Saint Paddy who chased the snakes out of Ireland and converted the heathen. But March 2012 is a month of much more. It all starts this weekend with a fine fest celebrating beer, barbecue and bourbon -- although not necessarily in that order.
This list includes events in Decatur and Avondale Estates as well at the other big happenins in the Atlanta area -- in chronological order.
On Saturday, March 3, from noon-6 p.m. Daisy Duke and The Boots Girls will be dancing while you taste it, sip it and pork it, all to live music at Atlantic Station at the Atlanta Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival. Get your favorite designated driver. They give you a souvenir glass for unlimited -- that’s right -- sips of 40 Bourbons, another 60 beers, and plate after plate of fine barbecue. Competitions include a Barbecue Sauce Challenge and prizes for the Best Beer Belly. There are classes on beer brewing, a BBQ cooking and a Bacon and Whole Hog Seminar, among others. Heaps of steaming BBQ from restaurants like Hapeville’s Pit Boss, Kennesaw’s Big Shanty Smokehouse, Meehan's Public House, Marietta’s Williams Brothers BBQ and Nana G’s Chick N Waffle food truck are will be served.
March 10, from 6-10 p.m., at the Sweetwater Brewing Company’s brewery on Ottley Drive in Atlanta, the “Brew Your Cask Off” Cask Ale Festival lets party-goers judge and sample 80 special-made cask ales that were brewed three weeks ago by an eclectic assortment of “brewery friends.” These are all “one-of-a-kind” ales, ranging across the board in tastes and styles with everything from light and delicate to roasted porters. “Some may never be brewed again,” one Sweetwater exec quipped. One prize is a toilet seat printed with the word “Looser.” But it is for a worthy charity and all in fun.
March 17, from 1-3 p.m., there is a free French wine tasting in Avondale Estate’s on North Avondale Road. Winemaker Thomas Bonnefon of Chateau Le Noble in Bordeaux offers guests three of the chateau’s latest wines, a red, a white and a Rose. Chateau Le Noble is entering its wines in the Atlanta market for the first time.
On March 24, from noon-4p.m., the “Holy Mother of Gatherings” promises free beer for folks assembling at Decatur’s downtown . It is a unique event bringing together between 80-100 people that all bring bottles of craft and micro-brewed beers NOT currently available in Georgia. Beers are listed on the BEER ADVOCATE website. Everyone shares sample sips. There is a fund-raising silent auction and a raffle, said Lee Dickson, Beer Manager at Brick Store Pub.
March 28-31 sees the High Museum of Art Wine Auction, a “Salute to the Glorious Grape.” It is the South’s largest wine event with prices to match and activities set to take place in restaurants, in private homes and under the white tents at Atlantic Station. A quick overview includes tours of Atlanta wine cellars, wine dinners at over a dozen top restaurants, a “Toast to Oregon’s Terrior” tasting of Oregon wines, all concluding with the March 31 Vintner’s Reception and Live Auction. Over the past years, this event has raised over $19 million to support the High Museum. The weekend programs can be enjoyed individually and collectively with over 300 wines to sample and enjoy.