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Arts Clayton patrons hop on beer bandwagon

Devan Hayes, wine and spirits consultant for Quality Wine & Spirits Inc., talks to Curtis Franks and Carlton Blackmon about different beers Thursday during the Arts Clayton Gallery's BBQ & Brew on Main event.

Devan Hayes, wine and spirits consultant for Quality Wine & Spirits Inc., talks to Curtis Franks and Carlton Blackmon about different beers Thursday during the Arts Clayton Gallery's BBQ & Brew on Main event.

— You might call it a happy accident when someone accidentally pours beer into an ice cream maker, but Ari Fleischer considers it the birth of his career.

Three years ago, Fleischer and some friends were making some ice cream at a barbecue and one of his more inebriated pals accidentally poured his beer into the mix. The group considered throwing it out and starting over but Fleischer suggested they at least try and see how it would taste.

They liked it and “The Accident,” as Fleischer calls it, is how his Atlanta-based business, Frozen Pints Craft Beer Ice Cream, was born.

“I think a lot of good ideas come from happy accidents,” said Fleischer.

Fleischer’s ice cream was possibly the belle of the ball at the BBQ & Brew on Main event hosted by the Arts Clayton Gallery and Hwy. 138 Package Store Thursday night. The event featured more than 60 beers and beer-related products, but there was a buzz all night around the ice cream.

“If you like beer and ice cream, he’s got it going on,” said Atlanta resident Rich Dufford.

photo

Curt Yeomans

Ari Fleischer's Frozen Pints Craft Beer Ice Cream was a hit Thursday at the Arts Clayton Gallery's BBQ & Brew on Main event.

photo

Curt Yeomans

Joey Feily, a manager from Hwy. 138 Package Store, talks about Sam Adams Harvest Collection beers Thursday during the BBQ & Brew on Main event at the Arts Clayton Gallery.

But the reaction wasn’t a surprise to Fleischer, whose company has a distribution area stretching from Suwanee to Macon.

“I’ve probably only met two people ever who couldn’t find a flavor they liked,” said Fleischer. “Everybody else who’s tried it has been able to find at least one flavor that they like.”

That was the story of the night at BBQ & Brew. With so many beers available for tasting, just about everyone had at least one favorite. One of the more popular choices was Sprecher Abby Triple, which was available at the Quality Wine & Spirits Inc. table.

“It’s got a clean taste,” said Curtis Franklin, one of the beers fans. “It’s not too light, but not too bitter. There’s a good balance between the two.”

“It’s got a nice flavor,” his friend, Carlton Blackmon, added.

Joey Feily, a manager from Hwy. 138 Package Store, said the Cinnful Apple Angry Orchard Hard Cider was also highly popular with patrons who came by his table. The beer mixed the tastes of cinnamon and apple to give it a tangy punch.

“It has a good little taste to it,” said Feily. “It’s a little clean on the end and has a sour bite to it. It hits you with that cinnamon taste as well.”

The beer-tasting was something a little different for Arts Clayton and Hwy. 138 Package Store. They traditionally partner for a wine-tasting event at Christmas, but this was the first time in a few years that they’d tried something with beers.

Feily said another manager, Kyle Filiphovich, at the store came up with the idea for the beer-tasting after they attended the Greater Atlanta Beer Fest last year. It was intended to be an annual summertime event built on the success of the wine-tasting event and the growing popularity of smaller beer brands.

“A lot of people now are switching over to beer,” said Feily. “You have your market for your vodka, your whiskey, bourbon and scotch drinkers. They’re small and they know what they want. They kinda venture a little bit but they don’t do it a lot. Beer has become over the years just that new [popular drink]. Everybody’s got one. Everybody’s got a favorite, and beer’s easy to try and relatively cheap.”

In it’s first year back, BBQ & Brew was a success in the eyes of organizers and participating distributors. About 80 people attended the event.

“It’s gone great,” said Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin. “Attendance is exactly what we’d hoped and projected, so we’re really excited about that.”

Devan Hayes, wine and spirits consultant from Quality Wines & Spirits Inc., said although the number of people who attended was small, there is potential for it to grow.

“It’s gone pretty good,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how many people would show up. Of course, it could always be a little better, but word spreads when you’ve got good beer.”