Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jackson US Summer Tour 2013 - GA

     Atlanta is always an essential stop on our visits to the States and it tends to be where we spend the bulk of our time since we have so many family and friends there.  This year I spent a week there by myself while Marisa finished her graduate school in Virginia, and then we came back to spend about two weeks there before heading to California for the end of our trip.  We had a great time visiting with tons of friends, staying with the Brazells and Bryans as usual, checking out local breweries - both new and old, running a 5K, and keeping my dad company while he recovered from surgery.
    
     Highlights from our time in Atlanta:

1.  Sweetwater Brewery get-together
     On our last day in Atlanta we managed to pull together a nice selection of friends from college and high school for an extended happy hour at the Sweetwater brewery.  The place holds a bit of nostalgia for us as we can remember the weekly beer tastings at the brewery while we were in college.  The place is hardly recognizable from that time.  Before it was merely a warehouse with an informal tour and the beer was served from taps in the parking lot for around $1 per pint ($4 for a glass and four generous "tastings").  Today it's a massive production facility/distribution center that puts out 1 million barrels (or kegs?) per year with a tasting room/event space and swag store that definitely impresses.
My how the brewery has grown.  This mural decorates the new (to me) addition to the previous brewhouse.  "Don't float the mainstream".

It was great seeing our world-traveler friend Nicole who stayed with us in December.

Joel and Dave graced us with their presence twice this summer

Marisa and Chris - like old times in Salamanca, Spain

Fellow East Paulding HS alumni - Nicole, Sarah and Cole

 Jeremy is maintaining a low profile with his Wrigley Spearmint shirt.  Pop!

2.  Globalscope 5K
     In support of our missionary friends we made it down to Atlanta just in time to run in the "Around the World in 5K" that was organized by our friend, Lukas Fortunato.  While the course surprisingly a cross-country course, it didn't seem to slow us down much from our previous showing in the Newburyport "Yankee Homecoming 5K".  It was also a blast visiting with tons of old friends from GT Christian Campus Fellowship (CCF). 

Andrew and Quiggle ran a 5K while it appears that I have just stepped out of a swimming pool.

Trey and Meredith

3.  Visiting family
     This summer I was able to have some quality time with most of my family in Atlanta.  My dad had some corrective jaw surgery to alleviate his sleep apnea, so I dropped by a few times to keep him company.  Marisa was also pleased to display her "juicing" skills  with their new juicer to help him mix up his all-liquid diet from OJ and Ensure.  Of course my 14-yr old brother Jake is nearly my height, so it'll probably only be a year before I'm looking up to him.
     We also were able to have lunch with my grandma and aunt Amy, which was a pleasant time.

I caught Herb and Grandma at Jim and Nick's on their way up from Jacksonville.

Aunt Amy

Amy and Grandma Shirer 

4.  Visiting friends
     We spent one week at the Brazells and one week at the Bryans which included several big get-togethers and many other lunches, happy hours, and dinners.  One thing that stuck out to us was the generosity of our friends to offer a home-cooked meal, which was certainly welcome in a six-week gluttony tour.  It's always nice catching up with people face-to-face and hearing about how people have been growing in the past year.  We were also pleased to have a lot of questions about life in Hong Kong, since we know that people don't always know what to ask.

Cole and Becca moved to Atlanta this year and brought Addilyn with them.  It was duly noted that they have been sleep-deprived in these first few months, but isn't she worth it?

Cookout at the Brazells - Andrew, Neal and Cole.

Good to have my boy back in ATL - not that I'm around or anything, but at least that guarantees a visit when I pass through town.

Buck

Meredith, Mae &, John Nolen, and Liz (making a quick drop-in from Charlottesville)

We were fortunate to catch Scott and tour the new b-ball facilities at Tech before he took off on some European adventure.  This guy lives the high-life.

Had a really fun night with Rick and fam at his place.  He's so much more relaxed during the summer.

Nice little Sunday lunch with Nick and Kimberly at their place - complete with sugar-free brownies!! (very thoughtful)

Another year, another pilgrimmage to Senoia for time with the Dukes.  Always guaranteed laughs with these two (and kids).

Not sure how we were convinced to strike this pose.

Mel and Chris for happy hour and dinner in Smyrna.

On a scale of 1-10, Marisa was probably an 8 in terms of excitement to see Kayce for happy hour.


5.  Spontaneous tour of Monday Night Brewing
     After lunch in Atlanta, we got a wild hair to stop by a new brewery called Monday Night near Georgia Tech campus.  We knew that they wouldn't be open for tasting, but wanted to see it anyways so we found the warehouse on a little industrial street.  While it was closed, we were greeted by a very friendly staff member (Carlan) who does the marketing and private events for them.  After a brief introduction and mentioning that we live in Hong Kong but are on a summer brewery tour she invited us in to have a couple of beers.  Why do awesome things randomly happen to us?  She let us sample their brews, talked about the history of the brewery and gave us a quick tour - all on a whim.  Needless to say, we were very impressed by their hospitality........and their beers are pretty good too.

Love the logo - appealing to the "young professional".  My recommendation is the "Blind Pirate Double IPA", the "Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale", and the "Eye Patch Ale w/ Serrano peppers.

--Justin
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