As beverage director for Taco Mac’s parent company, Tappan Street Restaurant Group, Fred Crudder is responsible for what goes into the 1,900-plus beer taps at the chain’s twenty-four locations. He’s also the inspiration behind the Fred, an underground bar at the Prado location open to frequent drinkers in the rewards program. Elizabeth Florio talked to the guy who has every guy’s dream job.
How do you keep all those kegs fresh?
We have more than 70,000 members in what’s called the “Brewniversity,” and they receive rewards for drinking different beers. You get no rewards for drinking the same beer, no matter how many times you drink it. It’s a great tool for rotating through the product.
I tried a beer at the Fred that tasted like sour candy. What was it?
That was probably New Belgian La Folie. They say sour is the new bitter; whereas bitter beers were all the rage a couple years ago, sour beers are growing in popularity. I don’t know if Atlanta has jumped on the bandwagon yet.
How do you track these trends?
I do a lot of reading and a fair amount of traveling—visiting breweries and spending time with beer people. When I’m in California, it doesn’t take long to look around and go, “What’s going on with all these barrel-aged sour beers?” Like most trends it usually starts on the coasts.
What’s your favorite beer?
Westmalle Tripel. It strikes an incredible balance between lightness and complexity.
To get more beer scoop from Fred, visit fredsbeerpage.blogspot.com.
Photo by Caroline Kilgore