Friday, December 23, 2011

Crowded Beaches at Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Would you believe me if I told you our beautiful Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast beaches are crowded this time of year? You would be smart not to believe there are human crowds and the crowds of birds remove themselves quite naturally as you stroll by them seeking treasures from the deep. Yes, our treasured shells are quite lovely and arrive daily with the tide.

If you seek serenity and the joy of walking along the water's edge for miles this is your time of year. You will encounter a few other visitors who appreciate this value season and the warmth of the sunshine and the warmer Southern hospitality, but you won't encounter crowds.

I call this the value season because not only are the Meyer Vacation Rental rates the lowest of the year, we are also running a BOGO (Buy One Get One FREE) special allowing you to stay for two weeks in January or February for the price of one week. I'll take a free week any time of year, won't you? It's also a value season because lots of restaurants run winter specials to get patrons in the door. They know you will love the food, the relaxed atmosphere and the live music (where available). They are banking on the fact that you will tell your friends and family what a great experience you had and that is more powerful than any ad their business could run.

Of course there are lots of other fun activities while here on our shores such as golf, tennis, mini-golf, go-carts, dolphin cruises, etc. but for me the simple pleasure of walking along the shore brings a joy that's indescribable. Add a sunset to the scene and I'm in heaven.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

National Women's Soccer Championship Coming to Orange Beach

Women's Soccer is coming to our coast in a big way in the next two years when the National Championship games are played at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic (NAIA) recently announced the awarding of this event to Orange Beach, AL for the dates of Nov. 26-Dec. 1, 2012 and Dec. 2-7, 2013. These championship games are co-hosted by the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission and the University of Mobile.

For the past two seasons the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championships have happened at the same sports arena in Orange Beach. This has brought tons of people to visit who now know what beautiful beaches exist here. Now even more visitors will learn about our fantastic coast.

Mark your calendars to attend the Women's Soccer National Championship games where you will see action like what is depicted in this photo furnished by AYSPN at the 2011 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship final between Lee, Tennessee (in red) and Concordia, Oregon (in blue).

Hopefully you will get a chance to head to your favorite coast before next December. Check out our HOT DEALS for extra savings on a quick trip to the coast.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Come Join the Winter Party in Gulf Shores

Isn't it fabulous that you can play golf year-round in Gulf Shores? To celebrate our warm sunshine and warmer Southern hospitality Meyer Vacation Rentals will once again host a Winter Guest Golf Tournament.

We have chosen the Peninsula, 5 miles west of Hwy. 59, on Fort Morgan Road as our venue for this signature golf event on February 9, 2012 and we will begin the golf tournament with an 11 a.m. shotgun start. Our guests enjoy this picturesque golf course located beside Mobile Bay and among the live oaks, cypress and other native plants. It really is an enjoyable layout for golfers of all skill levels and I speak from the wonderful experience of playing it myself and believe me when I say that skill is not what I posses when it comes to golf. I do love the scenery and the challenge of all the sand and water hazards. We will also host an awards dinner following play. The subsidized cost exclusively for Meyer Vacation Rental guests is only $40 and that include the meal afterwards.

Later in February we will let the good time roll with our Winter Guest Mardi Gras day. On February 21 our registered guests will have a front row seat when the Gulf Shores parade rolls past our office. Donuts and coffee plus a few beads and moon pies add to the festivities at this fun event from 8-11 a.m. on Fat Tuesday.

If you are vacationing with us in February register here for these exclusive events and come join the winter party. And if you still need a beach retreat for a month or more we have lots of condo and house choices to warm you up.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Help Sea Turtles - Buy a Special (Alabama) Tag

Lots of my friends are volunteers in the Share the Beach sea turtle conservation program. They get up early in the morning and patrol the beach looking for and marking sea turtle nests during the nesting season of May through October. I haven't yet found a way to fit this into my schedule but I admire the hundreds of volunteers from Orange Beach to Dauphin Island who do so.

Now there is a way for all Alabama residents to contribute monetarily to the Share the Beach program by buying a new specialized vehicle license plate. There is actually a sense of urgency to pre-register for the tag because there must be 1,000 commitments before the tag will be given final approval. Simply go to your license office and complete a commitment form and pay the $50 specialty license plate fee, in other words don't wait for your tag renewal time to help the sea turtles.

Out of the $50 approximately $43 will go directly to Share the Beach for equipment, supplies and educational materials. Speaking of turtle education, I learned that two of the world's seven sea turtle species come ashore in Alabama to nest. Loggerhead visits are frequent and rarely we get Kemp's Ridley turtles nesting here. The educational efforts include informing coastal visitors to turn out lights at the beach so that the newly hatched turtle babies don't get confused on their trek to the Gulf waters. Learn more here about these turtles and how you can increase their chances for survival.

These photos were taken at the 6-bedroom Meyer Vacation Rental house Windswept a couple of summers ago and you never know where these precious mama turtles will choose to build their nests.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Lighted Boat Parade, Billy Claus and Christmas Show in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Are you ready for the holiday season? It's ready for you in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. This weekend (Dec. 10 & 11) several holiday festivities are planned island-wide.

The Orange Beach Christmas Show will be held from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 10) and Sunday (Dec. 11) at The Wharf Expo Center. Adult admission is $4, kids and parking is free. Santa Claus will be visiting along with live reindeer and the little ones will surely want their photo with the jolly one. There will be a best Christmas tree competition, arts and crafts and Christmas carolers to get you in the holiday mood.

LuLu’s at Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores is a special destination for holiday fun for all ages, especially when Billy Claus, Santa’s younger brother, makes an appearance on December 10.

Perhaps you are not aware but Santa’s younger brother Billy is allergic to snow, so he spends his time in the Caribbean and gathers toy lists from the children in the southern hemisphere. Join Lucy Buffett on December 10 as she reads the story of Billy Claus while awaiting his arrival with his elves, the LulaBelles. The little ones can have their photo made with Billy Claus and personally hand him their wish list.

The fun lasts for 3 hours, from noon to 3 p.m., with the band Roman Street providing the musical entertainment. This local group of talented musicians are internationally trained and create a unique sound by blending old styles and techniques with a modern twist and incorporating their travels and experiences into their musical expressions. No doubt they will be showcasing selections from their new Christmas Rhumba CD.

Grab a lawn chair and position yourself along the water route Saturday evening for a spectacular "Nautical Night of Lights" lighted boat parade. These colorful Christmas-themed vessels set sail from LuLu's at Homeport Marina at 5:30 p.m. and travel east on the Intracoastal Waterway past the public viewing area at The Wharf, around Bear Point, along the south end of Ono Island, west to Perdido Pass, north into Terry Cove Harbor, south to the Pass bridge and end their journey at approximately 8:00 p.m. at Zeke's Landing Marina. Bring the entire family to enjoy this free event showcasing our area's fishing heritage and boating lifestyle and setting a festive tone for a family-oriented coastal holiday.

There's still time to reserve your holiday accommodations. You might consider a 4-bedroom beach house in Gulf Shores close to all the action or a 5-bedroom jewel on the scenic, secluded Fort Morgan peninsula. If desire a different size or style for your beach retreat there are houses in various sizes and a wide variety of condos ranging from 1-4 bedroooms along your favorite coast.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gulf Shores Photo Contest Results

Once again our beach-going visitors captured their own unique views of their favorite coast and submitted amazing photos of the Gulf Shores area in our recent Facebook photo contest.

The winning shot was unanimously selected and I believe you will agree that the image of these precious children, heading down the boardwalk at a rental house in Orange Beach to meet more of the family at the beach, captures the spirit of our family-oriented beach. In fact it was their grandparents from Prattville, Alabama who submitted the photo and won a 3-night spring vacation. I love seeing them all decked out in their precautionary swim gear and carrying their beach equipment. I personally think the "big brother" is leading his "little sister" down the path but others seeing the photo believe just the opposite. I will leave that up to your interpretation.

Speaking of precious children, I smile each time I see the sweet little boy gripping his football in the 2nd place photo taken in Gulf Shores near Driftwood Towers. You can feel the warmth of the sun as it shines on his blond hair and see his family from Cabot, Arkansas relaxing behind him on our sugar white sands. We know our beaches are where SEC families come to play and I think it's so cute to see this young star in the making.

Our 3rd place winning photo is an awesome closeup of a heron who arrived on a Gulf Shores boardwalk to "visit" the coastal visitors from Amarillo, Texas. He looks so regal and at home in this natural environment where the surf fishing is great for man and birds alike.

The process of choosing the top three images was definitely difficult and there are two more photos listed in an "Honorable Mention" category that definitely depict a broad aspect of the island.

The first photo (in no particular order) portrays three little girls in their colorful coastal attire exploring the edges of Little Lagoon. This beautiful body of water lies parallel to the Gulf waters in Gulf Shores. When you travel a few miles west down West Beach Boulevard you can see the lagoon waters to your right and the gulf waters to your left. In fact, lots of vacation rental condos and houses on West Beach Blvd. have great views of both bodies of water.

The second one is a great shot at Kiva Dunes subdivision at Fort Morgan, where these gorgeous vacation rental homes overlook the world-class golf course to the north and the beaches to the south. If you look closely at the oleander shrubbery in the photo you can see the purple flowers. Although this photo angle doesn't show the wide white beaches that are so secluded, rest assured that there is a common boardwalk to the beach in this exclusive neighborhood that also offers renters three community outdoor pools, tennis courts and a fitness room in addition to Kiva Dunes golf course.

There were many more fabulous coastal shots submitted during the Facebook photo contest and I will continue to display them in this BLOG from time to time, so that you can enjoy them as much as I do.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey and Tanger at Your Beach

Eat, eat, eat. Shop, shop, shop. I love both activities and especially at Thanksgiving time. Here are a couple of tips from my "local" perspective for your holiday weekend at the beach.

EAT - One of my favorite restaurants, The Hangout, will be serving a Thanksgiving feast family-style at your table, which personally I like better than a buffet. Besides roasted turkey (with gravy of course) you can pay extra for prime rib. The traditional sides we've come to crave after years of eating them at Grandmothers house will also be served - homemade cranberry sauce, cornbread & sausage stuffing, sweet potato streusel, green bean casserole, fresh corn, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, deviled eggs and fresh hot rolls. Room for dessert? You pick either pecan pie (my choice), bread pudding or pumpkin pie. Yum Yum. This fabulous feast, served between 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.,is $22 for adults, $9 for ages 6-12 and free for the under age 5 kiddies with a paid adult. If you are renting from Meyer Vacation Rentals show your confirmation when you purchase your meal and you will receive complimentary wine or champagne. For reservations call (251) 948-3030.

SHOP - Rest up after the turkey, maybe take a walk on the beach or a snooze by the pool because you need to get ready for the biggest sale event on the coast. Ready, set, go at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night itself when the Tanger Outlet Center Moonlight Madness sales begin. Special giveaways occur at 10 p.m., 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. Moonlight Madness bargains exist throughout the 120-store outlet center not just Thanksgiving and Black Friday but all weekend long (Nov. 24-27).

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to pause a little and take the time to reflect on our abundant blessings and that is why the beach is an awesome place for family and friends to celebrate. I'm blessed to live here year-round and I warmly invite you to join me on the coast to eat, shop and be thankful.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Meat Market in Orange Beach Offers Delicious Options

I love pimento cheese. This is a little known fact about me but it takes me back to my childhood. One of our newest food stores, The Meat Mart, located in Orange Beach at 4528B Easy St. at the entrance to the Orange Beach Golf Center, offers delicious pimento cheese plus quality beef, chicken, sausages, crab cakes and homemade salads.

To me one of best experiences at the beach is preparing one or more meals at the condo or house you are renting. In addition to our well-stocked area grocery stores, this new butcher shop is an option to purchase the ingredients for a great meal served in the privacy of your vacation residence. I call the store new but it actually opened around Memorial Day, so I guess it's somewhat new.

Glenn and Dale Beard from Georgia decided to open their Meat Mart in Orange Beach after falling in love with the area during a visit last fall. In addition to restaurant quality prime beef cuts, they also offer 100% natural chicken that is hormone free and antibiotic free.

So we've already established that the Meat Mart carries pimento cheese and you’ll also find smoked tuna dip, five flavors of twice-baked potatoes and homemade seafood, chicken and potato salads. Sausages are also a specialty at the Meat Mart with over 20 varieties including sun-dried tomato basil and savory chicken. As if these items are not enticing enough they also sell crab cakes and portabella mushroom caps filled with crab cake stuffing as well as kabobs and beef pinwheels. I remember my mother making pinwheels for parties, so that takes me back to my youth too.

Whether you are a couple spending a couple of days or a big group staying a week at the beach in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key, I'm happy to report to you that there are now new culinary options.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gulf Shores Oyster Cook-off at The Hangout Nears

I love oysters. I grew up eating them and never tire of this delicacy from the Gulf. On November 5th oysters will be the reason for the party at The Hangout during the 4th annual Oyster Cook-off.

Have you ever sat at an oyster bar and watched the skilled oyster shuckers? That's something I like to do and I'm always amazed to watch them crack open the shells and remove the succulent treats inside. Once I was even presented a very small pearl from inside the shell. Intense shucking will be happening at the Oyster Cook-off and I'm sure shells will be flying as teams compete in the fast-paced oyster shucking contest.

The competition in the three food categories - Oysters Rockefeller, Cajun Oysters and Create-Your-Own Raw Oysters - will be fierce I'm sure since the teams can win a total of $10,000 in prizes including Hangout Music Festival tickets and VIP tickets.

The event itself, which starts at 11 a.m., is free to attend and the tasting tickets are only $1 each. A Beer Garden will feature craft beers and Cordina frozen cocktails. Football on the big screen will be a part of the festivities and live music by The Rentmakers will add to the celebration at The Hangout in Gulf Shores.

Join us and be prepared to have a blast at the beach and get a FREE night too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Cooks the Best Shrimp Dish in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach?

Want to know where to go for world-class shrimp dishes while visiting the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area? No worries. We can answer that question with authority since each September leading up to the National Shrimp Festival a contest is held in which local restaurants compete for the bragging rites for preparing the best shrimp dish. The honor holds true for an entire year until the contest rolls around again.

This year at the Fourth Annual Zatarain's National Shrimp Festival Chef's Challenge the chef duo of Levi Proffitt and Tony Luna at The Hangout in Gulf Shores took home the first place honors. Competing with 13 other restaurants Proffitt and Luna produced the winning dish called Fiery Irie Island Shrimp atop Zatarain's Caribe Cakes. Their awesome creation included mango and chile glazed shrimp infused with dark rum served on top of Zatarain's Caribbean rice and served with arugula, pea tendrils and mint tossed in lime vinaigrette and topped with sweet potato hay.

To compete the dishes had to feature Alabama Wild Shrimp and at least one of the 200+ products produced by Zatarain. Beyond that the imaginations of the chefs were unleashed and their creativity definitely showed through in the contest entries.

Winning second place at the Chef's Challenge was Shucker's Oyster Bar at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach with their Chicken-Fried Blue Grits with Jalapeno Smoked Sausage and Shrimp Cheddar Cream Sauce prepared by Chef Robbie Redd. Third place honors went to Big Fish Restaurant and Bar in Orange Beach with its Kaffir Blackened Demi over Paneed Gulf Shrimp prepared by Chef Leck Labron Lilayuva.

The Hangout (which is located quite literally in the middle of the Shrimp Festival site) will offer the winning dish, Fiery Irie Island Shrimp atop Zatarain's Caribe Cakes, as a special each day during the upcoming Shrimp Festival (Oct. 13-16). You will definitely want to sample the best shrimp dish on the island. And I recommend that you keep all three award-winning restaurants in mind anytime you make it to the coast and want delicious, fresh seafood to delight your palate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 Shrimp Festival Tips from a Local

Forty years ago as the summer season reached an end a small group of Gulf Shores area locals decided they needed a big fall party to celebrate a great year and the Shrimp Festival was born. Well, this festival is certainly not just for locals anymore. As it's grown over the years and now become the National Shrimp Festival, one of the biggest events in the south, as many as 300,000 attendees come back to the beach every fall for this family-oriented festival.

I certainly can't claim to have attended all 39 Shrimp Festivals but I've probably been to 25 or more and most years also serve as one of the hundreds of volunteers - a crucial program for the success of the event.

I'm happy to share a few tips for enjoying the Shrimp Festival from my personal perspective as a local:

1. Use the shuttles for transportation - Don't try to park near the festival site because nearby parking spots are almost non-existent. Shuttles cost $2 per passenger one way and run to and from Gulf Shores Winn-Dixie, Gulf Shores Brunos, Wal-Mart, Pier 33, Gulf State Park Campground, Gulf State Park Pavilion, Orange Beach Winn-Dixie, Orange Beach Wal-Mart Market, Orange Beach Publix and Flora-Bama Lounge. See shuttle schedule.

2. Attend on Thursday - We were delighted with the additional day when Thursday was added to the festival. You may even overhear the term "locals day" describing Thursday because locals flock to the fest that day since we know it's easier to navigate before the larger crowds arrive. Of course, the attendance has grown on this day too but I highly encourage you to arrive on Wednesday so you can enjoy the festival on day one.

3. Eat a Cajun Pistol - OMG you will see from the lines that everyone loves this seafood delicacy from the food vendor Rockin Roger's Cajun Cuisine on the East Boardwalk. It's a delicious mix of crab, crawfish and shrimp in an awesome sauce stuffed in a roll. Trust me you can't eat just one so go for two right from the beginning. I always eat a variety of wonderful foods and desserts but never miss the cajun pistols.

4. Pick up the official souvenir program - As soon as you arrive you will see a Chamber information booth providing the program that will be your guide to finding food, arts and crafts, fine arts, entertainment and a helpful map of the festival grounds.

5. Go the the Sand Sculpture Contest - With four age groups you'll see a big variety of creative art rising from your favorite white sandy beaches on Saturday (Oct 15) in the early afternoon, with judging at 3 p.m.

6. Invest in Art - There are so many wonderful works of art from a variety of media including painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture and more in the fine arts section. I personally recommend the watercolor works of Chris Hartsfield, a long-time Shrimp Fest artist, whose works grace most rooms at my house. I also love to browse the large arts and crafts section and buy unique home decor items as well as clothing and jewelry.

7. Research the bands in advance - Since there are two stages (East & West) it's helpful to make your music choices in advance. To make it easier to determine your priorities our website contains a description of each band performing at the Shrimp Festival along with a link to a sample of their music (if provided by the artist). Go to both the East Stage link and West Stage link for all the info you need for each day's musical entertainment.

8. Watch the Tip Tops - You will usually find lots of locals gathering to hear one of our favorite bands, a high-energy group from Mobile who perform on the East Stage on the first night (Thursday) from 8 - 10 p.m. Of course, we have lots of favorites and you will too.

9. Claim your t-shirt - The Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce will have one or more tents selling the official 2011 Shrimp Fest t-shirts and other souvenirs. Don't buy the knock-offs, get the authentic t-shirt in either short or long-sleeve versions in a variety of colors. Again be sure to make this an early purchase for the best selection.

10.Buy a souvenir mug - Again in the fine art's section find the pottery of Steve & Dee Burrow, who are Gulf Shores residents. Each year they create a commemorative mug for the Shrimp Festival that you will want to collect and no doubt treasure. But get to their booth early because they always sell out.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cowboys and Cowgirls on the Coast this Week

There will be 300 cowboys and cowgirls on the coast this week, so let me explain how that happens. Basically our area is rural in nature with a world-class resort at the southernmost border. I've lived in this area my entire life and I love the diversity of landscape from the abundant farmland, small towns, incredible waterways that include lakes, rivers and bays and of course, the spectacular beaches. When you visit here you probably don't realize just how rural our area is because the main attraction is our beautiful beach.

As evidence of our rural roots on August 4-6 cowboys and cowgirls at the 14th Annual Professional Rodeo will thrill audiences with events such as bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping and steer wrestling at the event. I realize images of cowboys and cowgirls probably don't spring to mind when planning a trip to our beautiful Alabama coast but this event certainly does create a unique opportunity to attend a real-deal rodeo while on vacation.

Proceeds from this popular event, located at the Foley Horse Arena, on Hwy. 59 across from the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, benefit the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children 4-12 and free for children 3 and under. The rodeo is 8 p.m. nightly with a free Children's Village beginning at 7 p.m. each of the three nights. There are even free horseback rides on Saturday (Aug 6) from 7:00-7:45 p.m.

I hope you have a chance to visit our wonderful coast this weekend and also take in the sights and sounds of this unique rodeo so near the beach. You'll even find a 30% discount on vacation rental rates beginning Saturday when Early Fall season starts.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Meyer Real Estate's Relay for Life Family Fun Day at Waterville USA in Gulf Shores Alabama

It's Relay for Life season and one of my favorite events is Family Fun Day, which is actually happening Sunday (April 3) from noon to 5 p.m. at Waterville USA on Hwy. 59 South in Gulf Shores. This is the one afternoon that Waterville USA partners with Century 21 Meyer Real Estate and Meyer Real Estate Vacation Rentals to host an American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser and donate 100% of the proceeds.

You are not going to believe this but the ticket price for an entire afternoon of Waterville USA amusements is only $10 for this special day benefiting Relay for Life.

You can play mini-golf, ride the roller coaster, race each other on the go-carts as many times as you want all afternoon. There is also a trampoline and lots of kiddie rides for the little ones. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the family bonding moments. The only amusements not included in the $10 ticket are the arcade games, Flowrider and waterpark rides (waterpark is not open yet).

Advance tickets are being sold at the Meyer Real Estate Gulf Shores office (1585 Gulf Shores Parkway) and buying your tickets before April 3 entitles you to a FREE lunch voucher valued at $5. So stop by Meyer's Gulf Shores office and purchase your tickets in advance if you wish or buy tickets at the door. Either way you are sure to have a blast and feel good about supporting a worthy cause at the same time.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Gulf Shores Vacation Sale ENDS Friday

Retreating to the beach for a week has been a tradition for generations of families and Meyer Real Estate Vacation Rentals enjoys hosting our visitors. We love to watch your faces light up when you talk about the precious memories created during your week-long visit. It is thrilling to read your positive comments about how much you needed to getaway to the beach. In fact, it seems like it takes a couple of days to really unwind and get into the spirit of the vacation, which makes a week-long beach trip the ideal length of time.

Now is the time to reserve that precious week on the shores of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan (Alabama) or Perdido Key (Florida) and get TWO FREE NIGHTS. Now is the time because the sale ENDS Friday, March 4 at 5 p.m. (CST).

Here's my tip for you - it is most unusual to discount summer and peak summer season weekly rentals but this sales does apply to weekly rentals from March 5 to August 5. So don't procrastinate and miss the sale. Use promo code 115DAY to book online or when you call for reservations.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Super Gulf Shores Beach Vacation Sale Begins Soon

Shh....want to know a secret? On Monday Meyer Vacation Rentals launches our exclusive, limited-time sale for you to receive 2 free nights when reserving a week's vacation for spring and summer at condos and houses in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key. Here's the kicker - the sale will only last 5 days (Mon Feb. 28 until 5 pm on Fri Mar 4).

Our beaches are beautiful and our family-oriented atmosphere continues to make our beach resort highly desirable. This is your chance to capture a real deal (pay for 5 and 2 nights are free) and the chance won't last long.

So take a look at your calendar, talk to your loved ones about which area of the beach suits you best, research your property selection online and get ready to save on Monday morning when the sale begins. (Note: You will see the promo code listed online as early as Friday)