#KnoxBeer #IPADay @IPADayOrg event and hop infusions @Suttrees on 8/2:

July 31, 2012

This Thursday August 2nd is IPA Day. For those of you who weren’t aware, this annual event was co-founded by beer evangelist and social media celebrity Ashley Routson aka “The Beer Wench“. From the IPA Day website, it’s described as “universal movement created to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide, using social media as the common arena for connecting the conversation together.” Basically a more wordy way of saying, let’s celebrate this widely loved beer style on a certain day by drinking it, doing special events around it and tweeting/blogging about it. This is the 2nd annual IPA Day. Last year I went down to Florida on beercation, and didn’t actually get to partake of an IPA on IPA day. This year things are different. On Thursday starting at 6pm I will be at Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern on Gay street for their IPA Day celebration.

So what is going on at Suttree’s for IPA Day? Well first of all, as many of the 24 taps as possible will be switched to different IPAs. Expect to see East coast, West coast, English and historical examples of the style. The main show however, is what we are going to do with 2 separate infusers. We will have 2 kegs of Green Flash West Coast IPA, a very solid, enjoyable (and very loved) beer on it’s own. One keg will be infused with whole leaf Simcoe Hops, and the other keg will be infused with whole leaf Citra hops. I picked these two hops based on their wild popularity in the world of craft beer. These 2 varieties are incredibly good, but rare and expensive at the same time. These aren’t hops you can grow in your back yard. Both cultivars are proprietary, meaning only a few select farms in the Yakima Valley of Washington are licensed to grow them. Simcoe has a very distinct aroma of citrus, grapefruit, and pine. While it is a very popular aroma hop, its high alpha acid percentage and low cohumulone content make it a very useful bittering hop as well. Citra is a dual-purpose hop released in 2007 by the Hop Breeding Company. It is a cross of Hallertauer Mittelfruh, U.S. Tettnanger, East Kent Golding, Bavarian, Brewers Gold, and other unknown hops. Citra has a citrus aroma and flavor, with a heavy aroma of tropical fruits (guava and mango come to mind). It is typically used as an aroma hop, but due to its high alpha percentage and low cohumulone content, it makes an excellent bittering hop as well. This IPA Day infusion event is a very good way to come taste and experience the difference between these two. It’s the same beer but different hops. Which one will be your favorite? We’ll have a running tally and will announce which hop won the tasting on Suttree’s twitter account.

I hop(e) to see you all there.

One more thing before I sign off. I want to give a big thank you and shout out to Dave and Adam of Saw Works Brewing Company. Yesterday evening they hosted a TN Valley Homebrewers tour of their brewery. Going behind the scenes with fellow beer geeks and seeing just how much work goes into bringing Knoxville great beer was inspiring. So when you are out on the town, don’t be afraid to drink local. Rest assured that they are going above and beyond to bring Knoxville the quality and consistency that we craft beer lovers deserve.

Dave Omer, talking beer in front of Saw Works’ fermenters

Cheers,

Ratchet


#KnoxBeer Brewers Summit round up and @TheCasualPint opens new location

July 16, 2012

It keeps getting better and better to be a craft beer lover here in Knoxville. Yes, we’re no Asheville, Denver, Grand Rapids or even Atlanta when it comes to what we have available, but things are changing in our “scruffy little city“. Helping to lead this change are the local brewers, bloggers, shops, bars, and craft beer lovers. It is also changing because consumers are becoming more and more savy about craft beer. The turn out and support of the recent Brewers Summit is proof positive of this. This event sold out with over 150 people in attendance enjoying great beer, an excellent presentation and world class cheese. I served 5 gallons of my Mulberry Stout on Nitrogen, and got some great feedback. Many members of both the Knox Beer Crew and the TN Valley Homebrewers were in attendance. Panel members included Aaron Carson of Kingsport Oktoberfest who emceed the event, Linus Hall from Yazoo Brewing Company, Chris Hunt from Moccasin Bend Brewing, Erich Allen from Studio Brew, Marty Vellas from Smoky Mountain Brewery, Dave Ohmer from Saw Works Brewing and Danielle Elks, Executive Director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The panel was very informative and Danielle spoke at some length about the laws and tax issues surround beer in this state. The good news is that according to her, the state legislature is open to changing the laws. During the panel, we were treated to some great food by both Nama Sushi and The Pizza Kitchen. After the panel we were treated to amazing beer and cheese pairing by Michael Landis, cheese master for ANCO fine cheese.

What a great event! Gallons of beer were drank, tons of food consumed, cheese savored, new friendships formed and money raised for the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild. Thank you everyone who came and supported this event, here’s hoping that we do it again next year. I took some video of this and will post it here for your viewing pleasure. I didn’t get the whole panel or any of Danielle’s talk, but I did get a few highlights. Sorry the video is so grainy.

Hopefully everyone is already aware that The Casual Pint is opening a new location, downtown. As I speak with friends, they are all pleasantly surprized to find out that it opens THIS FRIDAY!!! Yes, that’s right, Friday the 20th will see the newest edition to Downtown’s beer scene open it’s doors. Guess who will be beertending there? That’s right, ME. I am  honored to join The Casual Pint team. I have been a customer, friend and supporter for awhile and couldn’t be happier to be behind the bar. The new location is on Union Avenue which is the street between Market Square and Krutch Park. It’s right around the corner right next to the new Tree and Vine. For the opening event, there will be a cask of Saw Work’s Brown Ale with vanilla bean pods soaking in it. Should be quite tasty and I hope to see you all there. Also a note for the Knox Beer Crew, our monthly meeting will be at this new location, same date and time. I hope everyone can make it.
A few friends have asked me why I am leaving Suttree’s, like there is some expectation of drama. Sorry to disappoint, but there simply isn’t any. I still have much love, respect and admiration for Suttree’s. Everything about the High Gravity Tavern is great. The owners, employees and customers are and will continue to be some of my favorite people. I am doing an event this Wednesday at 6 pm there. The rep from New Belgium is coming in and we are going to infuse the Ranger IPA with hops and the Trippel with mystery ingredients. I am also told that there will be free NB swag and glasses given away during the event. This is something I sincerely hope you do not miss.
My last regular shift there will be on Saturday during the day. My hope is that they will let me continue doing mid-week special events. I will miss working there and am glad I could help them get going. As far as beertending, the crew there is fantastic and will have no problems going along without me. I plan on still being there quite a bit, but this time on the customer side of the bar. I will no doubt be supporting them while tasting delicious high gravity beers every chance I get.
Ok, so here is a sneak peak of the new Casual Pint location. Keep in mind that these photos are from an unfinished store. I was there yesterday helping to stock shelves. When viewing these photos keep in mind that there is still a lot of installation, cleaning, detailing and rearranging that will occur before Friday.

The Casual Pint downtown preopening

The new Casual Pint location, looking towards the bar

Shelving at Casual Pint

Damian stocking the shelves

another view of the bar

from behind the bar

seating

Looking out towards Union Ave.

One last thing before I sign off. I just got word that tickets to the Kingsport Oktoberfest went on sale today. This was arguably my favorite event I attended last year. This year promises to be bigger and better. Don’t get left out and wait until last minute, get your tickets now. The event is anticipated to sell out a lot sooner then last year’s did.

As always your comments are welcome. If we met at the Brewers Summit, I’d like to hear from you.

Cheers,

Ratchet


Last chance to get tickets to http://brewerssummit.com

July 6, 2012

Friday July 13th is the Brewer’s Summit. This is your last week to get tickets to what is surely going to be a great event. We want you to get tickets, we need you to get tickets. This is a fund raiser for the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild. A group from all over the state that plans on working for change when it comes to beer laws and taxes in our fine state.
This is not a big event. Only a 150 tickets are being sold, and most of those are already gone. Click this link, buy your tickets, then come back and read the rest of this post.

Ok you’re back? I wanted to mention how this heat has effected my brewing schedule. I haven’t brewed a batch of beer in approximately 3 weeks or more. I have a batch of stout that I need to keg. I still have plenty of beer, and a few kegs left over from Brew Fest. I am also pretty broke. I have base grains, but unless my budget frees up, I don’t have the funds to purchase specialty grains, hops or yeast. The reason for this is that my last car died and I had to use my meager savings and max out my lines of credit to purchase a new one. I should be out of debt within 3 months, and I am hoping to be able to brew again sooner then that. Someone asked me if I had planned to brew a saison and take advantage of this heat for fermentation. I had not considered that, primarly because I am not really a fan of saisons. There are a few I like, but rather not brew one. Honestly, at this point I want to brew another batch of my Rauchbier, another IPA and then start brewing for fall. I want to brew an Oktoberfest Marzen Lager and then my yearly batch of Butternut Squash Ale.

One more thing I want to mention on this post. The downtown Knoxville location of The Casual Pint is tenatively set to open on July 21st. To kick this off, Saw Works Brewing is having a cask night. It looks as though I will be beertending part time at The Casual Pint. I stopped by and spoke with Nathan about becoming part of the team, and I’d like to thank him for the opportunity. Make sure to like The Casual Pint on Facebook and follow on twitter to stay up to date about the opening of the newest location. When it does open, I hope to see you there.

Cheers,

Ratchet