Recent and upcoming #KnoxBeer events @FixTheBeerTx @KnoxBeerGuy @KnoxBeerSnobs @KnoxBrew @KnoxBeerCrew

February 28, 2013

The  Knoxville craft beer scene continues to expand. There were several recent events I thought I’d write about, as well as some ones on the horizon. The first thing I want to talk about is the Fix The Beer Tax movement in the state of Tennessee. Instead of myself going too deeply into explaining it, I’ll refer you the official website to learn more about this important issue. Please read about it and get involved by clicking on the contact your legislator link. On February 15th, there was a Fix The Beer Tax rally at Barley’s in Knoxville. This gathering of craft beer enthusiast heard from various representatives of the beer industry and from sponsors of the bill. I was there along with many of my fellow craft beer lovers. I took a few pictures and a short video as well.

Here is a video of Knox Beer Snob Rob talking about the issue.

WBIR channel 10 was there to report. Check their story and video HERE.

Another great video from WBIR featuring my buddy Erich Allen from Studio Brew.

Of course, you get a few beers in me and I become talkative as well:

Another recent event I was lucky enough to attend was Eagle Distributing‘s second Gettin’ Crafty. This is an industry event for retail beer sellers, bar owners, staff, local brewers and bloggers. The purpose is mainly to get familiar with existing and new brands that are distributed by eagle in the Knoxville Market. I had previously written about the first Gettin’ Crafty with Eagle back in August. This is a great time with food, beer, friends and some freaking cool door prizes at the end. I want once again thank Jeremy Walker for the invite. I do want to mention that when I wrote about the first getting crafty event I did take some digs at Cherokee Distribution for their widely perceived indifference to craft beer. They have gotten a little bit better and have finally hired a craft beer manager. I am hoping that they take Eagle’s lead and put on a similar event. It would go a long way to improving their image in Knoxville. Anyway, here are some pictures of the event.

The Suttree's crew: Stanton, Matt, Anne, Dupree, Myself and Kevon.

The Suttree’s crew: Stanton, Matt, Anne, Dupree, Myself and Kevon.

One last note about past events and I’ll tell you about some things coming up in the future. Last night (Wednesday 2/27/13) there was a Brooklyn Tap takeover at Suttree’s. I got to try the Brooklyn 25th Anniversary Lager. It is incredibly good and as far as we know, the only place in East TN to try it is at ol’ Sut’s. If you’re lucky, they might still have some on tap. It’s worth getting while you can. Josh, the local Brooklyn rep was there with free swag and pouring samples of Sorachi Ace, 2012 Black ops, and Local 1 and 2. I had a good time hanging out with the Suttree’s Crew, Jeremy and Nate from Eagle, Brooklyn Josh, my old buddy Booze Traveler and one of my assistant brewers, Richard.

Richard, Myself and Scott aka Booze Traveler enjoying some Brooklyn Black Ops

Richard, Myself and Scott aka Booze Traveler enjoying some Brooklyn Black Ops

Well as promised, here are a few events coming up. This Friday is the grand opening of Sunspot’s brand new location. The Saw Works crew will be on hand and pouring the ultra limited and super delicious Bourbon Barrel aged Double Chocolate Porter. I had this at the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival and can tell you that it’s amazing. Don’t miss out. Here’s some more about it, courtesy of the Knox Beer Snobs:

Also on Saturday at 2 pm it’s the next Knox Beer Crew tasting. This month’s get together is at The Casual Pint’s downtown location. If you plan on attending, please bring some beer and send an email to Matt Crowell with what you plan on bringing so he can add it to the list. I will see you there, for sure.

Next Thursday March 7th Southern Tier Brewing Company will be taking over the taps at Suttree’s. From what I hear they are bringing out the rarities. 18 taps of Southern Tier goodness, oh hell yes!

Knox Beer Week takes place this summer from June 22nd through the 29th. The KBW committee is meeting again Sunday and we are continuing to plan what looks to be an unforgettable week. We should be announcing the logo contest winner soon as well as releasing a preliminary schedule. Also, can we say Untappd badge anyone?

The last thing to keep in mind is the upcoming Thirsty Orange Beer Festival taking place April 13th at the Mellow Mushroom in Johnson City. I poured my beers there last year and plan on doing the same this time. It was a great festival, really well done. Get your tickets and book your hotel now. With over 40 home brewers competing in the Iron Brewer challenge, this is not to be missed.

This is all for now, I’ll be back to post again soon.



Great Nano and Homebrew Equipment from a Local Vendor:

February 18, 2013

I spend an almost ridiculous amount of time online looking up equipment for my planned nano-brewery. I am always clicking links, checking out message boards and generally trying to find the best price (along with cheapest shipping) for what I need and want. This is how I stumbled across Bubba’s Barrels. I was shopping for brew pots when I first came across his website. The prices were almost too good to be true. I clicked the shipping page to get an idea of what that would cost me and to my surprise, they were located right here in Knoxville. I called and spoke with Carl the owner and made plans to come check out the equipment they offered. Bubba’s Barrels is located on Pembroke Avenue, just a few short miles up Broadway. When I went for my first visit, what I noticed was both the quality of his products and his enthusiasm for what he does. All his brew pots are made out of 304 stainless steel food grade shipping barrels. He even makes conical fermenters as well. To be honest, I did not end up purchasing a brew pot from him, but not because anything was wrong with them. I had my heart set on Blichmann and couldn’t talk myself out of it, even though I would have saved several hundred dollars. In retrospect, I regret my decision. Sure Blichmann may look a lot more fancy, but Bubba’s Brew pots are every bit as functional and at a fraction of the cost.

One of Bubba's Conical fermentors

One of Bubba’s Conical fermentors

I recently saw where Carl had added some new equipment to the website. This reminded me that I had meant to get a whirlpool device installed in my brew pot. I called him up and asked when he could do this. He said to come on by and drop it off. He’d have it ready for me in a few hours. While there I spoke with him about my upgrade plans, and how I had just noticed his burner stands for 55 gallon pots. I could use another quality burner and need a good brew stand set up. I also complained about how I saw online that Blichmann uses the same standard Banjo Burner but it only puts out around 78,000 BTUs. He advised me that it’s because the regulator that Blichmann sells with their burners isn’t that powerful. Carl sells really nice, pro-grade regulators and offered to let me try out the last one he had in stock. “Take this for your brew day, If you like it, I’ll sell it to you, if not, bring it back”. I did use it and WOW, I love it. I never knew I could get my strike water and boil up to temperature so fast. I love this regulator and I’m definitely buying it. Here’s a short video I took of the regulator in action:

I did get my whirlpool installed. This consisted of him putting a hole in the top of the brew pot, bending the stainless steel tubing and installing the fittings. It was worth every penny I paid for it. If you have a brew pot and a march pump, you can’t go wrong with this type of installation. See what I’m talking about and check out my video below:

So this is it for my local vendor spotlight. I do plan on buying more equipment from Bubba’s Barrels and I will post pictures here or on twitter of my upgrades. Hopefully I can afford that new brew stand soon.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me Ratchet (at)



LIVE From the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival in Townsend #KnoxBeer

February 9, 2013


Hello there from the Laurel Valley Country Club in Townsend Tennessee! I will be reporting live all day about all the beer, food, fun and camaraderie at the 2nd annual Tennessee Winter Beer Festival. I will also be posting pictures, LOTS of pictures. So if I met you at the festival, and you happen to see your picture on my website, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

2:10 pm: Still setting up & waiting for Brewers to arrive. Hope everything is ready for when the doors open at 3.

Baskets of rare beer to were one of the many items to bid on for the silent auction.

Baskets of rare beer to were one of the many items to bid on for the silent auction.


Drinking games


Calfkiller setting up

3:20 pm: The doors are open and the beer is flowing! Prosit!


Katie and Richard


Marty Velas (center) and The Smoky Mountain Brewery crew


Heidi & Nathan from The Casual Pint


Shawn Kerr


Erich From Studio Brew


Mike from The Market in Maryville & Rob from Knox Beer Snobs


Volunteers checking people in.


Calfkiller has amazing beer!

4:45 pm: I just finished walking around serving jalapeño poppers & talking to many great people. Thanks for the support!


Todd, El Presidente of The TN Winter Beer Festival Board



I helded the Kitchen staff for awhile by serving these incredibly tasty Jalapeno poppers.

I helped the Kitchen staff for awhile by serving these incredibly tasty Jalapeno poppers.


Attendees enjoyed the beer and weather on the back patio




I love the contrast of the shadows and light on this picture, Great time speaking with y’all.


This gentleman looks like he is having a great time.


Really cool guys I enjoyed speaking with. Send me an email sometime, let’s get together for a beer or 3.


I really enjoyed speaking with all the other homebrewers that I met.

5:50 pm So many good beers & good people. I took a quick break from beer to drink some water & I’m now sipping on Smoky Mountain’s Russian Imperial Stout. Check out my untappd feed to see the tasty beers being consumed.

Bands provided the soundtrack to the fest.

Bands provided the soundtrack to the fest.

6 pm: Saw Works just tapped their much anticipated Bourbon Barrel aged Double Chocolate Porter to much fanfare.


First pour of Saw Works Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Chocolate Porter


The Bourbon Barrel Aged Double Chocolate Porter ran out quickly.

6:30: Just ate some food upstairs. Loooong line. Calfkiller ran out of most of their beer & is down to their classic Stout.


Food was provided upstairs


Calfkiller’s beers went rather fast. Here they are down to their last keg of stout.

7 pm: Andy shares Cigars!


Andy shared cigars with other attendees. Here his is sharing one with Katie Duncan.

7:30 pm Dirty Pictionary! (I’ll upload video tomorrow)


Shawn drawing pictures for dirty pictionary.


Rebecca Tatum hosted the games


Don of the Knox Beer Snobs hollering something or other during dirty pictionary.

8 pm: The festival has an hour to go until it’s over. Most of the brewers are out of beer. Making plans with brewer friends for afterwards.


Happy Attendees


Depot Street


Chris who organizes Knoxville Brewers Jam grooving to some music.

8:33 pm: Remember y’all, it’s for the kids.


All the Proceeds went to the New Hope Advocacy Center.

9:28 pm: The TN Winter Beer Fest has come to an end. My phone died for awhile, but a lot happened in the last hour. Calfkiller won the People’s choice award. I want to personally congratulate Robin Carbaugh who bid on and won a keg of my homebrew in the silent auction. I look forward to bringing you some tasty beer.


The bidding sheet for my homebrew


Calfkiller wins the People’s choice award



Adam Palmer from Saw Works announcing the winners of the silent auction.

Update, the next morning: Thankfully I took care of myself yesterday by eating, drinking vitamin water & slowly sipping my beer so I’m hangover free. I want to thank everyone involved in putting this wonderfully cozy little festival together. With any luck, I’ll be participating as a pro-brewer pouring my beer for everyone. I’ve been updating this site through an app, but once I get to a computer I’ll upload a few little video snippets & add in links. Once again, if our paths crossed at this festival, I’d love to hear from you. Please post a comment below.