@wbir Story About Beercations Feature Yours Truly. Shout outs to #AVLBeer @Nantahalabrew @WickedWeed and @SawWorksBrewing

August 2, 2013

A big hello and welcome to all the new readers who found out about this blog from WBIR Channel 10’s Live at 5 at 4 story by Emily Stroud. It was a pleasure meeting with Emily and the camera guy to talk about my beer obsession. I would also like to thank Knox Urban Guy of the award winning Inside of Knoxville blog for putting me in touch with Emily. (Yes Jerry, I haven’t forgot about you giving Alan my phone number to pass along when I excitedly mistyped it in an email to Emily.)

So here is the video below. Just in case it’s not working, here is a direct link to WBIR’s video.

I also want to mention that Embrace the Funk is having a Sour Beer Tasting this Saturday at Bearden Beer Market from 1 to 3 pm. This is going to be quite the event. It features five of Brandon Jones’ creations in collaboration with Yazoo’s Embrace the Funk series. There will also be other sour, lambic and wild ale offerings from breweries around the world. They are even going to tap the keg of 2012 New Belgium La Folie that they’ve been hiding in the cooler. There will only be 100 spots guaranteed for Knoxville’s first sour tasting event, so be sure to come by BBM to reserve your spot today! Tickets are $20 and include a Yazoo sampling glass.

I will not be there however. I planned on visiting Sparta, TN’s own Calfkiller Brewery during that time. I’ve known Don and Dave Sergio and crew for over a year now, and have been looking forward to seeing their operation. I plan on taking lots of pictures and video, so check back Monday for a new post. Until then, if you are new to this site, feel free to read back through the archives or leave a comment.



Solo #homebrew day, new hop variety, brewing of KBC 505 and Hurricane Sandy relief

November 12, 2012

There’s a few things coming up in the Knoxville craft beer scene to tell y’all about. First a note on a few things that already happened. Last Tuesday was the election and America voted another term for the first president to have beer brewed in the White House. The other choice was a guy who has never drank a beer in his life. I personally don’t trust a guy who has never drank beer, and it seems a lot of people didn’t either. For election night, I had brewed a copy of the White House Honey Ale. The recipe and video were published on the official White House blog. It was a really easy extract based brew. I was able to brew 5 gallons in the short few hours I typically have after work and before bed time. I followed all the directions as per the White house, so it would be as close to their recipe as possible. For election night we poured free samples for people to taste and enjoy at the Casual Pint’s downtown location. There was a pretty big crowd come out to try it and watch the election returns.

So how is this beer? It’s really basic, very drinkable but a bit on the English side of the ale spectrum. Although I liked it, It’s not a beer I’d likely make to keep on tap at home. Other people seemed to really enjoy it. My pal and fellow blogger Saccy drank a bit and I made sure to constantly fill his cup. He wrote about it and posted this cool picture on his website.

Saccy’s sign. Thanks for your vote! Check him out at Knoxbeerdinosaur.wordpress.com

The Tennessee Valley Homebrewer’s latest Big Ass Malt Order or (BAMO for short) just wrapped up. Collectively the club ordered 2 pallets of grain. I did my part and ended up with 325 lbs. The bulk of my order was organic 2 row brewers malt. I also picked up more Rauch Malt, some vienna, light munich, and crystal 60. This should cover my base malt needs for the next 6 to 7 brews. For me this buying in bulk at wholesale price is well worth the yearly dues I pay to the club. If you are a homebrewer and in Knoxville, click here to find out more about joining. It’s well worth it, even if you don’t brew all grain. Members can get malt extracts at cost as well.

Back of my CRV loaded with my BAMO order

I also recently ordered bulk hops from the website HopsDirect.com. This website is by Puterbaugh farm out in the Yakima Valley. It’s a family run farm that grows and sells fresh leaf hops by the pound. I was shopping around for leaf hops on their site when I came across a proprietary hop they grow call Belma. This is the first year they are releasing this hop and the description sounded wonderful. The best part is the price, $5.25 a pound! This is unheard of for any hop variety. Even Cascade which everyone grows and is the most readily available hop cost $13 a pound. I know that this is an introductory price and in the future this hop will probably be in the $15 to $18 a pound range. So I bought 3 pounds. I ended up selling one of them at cost to my friend Kavon who is also a homebrewer and bartends at Suttree’s. But still I have 2 pounds. These hops smell fantastic. Much like other American hop varieties, they have a very citrusy aroma. I couldn’t wait to use some of it, so I brewed a beer this weekend. I took my recipe for my Cascadian Dark Ale (or Dark IPA if you prefer) and tinkered with it to include these hops. The last couple of times I’ve brewed, I’ve had help from several good friends. It’s great to have people lend a hand (especially with the clean up) on brew days. However, this time I wanted to get back to my roots and brew alone. It’s almost meditative for me to do that every once in awhile. So I didn’t tell anybody, got my ingredients together, started a monster yeast starter a couple days before, went to the spring and got water, spent my Sunday brewing and now I have 10 gallons happily bubbling away. My next brew day I will include my friends. Next Sunday I plan on brewing a Belma based pale all. I’m going to call it the KBC 505 which is reference to an inside joke with the guys I went to GABF with.

6 ounces of Belma hops from HopsDirect.com

My friends and co-owners of Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, Matt and Ann, went on beercation last week to the west coast where they traveled and visited breweries. I got several text from Matt when he was at Russian River Brewing Company. He sent me the pictures below:

Russian River’s Tap board

A case of Russian River’s Bling Pig and a case of Pliny the Elder

Well last night at ol’ Sut’s we had a private employee and friends party with some goodies they sent back. There was a case of both Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. I brought a few bottles of rare stuff to share as well along with a 2.5 gallon keg of my Oktoberfest. It’s was a great time and lots of good beer was drank. I took a few pictures as well as a short video clip. Thanks Ann and Matt for throwing this party and for the Pliny shirt you brought back for me. Y’all are awesome!

Pliny the Elder, one of the highest rated IPAs ever.

Matt iceing down the beer

More bottles and a mini keg of homebrew

Mmmmmmm, Beer!

Blind Pig anyone?

Well there’s a few things coming up soon in Knoxville. This Thursday there is a bus leaving from Bearden Beer Market going to Highland Brewery for the release of Highland’s Cold Mountain Winter Ale. I’m not sure if there are any spots left. It’s $30 per seat for a trip to Asheville. More details are here and in the image below. I am going, it sounds like too much fun to pass up. I’ll try to post about it afterwards.

Owly Images

Also coming up this Saturday is the Brooklyn Brewery Hurricane Sandy relief fund raiser. This charity event, co-sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Eagle Distributing will be going on all day Saturday at both Casual Pint locations, Bearden Beer Market, Vic’s Beer Garden, both Brixx Pizza locations, Central Flats and Taps, and Suttree’s. So go drink beer, it’s for charity.

One more thing of note. Next First Friday, December 7th at 7pm I will be pouring FREE samples of my winter seasonal. Previously called Spicy Cocoa Stout, now called I’m Warming You, it’s a 7.3% abv imperial chocolate milk stout brewed with Tennessee cherry chili and jalepeno peppers. This will take place at Jackson Avenue Market in the JFG building in the Old City. Mark it on your calendar now and let’s pack that place.

Seriously, y’all come out for this one. Please?



Blogging #KnoxBeerCrew #GABF #Denver #Boulder #CraftBeer Day 1

October 11, 2012

Thursday morning couldn’t come soon enough. After months of waiting and anticipation, my Beercation to Denver and the GABF had finally arrived. I couldn’t sleep to well the night before. I kept waking up every 45 minutes or so to stare at the clock to see it was time to get up yet. At 4:45 am, I got up and got ready. I drove over to Matt Crowell’s house where Nick and Mark were. We had to go pick up Jason and head to the airport. Before we left, we thought it only appropriate to kick off our trip with a toast. This crrepy little guy is what we drank:

Creepiest bottle label I’ve ever seen. Le Petite Prince Farmhouse table beer by Jester King.

Well we picked up Jason in and headed to the airport where Beverly dropped us off. Here’s a picture we snapped before we went in.

Knox Beer Crew ready to fly. From left to right, Mark, Matt, Jason, Nick and Ratchet. #GABF is the twitter hashtag for this event.


Getting on the plane in Knoxville


After a long flight in tiny, uncomfortable seats, we arrived at the terminal. Kevin LA was there to greet us with a proper sign.

It was so good to see Kevin LA waiting for us. He was holding a beer sign and also wearing an old faded shirt for a store I owned and ran briefly in 2001. I had completely forgotten about those shirts, and don’t even own one myself!

Kevin had this tasty treat waiting for us at his Jeep. Our first official beer of our Colorado Beercation. Thanks bro!

The ride to Kevin’s. Cheers!

Well 1st thing we did was go to Kevin’s place and drop off our stuff. Kevin’s house is absolutely amazing. Once we seen his basement bar, each member of the crew remarked how if they lived there, they’d never want to leave the downstairs. His house has enough guest bed rooms, so we walked through the house calling dibs on each one. I got a very comfortable one right next to a restroom on the main foor. The rest of the guys are downstairs and Kevin is upstairs. It’s a really great set up, and I can’t thank Kevin and his wife, Brit enough for their hospitality.


After getting situated it was off to Boulder and Southern Sun for lunch and beer.




A flight of really tasty beers at Southern Sun in Boulder, CO

Flight time! Check it out on Untappd


Oh yeah. That hits the spot. Check it out, I’m representing for Knoxville with a Saw Works shirt.

Beer menu at Southern Sun


You can’t drink all day on an empty stomach. I had to get my grub on with a tasty avocado and cheese sammich.


When we were done, I went and had a min-tour with the brewer. I’m always trying to learn something new. Southern Sun brews on a 10 barrel system (that’s 310 gallons per brew) and has 7 fermentors. They also have 2 other locations called Mountain Sun.

The next place we went to was a great little craft beer spot called Back Country Pizza and Tap House. I have heard about this place way on the other side of the country because they are known for their incredible beer selection.


The storage room at Back Country Pizz and Tap


The bar at Back Country Pizza and Tap House

Kevin looking over the beer menu at Back Country.


I got the last of the 2 year old aged keg of Ommegang’s Aphrodite. A brettanomyces finished fruit beer. It was unbelieveably good.

The best part of this adventure so far is hanging out with my Knox Beer Crew homies Mark Baggett, Nick “Big Magic” Walsh, Jason “Animal” Anderson, Matt “Google Matt” Crowell, and Kevin LA and sharing different beers.


Some rare Crooked Stave Brett beer shared by Big Magic and Mark (in background)

Nick photo bombing me.

After Back Country we headed to a place I’ve been wanting to go to for awhile. One of the most popular beer spots in Colorado: AVERY BREWING!!!!


Avery tap list in the front room

The barrel room at Avery

The crew in front of the barrels at Avery

Chilling with the best Coffee beer I have EVER had. Avery’s Tweak, bourbon barrel edition.

I had so many great beers at Avery. I could have stayed there all night.

Avery’s so corporate.

After an hour or so at Avery, we went up the road to a brand new nano-brewery that had just been open for 3 weeks. It’s called Wild Woods Brewery. We went in checked out the list and ordered 2 flights so we could sample everything. For a place that hasn’t been open long, they have a pretty solid line up. I took a look around and realized that they are brewing on a 2 barrle system! That’s only 1 more barrel then me! When I see places like this that are making it, it gives me hope. If they can do it, surely so can I.

Entance to Wild Woods Brewery

Tap list at Wild Woods

Wild Wood’s tasty brews

Wild Wood’s 2 barrel system. We were pressed for time so I didn’t get to meet the brewer to ask questions about the set up.

We didn’t stay long at wild woods, so we headed over to Twisted Pine. A lot of people have heard about this brewery and their famous Ghost Face Killa pepper beer. I had no intentions of getting anywhere near something like that. Instead I opted for some of the other yummy beers they offered. I really liked this place and met some really cool people there.

Twisted Pine

Tap list at Twisted Pine

Nick’s got a little tree growing out of his head.

Packing room at Twisted Pine. Didn’t think to ask for a tour.


Some info on GHOST…FACE….KILLA!!!

The Bar at Twisted Pine

When ever I have a few, I get fearless. Here’s me laughing in the face of Death.

We still had a few more places to visit, so off we went. Next on the list was Hazel’s Beverage World, a giant liquor store with a great selection of Craft Beer. I picked up a few things to ship back home.

Hazel- Boulder, CO alcohol and craft beer superstore.

The selection went on and on.

Whoa! There’s a plane coming right for me! Cool decorations at Hazel’s

After loading up our haul at Hazel’s we headed to the last stop of the night. World Famous oskar Blues Liquids and Solids. Time for some dinner and one more round.

We saw this sign from a mile or so away.

The bar ar Oskar Blues


Well, it was time to head back to kevin’s place and enjoy his massive cellar list. At this point, I was done and opted to go to sleep instead. Especially when I saw that Big Magic busted out with these bad boys:

Well, that was day one. Day 2 begins, so tune in later if I can keep my iPhone charged.