On Sunday January 13th at 1 pm many of Knoxville’s craft beer producers, distributors, venue owners and managers, bloggers and supporters met at a secret beer based location to discuss and plan Knoxville Tennessee’s second annual craft beer week. Knoxville has joined the growing list of cities celebrating their own unique craft beer culture with a week of tastings, beer dinners, cask, rare one off beers, special events and the 3rd annual Knoxville Brew Festival at the end. The dates for this great week long celebration is June 22nd through June 29th 2013.
J.T. Baker Bar manager of Sunspot, Rob of Knoxbeersnobs.com, Dave Ohmer of Saw Works, Don of Knoxbeersnobs.com, Todd White of the Markeyt in Maryville
Matt Crowell, webmaster of KnoxbeerWeek.com, Louis Kitrell of Blues and BBQ blog, Russ Torbett and Jeremy Walker of Eagle Distribution at the Knox Beer week planning meeting
Like with any event of this magnitude, we need a logo. A plan was hatched and a contest born. Do you think you have what it takes? Fame, fortune and best of all PRIZES are yours to claim if your design gets picked to represent Knox Beer Week. This logo will be used on all promotional material for Knox Beer Week and hopefully serve as a untappd badge as well. To enter email your spiffiest design to email@example.com and we will pick the winner at our March meeting. We haven’t exactly determined what the prize would be, but it will be something very cool. We’re thinking something along the lines of 2 tickets to Knox Brew Fest, some swag from Eagle’s vaults, certificates for growlers and swag at participating bars and breweries, etc. We’ll announce the exact prize pack as soon as we solidify it. Just know we are going to insure that whoever wins is going to be VERY happy. Here are the rules: Entries must be received by February 21st. All submissions become property of Knox Beer Week. Entries/ design submissions are limited to 3 per person. Prizes have no cash value. Must be 21 to enter. Nothing offense that you wouldn’t want your elderly conservative grandmother to see.
Now that we go that out of the way, I sincerely hope you have gotten your ticket to next month’s Tennessee Winter Beer Festival in Townsend. I spoke with a few of the organizers who happen to also be members of the Knox Beer Week committee and they say this event is more then likely going to see out real soon. I’ll just refer you to this post by The Knox Beer Snobs and my post from last year on the subject. I absolutely loved being part of last year’s event and am so looking forward to this one. Sales are limited to 200 tickets total, there are very few left. You can get them online or purchase them at either The Casual Pint locations. The money spent is well worth it. It’s a great event, you get beer, a shirt, food and support a very important cause. I will be there and I hope you will be too.
The last thing I want to mention is the new Knox Beer message board. This is going to be a shared Knoxville Beer forum where anything can be discussed. It was just set up and the colors and design are still being worked on, but feel free to sign up and start posting.
What a weekend! I want to write about Brewer’s Jam, but don’t think I’ll do it justice. Instead I’ll just tell you about my craft beer weekend in general.
If you read my last post, you know I was going to be busy. Friday night is somewhat of a blur, but what I can recall was amazing. I got off work and headed to World’s Fair Park to help load the cold truck. There were plenty of volunteers and I didn’t stay long. After a while I went home, cleaned myself up and headed to Adam and Shellie Palmer‘s wedding reception at SawWorks. On the way I dropped off kegs at Saccy‘s for the party.
It was great spending time with some of my favorite people in the Knoxville craft beer community on such a joyful occasion. One of the highlights for me was seeing Dave Ohmer’s face when the guys busted out with the Dave is my Homie shirts that Adam had printed. I made sure to hand mine to Dave with a sharpie to sign it, as seen in the picture below:
Dave sign’s my “Dave is my Homie” shirt
I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures of taken at the reception by Rebecca Tatum and hope that she post them soon. Thanks to an idea formulated during a conversation with her, I started interviewing for interns that can read me beer books in a english accent as I do chores around my basement brewery. So, yeah, thanks for that Becca.
Well I wanted to stay at the reception longer, but I did commit to Saccy’s Party, so I headed over there. Downtown was a complete mess when it came to traffic and parking since it was First Friday. I eventually found a spot, grabbed my tap box and walked over the his condo. This event took place in the building’s community room, and when I walked in, I was treated like a rock star. It was unbelievable. The party had been waiting in anticipation of my arrival to tap the kegs. The same time this party was going on, there was the brewer’s reception across the street at the Woodruff building. I went over there for a few minutes, had a drink, said hello to a few people and went back to Saccy’s. After this things start getting a little blurry. I do however specifically remember having a great tasting homebrewed Pale Ale that stood out for it’s fresh hoppy character.
Well the party eventually died down, so I headed over to The Casual Pint. Stayed there really briefly, then headed to Suttree’s. Somehow I end the night at the Peter Kern Library. I over did it and had a little too much fun. The next morning was rough.
Brewer’s Jam morning I overslept and woke up dehydrated with a pounding head ache. Drinking beer all day a festival was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. The bad part is that I knew better. I should have been drinking water the whole time the night before. I missed most of the morning chores of delivering ice and kegs to the brewers. Thankfully there were plenty of people to take up my slack. I still feel bad about it and I’ll make up for it next year. I brought a cooler to Brewer’s Jam with bottles of vitamin water and a gallon of spring water. I was constantly mixing Emergen-C , and I drank more of that then I did beer during the day. By the time the gates opened, I was fully recovered.
Before the gates opened, I had a chance to wander around and say hi to a few people. I stopped by and saw Kitty at the Highland Brewing booth. Next I went to Asheville Brewing Company and purchased an awesome shirt. Sadly my friend Mike didn’t make the trip, but it was great meeting the guys who were working the booth in his absence. I went over to talk to the guys at Green Man and flipped out when I noticed they had a bottle of their super rare sour ale, Maceo, at the table. This beer was just released on Thursday. Only a few beer stores in Asheville got a case. No one was willing to hold or ship bottles. It was first come, first serve. I had tried bribing friends to go get it since I couldn’t get out of my plans to drive to Asheville, but had no takers. As soon as I saw the bottle at the booth, I took all the money out of my wallet and offered it to the guy there for it. He wouldn’t sell it. He did tell me to check back and we could work something out at the end. Every hour or so I went back to check if it was there. Eventually near the end of the day, he sold it to me. He said since I was persistent, he would sell it to me for the same price it sold for in Asheville. I was so happy. This really did make me feel like Brewer’s Jam was better than Christmas. It also completes my collection of beers that Green Man has released bottles of. I am going to save this for a special occasion.
I saw this and freaked out. I had to have it no matter what the co$t…
Thank you for selling it to me. You have no idea how happy it made me.
What happiness looks like
When the gates opened, my beer was the 1st being poured. Both my Butternut Squash Ale and Oktoberfest were side by side. I worked the taps. We had the longest line at Brewer’s Jam. It was crazy! It stretched all the way across the lawn of World’s Fair Park. My beer was a hit and I poured it until it was all gone. The whole rest of the day people would come up and compliment me on it. It’s a great feeling knowing that I make beer that people really seem to enjoy. It was also so nice meeting and talking to people in line who I had never met in real life but read this blog. Thank you! More then once I heard “I hope this isn’t weird, but….” then the person describing how they read my blog, or seen me at one of the downtown bars, or I’ve poured them a beer at work, or they feel like they know me because of my website. Let me tell you. NO. It IS NOT Weird for you to approach me. It’s AWESOME. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Feel free to stop me and say hi anytime. I love meeting new friends. Every person I met that told me something like this, I tried to give one of my bottle cap fridge magnets. If you see me around, say something and I’ll give you one as well. I try to keep a few on me when I’m out in public.
The Homebrewers booth always has the longest line at Brewer’s Jam
The weather was the best it could have been, and was the best I ever remember it being. It was overcast (so I didn’t get a sunburn) and it was chilly, so I wore my new hoodie the whole time. For the entire time it looked and felt like it could rain at any moment but not one drop fell from the sky. This year I didn’t drink very much, but still had a great time. At festivals, I tend to try for beers I haven’t had before. There were a few I really wanted, but passed because the lines were too long. I also very rarely wandered out into the main crowd of the packed festival lawn. I knew there were many of my friends (Lou of Blues and BBQ for example) that were there, but I just didn’t run in to. I mostly stayed behind the tents where it was less crowded and other brewers were hanging out. I wish I had taken more pictures of Brewer’s Jam and maybe some video, but just forgot. At the end of the festival I was completely sober and hungry. I packed my car, drove home and went with a friend to dinner at the Downtown Grill and Brewery. I sipped some Maker’s 46 for the hour or so we were there. After that headed to Suttree’s where half way through a sample size of Lindeman’s Framboise, I crashed. I had hit the wall and it was like someone flipped an off switch for my body and brain. A lack of sleep had caught up to me. I couldn’t focus on conversation and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The night was still early, but I couldn’t hang anymore. I got dropped off at my house walked in the door, kicked off my shoes and let myself literally fall into bed. I fell asleep mid fall and woke up 9 hours later completely refreshed.
Lindeman’s Framboise, my Saturday night “off switch”
My weekend ended with me working the Sunday afternoon shift solo at The Casual Pint and reminiscing about the last couple of days with my good friends. I also met a really nice couple who own a winery in Virginia and are planning a brewery. I’m didn’t catch their names or the name of the brewery, but I am hoping they email me so I can take a road trip and visit them and their brewery someday.
Well that was this weekend. Next weekend I’ll be in Denver for the GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL! I am flying out with 4 other members of the Knox Beer Crew. We will be repping hard! I am going to make another effort to blog everyday of the trip so those of you who can’t make it can live vicariously through my adventures. It’s going to be epic, so check back Thursday through Sunday to follow along.
Once again, I would like to thank my readers, friends, twitter followers and people I met this weekend for all the kinds words. Hope we all meet and share beer again real soon.
So here I am sitting at my desk at work, waiting for 4 pm so I can go start my weekend. The weekend of Brewers Jam is more exciting to me then any other holiday. Christmas always seems like a let down, New Years is meh and I don’t want to celebrate my birthday anymore because getting old kinda sucks. But BREWERS JAM is the day I wait for and anticipate every year. This year’s event is going to be especially fun for yours truly.
Last night the homebrew club I am a member of met for our annual “pretzel jam” where we get together to make pretzel necklaces to sell at Brewers Jam. This year’s Pretzel Jam was right down the block from my house. I walked there so I could imbibe and not worry about getting a ride home. It was a very short walk. At our yearly Pretzel Jam, we hang out, drink homebrew, eat pizza and pick up our shirts and passes for Saturday. We stand around and share information and tell stories of our homebrewing. Our membership has different levels of experience from the just starting out with extract, brew-in-a-bucket beers to the “I’ve been doing it for 30 years” to multiple award winners and all the way to the truly obsessed OMG I gotta start a brew pub members like myself.
Tonight is going to be incredibly fun, and I will be all over the place. I am going to try to duck out of work early if I can, and head over to World’s Fair Park to help load the cold truck. It’s the drop off point for the brewers when they come into town. My work will consist of sitting around, sipping some brewski’s and waiting for brewers to arrive. When they do, I’ll get off my ass and with help from many of the other club members, move kegs from the brewer’s vehicles to the truck. Then I’ll sit back down and shoot the breeze and sip more beer. It’s a hard duty, but someone has to do it. About 5:45 I’ll head home to grab a few things and then I’m heading to Adam & Shellie Palmer’s wedding reception at SawWorks. Adam is the owner of SawWorks and a good friend. They got married in a private ceremony in Providencials in the Turk and Caicos Islands. The reception tonight is small informal gathering for friends and family. I am bringing a couple of bottles of my homemade mead for the newly weds to enjoy. I can’t stay long, because I have 2 other parties to attend this evening.
Hopefully y’all know and aware of another downtown beer blogger and my good friend, the Knoxville Beer Dinosaur, Sacchromyces Rex. Ol’ Saccy is throwing a pre-Brewers Jam beer party in his building on Gay Street. I see Saccy all the time when I am downtown. When he first approached me months ago about throwing a party, I was all about it. When he finally picked a date, it turned out to be perfect. I agreed to bring some of my homebrew. I actually kegged up 3 gallons of a special rum barrel edition of my Butternut Squash Ale for the party. At the same time I’ll be drinking with my Dino friend, the Brewer’s reception is taking place pretty much across the street. Dinner is at 8, so it looks like I’ll be doing a lot of walking back and forth so I can attend both parties.
I know that I’ll want to, but can’t, stay out all night. I have to be at the World’s Fair Park Saturday morning bright and early to help set up. Once the gates open, I will be pouring beer at the homebrewer’s tent. I have 2 kegs of mine, an Oktoberfest and my famous Butternut Squash Ale. I don’t know when they will be tapped, but when they are, I’ll tweet it. These are only 5 gallon kegs, and they tend to get drained within 15 minutes. The afternoon I am responsibility free and will be able to cut loose and have some fun. This is what I am most excited about. Drinking good beer, hanging with friends. Hell I might even be inebriated enough to get my groove on to some music from the fine bands playing. After the Jam ends, who knows where I’ll end up? I know there is an after party at Market Square and I would be down for seeing friends at The Casual Pint, Suttree’s and going to my new favorite speakeasy, the Peter Kern Library. Like I said, who knows?
I can’t wait to see my friends and meet some new ones. If you recognize me, or read my blog, say hi. Let’s raise a toast, throw back a few cold ones together and celebrate this greatest Knoxville holiday.
It’s Saturday morning and I am at the Oktoberfest site in Downtown Kingsport, getting ready to set up my booth. I got to in to town late yesterday afternoon. I spent the night before and most of the day on Friday getting everything ready and packing my old trusty CR-V. There is a lot that goes into setting up and pouring homebrew at a festival. One of the things I did was to bake minature butternut squash pies and mini cupcake sized pies. I am going to try to infuse my Butternut Squash Ale with mini-pie slices. I honestly don’t think it’s going to add anything to this beer, I am doing it mostly for presentation. I wanted to do something memorable. Something that people will talk about. Worse case senario is that it turns into a big gloopy mess and clogs up my lines. If so, I’ll just bypass the infuser. I made several pans of the mini-pies for people to eat. I think it will be a nice treat for the V.I.P.s who paid for early admission. I used the butternut squash that was left over from brewing the last batch. It cooked really well in the beer wort, and it has some bitterness because the whole leaf hops were cooked with it in the mesh bag. For anyone who is interested, here’s the recipe:
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
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.
Welcome to the Knoxville Brew Fest! I know I am going to be very busy serving my beer & sampling others. I will be live tweeting all day. What I plan on doing is updating this all day with photos from the Fest. So keep checking back until my iPhone battery dies. If I take your picture, or you are checking out my website for the 1st time, please leave a comment below.
Holy crap! Look at that line! About to get slammed!
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
What a great festival! It’s the first time I’ve been at a beer fest & not even come close to getting a buzz. That’s alright because I had so much fun meeting people & talking about my beer. After the crowds left, I was able to get a few growlers filled from the leftovers. A big thank you goes out to the organizers, the brewers (pro & home alike) & all the craft beer lovers who made this a roaring success. I can’t wait for next year!
One last thing, I’d like to invite y’all to come out to Suttree’s on Wednesday night. We are going to be infusing one of the last kegs of SweetWater’s Happy Ending with hops, cocoa nibs & shredded coconut. I hope you see you all there.
Hey y’all. Life has been pretty hectic for me since I got back from Asheville Beer Week. Between my day job, beertending at Suttree’s, and chores I am just now getting caught up. Figured it was time to write another quick update.
Then on Saturday June 23rd, is the Knoxville Brew Fest going on at the Southern Railway Terminal on the edge of downtown. I did this event last year, and it was great. The early admission VIP tickets are well worth the price. I will be set up there pouring samples of my beer, so make sure to come say hi. I will have about 25 gallons, and I’m sure it will go fast.
The Brewer’s Summit is coming up on Friday July 13th. This event is a fund raiser for the TN Craft Brewer’s Guild. Brewers from around the state will talk about the laws and tax issues affecting your craft beer choices in Tennessee. Beers will be paired with cheese, and more food provided by Nama and Pizza Kitchen. I will be serving a tasty mulberry stout on nitrogen. There are less then 50 tickets still available for this event, and we anticipate it selling out soon. You can buy them, and find out more about this event at the Brewers Summit Website.
I know it’s still awhile away, but I have October on my mind. Brewer’s Jam tickets are already on sale at the Casual Pint. This year I am going to be skipping one of my favorite beer festivals, the Asheville Oktoberfest. I am skipping it because I AM FLYING OUT TO DENVER FOR THE GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL!!! WOOO-HOOO! I’ve been talking about this for a year now with Knox Beer Crew founder, Matt Crowell. He has a friend, Kevin LA, who has graciously invited Matt to bring along a few other members of the crew to stay at his place in Denver. I am stoked! The GABF is the biggest and best of all the beer festivals in America. I’ve heard countless stories over the years and have been dying to go. Thanks to Kevin I can afford it because I’m not paying an arm and a leg for a hotel room. I bought my plane ticket yesterday, and the AHA member tickets to the event go on sale on July 31. General public tickets go on sale August 2nd. According to Matt, Kevin is going to take us brewery hopping in Fort Collins and around Denver. We are flying out the morning of Thursday October 11th and returning on Sunday evening. I am attending 2 of the festival’s tasting sessions, one of them being an AHA members only session. I can not wait!
On another note I finally got the 30 gallons of beer I had fermenting into kegs. Now I have empty carboys, so it’s time to brew again. I really want to have a stout on tap at home. The 10 gallons I have is going to be given away at the Knox Brew Fest and at the Brewer’s Summit. Therefor, this Sunday I plan on brewing it again. I think after this batch, I’ll brew some more Rauchbier.
One last note to end this post. I want to give a big shout out to all the craft beer drinkers in Knoxville that have been showing Suttree’s some love. On the limited days I beertend, I’ve gotten to know some regulars. I have met some great people who share my love and enthusiasm for craft beer. I am also always surprised when someone I haven’t met tells me that they read my blog. Thank you! That means a lot to me, and if you come in while I’m working, please introduce yourself.
This is my third attempt to write about last weekend’s Thirsty Orange beer festival in Johnson City. My original idea was to live blog from the festival. I even set up the page the night before. However, there was so much to do and I was so busy it just wasn’t possible to live blog. I hardly even had time to take my phone out of my pocket to check emails, text and tweets.
So here it is, almost a week later. Let’s see how much I can actually recall.
Here’s some background first. I am currently moving. Everyone knows that packing and moving is a big pain in the ass. Luckily I pretty much have a whole month to do it. I am renting a slighly bigger house on a hill that is closer to downtown. The view is pretty great and the fact that I have a whole basement to brew in is what sold me on the house.
Well, I have a brew schedule that I am trying to stick to. I didn’t want to try to move my fermentation fridge and carboys while they were in mid-fermentation. So I did what any slightly crazed beer obessessed homebrewer would do. I got up extra early Friday morning and started brewing. I ended up mashing in around 5:30 am. I figured, if I was going to move full carboys that I should do it right after brewing so the sloshing caused by the car ride would help oxygenate the wort. Yeast needs oxygen to help get it going. So as I brewed, I cleaned. I moved my small lagering chest freezer into the back of the van. Once I was done brewing my Maibock, I drove the whole set up to, and set it up in, the basement of the house I’m moving in to. I plugged in the fridge and thermostat control and put the two 5 gallon carboys to ferment at 48 degrees. I was done completely around 11 am. I then went over to the Downtown Grill and Brewery and picked up the Woodruff Brewing beer that I took to the festival.
I than went home and packed the van full of tubs, beer, kegs, ice and merchandise. I then drove to Johnson City. Arriving there I quickly checked into my room. The festival site was at the Mellow Mushroom just down the road, so I headed there to meet with the organizers. I stashed the kegs in the walk in cooler, had a beer and taked plans for the next day. Well as you can imagine, I was exhausted from getting up at 4:45 am that day to brew. I knew Saturday was going to be hectic, so I went back to the hotel and passed out early.
Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed, made some crappy hotel coffee and headed to the site. I was still pretty tired and the crappy hotel coffee just wasn’t kicking in. Thank goodness one of the guys there, Andrew, had brought a carafe of great coffee to share. After “irishing up” a cup of it with a shot of baileys, I was good to go.
While crews set up tents and generally prepared the site for the days festivities, I worked on getting my table, kegs and jockey box set up. I was also on infuser duty. I had my own infuser to run beer through and the festival had it’s own. Responsible for the festival’s infuser was a cool dude (who I had the pleasure of working with) that they called Flipper. I showed him the ropes on how to pack it, how to set up the lines, etc. He picked up on it rather quickly and was able to take the infuser around and fresh infuse different beers with different ingredients all day. It was definitely a hit of the festival.
Well once the gates were open, things were hectic. I still hadn’t completely set up my merchandise when a line began to form at my table. I was very greatful that the festival organizers had provided me with someone to assist me at my booth, as I honestly could not have done it by myself. Right at the start, I had a beer line break in my jockey box. My first clue that it occured was when beer started pouring out the sides. I lost the whole keg of chocolate ale that I had brewed for the Iron Brewer challenge. I had to cut the bad section of line out and rehook it up to a different keg.
Once all the kinks were worked out, the festival went really well. I did my share of drinking, slipping away from my booth a few minutes at a time to try other beers. I met more then a few really cool people, fellow homebrewers from all over and tried many great brews. It was also really good to see and hang out with my Knox Beer Crew friends who had made the trip up from Knoxville. They left before the end of the festival, but we did have time to squeeze into the on site beer photo booth and get our pictures taken.
Well I stayed until the very end, and was the last brewer set up and pouring until my ride came and got me. I packed up, said my goodbyes and went back to the hotel. After settling in, I went downstairs to get something out of the van and realized that there was a comedy show taking place in the hotel’s restaurant. I drunkenly wandered in and sat in the back unlit portion of the space and laughed for awhile. Then I wandered back upstairs and passed out.
It was a great festival and Aaron and his crew always put together a good event. As far as I could see, everything went smoothly and everyone had a fun time. If this happens again next year, you can count me in to be there.
Ok, will this is all for now. I don’t feel like this write up is all that good, but I had to post something. If you read this and were at the Thirsty Orange, please leave a comment with your thoughts below.
Hey readers, I figured I’d update the ol’ blog and let you know how the TN Winter Beer Festival went. It was (insert positive exclamative adjective here)! I had a really good time. As you know, the festival took place at the Laurel Valley County Club in Townsend. It was held in the clubhouse which is 2 stories. Upstairs had Depot Street and Smoky Mountain Brewery pouring their tasty concoctions. Downstairs had Woodruff and Marble City side by side. I wore my Woodruff shirt to the event and I’m glad I did. By the time it occured to me that I should ask for a volunteer t-shirt, they were out of my size. I knew most of the other volunteers, but since the event was limited to 180 tickets, by the end of the night, it felt like everyone knew everyone. Since I wore my Woodruff shirt and am a good friend and supporter of the brewery, I helped pour beer for them all night. The photographer for the Daily Times took a great picture of me doing just that, that you can see here.
As ticket holders came in the door, they were given a t-shirt, a pint glass and a poker chip. Each brewery had a large beer mug in front of their taps. People were instructed to vote for thier favorite beer or brewery by placing the poker chip in the mug. There was some stiff competition. Since I was representing Woodruff, and consider the Downtown Grill & Brewery my home away from home, I really wanted Dave to take home the “Best of Beers” trophy. As I was pouring beer I noticed 2 things. There were the tried and true beer connoisseurs who absolutely loved the seasonal, high gravity Captain’s Winter Ale. There were also more then a few people who weren’t necessarly beer drinkers, but came out to support the event. This crowd absolutely loved the Downtown Blonde, which also happened to be the lightest beer being poured. The combination of votes from craft and light beer drinkers turned out to be the winning combination for Woodruff. Dave took home the coveted trophy!
Dave Ohmer of Woodruff Brewing Company wins the Best Of Beers Award
I do want to thank Dave for generously offering me the extra bed available in the cabin that he and some others were staying at nearby. He offered it so I could drink and not have to worry about sobering up to drive home to Knoxville. I was going to take him up on the offer, but around 7 pm, my kidneys started to ache. By 7:30 I knew I was done sampling beers and had switched over to water. By the time the event ended at 9, I was stone cold sober. I helped clean up, said my goodbyes & drove home to the comfort of my own bed.
Most of the people I know in the Knoxville Craft beer community are real fine outstanding folks. As a whole, they support a wide variety of causes, and donate their time and energy to many charities. I image most of them think of themselves as progressive. It just makes me wonder, why do they hate kids?
Whoa, whoa there Ratchet…What the hell are you talking about?
Wait…, What? What does that have to do with kids? I’m confused.
Well then, let me fill you in. The Tennessee Winter Beer Festival is about more then great craft beer, amazing food and camaraderie in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s also about helping kids. Specifically abused and neglected kids.
I’m glad you asked. It’s because 100% of the proceeds from this festival go directly to New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center. The Children’s Advocacy Center is a child-friendly, safe place for child victims of sexual and physical abuse. Children, along with their non-offending family members, receive necessary services at the Center for return to optimal functioning. The Center is designed to be the “child’s office,” where multiple agencies and professionals convene to coordinate and deliver services in one place so the child only tells their story one time.
Many times when people plan on attending a beer festival, they focus primarily (of course) on the beer, and not where the $ from the fest is going. I wanted people to know. As a father, I take the health and well being of children to heart. As someone who works in a law firm, I hear heart breaking stories of abuse all the time. This is your chance to make a difference while having a good time.
I have talked to people in the Knoxville community about this fest. I know $45 may seem like a lot for a festival with only 4 participating breweries. However, I have heard this from people who have no problem shelling out $30 and up for 1 uber-limited bottle of beer. When you think about it, what is being offered for the price is well worth it. First you are getting unlimited beer from Marble City Brewing Company, Woodruff Brewing Company, Smoky Mountain Brewery and Jonesboro based Depot Street Brewery. Woodruff even brewed up a special batch of beer for this event. In addition to the brews, Miss Lilly’s Cafe (who host the monthly Townsend beer club dinners) is providing some amazing food. Seriously, you could very well spend that much on dinner for you & your sweetie at their restaurant. For your money you also get a shirt and a pint glass. This festival is really small. Only 180 tickets are being sold. Think of this less then a festival, and more of a private beer dinner with you and your close friends. Since the event is so intimate, you’ll be able to talk with and learn whatever you would like from the actual brewers themselves. For even more information, check out the festival’s website, this article from the New Sentinel, and this article from The Daily Times as well.
People who attend are going to be talking about this event for a long time. I encourage everyone who reads this to go get a ticket soon. After all, you don’t hate children, do you?