December 18, 2013
Christmas is next week and I know some of you are struggling to find the perfect gift for the beer geek in your life. Unless you want to pay a fortune for shipping, it’s too late to order gifts online. I thought while I sat here filling out applications and emailing resumes, I’d take a few moments to put together a list of beercentric gifts available here in Knoxville.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen our small craft beer community grow exponentially. You can find a decent selection of quality suds almost everywhere now. So let’s start with the most basic and easy thing to acquire: gift cards.
Yes giving a gift card can feel like the easy way out, but believe me, your recipient will appreciate it. Not sure what to buy? Can’t remember if they like IPAs or stouts more? Give them the gift of choice. Pretty much everyone offers gift cards now. As far as retail beer shopping, you can’t go wrong with Bearden Beer Market. They carry a wide variety of brews, shirts and other gifts. They also offer growler fills. On cold nights they have a couple of fire pits going in the beer garden, so feel free to bring your own marshmallows.
Another popular choice is The Casual Pint. With 2 locations and more opening in 2014, they also have a great selection of beer and merchandise. Unique to CP is the create your own mix-a-six pack from the selection in the cooler. Not many other places offer this.
If you are on the North side of town, check out Vic’s. Killer selection, knowledgeable staff and you can get your high grav’s right next door. Ask for Louie and tell them Ratchet sent you.
For the best selection in Maryville, check out The Market. Growlers are available as well.
As far as high gravity beers go, you can’t go wrong with either McScrooge’s or my favorite, Downtown Wine and Spirits. Both offer gift cards and a world class selection of big beers. Right now Downtown Wine still has some rarities available from their cellar sale. If I were you, I’d grab a couple of the 2007 JW Lee barrel aged beers before they’re all gone. I also heard they just got in the 2013 Brookyln Black-Ops.
When it comes to craft beer bars, Suttree’s is a sure shot. A gift card here will go along way. They always make sure to have the best draft beer selection in Knoxville.
One of the longest running craft beer bars in Knoxville, Barley’s is also know for their killer selection and awesome food menu selection. Take someone here for dinner and they’ll really get into the holiday spirit.
Want to give something brewed locally? Downtown Grill and Brewery offers gift cards. Great food, super friendly and knowledgeable bar staff and a fine selection of English style ales. Growlers and kegs available. You can get a 5 gallon keg for $50 (plus deposit). Think about how well this would go over at your Christmas party.
Speaking of locally brewed and Christmas parties, you can’t forget about Saw Works. Knoxville’s favorite microbrewery has a tasting room called The Mill. There you can buy a growler, a shirt or some glassware. It’s also available for private parties and they have an upcoming Holiday Bash this Friday at 7 pm. I wish I could make it, but I’ll be in Hot Springs that night.
Maryville’s upcoming Bluetick Brewery has just got a bunch of merchandise in, just in time for Christmas. Every purchase helps them get that much closer to opening their doors to the public.
Is there a home brewer in your life? Knoxville has 2 great homebrew shops. Allen Biermakens on Martin Mill in South Knoxville or Fermentation Station on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville. Both have a great selection of supplies and equipment for those who brew their own.
You know what would make a great stocking stuffer? Tickets to the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival in Townsend, TN. It takes place on February 8th. You can buy tickets online now or at the Market In Maryville.
Looking for rare beer? There’s a local guy selling a few from his cellar. Check his list here. If you buy something it helps his broke ass buy Christmas presents for his kid.
Well that’s the Knoxville Beer Geek Christmas list. I hope this helps you procrastinators with some ideas. Before I sign off, I want to let you know about tomorrow’s (Thursday night’s) infusion event at Suttree’s. I’ll be taking the ever so popular seasonal from Terrapin, Wake-N-Bake, and infusing it with fresh mint, cocao nibs and mini-candy canes for a festive treat. I’ll be starting around 7 pm, and I am hoping to see everyone.
Y’all have a great and Beery Christmas and try to not let the Krampus get you. I’ll try to post again before the new year.
Leave a Comment » | #knoxbeer, Asheville Brewing Company, Beer, beer aging, Beer Books, Casual Pint, Christmas beer, Craft Beer, Craft Beer Christmas, Craft Beer in Knoxville, Drinking, home brewing, Knox Beer Crew, Knox Beer Week, Knoxville Beer, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville beer presents, Knoxville beer scene, Laurel Valley Country Club, Ratchet, Seasonal Beer, Social Media, Tennessee Winter beer fest, Winter Warmer, woodruff | Tagged: ., ale, beer, beer festival, Casual Pint, craft beer, home brew, homebrew, Knoxville, Knoxville beer, Knoxville beer blogger, seasonal beer, Suttree's High Gravity Tavern | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
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.
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
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 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.
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.
Chris who organizes Knoxville Brewers Jam grooving to some music.
8:33 pm: Remember y’all, it’s for the kids.
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.
2 Comments | #knoxbeer, Beer, Beer Festival, beer travel, Calfkiller, Craft Beer, drinking, kegs, Knoxville Beer, Laurel Valley Country Club, Saw Works Brewing, Studio Brew, Tennessee Beer Festival, Tennessee Winter beer fest, Townsend Beer Festival, Tri-cities beer, Winter Warmer | Tagged: ., @RatchetBrews, beer, beer festival, beer travel, Beercation, craft beer, drinking, fun, Knox beer crew, Knox Beer Snobs, Knoxville, Knoxville beer, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville beer blogger, Live beer blog, Ratchet, Ratchet brews, Tennessee Winter Beer Fest, TN Winter Beer | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
January 30, 2013
I was able to once again visit the nearby beer mecca of Asheville, NC for this year’s Winter Warmer Beer festival. The event this year was on the main floor of the Asheville Convention Center.
Arriving a little early to avoid a long line, I ended up being one of the first people in.
Cups waiting for their new owners
At 3 pm they opened to the general public (those of us who had regular tickets and not early VIP admission). I headed directly to Cigar City’s booth and was happy that there wasn’t a long wait to try their rare and delicious beverages.
Cigar City Brewing Company from Tampa, FL
After tasting Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Sound, Humidor Series Double American Black Ale and Church On A Hill Barley Wine, it was time to go over and see the good folks at Wicked Weed‘s booth.
Wicked Weed had the longest line all the way through the festival
Luke from Wicked Weed and myself
I spoke with Luke for a few minutes and tried some of their beers that I haven’t had yet. They are as good as everyone says they are. Freak IPA is especially delicious. I walked around and spoke with various brewers. I also ran into fellow Knox Beer Crew members and people I had met at other beer festivals.
Dieter from Heinzelmannchen Brewery and myself
Myself and Jason Caughman, owner of Pisgah Brewing
Nicholas “Big Magic” Walsh was VERY happy to see me.
Knox Beer Crew represent!
I won the prize for making the creepiest face possible in this Knox Beer Crew Picture
Katie @Junebugbatticus of Knox Beer Crew and Neil @YazooBrew of Yazoo Brewing Company getting goofy.
Mark Baggett @MarkPBaggett of Knox Beer Crew
Beer up the Yazoo!
The HeinzelMannchen Gnomes at work
There was even some cider on tap
One thing I noticed about this year’s festival is that several of the local breweries were not in attendance. I did not see Asheville Brewing Company, Oyster House, Nantahala, Wedge, Green Man or Altamont. It left me wondering why they weren’t there. Maybe someone will read this and leave a comment below to clear up the mystery. Also I do regret not getting to the MALT booth before the homebrew ran out. I should have known. EVERY beer festival, the homebrew always runs out first. I do want to give a big shout out to Adam Reinke who I’ve been following on twitter for awhile but finally met in real life. I’m looking forward to showing him and the Asheville contingent around when they come visit.
Well after hours of sampling great beer, hanging out with friends, eating the food provided and having an overall great time, Winter Warmer came to an end. That did not mean the end of the fun, not even close. A short rest break at the hotel and it was time to head over to check out the now opened Wicked Weed Brewery.
The place was packed and there was a line and wait to get in. From my understanding, it’s been like this almost every night since they opened. Luckily a party left shortly after my friend and I arrived and we were allowed in. We walked inside and glanced around. I immediately spotted Erich, Pam and the Studio Brew crew holding seats for us.
Erich and Pam of Studio Brew with friends.
Wicked Weed’s Saison IV fermented with Pineapple. Very tasty and highly recommended.
After some beer and food, it was time to check out the bar downstairs. There was a whole other beer selection down there. I wish I had taken more pictures.
Erich took this picture and emailed it to me.
There were 2 more stops before the evening would end. Erich, Pam and friends had called a cab to go back to their hotel, so we also left Wicked Weed. I wanted to go get a 6 pack of one of my favorite beers, Ninja Porter. Asheville Brewing Company had just started canning it a week or so previous. A quick half pour was enjoyed and a couple of 6 packs were picked up. After dropping them off at the room, it was time for 1 more stop before calling it a night.
Ninja Porter, open up a can of Whoop Ass.
Anytime I go to Asheville and stay downtown, I always end the night at The Thirsty Monk. Considering that it is considered one of the top 100 beer bars on the planet and that it’s only a block from the hotel, there’s no reason not to. However, by the end of a long day of sampling beer, I was pretty worn out. I just had 1 half pour of Green Man’s Rainmaker before stumbling back to the room.
Beer Cage across from the couch downstairs at Thirsty Monk.
The next day came and it was time to head on. By this time my budget for the trip was almost exhausted, but I still had to stop by Bruisin’ Ales. Inside I ran into Knox Beer Crew’s Matt Crowell who was checking out. I managed to get buy the smallest amount of beer I ever had from that world class bottle shop.
The least amount of beer that I have ever purchased from Bruisin Ales.
Hopefully I’ll visit Asheville again real soon. Until then, I encourage you to follow Thom O’Hearn on twitter, he’s the new beer writer for Mountain Xpress. It’s the job Anne-Fitten Glenn had before she got the marketing position at the new Oskar Blues plant.
Two more items before I sign off. As you can see by the background image on this site, the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival February 9th is SOLD OUT. I knew it would, and tried to warn everyone who said they were going but hadn’t bought tickets yet. If you’re lucky, you might find them on Craigslist.
The last item is incredibly important. Fix The Beer Tax is a group lobbying to do just that in Tennessee. The recently launched website (as well as twitter feed and facebook page) has a lot of information on this very important issue. It also has a link where you can send a message to your state legislator to let them know how you feel about this issue. I strongly encourage everyone to do so.
Well enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend. I don’t really care who wins, but I’m slightly pulling for the Ravens so Ray Lewis can retire after a big win. I’ll post again soon, possibly live from the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival.
Until then, can the Ratchet Brews Crew of Todd, Richard, and Dalton meet at the Brewery on High this Sunday at noon for some beer filtering, kegging, bottling and LLC discussion? Let me know y’all.
1 Comment | #AvlBeer, Asheville, Asheville beercation, Asheville Brewing Company, Beer Festival, beer travel, Craft Beer, Drinking, home brew, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville Nano Brewery, Ratchet, Seasonal Beer, Tennessee Beer Festival, Tennessee Winter beer fest, Thirsty monk, Uncategorized, Winter Warmer | Tagged: Asheville, Asheville Winter warmer pictures, beer festival, beer travel, Beercation, Casual Pint, craft beer, drinking, homebrew, Knoxville, Knoxville beer, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville beer blogger, Ratchet | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
January 21, 2013
I’m very serious about the whole starting a nano-brewery thing. I dream about it every night. Some days it’s all I think about. There is so much to learn and figure out. I’m almost done reading the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Alcoholic Beverages and Beer Tax Guide and have been talking to people to clarify things I don’t understand. I have the Tax and Trade Bureau’s website bookmarked and read it constantly. I still have to register my trademark and I have the US patent office’s website in my favorites. I am always checking the Brewer’s Association website and look forward to the day I can join that organization and announce to the world that I am officially “a brewery in planning“. Next thing I plan on studying is OSHA regulations.
Right now the thing that seems to be holding me back from applying for permits, getting my trademark registered, etc is finding a location to set up. I have a very limited area I am looking at, all within walking distance of downtown. I don’t need something big, just enough space to build an office, brewing area, cold storage, fermentation room and the actual bar area/ tasting room. I need something affordable, which unfortunately rules out most of downtown. I like the Fourth and Gill area. That neighborhood is needs a small bar. I’ll keep looking. Craigslist, news paper, word of mouth, friends and driving around searching. Once I DO find a spot (and I will) then the fun begins. Negotiating lease terms, making sure it’s zoned right, inspections and construction, the actual raising of funds and the mountains of paperwork. I KNOW it is going to be hard and test the limits of my sanity, but dammit, I am completely dedicated. Once I find a place I plan to go from living in a comfortable house near downtown with a killer view, to basically being a couch surfing & urban camping brewer. This is because I’ll need the money going towards my house to use for the commercial space. If I have to basically live like I’m homeless to see my dream take off, so be it.
Until then, I have updated a few things on my website. I finally put together a bare bones store page to sell the shirts and other stuff that I have for sale at the various beer festivals I attend. It’s a work in progress and I currently only have a fraction of my merchandise on there. I’ll post more as I can.
I also put together a brewery wish list. People are always asking what they can do to help. I have people asking if I need investors. Yes, I do. However I am not going to start actively soliciting donations or raising funds until I have my location on lock down. I put together the wish list mainly for myself, to have the satisfaction of crossing things off the list as I acquire them as a measure of my progress. Also there is part of me that hopes that there are people out there who happen to have spare equipment, knowledge or insight and can help me cross these things off.
On another note, I had a pretty successful brew day on Sunday. I put together a recipe for an IPA. My friends Richard, Dalton and Todd came over and lent a hand in it’s creation. Katie arrived later on with snacks and moral support. I hadn’t thought of a name for this beer and asked for suggestions. Todd suggested calling it Blitz IPA. After a quick check on untappd, we saw that the name was open. Hop Blitz is what we settled on. Here is the recipe for 10 gallons for those who are interested:
24 pounds organic 2 row brewer’s malt.
2 pounds Pilsen malt
1 pound cara-pils
2 pounds Vienna
1 pound wheat
1 pound crystal 60
1 pound corn sugar
2 ounces of East Kent Goldings Hops (Leaf, 6o minutes)
2 ounces of Cascade (leaf, 30 minutes)
2 ounces Columbus (leaf, 15 minutes)
2 ounces of Centennial (pellet, 15 minutes)
2 ounces Belma (leaf, 5 minutes)
2 ounces of Columbus (leaf, at flame out)
2 Whirlfloc tablets at 5 minutes left
Strike grains with 9 gallons of water to to mash at 152 degrees for 60 minutes
Sparge with 9 gallons at 170 degrees
Yeast- 1/2 gallon starter of Safale S-04 Whitbread English strain.
Cool rapidly to 65 degrees and pitch yeast. I split into 3 carboys for fermentation, roughly 11 gallons fermenting away.
Original Gravity 1.074
Estimated final gravity:1.018
Estimated ABV 7.34% Estimated IBUs: 63.5
Hop Blitz happily fermenting away
Richard, Todd and myself sampling some unfermented Hop Blitz after clean up.
This weekend I’ll be in Asheville for the Winter Warmer beer festival. Expect a post afterwards. If you are going, and we haven’t met, feel free to introduce yourself. For you Knox Beer Crew guys and gals going, what do say we go to Wicked Weed for dinner afterwards?
Until next time…
1 Comment | #AvlBeer, #knoxbeer, Asheville, Beer Books, Beer Recipe, Craft Beer, Drinking, home brew, home brewing, Knox Beer Crew, Knox Beer Week, Knox Brew Fest, Knoxville Beer, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville Beer week, Knoxville Nano Brewery, nano-brewery knoxville, Ratchet, seasonal, starting a brewery, Tennessee Beer Festival, Tennessee Winter beer fest, Uncategorized, whole hops, Winter Warmer | Tagged: ., Asheville, beer festival, beer travel, Beercation, craft beer, drinking, home brewing, homebrew, homebrewing, Knoxville, Knoxville beer, Knoxville beer blogger, Knoxville Homebrew Club, Ratchet, starting a brewery, TN beer laws, TN beer taxes | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
January 14, 2013
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
Still early in the planning stages, but I can tell you that we really want to make this huge. Some of the things discussed were a collaboration beer between Smoky Mountain Brewery and Saw Works Brewing Company and a home brewer competition. As we progress towards the date, more info will be available on the new website KnoxBeerWeek.com. You can also keep up to date on twitter @KnoxBeerWeek and the Knox Beer Week Facebook page.
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.
Upcoming import beer dates:
January 23rd- Terrapin Wake N Bake night at Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern. I’ll be “Randalizing” this beer with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans. Listen to the Dude.
January 26th- Asheville Winter Warmer Beer Festival at Asheville Civic Center, NC.
February 9th- TN Winter Beer Fest at at the Laurel Valley Country Club in Townsend, TN
April 13th- Thirsty Orange Beer fest at Mellow Mushroom in Johnson City, TN
Leave a Comment » | #knoxbeer, Beer, Beer Festival, beer travel, Casual Pint, Craft Beer, Drinking, Eagle Distribution, home brew, Knox Beer Crew, Knox Beer Week, Knox Beer Week logo contest, Knox Brew Fest, Knox Brew fest 2013, Knoxville bars, Knoxville Beer, Knoxville beer bars, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville Beer week, Oktoberfest, Ratchet, Saw Works Brewing, Seasonal Beer, Sweet Water, Tennessee Beer Festival, Tennessee Winter beer fest, The Casual Pint, Uncategorized, Winter Warmer | Tagged: ., Asheville, Asheville beer week, beer festival, Beercation, Casual Pint, craft beer, drinking, fun, homebrew, homebrewing, Knoxville, Knoxville beer, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville beer blogger, Knoxville Homebrew Club, making beer, Ratchet, Suttree's High Gravity Tavern | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
September 17, 2012
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite season, fall. I love the cooler weather, the shorter days, the changing leaves and football. Fall is also Oktoberfest, pumpkin ales and fresh hop IPAs. These are seasonal beers and the subject of this post.
When it comes to beer, what does “seasonal” really mean? For some people it means the time of year that beer is available on the market. Do you expect to see a wet hop IPA in the spring? What about pumpkin ale in May? I would avoid both of these then. For me, a “seasonal” beer can mean a beer brewed to be drank at a certain time of year, but it can also mean a beer brewed with specialty ingredients that were harvested and added in when the beer was brewed. With that being said, let’s talk about pumpkin beer.
A few years back, I was really big on pumpkin ales. I remember waiting in the lines at Brewers’ Jam for a taste of Catawba’s King Don’s Pumpkin or Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale. When I got back into brewing after a few years absence, I decided to brew one myself. I researched recipes, found one online based on Thomas Jefferson’s pumpkin ale, made some rather significant changes and went about gathering my ingredients. It was near the end of summer. My garden was bountiful. I went to the Market Square Farmer’s Market in search of pumpkin and couldn’t find any. I asked around and spoke to many farmers who informed me that the pumpkins were still a month out before they’d be ripe. Huh. Well this enthusiasm to brew this style lead me to my end of summer seasonal, my butternut squash Ale. I had plenty of ripe squash in my garden. After more research, I changed my recipe and brewed my now famous beer. You know what? I like it better than any pumpkin ale. I can’t imagine going a year without brewing it. Using freshly harvested squash is the only way to go. I guess I could can some squash and use it in next year’s batch, but that wouldn’t feel right to me. I want that freshness.
Which leads me back to this year’s pumpkin ales. They started showing up on the shelves in July. Beers showing up this far ahead of the time they are traditionally enjoyed is referred to as Seasonal Creep. There is no way that pumpkin is anything but canned. Pumpkin is a late harvest fruit, which is why it’s a big thing around Halloween. Pouring beers at The Casual Pint, I have tried a few. I found that I didn’t really like them. It seems like I’ve lost my taste for this style. I have noticed at least one of them has a slight metallic taste. I completely believe this is because of the pumpkin being in a can for a year. Plus I don’t even want to taste something pumpkiny when it still hot as hell outside. Pumpkin flavor is for the fall, period.
The other big fall seasonal beer is traditionally brewed in March. This type of beer is called Marzen which in German translates to “March Beer”. You might know it as Oktoberfest. We have many of these hitting the market right now. This style was traditionally brewed in March and stored or “lagered” until September. This famous beer style originated in Munich Germany where THE Oktoberfest celebration takes place. For a pretty good reviews of Oktoberfest lagers, I recommend checking out The Knox Beer Snob’s post from last year. My favorite (at least on draft) Oktoberfest bier would be Spaten from Munich. “Lass Dir raten, trinke Spaten.”
In the next months or so, we will start seeing “Winter Warmers” hit the market. I’ll save discussion of these for a later post.
Well, to change the topic a little, I want everyone to read the Metro Pulse’s beer article. This is an article about beer and the local craft beer scene written by Cari Wade Gervin. I know she’s been hard at work on this for about a month. She came out to our last Knox Beer Crew tasting, and had spoken with Lou from Blue and Bar-b-que and several other people around here. It’s a very good read with lot of information. Also the Metro Pulse sent out a photographer who caught me in action pouring beer at The Casual Pint last Saturday.
Can I mention how excited I am about this weekend? Why is that? IT’S KINGSPORT OKTOBERFEST!!!! I have so much to do this week to get ready for it, that it’s almost overwhelming. I’m going up Friday night before. I am going to try to live post the whole weekend, from the Friday night pre-party to Saturday’s biergarden and Beer University classes to my Sunday day trip to Asheville. Should be a whole lot of fun.
Did you get your Brewer’s Jam tickets yet? Stop waiting and go to The Casual Pint and buy them now. It’s going to sell out. There are only a few dozen left in all of Knoxville. There won’t be any available at the gate.
One more thing for those of you asking. The next infusion night at Suttree’s is on Thursday September 27th. Once again we I will be using shredded coconut and cocao nibs as the ingredients. The beer being infused is Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter. This is a really popular beer that hasn’t been around in a couple of months. This is going to be tasty and I hope to see y’all there.
So I want to hear from you. Add a comment at the bottom of this post and I’ll mail you some beer stickers from my stash.
1 Comment | #knoxbeer, Asheville, Beer, Beer Festival, Beer Recipe, beer travel, Brewers Jam, Brewing beer with squash, Butternut Squash beer, Casual Pint, Craft Beer, home brew, home brewing, Kingsport Oktoberfest, Knox Beer Crew, Knox Brew Fest, Knoxville bars, Knoxville Beer, Knoxville beer bars, Knoxville beer blog, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin beer, Ratchet, seasonal, Seasonal Beer, The Casual Pint, Uncategorized, Winter Warmer | Tagged: ., Asheville, beer festival, Beercation, Brewers Jam, Butternut Squash Ale, butternut squash beer, craft beer, home brewing, homebrew, homebrewing, Kingsport, Knoxville beer blog, Knoxville beer blogger, making beer, Oktoberfest, seasonal beer, Suttree's High Gravity Tavern | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
February 9, 2012
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.
I am vrey much looking forward to next year’s TN Winter Beer Fest. Make sure to check out Don’s post about the festival at Knox Beer Snobs.
One more thing before I end this really short post. April 14th is the Thirsty Orange Beer Festival in Johnson City TN. Check out this great post about it on Tattood Brew’s website. I am heavily involved in helping to organize this festival. I think my big claim to fame is that I came up with, and wrote the rules for the Iron Brewer competition. As we get closer, I’ll write a proper post about it. As for my next post, I’m thinking about doing a step-by step tutorial on the kegerator I’m building.
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Posted by jasonknowsbeer
January 25, 2012
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?
You know what I’m talking about. If they don’t hate children, then why haven’t they bought their tickets yet to the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival?
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?
See you there,
Leave a Comment » | #knoxbeer, Beer, Beer Festival, Christmas beer, Craft Beer, Drinking, Knox Beer Crew, Knoxville Beer, Knoxville beer blog, Ratchet, seasonal, Stout, Tennessee Beer Festival, Winter Warmer | Tagged: ., beer festival, craft beer, fun, Knox Beer Snobs, Knoxville, Knoxville beer blogger, seasonal beer, Tennessee Winter Beer Festival, Woodruff | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
January 21, 2012
It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!!!! Asheville Winter Warmer Festival. I’ve been wanting to go since last year! Twenty something breweries, 2 bands and free food included in the ticket price! YES!!!!!
I’m back in my favorite city, Beer City USA. Yesterday I stayed in Hot Springs, NC which is about an hour trip from here. If you ever get a chance to go there, do it! As far as accomodations in Hot Springs go, Cabin 10 is where it’s at. I spent a whole day in my own private spring feed hot tub, soaking and drinking. I did take a dinner break to go explore “Downtown” Hot Springs which is only a block long (if that). While Hot Springs doesn’t have a brewery, there was a decent craft beer selection at the Iron Horse Saloon. The food is top notch, this is definitely the place to eat in town. Honestly, If I ever won the lottery, I would immediately make plans to open a brew pub in that quite little town of Hot Springs on the Appalachain Trail.
After Breakfast & some morning hot tubbing, I got in the car and made the short drive to Asheville. I checked into my fave hotel- Downtown Inn and Suites and then headed over to the best bottle shop ever, Bruisin’ Ales. Every one loves Bruisin Ales & its alway a pleasure to see the owners Julie & Jason. I browsed through the selection while sipping on Pisgah Brewing Company’s newly released Chocolate Stout. This trip I’m on a more limited budget, so I couldn’t get everything I wanted. However, I did pick up a decent selection of hard to find brews, as seen below:
2:58 pm: So now I’m heading into the Festival, there is a big ass line going down the block. >
I need to eat so I’m going to hit up the food first. I will try to live update this site every hour or so, but you can always see what else I’m up to by following my twitter and untappd feeds to the right ————>
3:15 pm: My first beer is Asheville Brewing Company’s new Dark IPA, Ashevillian. It sure is handy to wash down this hard as a rock spinach stamboli from the food line.
3:46 pm: I’m several samples in. I love Highland Brewing. I love their Cold Mountain winter seasonal. I do NOT like it Aged in Jack Daniels barrels. Taste more like shitty TN whiskey then beer.
I got Southern Appalachian Copperhead Amber to wash out the Jack Daniels taste.
4:08 pm: I’m starting to feel good! Currently ENJOYING Oyster House’s Moonstone Stout. It’s a stout brewed with oysters & it’s tasty!
4:29 pm I just got done playing a round of drunken trivia. I won a shirt. Did you know a hippos milk is pink? Me neither…
5:05 pm: Spoke with Aaron from Kingsport Oktoberfest for awhile. My buzz wore off. Currently in a slow ass line for Nantahala’s beer. They are from Bryson City up in the Smokies, and they seem to use the same template on their website that I do. Well, all that and their beers are damn good.
5:15 pm : Dammit these bathroom lines are TOO DAMN LONG!
5:33 pm : Catawba’s Belgian Pumpernickel Rye is the truth! This may be my favorite of the fest so far!
5:47 pm. Did Lexington Avenue Brewery name this beer after me?
6:03 pm: My liver needed a break so I went and saw Braumeister Dieter at Heinzelmannchen & got me the best root beer on the planet.
6:40 pm: 20 minutes left , gotta make them count. Drinking a Craggie Choconut. I taste Belgian yeast, a tinney tiny bit of chocolate but no coconut.
7:10 pm: Fest winding down. I’m feeling pretty good but not slurring my words, seeing double or stumbling. Most of the breweries are packing up.
7:30 pm: Parting Winter Warmer beer fest, here’s me & Matt McMillian representing the #KnoxBeerCrew!
8:45 pm: I went to the hotel where I ate pretzels & drank water for awhile. Decided to go out. I’m currently waiting in line at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. This place was highly recommended. Going to get something yummy.
9:53 pm: That liquid truffle was possibly the best thing I’ve ever had. After indulging in chocolate, I walked a few blocks over to Asheville Brewing Company’s Coxe Avenue location to have their new Dark IPA, Ashevillian. Next in going to one of America’s top beer bars, the Thirsty Monk next to finish out the night.
11 pm: Well it’s late. After earning my badge for my 200th unique check in on untappd with Ommegang’s Seduction at Thirsty Monk, it’s time to call it a night. Thanks for following my adventures today. I’ll post again soon.
3 Comments | #AvlBeer, Asheville, Beer, Beer Festival, Craft Beer, Drinking, Ratchet, Uncategorized, Winter Warmer | Tagged: #AvlBeer, Asheville, beer festival, craft beer, drinking, fun, Knoxville beer blogger, Ratchet | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer
January 4, 2012
Anyone who reads my blog knows what a huge fan I am of the beer Woodruff Brewing Company produces. Since the Downtown Grill and Brewery has been opened, it has been my go to place to get a locally produced craft beer. Woodruff’s beers are tried and true English and German style ales. They have a core line up of seven different beers (Pale Ale, Alt, Kolsch/Blonde, IPA, Porter, Nut Brown and Stout, repectively) that are incredibly solid, tasty and well liked by locals. Other then a very limited run of Pilsner back around 7 years ago, this line up has not changed. Until now that is. Today, January 4th, 2012 Woodruff released thier newest recipe. It’s a Winter Warmer called Captain’s Winter Ale. The name is a reference to Captain Woodruff, for whom the building that houses the brewery (& the brewery itself) is named.
I spoke with brewer Dave Ohmer about this beer. He tells me that only one batch of this was brewed. It’s an extremely limited edition beer. When it’s gone, it’s gone. I asked him after all these years, what made them decide to brew a seasonal? He told me there were many factors, but said that it is primarly inspired by the Tennessee Winter Beer Festival that is taking place in Townsend on February 4th of this year. They wanted to brew something special for it. The timing was right and they were able to fit it in to their brewing schedule. I asked if this is something we can expect in the future, specifically are they going to start doing seasonal beers. The impression I got from him is that it’s not very likely. The reason is that Woodruff only has so much brewing capacity. Their beers tend to turn over rather quickly, and the brewing schedule doesn’t normally allow for more then what they already have. Not to say to rule this out completely, because you never know.
So what type of beer is it? Dave tells me it’s Woodruff’s take on an English Old Ale or a Winter Warmer. Also known as an English Strong Ale, these types of beers were typically made during the Winter months and were the precusors to Porters.
So how is it? It’s delicious! It’s a high gravity dark beer that isn’t as thick as a stout. I pick up hints of chocolate, vanilla and roastyness in the smell. When I drink it, the mouth feel is great with a nice carbonation. My taste buds pick up on coffee, hints of roasted chocolate and alcohol warmth. The malt and hops are balanced nicely. All in all, I really like this beer. Like I said, they didn’t make very much so I highly suggest going immediately to the brewery to try this before it’s gone. Dave tells me there won’t be any kegs of this. Growler fills are not available either. Hell, it’s not even available in pints. They are only offering 7 ounce pours and when this runs out, that’s it. When it does I’ll switch back to drinking my usual IPA, but until then, warm me up with Captain’s Winter Ale.
Captain's Winter Ale
4 Comments | #knoxbeer, Beer, Christmas beer, Craft Beer, Drinking, Knox Beer Crew, Knoxville Beer, Ratchet, seasonal, Uncategorized, Winter Warmer, woodruff | Tagged: Downtown Grill and Brewery, seasonal beer, Tennessee Beer Festival, winter warmer, Woodruff Brewing Company | Permalink
Posted by jasonknowsbeer