Oktoberfest and upcoming beer events

September 2, 2011

    Over the last month or so I have anticipated being busy with brewing and beer related events between now and November. It seems my weekends are booked until then. I wanted to post a list of some of the beer festivals taking place in the region, along with my thoughts on them and if I plan on attending or not. I’m sure there will be a few that I have missed. I’m just posting the ones I know about.

The first one I want to mention is one that I’ve already booked my hotel for. I am really looking forward to the first ever Kingsport, TN Oktoberfest. This takes place on Saturday September 24th in Downtown Kingsport. You should definitely consider going to this one. What sets this one apart from some of the others is what is being billed as “Beer University”.   This educational aspect will provide the opportunity to learn about all aspects of brewing.  Consider it a ‘Growing to Glass’ education that will bring a full appreciation of craft beer. Some of the topics and speakers lined up for this are simply incredible. Check out the website for more details. There is so much going on at this event. It’s family friendly, with an area for the kids. I’m looking forward to the Black Forest Brew Off. This invitation only homebrew competition takes place in the hours before the bier garden opens. I will have a keg of my Butternut Squash Ale and a keg of my ESB. The judging is done by professional brewers and VIPs. There are several prizes and the overall winning brewer will have their recipe upscaled and brewed by Wolf Hills Brewing Company of Abingdon, VA.  Wish me luck! If  anyone wants to go or is already planning on going to this, let me know.

 September 17th is Asheville’s Brewgrass Festival. Everyone tells me how awesome this is. Unfortunately I have yet to make it. I can’t go to everything, but hopefully I can check this out next year since this year’s event sold out weeks ago. I will be brewing beer at home this weekend. If anyone is going, please report back on how it was.

October 8th is the Asheville, NC Oktoberfest. This is another event I am really looking forward to. I got me a hotel booked 1 block away from the festivities. I went last year and had the time of my life. It’s all Asheville beer, it takes place on Wall Street in the middle of downtown. Seriously, I can’t remember when I had more fun. Asheville is a special place. So far I am going solo, so if you want to go or already plan on going, contact me.

October 22nd is the big show. For me it’s the creme de le creme of beer festivals. Of course, I am talking about Knoxville’s BREWERS JAM!!! Seriously, THIS is the event that people around here talk about all year round. Lot’s of beer, great bands and food. The Tennessee Valley Homebrewers set up a tent and dole out unique and delicious brews that you can only try there. I am providing 20 gallons of my Butternut Squash Ale. Last year I brought out 5 gallons and it was gone in 15 minutes. People really enjoyed it. Brewer’s Jam tickets are on sale and like every year it will sell out early. If you are going, buy your tickets now.

There are a lot more beer festivals within a few hours drive, but I only listed the ones I am interested in.  The weekends that I am not going to them, I am brewing beer.

One more thing before I end this post. Woodruff Brewing Company is having yet another Cask Night. This one is taking place at Hard Knox Pizza on Tuesday September 13th starting at 6pm. What are they tapping? Check out this post by Knox Beer Snobs for more details.




Another reason to homebrew: sharing w/ friends.

August 21, 2011

My last post I put in the title a great problem to have. I never touched on that, so I thought I would do so now. The problem I was going to mention isn’t really a problem, more like a storage issue. I had too much beer. Now wait a minute you say. To much beer? There’s no such thing. Well, as inclined I am to agree with you, there is only so much square feet of space in my house.

Before I go any farther, let me talk about proper beer storage. Good beer and homebrew in particular is very sensitive to temperature. Ideally (and depending on style) beer should be stored between 38 to 55 degrees. I try to keep all my beers stored in my beer fridges. If I don’t have room, I store them in coolers placed on top of air conditioner vents. This typically keeps them cool, but as I rotate through them, I move them to the fridges as soon as I can.

My main beer fridge is a chest freezer that I placed a thermostat control to keep it around 40 degrees. I had boxed of bottles stacked on one another. When I recently kegged some beer, I had to remove them to make room. Kegs have to be kept cold for the CO2 to absorb into the beer for carbonation. My other fridge is just my standard kitchen fridge with food in it. It has always had and will continue to have more beer then food in it. So until a week or 2 ago, I ran out of cold storage space for beer. I did what any self respecting homebrewer should do in my position. I called a few friends over for a party. After a night 0f hanging out with buddies, my cold storage issue was a little less of an issue. I am working on clearing out a few more kegs that I anticipate needing soon. I brought 2 of them to a camping party last night. We didn’t finish them, but we made a pretty good dent. I should have no problem finishing them off by the time I need them.

Imperial Stout and Citra Pale Ale

Which brings me to my main point. If you find yourself running out of room for beer storage because you brew every chance you get, well it’s a good thing. It’s a problem people are more then happy helping you out with. Just be careful who you share with. I had to cut a few people off last night because they were drinking a 8.5% Imperial Stout like it was chocolate milk and getting more then a little swilly. There were a few younger looking people (it’s so funny how 20 somethings look so young to me now) that I felt like carding just to make sure they were legal. Friends assured me that they were, and seriously, I wasn’t trying to be “that guy” at the party.

Ok, Reminder to myself. This weeks beer chores: Bottle ESB on Thursday. Clean sanitize, etc all week to get ready. Saturday is the Judging for the Tennessee Valley Fair’s Homebrew competition. I’ll be at Downtown Grill & Brewery all day, helping stewart the event. I have 5 beers I entered. I have zero expectations of winning, I am really looking forward to honest feedback that will help me become a better brewer. Some of the judges are guys who make excellent beer. Beer I find to be far superior to what I brew.

Sunday I am going to brew 10 gallons of Butternut Squash Ale for Brewer’s Jam. So all week I need to clean/ sanitize equipment, and process the squash. Anyone out there reading this that I can bribe with beer to come help me with this?