This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking a brewery tour with some friends in Knoxville, Tennessee. The tour company was Knox Brew tours. www.knoxbrewtours.com
This was my buddy Ernie’s birthday weekend. It was suppose to be last weekend but the Tennessee Florida game knocked that out of getting a room. So we rescheduled.
We got on the brew bus at the downtown Casual Pint location. Our brewery tours were the following.
• Balter Beerworks • Alliance Brewing Co. • Last Days of Autumn Brewery • Crafty Bastard Brewery.
Is a relatively new establishment and is on the edge of Old Town in Knoxville. It was an old gas station and has nicely been updated to a 7-barrel brew house. They had updated the property in a rusty industrial metal design. Which I find very cool for this setting. Their beers were nice. We had a nice robust Porter and a Pale Ale.
This is another new establishment. They have more of a large-scale homebrew setup. Not much commercial equipment yet. It is in a revitalized area of Knoxville that is up and coming. They are next to a coffee house and had a small but enthusiastic crowd when we visited. They were watching the UT game.
This was in an older part of Knoxville. The building was nice and had lots of character. They had a small 3-barrel commercial brew house. Small but did not have a homebrew feel to it. Certainly something one brewer could manage. They had some really good beers. An Extra we bought was a Berliner Weisse with blackberry syrup, which was fantastic!
This was the highlight of the tour. The location was in a 100+-year-old building with great history. The beers were all stellar. The brew tour even went out and served us a cider, to which they say, they never do. But this was a small batch and was nicely done. There were a few high gravity selections I would have liked to have stuck around and have tried. But that is for another day and another story.
Overall, Knox Brew Tours was a great way to celebrate a birthday, or just hang out with some special folks to celebrate beer and have a good time. Without the worry of having to drive. I would recommend, if you have the time and funds to stay in the downtown area of Knoxville, to do so. Great food, entertainment and drinks are within a few blocks of walking.
Lately I have been experiencing a level of change in the beer industry. In my experience there are cycles and trends for beer and styles.
Over the past 5-7 years the biggest trend has been hoppy beer. Also mixing different styles for a different taste making a total different style.
For a long time there were just so many styles of beers. This changes every few years with the different recipes that are introduced, and popularity of that recipe.
One of the my favorite “Mash-ups” over the past couple of years has been the Belgian IPA. This would be a mash up of a typical India Pale Ale and a Belgian Blonde Ale.
The hoppiness taste and aroma fused with the banana and clove aromas are something that brings the best of both worlds into context.
This brings me to what I feel is the latest trend that has been happening recently. The sour trend. I know some of you may be scratching your head asking, “Sour? Doesn’t that mean something is wrong with the beer?” No, it does not. This process can happen naturally, but also is done on purpose too. There are many types of beers in the sour category. Some you may know are Kreik beers. Kreik beers usually have sour cherries in them. Lambics which use different types of fruits used such as peaches, apricots and raspberry’s. Also there is a Gueze, which is a type of Lambic beer in which it is blended young and old lambics together. One year old lambic and a two to three year old lambic and bottle fermented for a second time. This is going to give a dry cider-like, sour, musty, acetic acid, lactic acid taste. A very earthy taste if you will. Many times this will not have a lot of head in contrast to many bears that are not bottle conditioned. It will have head coming out of the bottle but will dissipate.
Other sour beers in America that are gaining popularity and you are seeing more are the Gose, Berliner Weise as well as the Flanders Red.
There are a few ways to sour a beer. souring by inoculating the wort with lactic acid bacteria before primary alcoholic fermentation. Also, introducing Lactobacillus bacteria to the beer. This is a fairly slow process. Flanders red ales are first fermented with usual brewers yeast, then placed into oak barrels to age and mature. The oak barrels contains the bacteria that will sour that ale. Many times the mature beers are introduced to a younger beer to taste. Then packaged.
American wild ales do not necessarily follow any specific parameters or guidelines within a style, so they can simply be used as a catch all of the American sours if they do not fit into one of the other traditional styles. A good example of that would be the Stone Brett IPA. This was an IPA brewed and bottle conditioned with the Brettanomyces which lives in the skins of fruits. This was bottled and advised to age 8-10 months or more. I recently had one of these beers which was dry, yet hoppy. Overall a great beer.
If you are a pretty seasoned beer drinker and are looking for something different or just plain good. Give some sour beers a try. I’m confident this will cure your hunger.
If you are a brewer you will certainly appreciate how much time, knowledge and love goes into these sour beers. They are perfect for cellaring in a cool dry place for years if you are into cellaring beers as well.
As many of you might know, I have been involved from the start with Design and Marketing of the Black Abbey Brewing Company. It has been exciting to watch this company start and grow in just over 6 short months to 110 accounts in Nashville’s Davidson county alone. The list is growing daily which is a blessing. You can “LIKE” them on Facebook to get the latest goings on at the Brewery and Fellowship Hall. You can also check out the website at http://www.blackabbeybrewing.com. Currently they have 3 regularly brewed beers. The Champion, The Special, The Rose. Also They have had 6 Seasonal beers. Potus 44, Guy Fawkes, Chapter House, Wicket Gate, Crossroads and Brother Maynard. They have also had a Limited Edition Barrel Aged edition of all of their beers. I’m Sure a few of these Seasonal’s may move into the Regular position soon.
Black Abbey has been involved with the local Nashville beer festivals and will continue to do so. Hopefully they will be doing some traveling outside the area to offer great libations through out the state soon.
Lots of cool Swag has been developed, from T-shirts, caps, tobogans, and sweat bans so far. More Swag is always being designed to keep up with demand. Hoping to have some Brewery tins, as well as specific beer T-shirts have been in the works. There have been some limited Edition Letterpress Posters locally printed up as well. You may be able to get your hands one one of those from places they were distributed to.
The guys are headed this weekend to Chattanooga for a festival there, which is exciting for us. This is pretty far outside of Davidson county, but I’m sure there will be a great response just like closer to home has been.
This is a personal tour the Elder Brewer Brian Arnold gave me after his full shift. Great guy, if you stop by ask for him. This tour is of the Frederick, MD site. It’s currently a 50 Barrel site. From what I was told they have plans to build on to triple their size with in the next 5 yrs.
Now that summer has arrived, we are in the full swing of things. Pool is open! When the sun goes down and your continuing the party, breaking out the cards and chips may be a great way to keep that party rolling. After you have dried out from the pool and are ready to just enjoy the evening, Poker is a great way to gather your best pals and enjoy the rest of the evening. My friends here at http://pokerblog.com/ can get you started for your needs in the game of poker. Myself being a novice poker player sure can use the advice of these folks. Remember, it’s a friendly game and don’t get in over your head. Cheers and have a great summer of Craft Brews and Poker!
The Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza will provide beer lovers with the ultimate beer experience. The Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza is a proud supporter of Pints for Prostates, that encourages men to take charge of their health. 100% of the proceeds benefit Pints for Prostates.
Sample more than 40 craft brews, including specialty and unique beers from around the region along with casks made just for the Thirsty Orange Brew Extravanaza. Select beers will also be infused with fresh ingredients like mango, jalapeno and chocolate throughout the day. Thirsty Orange will host The Iron Brewer Challenge where brewers will compete for the title of the Iron Brewer, and each brewer will add their special secret ingredient.
Live music will be played throughout the day with exciting bands such Annie Robinette, A Wise Old River, Beth Snapp and A Great Disaster.
Tickets are limited. VIP / Early General Admission Tickets are $38, includes early-bird tastings an hour earlier, special beers released at 12:00 and also artisan cheese. Everyone who purchases a VIP / Early General Admission ticket also receives General Admission entry.
General Admission ticket prices are $30 in advance, which includes a commemorative tasting glass along with the official Thirsty Orange Pint glass for tickets purchased during the early bird period. Entry includes live music and a ticket to the Beer Booth (Photobooth).
Designated driver tickets are $15 and include craft root beer and a photobooth ticket, along with access to the live music. Children 14 and under are free.
Thirsty Orange is a proud supporter of Support Your Local Brewery by the Brewer’s Association.
More information on the Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza or to purchase tickets, go to www.thirstyorange.com
Today I’m feeling the need for some good Belgian beer. A few weeks back I stopped by Hops and Vines in Asheville and picked up some Belgian Ales I have not experienced yet. The Maredsous 8 which is a Dubbel is first up. This Ale has a nice copper brown color, comes from a 1 Lt bottle with a caged cork. The nose is of dark fruits like figs and raisins with a lite hint of hops. The banana from the Belgian yeasts is apparent. It has nice carbonation and the head dissipates to just a skim over the top. This is a medium body ale with mo real hint of alcohol, with a thick dry finish. With an ABV of 8% I feel this Dubbel comes in at a B+.
The following evening I went for the next Maredsous 10 which is a Tripel. Again this ale comes in a 1 Lt bottle with a caged cork. It pours nicely with good carbonation and nice head. It doesn’t dissipate as much as the dubbel. The color is a nice cloudy amber colored ale. The nose is yeasty with lite fruit. Pear and floral notes. The mouthfeel is lite and fairly refreshing. With any Belgian the Banana from the yeast comes through with spice and hops. Decently balanced with a hint of alcohol present. This medium body tripel has an ABV of 10%. I’m going to stick with a B+ on this as well.
Both of these Belgians were nice to try. I have had better in both for sure. But overall was enjoyable to review.
Tune in next time for more Brews, Views and News…
Think your creative? Think you got what it takes? Then this contest is for you! Send in your most creative creations having to do with craft beer. Anything you have created that has to do with craft beer only shall be submitted. Here is a couple of examples that I put together today. A FREE Tattood Brew shirt is up for grabs. Email your pics to jon(at)tattoodbrew.com and I’ll pick a winner on September 1st.
RULES- Submission has to be craft beer oriented. You can not send in your PBR can covered toilet seat covers. No BIG 2 items will be taken. If you think Amber bock is a craft beer IT”S NOT! It will be disqualified.
Fans of gambling games like blackjack and video poker can have the best of both worlds if they play their cards right, as many casinos in Las Vegas and other areas will happily serve up free beers to guests who are gambling. Proper beer strategy is important, though, as otherwise you might be stuck drinking Miller Lite when you could be enjoying Chimay Red or another higher-end import. It’s hard to knock any free beer but a few simple tips can put you onto the perfect beer trail instead of getting lost in CheapBeerLandia instead.
If you want to get comped higher-end beers when gambling in Vegas casinos, the most important factor is the casino you’re gambling at. The Wynn, Palazzo, and the Venetian are your best bets in Vegas, with all three getting high marks for both the beers they stock and their willingness to serve them up to gamblers. The better the casino, the better the booze they offer up; it doesn’t matter whether you’re staying at the casino as a guest, so if all other factors are equal, you’ll get better beers at the top-shelf casinos. Be careful, though, as if you normally play $5 blackjack at O’Sheas you might find those “free” Chimay Reds are very expensive if you have to play at a $25 minimum blackjack table and hit a bad streak.
Assuming you enjoy all sorts of games equally, you’ll generally get faster service (which means more free beers) if you’re playing table games like roulette, craps, or blackjack instead of machines like slots or video poker. Cocktail waitresses tend to get more tips from games that use chips so they circulate more often there, with relatively few visits to banks of penny slot machines that usually aren’t the home of big tippers. When you’re first ordering a beer, shoot for the moon as far as your request and name your favorite beer; all they can do is say they don’t have it and prompt you to order something that they do serve.
If you prefer to gamble at home at an Internet casino site, you obviously won’t be able to order free beers in the usual sense but cash bonuses for players work out to essentially the same thing. Many online sites offer generous cash bonuses for new and existing players which in some cases can double or triple any money you deposit. It takes a little legwork on your part, but that bonus cash basically equates to free beer that you can purchase and stock in your fridge; the upside here is that you’ll be guaranteed to always have your favorite beer at hand when you’re gambling.
Written by Guest Blogger: Marion Loxley ~ Birkirkara City, Malta