About me and this blog

Just ramblings from a guy in Knoxville who likes beer and is more than excited there are so many wonderful, local options now in this town. #knoxbeer #drinklocal

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BeerKnox Knews of the Week - June 30, 2016

It looks like a light week for beer news here in town with the 4th of July right around the corner.  I'm going to come back next week with more Knews, but for now please follow BeerKnox on Twitter, like us on Facebook and send us an email if there is anything you'd like to share with us.

Enjoy a few good local beers over the long holiday weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fanatic Tour

I am lucky enough to have a friend who happens to be friends with Marty Velas, owner of Fanatic Brewing, cover story subject of this month's Tennesee Craft Beer magazine and pretty cool guy.  He informed her of a current Groupon deal for a private brewery tour and she made sure she lined up our visit to a time he would be there.  Even without getting lined up via a friend, this tour is very much worth your time and you should jump on it yesterday.

There is not yet a tasting room or bar at Fanatic (although one is planned to be developed as soon as possible), so when you enter the tour the first thing you walk into is a sparse room with 4 taps ready to pour (from left to right) Fanatic Blonde, Fanatic Pale Ale, Fanatic Red and Fanatic Black.  My wife and I arrived before our friends, so we introduced ourselves to Marty and he immediately set us up with a couple small glasses of Blonde to start with as we waited for the rest of our party to show up.

The Blonde is a lighter offering and not something I am likely to order on my own if given a choice.  Despite that, I cannot express how good a beer it is.  If you have not tried it, give it a taste next time you see it somewhere, it is a light ale but it tastes so clean and fresh and pure.  I could drink this beer on a beach or golf course or anywhere else where a lighter, refreshing beer is just the right thing.  My wife liked it so much she kept going back to it, when we were supposed to be trying the other options later in the tour.

Enough about the Blonde, our friends arrived shortly afterwards and we started our tour in the brewing area.  Our first stop was the beginning of the brewing process where the grain is prepared to have the malt extracted from it to produce the sugars needed to produce beer.  There are several smaller tanks and stages in this process in the back part of Fanatic's large space.  While I do not have all of the steps down pat, Marty does and explained it all in detail.  I probably should have taken better notes...or maybe just any notes would have helped.

We next moved on to the fermenting tanks.  While the first steps going from grain, to malt, to wort all takes around 8 hours, the fermenting tanks is where the yeast is added and it becomes beer, this process takes 3-5 days for ales and longer for lagers.

Marty pointed out that a new fermenting tank, shown above all the way to the left, was the one they planned to use for a new beer they are brewing that will be exclusively offered at Roosters in Rocky Hill once ready.  If you happen to frequent Roosters often, keep your eyes open for it.  Fanatic has also acquired a few of these tanks from friendly fellow brewers in North Carolina.  The large one to the right just above is nicknamed Tankenstein and came from Foothills, while to the right of it are 2 beasts affectionately referred to as Thing 1 and Thing 2 that had come from Duck-Rabbit.

From here we moved on.  A quick stop by the taps to fill our glasses, some of us moved on to try the Pale Ale, while some grabbed a Red and then we moved across to what will hopefully soon be the tasting room.  Marty explained what he envisioned for the tasting room area and shared a few other ideas related to the tasting room experience that I am not at liberty to share, but which sound amazing and nobody will be disappointed with.

After the tour of the tasting room-to-be Marty grabbed a contraption and we headed back out by the fermenting tanks.  He settled in at the front of one of the middle ones with a bucket and hose and proceeded to pour us what I believe he referred to as Zwickelbier, which loosely translated refers to beer not clarified or pasteurised.  This was straight off one of the almost complete Pale Ale tanks, and to say it was delicious is an understatement.

At this point we were probably coming close or at our half hour tour time, but it pays to have a friend of the brewer in tow as we headed back to the taps again to sample the Fanatic Black, which Marty described as his version of a Schwarzbier, but all I can tell you is that it too was amazing.  While tasting the Black, we also got a chance to meet Nate of Fanatic as well.  He had just finished a tour with a Knox Brew Tours group that was in around the same time as us and he seemed like another great guy who if leads your tour would not lead you astray.  Marty finished off our tasting by showing us a couple blends he enjoys, one of which was about 2/3 a glass of Red topped off with Black and the other was about 3/4 a glass of Blonde topped with the Pale Ale, which Marty said reminded him of a fine Pilsner (if you ever meet Marty go ahead and ask him his thoughts on Miller Lite being a Fine Pilsner Beer, as their can suggests).  My wife enjoyed this Blonde/Pale Ale blend so much we ended up filling our tour provided growler to go with that blend poured with care by Marty himself.  

After grabbing a nice new t-shirt as souvenir, we ended our tour and time with Marty.  We left with an appreciation of the Fanatic beers and their plans for the future.  Their beers are excellent and Marty is such a smart, passionate guy I doubt we see this venture fail.  I know I will now hunt out my favorite Fanatic beers in stores, bars and restaurants and keep my eyes open for new selections from them as well.  I won't have many doubts on the quality after seeing the production and meeting the man behind the beers firsthand.  I walked away from Fanatic more than impressed and I think anyone else would too.

BeerKnox Knews of the Week - June 23, 2016

The hangover from Knoxville Beer Week 2016 is hopefully mostly burned off by now and time to get rolling again with more local beer news.  Here's a few items of interest from this "post-Beer Week" week...

  • First off is the "Hops in the Hills" craft beer festival down in Maryville.  There are several events leading up to the big event 4-8 PM Saturday, including a Craft Brew Crawl tonight provided by Knox Brew Tours.  $10 tonight 6-11 PM and buses will run continuously between 6 different locations in the Maryville area including their own Bluetick Brewery.  Sounds like a sweet deal.  $40 gets you in to the festival Saturday from 4-8 PM where quite a few breweries look to be on hand.  If you missed the Knoxville Brewfest last weekend, here's your chance to make up for it.
  • Make sure you all check out "Tennessee Craft Beer" magazine's latest cover story on Marty Velas of Fanatic Brewing Company.  The article is written by Rob Shomaker of the Knox Beer Snobs blog (who have a link to BeerKnox on their site...thanks Rob!).  It is a great article on a cool guy, who is a great ambassador for the Knoxville beer scene.  I had the privilege to tour Fanatic recently with Marty and will have a full dedicated post on BeerKnox detailing that visit hopefully later today.
  • Earlier this week Knox. Beer. Life. posted another great article at Uproxx on Matthew Cummings of Knoxville's own Pretentious Glass Company.  What a great asset to have a great thinker looking to enhance the enjoyment of beer in a budding beer town.  We are lucky here folks.
  • Not exactly beer related but Cruze Farm Milk Bar is opening on Union this Friday.  Yum.
  • I need to try a Crowler at Alliance.  Has anyone tried?  Better or different than your standard glass growler?
  • In the next week downtown Knoxville will have the Maple Hall bowling alley open to the general public, located below Babalu.  Inside of Knoxville has a great story and pictures.  5 local craft beers and Miller High Life will be on tap.  This place looks awesome.
If I am missing a story you'd want featured or want to comment on anything please shoot me an email at beerknox@gmail.com or reach me on Twitter @beerknox1.  If it is local and beer related I will add it here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brewfest 2016

The bridge over to Depot on Gay Street on late Saturday afternoon was a beautiful sight to behold.  Beer flowing, people gathering and good times being had.  The crowd was heavy, but never too much so and the sun was hot, but there was shade to be found if you needed it.  I believe the final tally was over 70 brewers handed out beers, ciders and other beverages for all who entered to sample.  There was no way to try everything offered, but many I am sure tried.  It was a wonderful way to wrap up Knoxville's Beer Week, and a great day spent with friends.  I hope you were able to make it and if you didn't do try to make next year's event, you won't regret it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

BeerKnox Knews of the Week - June 17,2016

Another week, and here's the beer related news for the week:

  • It is Knoxville Beer Week, and hopefully everyone has had a chance to partake in something or at least will before the weekend ends.  Check this Twitter feed or this very informative post from Knox Beer Snobs on events happening around town.
  • Great news this week from Hexagon Brewing on a location pending.  The address is 1002 Dutch Valley Drive close to the I-40/I-640 interchange north of town.  Looking forward to seeing the progress on this.
  • Another craft beer based business is heading to downtown in the old diner looking building near the Old City that used to house an Enterprise Rental Car office.  The plans look great and schedule appears to be aggressive with a planned September opening.  Hoping this comes to fruition in a spot that could use a nice sprucing up.
  • And last of all for this week, Saturday, June 18th is the Knoxville Brewfest downtown to highlight a great Beer Week.  There are still tickets remaining as of right now, so get them while you can.  With Pridefest, the Farmer's Market and this all going on downtown Saturday, downtown will be a busy place.  Looking forward to this and a great weekend downtown.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Geezer Brewing

Geezer Brewing showed up in the Knoxville Mercury posting I linked to yesterday.  Now today in the Knoxville News Sentinel comes news that Geezer brewing has a proposed home just approved by the MPC.   The address is 213 E 5th Ave, which puts it just a couple blocks away from Crafty Bastard and between Crafty Bastard and Last Days of Autumn if you travel along 5th Avenue.  A walking tour linking quite a few places is coming along quite nicely.  Even before this place opens I will have done and posted on a walking tour before this summer ends, stay tuned for details on that very soon. Things just keep looking better and better in Knoxville.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

BeerKnox Knews for the Week - June 9, 2016

Here's a rundown of beer related news from around Knoxville for the last week.

  • Great article in the Knoxville Mercury on Knoxville Breweries.  There are even more coming to town soon, can't wait.  It's a good time to be in Knoxville.
  • Knoxville Beer Week is June 11-19, look for a ton of events around town related to it.  Almost closing with the huge Brewfest event downtown on June 18th.  Get your work done now, next week will be a different kind of busy week.
  • There is apparently a new Untappd badge coming for Knoxville and there is a party tonight to celebrate, probably too late to secure a ticket as they were limited, but catch details here.
  • Yee-Haw Brewing up in Johnson City did a live tour of their brewery on June 7th.  If you missed it, no worries, you can catch it on their Facebook page.  Looks like a great spot to visit, need to schedule a road trip.
  • There's a great write-up explaining why we are so lucky to be beer lovers in Knoxville right now on the Beer Knox Snobs blog.  Go read it and share it!
Hoping to give a run down of more items every week, just getting started with this blogging thing but hoping to keep it going.