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, March 29, 2017

BeerKnox Knews - March 29, 2017

Spring has sprung in east TN and the beer news is coming quick.  Here's a few items to just make an attempt at keeping things fairly current.

  • Hexagon Brewing opened their doors this past weekend during their continuing soft opening. According to their Facebook page the official grand opening is April 21. Visit them at 1002 Dutch Valley Drive in Fountain City.
  • The annual Brewhibition festival is coming back to the Southern Railway Station on April 29.   That's a mightly fine time to drink a few beers outside.  Get info on the festival here and get tickets here.
  • Balter Beerworks is celebrating their 1 year anniversary today.  See their Facebook page for more info and the specials available, and also about the availability of Crowlers there now as well (just like Alliance across the river).  
  • Fanatic is currently in the midst of construction on their taproom, which will be called the "Fan Base". This will be great, follow the news and updates on the progress of this at a special Twitter handle they have setup.
  • Last of all for today, check out this list of 6 new places open in Knoxville now or coming real soon.  Among them is Hexagon Brewing (which I mentioned earlier) and also the Merchants of Beer which will be open in the old Enterprise diner looking building in the Old City.  
  • Late on this, but wanted to mention the coming of Elkmont Exchange to 745 North broadway sometime in the near future. Hit their website up for more info, and also check out this article for news on a few other beer additions we could have coming to our town soon.
  • Even later on this, but I just have to mention the 4th Sunday Funday Brew Bus tours  provided by Knox Brew Tours that started a couple months ago. For $10 you can catch a ride between 6 different spots all day long from 2PM-7PM. Damn my schedule for not allowing me to partake the past couple months, I will be doing this at least once before the summer ends, you should too!
Please hit me up at beerknox@gmail.com or @beerknox1 and let me know anything coming up or anything I may have missed.  Thanks!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Johnson City Brewery Walking Tour

Only about an hour and half northwest of Knoxville is the home of ETSU and one third of the infamous Tri-cities, Johnson City.  JC is also home to 3 downtown breweries all within walking distance of each other making for a fine outing if you happen to be in the area or are just looking for something to do outside of town some weekend day.  I have a friend who works and lives in Johnson City so a few friends from Knoxville loaded up one Saturday afternoon and headed up there to check out the scene.  About 90 minutes to get up there and after a quick stop at my friends to drop off our things for the evening we caught a Lyft ride into JRH Brewing on the south-side of downtown Johnson City.

JRH isn't much from the outside, but is very nice inside, plenty of seating and a good size bar behind which you can order several different sizes of what they have on tap.  There is a great chandelier in the middle of the space and overall the environment is very cozy and inviting.  I settled in to the bar opted for a flight of several of their award winning selections and enjoyed them all immensely.  Reds aren't normally my favorite, but the Edgework Irish Red was a gold medal winner in the TN Championship of beers, so I had to give it a try.  And it was very good!  Check what they have on tap if and when you go and see what award winners they may be pouring and give them a try, especially if it a style you like.  I seriously doubt you will be disappointed with much you try at JRH.

From JRH we headed northwest to the Johnson City brewer almost everyone has heard of, Yee-Haw Brewing Co.  Yee-Haw has spared no expense on this beautiful place.  The inside has a long bar and huge center table for large groups, which our party was by this time, and huge outdoor space anchored by a big firepit featuring the TN flag 3 star design.  Yee-Haw is a great place to hang out.  Their beers you are most likely familiar with and there really weren't too many surprises or too much different on the menu that evening.  One person in our party from out of town was a bit disappointed there were no IPAs available, but I just don't think that is their lane.  They did have the Big Hoppa double IPA on tap when we were there and I tried it along with their other high gravity selection, the Velvet Charmer.  Both were good selections and there is nothing bad here, but I surely wouldn't say anything at Yee-Haw is better than the beer down the street at JRH.  Yee-Haw's space is awesome though and having the White Duck Taco Shop adjoining the space with delivery to your table makes it even better.  You may not get any great surprises here with the beer, but you will get good, solid beer and a great atmosphere

By the time we left Yee-Haw it was not late at all but some in our group were definitely feeling the effects of a beer tour despite one more stop to get to before closing time at Johnson City Brewing Company in the heart of downtown Johnson City.  To hear locals tell it, the downtown area of Johnson City was a ghost town as soon as about 8 year ago or so.  There are still empty storefronts through the main stretch, but there were people on the streets, quite a few good places to eat and a plenty to do even after the breweries close.  On this Saturday night about an hour before closing, the Johnson City Brewing Company was hopping.  The space here almost looked like an old diner with a bar that wrapped around the back corner half of the building.  There were a few small tables scattered through the front part where you walk in the door leading back to the bar.  Some of our party found seats at the bar and others gathered around one of the small tables and broke into the spot's collection of board games that are available to play while you are there.  The beers here were good and some of the selections most definitely are a bit experimental and different.  Reading the menu board it is quite obvious you are no longer sampling the straight, narrow and tested selections available at Yee-Haw.  The options here were things like Cranberry Wheat, Blackberry Pie ESB, Carrot Cake Ale and Rasberry Mocha Stout.  This place has some medal winners on the menu too, so go through all the selections (there were many when we were there) and find a good one or two in a style you like.  I had a couple samples of a few things the bartender suggested that were not for me and then settled on the Cascadian Dark IPA, which was a 2016 silver medal winner.  It was definitely good, I wish I wasn't so many beers in by the time we got there or I would probably know better just how good, but it was good.   If you are into different flavors, this is definitely the place for you.  

We ended up closing down JCBC and then stumbled down to a local watering hole within walking distance to end our evening.  Overall, the trip up was worth it and I would suggest it to any Knoxville beer lover for a change of pace.  The selections at the 3 places is varied enough to make all 3 worth a stop in.  JRH was my favorite beer, Yee-Haw was my favorite place and Johnson City Brewing is a place you just have to go sometime to experience.  Put a short trip up to Johnson City on your list of things to do, if you haven't been already.  You won't regret it.