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

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.

Friday, February 17, 2017

BeerKnox Knews - February 17, 2017

Another run through a few happenings as of late around town for Knoxville beer fans.

  • The TN Beer Run I discussed last time out came to a close on February 13.  21 days of TN beer loving fun rolled back into Knoxville and celebrated with a victory party that night as well.  I am a few days past giving you fair warning to get over and celebrate with them, but I wanted to acknowledge their journey and beer ambassadorship across all of Tennessee.  Congrats to Zack and crew on the successful outing!  Here's an Instagram message from Zack after returning to Knoxville.
  • If you missed it, here is yet another article featuring Marty Velas of Fanatic Brewing.  You can find their beer all over town, still hoping we get a tasting room on site sooner rather than later.
  • I caught a post from our mayor recently on the city receiving help from national non-profit on their planned improvements in the Magnolia Avenue Warehouse District.  Why is this beer related?  Because 2 of Knoxville's breweries happen to sit right in the middle of the area of focus.  Last Days of August and Saw Works are right smack in the middle of the area, and would definitely benefit from improved business and community growth in that area.  They are also already great anchors to help drive the growth as well, since they are already established and thriving.  I think we all should support these efforts from our local brewers and the City of Knoxville.
I am sure I am missing a lot of news since my last time, but I am going to leave this here for now and hope to be back soon with more.  I am taking a trip to Johnson City to hit up Yeehaw, JRH and Johnson City brewing very soon.  Look for a report from that trip right here in the next week or so.

Monday, January 30, 2017

BeerKnox Knews - January 30, 2017

Had a bit of an unplanned hiatus from posts here, but will be trying to keep up a bit better and at least post things semi-regularly from here on out.

For a little catching up....

  • While I was away the TN law changed to allow higher gravity beer to be sold everywhere beer is sold in our great state.  Great news for beer lovers like ourselves.  This also means local brewers are coming out with newer options to take advantage.  I hope to be posting more about those options in the coming weeks and months.
  • Our local Knox Brew Tours favorite, Zack Roscop, and friends are currently in the midst of "the TN Beer Run".  Hitting 76 Tennessee brewers across the whole state in 21 days.  To say I am jealous is a huge understatement.  Keep up with their progress on Facebook here.
  • Since I am getting back up to speed here I won't drone on forever.  I will end with a very recent piece of Knews.  The website ratebeer.com released a "best of" list for 2016 and best brewer in TN went to Blackberry Farms and best new brewer to Alliance Brewing Company.  Congrats to both and way to represent East TN!
Stay tuned for more Knews and an upcoming trip report from myself as I hit Yeehaw and other spots in Johnson City in a few weeks.

Until then...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Schulz Brau

Not too long ago I finally got the opportunity to visit Schulz Brau take a look around, hangout and have a few beers.  Schulz Brau sits on Bernard Ave. just off a Central a little ways up from downtown, but not quite to Happy Holler.  It's kind of between Magpies and Hops and Hollers.  The outside looks like a cinder block castle and frankly looks pretty odd.  But don't ever let the outside scare you away, inside is where it starts to impress.  The place is gorgeous inside.  Nice tables, beautiful bar and video board menus hanging above the bar.  No expense looks to have been spared inside and just out the back door is a quite roomy biergarten for enjoying beverages and hanging with friends.  The beers are good too.  I was partial to their Schwartzbier myself, but also enjoyed their dunkel.  They rotate a good selection of their own beers mixed with a lot of regional craft brews and some national ones as well.  When I was in all were served in various sizes, so choose a smaller size and sample a few if you like....or if you know what you like get the big stein.

 Ala in all this place is worth a visit and could see them getting busy as the Vols football schedule gets ramped up to bigger games this fall.  Their outdoor area could be a huge draw once the temperature outside dips just a little and fall is here.  Spots at one of their many outdoor tables shipped over from Germany could be rare, so get there early and enjoy what they have to offer.

Friday, August 26, 2016

BeerKnox Knews - August 26, 2016

The latest in Knoxville Beer Knews....

  • Just in time for football time in Tennessee comes news that Saw Works will have 16 oz cans available very soon.  I thought I couldn't love fall in Knoxville any more than I already did.
  • Speaking of fall Yee-Haw has an Oktoberfest out.  Can't wait to try it and other Oktoberfest and other fall beers coming out soon.  There should be plenty, keep your eye out.  I prefer the non-pumpkin flavored ones myself.  
  • Tennessee football kicks off in less than a week and this town is going to be cranking here very soon.  Look for a lot more Knews out soon.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

BeerKnox Knews of the Week - August 5, 2016

I did not realize I had been away nearly a month.  Let's try and get back in the swing of things here with some beer updates from around town:

  • First off I should mention it is officially International Beer Day.  I suggest you go celebrate with a beverage of your choosing right now!
  • Here in Knoxville it is also First Friday.  That means extended happy hours a few spots around downtown, and also the Saw Works First Friday Comedy Show.  There could be no better way to celebrate International Beer Day.
  • If you are still up for more beer tomorrow, by all means check out the Oberon's Midsummer Night Carnival at the Bearden Beer Market from noon-8PM.  Beer specials, games, giveaways....umm yes please.

That's all I have for now, I may be missing a lot, but wanted to keep it short being so late already on a Friday.  Look for more soon as I get back in the swing after a month off.

Friday, July 8, 2016

BeerKnox Knews of the Week - July 7, 2016

Hey all, we are fresh off of a 4th of July 3 day weekend and back with news of beer and beer related events around Knoxville.  Here's some of what you may have missed in the last week.

  • A new craft beer focused bar has opened/is opening in the Bearden area.  Brickyard Beer & Wine is the name and they look to have quite a few taps ready to serve some local beer to the Bearden area.  Right across from Nama is not a bad location in an area where foot traffic is starting to catch up with the already busy car traffic.  I believe they may still be in a soft-opening mode right now, have just started serving some food and will have wine on hand soon as well.  Early reviews sound promising, I can't wait to give it a try.
  • Speaking of new openings, Chivo Taqueria as of today is now open on Gay Street downtown.  It sounds like a cool place, and after having had several burgers at Stock and Barrel, which is run by the same folks that opened this spot, I would guess the food to be pretty damn good.  They have 10 taps ready to serve craft beers to wash down those tacos.  Just another place to add to your places to visit soon.
  • A website called Brewery Guides put out a list recently on "The Top 6 Breweries in the South to Visit".  The write-up covered 6 different southern states and highlighted a brewery in each.  For Tennessee their brewery was Crafty Bastard Brewery right here in Knoxville.  So not only did the Crafty Bastard guys get some prestige, Knoxville got the nod over Nashville, Memphis and every other Tennessee town.  #knoxbeer is coming into it's own.
  • Last of all, the big news of the last week was wine sales in grocery stores starting.  That is not beer related, but in a way it is.  The hope is that the new wine section in your local supermarket didn't infringe too much into the beer section that I know in my closest Kroger has become very friendly to local beers as of late.  Let's all hope the new wine laws for grocery stores don't cut into that craft beer progress.  I like wine too, but don't take away my beer because it's the hot item on grocery shelves.  Not saying this is going to happen, but just something to keep an eye out for.  
Until next time, that is your Knews for the week.  As always, contact me via email or any social media outlet to let me know if I missed something.