As you probably know, I’ve been involved with YEAH (Youth Empowerment through Arts & Humanities) for many years and try to help them out in any way I can. I’ve volunteered for SGRRC and TNTRC multiple years and can say from experience that it’s AWESOME. It’s easily the most rewarding volunteer work I’ve ever done and it honestly changed my life forever. Unfortunately I can’t spare the time off from work to volunteer for them this year, but that doesn’t mean YOU can’t! I strongly STRONGLY encourage you to checkout their volunteer form and see if any of the positions interest you. Remember, you DON’T have to be a musician or even musically-inclined to help out! There are plenty of non-musical needs as well. You get free lunch every day, a cool t-shirt, and most importantly the good feeling of helping foster the love of music and the arts in some of coolest kids you will ever meet.
April 12, 2013
Raise your pint glasses, steins, and snifters in a toast to the success of TN’s Fix the Beer Tax campaign! On Monday the bill passed the state senate, and on Wednesday it passed the state house. Both were almost unanimous votes. The bill still has to be signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam, but with such widespread support and virtually no opposition whatsoever, he will sign it. TN is now on its way to becoming much friendlier to the craft brewing industry, and no longer will breweries be penalized for making a better quality product. Thank you to all my friends and readers who supported this campaign! Read the full article from the horse’s mouth at the official Fix the Beer Tax website.
April 2, 2013
Catie Cameron has been one of my best friends for many years. She’s a talented, smart gal and also a great writer. For the past few years she has been working on achieving one of her childhood dreams- to write and publish a novel. Today I’m happy to share with you her Kickstarter campaign, which will raise the funds needed for her to self-publish Ms. Rhythm and Blues: A Rock & Roll Novel. It’s about a girl named Maggie who grows up in Nashville, TN in the 90s and immerses herself in the rock scene, and eventually opens her own rock club. I won’t say much more because you really should just go to her Kickstarter page and check it out for yourself! Here’s the promo video:
March 26, 2013
This year’s East Nashville Beer Festival was a complete success! I headed over with Lauren and a few bandmates and friends on Saturday ready to be amazed, and amazed I was! This festival has become one of my favorite days of the year, and Saturday did not disappoint. Lauren has a full review of everything over at Old Red Boots, but here are my top picks, with more personal insight:
Top 5 beers at ENBF 2013:
1. Kentucky Ale: Bourbon Barrel Ale
This is consistently my favorite bourbon barrel aged beer. You get a nice woody, oaky bourbon flavor up front, then a subtle hop character comes through, finishing with a lingering bourbon sweetness. It’s a symphony of all the right flavors.
2. Starr Hill: Psychokilter
Easily one of the best Scotch ales I’ve had. This beer is all about the malt- as it should be- but isn’t overly sweet. Robust and somewhat earthy. Color me impressed!
3. Calfkiller: Classic Spider
Calfkiller has burst onto the TN brewing scene in the past few years with a vengeance. All of their beers are fermented with the same Belgian yeast blend, which gives it a distinctive fruity note that says “this is Calfkiller!” Classic Spider was a special blend of their Brown Recluse and a stout, aged in a bourbon (or maybe it was whiskey?) barrel. I’m not sure if this will become a regularly produced beer, but I wouldn’t mind if it did!
4. Rivertown: Roebling Porter
This is a vanilla & espresso infused imperial porter, and it might as well be liquid dessert. It’s chocolatey, sweet, warming and simply delicious. It’s one of their flagships, too!
Sadly, Rivertown doesn’t distribute to TN. Update: turns out Rivertown DOES distribute to TN- you can get them at Craft Brewed!
5. Yazoo: Hop Project #70 Dry-hopped with Stella hops
Yazoo is known for their creative Hop Project series, in which they use the same malt bill, but different varieties of hops at different boiling schedules for each batch. #70 is the latest batch and (from what I was told at the tap) for this cask they dry-hopped it with a unique Australian hop variety called Stella. As I understand it this was a special cask that Yazoo made for the ENBF, but Hop Project #70 used Stella hops during the boil as well, and is available in retail stores now.
Deschutes: Black Butte Porter and Northwest Pale Ale
Deschutes is an Oregon brewery that sadly hasn’t made it to TN yet, so I was unfamiliar even with these two flagship beers. The Black Butte Porter has a slightly nutty character that you’d expect in a nut brown ale, but yet it’s a porter! The Northwest Pale Ale stuck out to me because they backed away from the assertive hop bitterness that most APA’s are known for, and went for a well-balanced pale ale with a nice hoppy aroma.
Left Hand: Smokejumper Imperial Porter
Reactions to this beer amongst my peers were mixed. For me it was a fine smokey, bacon-y porter. I’ve not met a smoked beer that I didn’t like and this was no exception. Some in my group thought it reminded them too much of a campfire, while others wanted more bacon flavor.
Straight To Ale: Hellfire Quadrupel and Monkeynaut IPA dry-hopped with Citra
This Huntsville brewery produces some fine beers. Their Belgian-style quadrupel, called Hellfire, was warming, earthy, and robust. They also had a special cask of their Monkeynaut IPA that was dry-hopped with Citra hops. The tropical fuity aroma was simply blissful!
French Broad: 13 Rebels ESB
One of my favorite styles of beer is a classic English ESB, or Extra-Special Bitter. I was familiar with French Broad but hadn’t tried their ESB. 13 Rebels was an enjoyable and worthy example of the style. Well-balanced and very session-able, as an ESB should be.
Least Favorite Beer:
New Belgium’s surprise quadrupel.
I unfortunately didn’t take note of exactly what this beer was aged in or what was supposed to be special about it. It was a quad that had (I think) been aged in some sort of wood barrels. What I do remember though, is that is was too blatantly alcoholic up front. There are 10, 11, even 12% ABV beers that still manage to not allow the boozy alcoholic flavor to overrun the character of the beer. This one though, just screamed “BOOZE” at my palate. That being said, New Belgium is one of the finest, and also largest craft breweries in the nation. Everything about them pretty much rules.
Happy drinking and I’ll see you next year at ENBF IV!
March 20, 2013
This week is Nashville Craft Beer week! I was too busy to post about this earlier in the week, but better late than never. As you should well know, it culminates in the long sold-out East Nashville Beer Festival this Saturday, but there are also lots of good tastings, tap takeovers, and beer dinners happening all week long. The full calendar of Craft Beer Week events is over at Rhizome Productions, so check it out and find what sounds interesting. I was at Craft Brewed last night for the Straight To Ale tasting and Brooklyn Surprise cask ale tasting. There are several tastings tonight, tomorrow, and thursday so go taste some good beer. And if you don’t have a ticket to the ENBF, check out Craigslist. I believe there are some for sale there. Good luck, and happy Craft Beer Week!
March 6, 2013
I want take a moment to spread the word to fellow Nashvillians/beer lovers about an upcoming rally at the state capitol. As you should’ve heard by now, there is a BIG movement, called Fix The Beer Tax, in our fair state to change our absurdly high beer tax code that has been in place since the 1950′s. Brewers, beer lovers, and politicians alike have all been on the road over the past month or so building support for the Tennessee Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013.
This coming Monday, March 11th there will be a rally held downtown at The Standard (167 Rosa L. Parks Blvd), just a few blocks from the capitol, from 5-8:30pm. Sen. Brian Kelsey, Rep. Cameron Sexton, and representatives from the Tennessee Malt Beverage Association, Anheuser-Busch, other national brewers, and importers will all be present. Join the event on facebook, and if you haven’t already, GO SEND A LETTER TO YOUR STATE LAWMAKERS IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL! The form is very easy and it only take a few seconds!
Great news for the tragically hip in Nashville: Morrissey has rescheduled his Ryman appearance for March 29th! According to the Ryman’s website, all original tickets for the canceled Jan. 29th date will be honored. Lauren and I were devastated when the Jan. 29th show was canceled due to Moz’s bleeding ulcer. Thank goodness he’s back in good health, though! We’d heard rumors that the tour would be rescheduled for the summer with Patti Smith opening… but I guess one could only dream of being so lucky as to witness such an amazing bill…
In case you’ve been under a rock recently, Caitlin Rose has a brand new album ready to drop March 5th. I’ve heard nothing but good, good, and more good about it. And this new song ”No One To Call” makes me even more excited about this album than the last teaser track “I Was Cruel.” Stream it below and pre-order the vinyl here and receive a free digital copy of the album on March 1st. DO IT.
February 19, 2013
It’s almost spring again, and in East Nashville in recent years, that has come to mean BEER FEST. I’ve been to the East Nashville Beer Festival every year of its existence and it’s gotten better every time. Most of you probably know I’m a homebrewer and avid beer lover, so trust me when I say these folks really know how to put on a great beer festival. The list of breweries this year includes Deschutes, Good People, French Broad, Lagunitas, Highland Brewing, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Rivertown, Schmaltz, Brooklyn, Southern Tier, Starr Hill, Terrapin, Straight To Ale, Green Flash, and many more including all your favorite locals such as Yazoo, Calfkiller, Fat Bottom, Turtle Anarchy, Jackalope, etc… It’s well worth the $50 price because there’s simply no other way to experience so many great beers at once, and many of the breweries have very special, limited-edition (often cask-aged) brews that you’d never find in a store or at a bar. There will also be plenty of food trucks onsite to help fill your belly with yummy snacks in addition to the beer. The list includes Biscuit Love, Wrapper’s Delight, Riff’s, Hoss’s Loaded Burgers, and the Grilled Cheeserie to name a few.
This year also boasts a very special food/beer pairing tent sponsored by Whole Foods! It does require a separate ticket for an extra $45 but I’ve no doubt it will be worth it! The ENBF is also a part of Nashville Craft Beer Week, which boasts even more awesome in-store free tastings and other specialty events, so be sure to check out the full calendar, because the madness starts on March 18th.
The festival did not increase the size of the event this year, but they’ve “…doubled our bathrooms, doubled our hand wash sinks, increased drinking water supply, upgraded glassware (6oz glass snifter), and overall will be creating the best venue possible.” If you had issues with any of those things last year, fear not- it’ll be way better this year.
SO, BELIEVE ME- HAVE YOUR FINGER ON THE BUTTON AT 9AM SHARP THIS THURSDAY. This event will sellout in less than an hour, and probably even less than 30 minutes. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out in 10 minutes. Trust me, I had an absolute blast last year with my lady Old Red Boots, and we’ll be back in full force this year. You do NOT want to miss this!
The ENBF and Craft Beer Week are all products of Rhizome Productions. Keep your eyes on these folks, because they’re doing some amazing stuff for the beer scene in Nashville, Tennessee, and the southeast in general!
*Also, don’t forget about Fix The Beer Tax! If you’re a Tennesseean and haven’t heard about that movement yet, check out my blog post about it from a couple of weeks ago (which the FTBT folks were kind enough to repost on their blog!). And then email your state legislators and help us get this archaic and ridiculous TN law changed.*
February 13, 2013
It is a tragic, horrible day for the Nashville rock scene. Ben Todd, founder of Nashville’s Dead, bassist of D. Watusi, and main force behind the Freakin’ Weekend has died at age 24. Read more about it at the Nashville Cream, as they are far more talented writers than I.
I’ll just say a few words from my own experience with Ben. He was one of hundreds of acquaintances I know primarily through shows. I would always see him and briefly say “hey man how’s it going?” and unfortunately that was pretty much the extent of our interactions. But just through those interactions I could tell how passionate he was about the Nashville rock scene. That passion was very evident in his creation and the content of Nashville’s Dead. He was also the driving force behind the Freakin’ Weekend. Since we’re only about a month out from the 4th installment of the annual festival, I wonder how it will proceed. I’ve no doubt that it will, though, in his honor.
I just can’t help but think it ironic that his whole mantra seemed to be centered around eternal positivity, kindness, and keeping a youthful outlook on life. His blogging moniker was Forever Young, and Forever Young he shall remain. My condolences and deepest sympathy go out to his friends and family. Actually, I’ll just say family. Because Ben was the kind of person to whom friends ARE family. Rest in peace.
It’s long overdue, but finally a serious campaign has been created to curb Tennessee’s utterly insane beer taxes. I’m not tax expert, but I do understand that if we have the highest beer taxes in the nation, we are going to be way WAY behind the rest of the nation in the craft brewing industry. The fact that Nashville is just now starting to get a decent crop of local breweries is simply depressing. It’s depressing for beer lovers, entrepreneurs who want start a brewery, and the beer industry in general. For example, I have no doubt that our tax rates are a big reason, if not THE reason, that Bell’s Beer distributes all over the southeast but skips TN. Bell’s is one of the finest craft breweries in the nation and it’s a travesty that you can’t get it here.
But enough rambling about it. Now it’s time to do something about it. Yazoo Brewing held a kickoff event at the Yazoo Taproom last night that began a statewide campaign of events in Memphis, Clarksville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, Cookeville, Knoxville, and of course Nashville to raise awareness of the problem and build support for The Tennessee Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013. The hub of the movement is their website- www.fixthebeertax.com. There you can find all pertinent information, and most importantly, a web form through with you can contact your local legislator urging them to support this bill. If you love good beer and you live in Tennessee, it behooves you to support this effort and do everything you can to help get it passed. They’re also on Facebook.
As I’ve followed Yazoo Brewing the past few years I’ve noticed Linus Hall mention TN’s crazy beer taxes on their blog several times and wondered if he was going to try to lobby our state legislature to fix the problem. I’m happy to say it’s finally happening!