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.
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!
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.*
January 8, 2013
I’ve been slowly digging through the piles of posts in my RSS feed that accrued over the holiday break. While I’ve simply had to skip over the vast majority of it, I’ve found a few tidbits here and there about exciting and interesting things we can look forward to in Nashville’s awesome indie/local music scene in 2013. Check it:
- Ben Todd and his Nashville’s Dead crew have announced the dates for the FREAKIN’ WEEKEND IV. So mark your calendars for March 7-9. The past three have gotten progressively more awesome as they’ve incorporated more of their favorite out-of-towners in the lineup. More at Nashville’s Dead.
- Mercy Lounge will be celebrating their 10th year of putting on great shows this coming weekend. They have two nights, Friday and Saturday, of great local bands playing in all 3 of their venues- Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom, and The High Watt. Some of the bands include JEFF the Brotherhood, The Weeks, Cherub, Wild Cub, and many more. Each night the first 250 people get in free, after that cover becomes $10. Check out their calendar for more info.
- Infinity Cat Records plans to open a small storefront sometime this coming summer. Not many details are known yet, but Steve Haruch at the Scene caught wind of it buried in a blog post on their website and wrote about it on the Cream. Kudos Jake, Jamin, and Bob!
- Not only does Nashville now have Craft Brewed, a combination taproom, beer store, and homebrew supply store, we also have yet another brewery opening downtown- Tennessee Brew Works. For more them, check out the Scene’s Bites Blog, or their official website. And for more on Craft Brewed, check out their facebook. I’ve been there twice already, and their official grand opening party is this coming Saturday the 12th. I highly recommend it for beer lovers!
- This is waaaaay off in the future, but Yazoo, Nashville’s first commercial craft brewery, will be celebrating their 10-year anniversary on October 13th, 2013. Congrats guys!
November 29, 2012
A random assortment of good local music and beer news for you Thursday afternoon!
- Promised Land is a new local “supergroup” comprised of Joey Scala (Denny & The Jets, Turkeys, PUJOL), Sean “To the Wall” Thompson (Nikki Lane, PUJOL), Richard Alessio, Luke Schneider (Cortney Tidwell, Lylas), and Evan Scala. The best way I can describe them is if The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, and The Carter Family all had a big threesome together. I caught them live a couple months ago on the back porch of Nikki Lane’s house, and thoroughly enjoyed their boozy, twangy set. With all the members heavily involved in other projects, I didn’t know just how serious Promised Land would be, or how soon they’d be releasing material. Thankfully this seems to be more than just an whim side project. They just released their debut EP Stoned Eagle on bandcamp, so go over and check it out! Also, as The Scene reported, the ‘Land opened for Seasick Steve at Third Man Records a while back. The show was recorded and will be released as a 45 early next year.
- New venue alert: A new intimate singer/songwriter coffeeshop/cafe has opened on music row. Benton’s Cafe is owned by veteran songwriter Benton Stokes and will give up-and-coming songwriters a chance to perform in an intimate setting right in the heart of Nashville’s music industry hub. Check out their facebook and twitter for more info.
- I was delighted to see the news that Yazoo and Calfkiller, two of my favorite TN craft breweries, have joined forces for a special collaborative beer! The brew is called The Beacon is an official “Tennessee High-Tax Ale.” This style was conjured up by the owners of Yazoo and Calfkiller to help bring attention to the fact that Tennessee has the highest beer tax in whole nation, which is structured to favor high-volume commercial beer brands over smaller craft breweries. This is one reason TN has a depressing lack of craft breweries. But with the formation of the TN Craft Brewer’s Guild, hopefully that will all change sooner rather than later. Check out the Yazoo blog for full details on the beer itself and how to get your hands on it!