Traveling Tuesday: Downtown Grill & Brewery – Knoxville, TN

Since it’s after Labor Day, and I guess we’re not allowed to wear white anymore, or whatever, I figured it was time to finally bring my series of summer vacation adventures to exciting new better beer locations to a frothy conclusion.  And I have saved the best for last.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a big believer in subjecting children who generally have trouble sitting still for half an hour to 12-hour cars rides.  Trust me, no one wins in those situations.  So, on our way home from our stay in Myrtle Beach, my wife, kids, and I stopped for an overnight stay in Knoxville, TN.  We almost had our hotel room given away, had some pretty decent pizza, and got to see the Sunsphere and World’s Fair park downtown.

That turned out to be more convenient for me than hot running water, because I’d had designs on stopping at the Downtown Grill and Brewery the whole time.

We arrived just about noon on Sunday, and the place was in full-tilt brunch mode.  We’d eaten breakfast already, though, so we got a sampling of appetizers – yes, obviously including the obligatory nachos – and I sampled a few of the brews.WP_000116

The nachos were tasty, and the While Mule Ale and the Woodruff IPA were awesome and both very clean. I enjoyed the IPA especially, as it leaned more toward the English variety of the style, which I tend to prefer.

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Downtown Grill and Brewery has two floors, with two distinct bars and dining areas. On the first floor a square bar takes up the center of the floor space, with dining arranged on both sides. There are more tables directly above the ones on the first floor, on balconies that overlook the central bar. In the rear of the second floor, though, is a relaxing lounge area with the second bar, pools tables, couches, TVs, darts, etc.

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Without question, DG&B was my favorite better beer stop of our vacation.  The beer was great, the place is housed in an old building with plenty of character, the people were incredibly nice, and the second floor lounge is the kind of place I could see myself spending hours and hours just hanging around with a bunch of friends and a few pints.  If you ever find yourself in Knoxville, definitely check the place out.

Oh, and if you get a chance, try the brunch menu.  The stuff looked good enough to steal from your wife’s plate.

Pud’n

Traveling Tuesday: Asheville Brewing Company, Asheville, NC

The road was a long one.  The Puddinette and I and all four of the puddinlings piled into the Family Truckster one bright, warm Tuesday morning two weeks ago, and bid farewell to la casa de Puddin for the week as we headed out on our Great American Family Summer Road Trip.  Some hours later, after leaving the relative familiarity of Kentucky behind, we crossed Tennessee’s harrowing mountains, and finally arrived in Asheville, North Carolina.  We secured our room for the night, wandered the massive gardens of the Biltmore Estate, and then, finally, turned our attention to a much needed dinner.

Of course, since I was tasked with scoping out food locations in each of the target cities throughout the trip, it should come as no surprise that we, um, miraculously ended up at the Asheville Brewing Company.  And, thinking ahead, I made sure to take plenty of photos while we were there so we could share the experience as a Hoperatives post.  Unfortunately, though, I ended up taking some of the worst Traveling Tuesday pictures of all time.

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If I hadn’t taken this picture in the dark, you could see how simple and unpretentious the place seems from the street.

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The pub has an eclectic feel to it, which seems to match the patrons.  I dig the sun-flare logo.

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The obligatory tap shot.  Mmm…beer.  I had the Red Light American Pale and Old School British Pale, and both were very tasty.  Left to my own devices, I would have stayed for much longer and enjoyed several more beers, and probably a good dose of people watching.  Sadly, the following morning included a long drive to the beach, so I let the Puddinette and the kids drag me back to the hotel room.

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I really wanted to get one of these filled with tasty beer, but in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want.

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If this wasn’t The. Worst. Photo. Ever, you could totally see the really cool decorative wall hangings (err…whatever…I don’t know what you call them) of several of the Asheville Brewing Co. beers.

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The Nacho Daddy (with chicken) was awesome.  Thirty seconds after this pictures was taken, nothing remained on that platter but tumbleweeds and a few lonely black beans.  And I can’t even tell you what happened to the pizza.  That kind of decimation is just…just…too awful for words.

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I decided that henceforth, whenever I visit a brewpub while traveling, if the place is cool enough to recommend/advertise, I’m getting a shirt as a souvenir.  See my new shirt!  It’s okay to be jealous.

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It was only after buying it that I realized my new shirt came with an awesome quote from Hunter S. Thompson, whom I idolize, you know, a little.  Obviously, this made it my new favorite shirt.

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One of the neatest things about the place is the huge outdoor seating area next to the brewpub.    And believe it or not, the patio was packed on a Tuesday night.  Oh, and did I mention they had hula hoops out there to mess around with?

The Asheville Brewing Co. is a fun, eclectic place with both really tasty brews and food.  If you every find yourself in Asheville, NC, I highly recommend stopping in for a pint or three.

And maybe bring a photographer.

Pud’n

New Albanian Brewing Company: “25 Years of Beer & Loathing” – Sunday, July 22

The New Albanian Brewing Company will mark its quarter-century of existence with a day-long picnic and concert at New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater on Sunday, July 22, 2012.

As most readers probably know, nowadays the original location near Grant Line Road is known as the NABC Pizzeria & Public House, incorporating Sportstime, Rich O’s Public House (1992) and the 2002 addition of craft brewing on site. NABC’s most recent progeny (2009) is NABC Bank Street Brewhouse, located in New Albany’s historic business district downtown.

“25 Years of Beer & Loathing” is what we’re calling the event.
NABC’s 25th anniversary celebration will be a day-long musical, family-friendly event with food, activities and refreshments suitable for all ages. The venue is New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater, from 10:00 a.m. to sundown on Sunday, July 22. The Amphitheater is located by the Ohio River in downtown New Albany, with ample parking available by the levee at the foot of Pearl Street.

There is no cover charge for this event, and it’ll be cash only for food, drinks and vending. Proceeds after expenses will be disbursed in the form of grants to Rauch Inc., the Isabel Jade Pickhardt Fund and New Albany First.

So that all of our current employees can participate in recalling 25 Years of Beer & Loathing, NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse will be closed on Sunday, July 22, although the Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar will be operating at the Riverfront Amphitheater from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (see below). Following in alphabetical order are details about what to expect.

Beer
NABC’s draft truck (Rosa L. Stumblebus) will be on hand with old favorites and special releases. We’ll be pouring all four of NABC’s 10th brewery anniversary beers: Bourbondaddy, Stumblebus, Turbo Hog and Scotch de Ainslie.

There’ll also be a special 10th anniversary session ale called Get Off My Lawn. In addition, cask-conditioned Naughty Girl (double dry-hopped) and Oaked Choufftimus will be served while available.

Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar
A Bank Street Brewhouse staple at Sunday brunch, the bar will move to the waterfront, with Miss Sarah on hand to guide visitors through garnishes, sauces and fresh embellishments.

Charitable donations
Net after expenses will be used for grants to be given to Rauch Inc, the Isabel Jade Pickhardt Fund and NA1st.

Our longtime friends at Rauch support people with disabilities through services designed to promote individual choices, growth and well being, while encouraging a community environment that acknowledges the value and contribution of all people. They’ll be helping NABC with the children’s area and site clean-up

The Isabel Jade Pickhardt Fund was set up to assist the daughter of the late Ryan Pickhardt, a local musician and keyboard player for the band Sativo Gumbo, with whom NABC has longstanding ties.

NA1st is New Albany’s only grassroots independent business alliance, seeking to support and promote independent business owners and to educate community members about the importance of buying locally. On the 22nd, volunteers from NA1st will assist NABC in policing the grounds.

Children’s Area Activities
A duck pond, face painting, temporary tattoos, an art area and perhaps other activities will be available for the kids.

Food
Feast BBQ (116 W Main St) is roasting a pig, and will be offering these items: Pork sliders with pickles and onions; pork tacos with cilantro, lime, cotija, and crema; and smoked corn on the cob

Shawn, TJ and Charlestown Pizza Company will be preparing chicken salad croissants, Asian slaw, pasta salad, fruit cups and other fare.

NABC is brewing root beer for the event, and of course there’ll be water and soft drinks.

Music schedule
10:00 a.m.: (house music)
12 Noon: Roz Tate
1:00 p.m.: Ben Traughber
2:00 p.m.: Five Foot Fish
3:00 p.m.: Beeler Attic
4:00 p.m.: Jed and the NoiseMakers
5:00 p.m.: Porch Possums
6:00 p.m.: Dust Radio
7:00 p.m.: Whiskey Riders
8:00 p.m.: Toledo Bend

Wine
River City Winery will sell wines and Sangria

Traveling Tuesday: The Terminal Brewhouse – Chattanooga, TN

If you’re in Chattanooga, TN, the Terminal Brewhouse is a must-visit. A group of homebrewers got together to start a brewpub and they’ve done a fantastic job. It’s only about two years old now, but built in an old hotel located across the street from the former train terminal famous for the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Ironically, the train terminal is now a hotel. Anyway, these pictures don’t begin to scratch the surface of what there is to see in this brewery. It’s worth the trip.

Terminal Building Sign
You can see the building's past as a hotel clearly.
Terminal Door
I especially like the crossed knife and fork. It's a great logo.
Terminal Stairs
The entire building is used, from the former basement to the 3rd floor
Terminal Fermenters
The brewhouse is in the old basement, but it's still the focal point
Terminal Green Roof
Eco-friendliness has been built into every aspect of the operation. This is the Green Roof outdoor area. The "carpet" is grass.
White Shadow Wit
The beer is what you come for. We were there when it was hot, so the White Shadow Wit was perfect. And yes, it's named after the TV show.
Terminal Samples
The samples are generous. Oddly for a train-themed place, they didn't have a porter. But all their beers are very, very solid and to style.
Terminal Bar Top
The bar top is made up of flattened beer cans covered in a smooth finish. Recycling everywhere.
Champagne Velvet
Detail of the bar top. Champagne Velvet was once brewed in Terre Haute, IN. One time I saw a Bavarian can from the brewery in Covington, but I couldn't find it on this trip.

Growlers and Tastings Report: July 15, 2011

● For tonight’s Friday Night Flights at Party Town in Florence, they are featuring new releases and recent arrivals. The cost for the regular tasting is $2 for a full flight of beers and it goes from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

● On the Growler Station at Party Town in Florence: Unibroue Trois Pistoles ($17.99), Anderson Valley Wee-Geech ($12.99), Southern Tier Choklat ($16.99), Southern Tier 2xIPA ($7.99), Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald ($7.99), Bell’s Oberon ($9.99), Sierra Nevada Hemisphere Fresh Hop Ale ($10.99), Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster ($11.99), Southern Tier Jah-va Coffee Stout ($15.99), Wood Chuck Summer ($6.99), Great Lakes Eliot Ness ($7.99), Southern Tier Unearthly ($11.99), Thirsty Dog Siberian Night ($24.99), Sierra Nevada Pale Ale ($6.99), Lindeman’s Framboise ($24.99), Left Hand Sawtooth Ale ($6.99), Great Lakes Doppelrock ($8.99) and Schlafly American IPA ($8.99). All prices are for a refill. For a new growler, add $2.00.

● On the Growler Stations at Cork ‘N Bottle as of July 8th: Covington has Brooklyn Brewmasters Reserve “The Concoction” ($8.99 64oz, $5.50 1L), Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale ($8.50 64oz, $4.50 1L), Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster IPA ($8.99 64oz, $5.50 1L) and Widmer Pitch Black IPA ($14.99 64oz, $8.50 1L). Buttermilk Pike has Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat ($6.50 64oz, $4.25 1L), Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Ale ($6.99 64oz, $4.99 1L), Schalfly Summer Ale ($5.99 64oz, $3.50 1L) and Widmer Rotator X-114 IPA ($7.99 64oz, $4.99 1L). Cork ‘N Bottle now has 1 liter (1/2 growler) ceramic top or Grolsch-style bottles available. All prices are for a refill. For a new growler (either size), add $2.50.

● Main Street Wine and Spirits will be having a tasting tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The beers available are New Holland Oak Aged Hatter IPA, Scotch Silly Belgian Scottish style Ale, Southern Tier Mokah (stout with chocolate and coffee) and Victory Summer Love Ale. All tastes are fifty cents each.

● Red Ear Brewing’s on site Beer tasting and growler sales are Saturday from 12:00 to 6:00 pm at 208 Pike Street in Covington, KY. The beers available are TBA. We will update here when we get their beer list. Growlers are $12.50 each (add $2.50 if you need to purchase a growler).

● At the two tap growler station at Market Wines in Findlay Market, they have Avery New World Porter ($10) and Green Flash Brewing Co. Imperial IPA ($15). Add $3 if you need to purchase a growler.

● Cincinnati Whole Foods’ growler station offerings as of July 11th are Unibroue Ephemere, Boonvile Wee Gee Summer hop Ale, Stone Ruination IPA, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady Ale and Mt. Carmel Summer Wheat. Regular fill prices are $7.49 for the 32 oz growler and $14.99 for the 64 oz growler. They also have Happy Hour pricing on Monday through Thursday from 3:00 to 6:00 pm with $4.99 for the 32 oz growler and $9.99 for the 64 oz growler. For a new growler, add $3.99.

● On the Growler Station at the Liquor Cabinet (1990 N Bend Rd # A Hebron, KY), they have Arcadia Sky High ($7.99), Unibroue Chambly Noire ($8.99), Schlafly Bourbon Ale ($9.99) and Rogue Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA ($10.99). For a new growler, add $2.00.

● On the Growler Station at One Stop Liquors (10 Donnermeyer Dr., Bellevue, KY), they currently have Leinenkugel Summer Shandy ($6.99), Lexington Bourbon Barrel Ale ($10.99) and Samuel Adams Summer Ale ($7.99). All prices are for a refill. For a new growler, add $2.99. Also, receive $5 off your 6th refill.

● On the Growler Station at Party Source in Bellevue: Wild Dog Schwarz Smoked Lager ($10.99), Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter ($10.99), Brooklyn Lager ($7.99), Unibroue Raftman ($10.99), Southern Tier Back Burner ($12.99), Sierra Nevada Pale Ale ($6.99), Kentucky Bourbon Ale ($10.99) and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy ($7.99). All prices are for a refill. For a new growler, add $2.00.

● The growler stations at DEP’s Fine Wine and Spirits in Covington had Avery Salvation Belgian Ale ($7.49), Fall City ($4.99), Great Lakes Commodore Perry ($4.99) and Three Floyds Robert the Bruce ($7.99). The DEP’s in Fort Thomas has Arcadia Witsun ($8.49), Erdinger Hefeweissen $6.99), Cumberland Pale Ale ($3.99), Abita Amber ($4.59) and Anderson Valley Hop Ottin ($7.49).

Traveling Tuesday: Fat Heads – Cleveland

This week’s post comes from Andrew Wetterer (Hoperative #231). We had some of their beer at the Columbus Beerfest and Fat Heads is definitely on our “to-do” list!

Fat Head’s has started gaining some popularity in the Cincinnati area, and around the country, so I decided to go take a tour of this small brewery in North Olmstead, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.

If you’ve never been to Fat Head’s, or never had their beer, you’re missing out. This place has the feel of your corner pub, but it’s also a nice family restaurant. The first thing you notice when you walk in, is their logo:

Fat Heads Sign

The bar itself has a very nice selection of beer. Of course, they pride themselves on their beer, brewed on site, but they also have a very large selection of other craft beers from many other breweries. I ended up trying one of their beer’s, Hop Juju, an imperial IPA. They had a cask version and a non cask version. I decided to go with the cask.

Cask Beer

It was very tasty indeed. Lots of pine, but very smooth an easily drinkable at 9.5%.

After a drink, it was time to check out the brewery. Since the brewers were all out at the Cleveland International Beerfest setting up when we visited Fat Head’s, we were greeted by one of the managers, who also happened to be the owner. Sadly, after drinking so much the rest of the day, I have forgotten his name. Anyways, the brewery is on site and is very visible from the bar area. You can actually see their mash tun, boil kettle, and several fermenters. Though I was not their when they were brewing, I imagine you could watch the Brewers Mike and Matt (and others) brew their award winning beers.

tanks

Fermenters
Fermenters

The tour was brief, but exciting. The brewery has produced just over 3500 barrels in the short time it has been open. Their 10 barrel system has them brewing almost every day of the week, just to keep up with the growing demand of their beers, not only in their saloon, but around the Ohio area. I was told that they keep looking for ways to make their award winning beers better, as well as trying new recipes to make even more award winning beer.

Grain Mills
Grain Mills

As we wrapped up the tour, we began to wonder when we would start to see some of this beer around Cincinnati (apart from at Cincinnati Beer Fest and other Fests) and we were treated with a nice bit of news: Fat Head’s brewery is looking into several sites in the Cleveland area to open a production brewery! I would love to see some of these tasty brews at my local grocery store.

In all, this place was really cool. Go check it out if you can. It’s an awesome time. As a prominent wall in their saloon says:

Chill Out Man, Have a Beer
Chill Out Man, Have a Beer

Traveling Tuesday: Maumee Bay Brewing Company, Toledo, OH

I first had Maumee Bay beer at the Cincy Winter Beerfest and fell in love with the Amarillo Brillo. I swore the first time I had a chance to be in Toledo I’d visit their brewpub. Last week I had a gig in Detroit where I had to be there early on Sunday morning, so Saturday night in Toledo was a win-win all around. The brewpub is part of the Oliver House, a former hotel that’s the oldest commercial building in Toledo. If life takes you that direction, you owe it to yourself to go.

Buckeye Beer Label Mural at Maumee Bay Brewing Company
Buckeye Beer Label mural outside Maumee Bay Brewing's brewpub

Panoramic view of the murals outside Maumee Bay Brewing
Panoramic view of more murals outside Maumee Bay Brewing

One of the murals that greet you at Maumee Bay Brewing
Another of the murals that greet you at Maumee Bay Brewing

Stairs to the Maumee Bay Brewing brewpub
Brewery memorabilia is everywhere at the brewpub. You could spend hours just browsing.

The bar at the Maumee Bay Brewing brewpub
The bar at the Maumee Bay Brewing brewpub

The main dining room of the Maumee Bay Brewing brewpub
The main dining area of the brewpub. Like I said, memorabilia is everywhere.

The brewing vessels at Maumee Bay Brewing.
The brewing vessels at Maumee Bay Brewing. They're larger than a typical brewpub because this is also their production brewery.

Fermenters in the brewhouse at Maumee Bay Brewing
Fermenters in the brewhouse

More Buckeye Beer memorabilia at Maumee Bay Brewing
My personal favorite of all the Maumee Bay beers is the Amarillo Brillo. But I admire how they keep the Buckeye brand alive.

Anheuser Busch Buys Goose Island Brewing

The Goose Island Brewing web site is reporting that the Chicago-based brewer has been sold to Anheuser-Busch Inbev for a reported $38.8 million. The founder of Goose Island and its current Chief Executive Officer John Hall is promising that their “commitment to creativity won’t change.” Goose Island’s two brew pubs in Chicago were not part of the deal and will continue to be owned by Hall. Beernews.org is reporting that Goose Island will continue to be brewed in Chicago and that A-B Inbev plans to expand the facilities there.

A-B Inbev already had a minority interest in Goose Island through its involvement in the Craft Brewers Alliance (CBA) out of Portland, OR which has minority ownership of Goose Island since 2006. Other breweries in the Craft Brewers Alliance include Widmer Brothers Brewing, Redhook Ale Brewery and Kona Brewing Company. A-B Inbev has been instrumental in the distribution of the beers from the CBA.

Traveling Tuesday: Brownings Brewery – Louisville, KY

Browning’s Brewery is located in Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats. This was the second time we had checked out Browning’s and the first time we had been there since the head chef (Anoosh Shariat) had bought it. Unfortunately, it feels like a brewpub that was bought by a chef. While some of the beers were really good, it seemed like their own beers were being treated like an after thought. And the food wasn’t all that inspiring either.

sign
Great beers here (but the Miller Lite neon sign seems very odd)

Oh, and don’t try to buy a growler there. They charge $35 for one of their fancy ceramic top growlers empty. One of the regulars there told that they used to be $25 a growler and that they used to be etched. Now, they’re just silk-screened and cost $10 more. Makes no sense. Luckily, the bartender had one of his own old jug style growlers with him and sold it to us (for $2) so we could a growler of our favorite beer there, the She Devil Imperial Pale Ale.

She Devil
She Devil Imperial Pale Ale (Very nice!)
club seats
Great view in the really inexpensive club seats at Louisville Slugger Field

While Browning’s is really convenient for eating before a Louisville Bats game, I think we’ll just enjoy a She Devil at the bar and then get a hot dog at the game.

Traveling Tuesday: Cumberland Brews – Louisville, KY

It’s time for the next segment of Traveling Tuesday – the Louisville edition. After a rough start at another brew pub that shall not be named, we headed over to Cumberland Brews. If you are a long time reader of this web site, you may remember that one of our first posts was a review of Cumberland brews from Hoperatives contributor John Lavelle. After reading John’s recommendation, we knew we had to try it out!

awning for Cumberland Brews
This must be the place!
downstairs
The downstairs bar area
tap list
A really nice tap list for the day
sampler
As always, the beer sampler is the best way to start.
fish tacos
Fish tacos with corn meal breading
pinball
Love the pinball machine tucked besides the stairs
upstairs bar
Be sure to check out the upstairs area. Another bar up there!
window
Thanks, Cumberland Brews! We'll be back!