Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tour of Villes No. 2 - Knoxville

Knoxville, TN

A couple of days after our brief tour of Nashville, we hopped in the car and headed about 90 miles east. My buddy Kjell (you probably don't remember him from our Sacramento UBH years ago) recently moved to town and bought a little house. It was way past time for a visit and of course, while we were there we had to check out the local beer scene.


About the only things I knew about Knoxville before visiting were that, a) it's home to the University of Tennessee; and b) there was a World's Fair there in the early '80s -- which of course I learned from The Simpsons, S07E20 - Bart on the Road:


Kjell didn't join us on the hike, but luckily for us another old friend (and Knoxville native) John, did. John proved to be a competent tour guide and a worthy beer hiker.

As you can see by the map, several of the beer stops on our list are concentrated downtown, so we had to be a little creative with the route map, backtracking here and there so as to get a good long hike in:

Knoxville UBH
Bearden Beer Market / Sunspot / Downtown Grill & Brewery / Central Flats & Taps / Tomato Head / Casual Pint / Suttree's High Gravity Tavern


View Tour of Villes No. 2 - Knoxville in a larger map


1.

http://beardenbeermarket.com/

We began the long hike around noon at Bearden Beer Market where the owner Chris kindly took some time to show us around his expanding beer garden, teach us some new drinking games, and suggest other routes for later adventures. The beer shop inside is pretty tiny, but has a fine selection. The beer garden is huge and probably very popular in the warm weather.

Drinking Game: toss quarters into the wooden vagina
After Bearden, we got to walking. The first leg of our hike was about an hour along a greenway trail. John and Chris set a brisk pace and I did my best to keep up. Even though a lot of the vegetation was only just starting to spring back to life, there was still plenty of good stuff to see along the way.


2.

http://www.sunspotrestaurant.com/

This place wasn't originally on our list, but John clued us in and I'm glad we stopped. We didn't eat, but there was more than enough to choose from on the taps. I skipped the Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout, hoping to maybe find it later in the hike. As Chris says, 10% beers are not your friend on a long UBH.

Before reaching Downtown Knoxville, we passed by the mighty Sunsphere and the University  of Tennessee campus. John grew up in Knoxville and is an alumnus of UT so he was in full tour-guide mode along this part of the route:

John telling Chris a thing or two about Knoxville

3.

http://www.downtownbrewery.com/

Fairly large and suitably named as it is right in the middle of Downtown Knoxville. I usually don't expect much from places like this, but I thought the beer I had was pretty good. I ate almost a whole order of fried mushrooms by myself and burned the roof of my mouth off. What a dumbass.


The next leg of the hike took us north about a mile and a half straight along Central Avenue, through a grittier part of town with many vacant buildings and empty lots. Just before we got to the next stop, we had to bid John farewell because he had to take his kids to soccer practice or something like that. He probably wished he a few more beers under his belt.

4.

Central Flats and Taps

Chris and I felt right at home at this good little neighborhood hangout. Very relaxed atmosphere, good tap list and a decent looking menu. Their philosophy is to offer local products as much as possible, so there were several beers from Tennessee on draft. It wouldn't have been too hard to camp out here for the rest of the evening, but we pressed on.


After CF&T we headed back toward Downtown, choosing a slightly different route and ending up on Gay Street, which leads right back into the heart of Knoxville's shopping and restaurant district.

5.
The Casual Pint Craft Beer Market
Beer market with 22 taps. Real good selection here and plenty of room to sit and enjoy a pint while contemplating your next move. Kjell was able to join us here, but the hiking was pretty much over. These last three places are all within a few blocks of each other.

6.  

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_guOSvTLtl4M/SUhosMIhiWI/AAAAAAAABsg/3TctqeW0knw/s400/TomatoHeadLogo.jpg

Delicious food in this little place. They have a small, but decent selection of beer. I think Kjell had a glass of white wine.


7.
 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suttrees-High-Gravity-Tavern/375266895858107

I guess I've forgotten to tell you about high gravity vs. low gravity beer. In Tennessee, any beer above 6.25% ABV is considered "high gravity". Brewers need a special license (that's expensive and difficult to get) to brew it and it's only sold in liquor stores and specially permitted bars. People are working to change this, but for now it's a little complicated to make, sell, and drink higher alcohol beers. We didn't have too much trouble finding high-grav stuff -- probably because most of the places we went to served liquor as well. Suttrees was cool, though. No shortage of heavy-hitters on the list and probably best to end the hike here than start it.


After one or two at Suttrees, we called it a hike and went back to Kjell's house. We still had a lot of planning to do for the next part of this adventure: Asheville, NC. Chris and I hit some crazy weather in Asheville and did A LOT of walking and drinking. We should have something about our time there up here for you pretty soon.

Thanks for reading. Here's some more pretty pictures:




1 comment:

  1. You will have to come back when the Trailhead Beer Market is open on Island Home Ave.

    ReplyDelete