Every month we live here, I become more deliriously happy with our choice. And the truth is, we got lucky. We knew Knoxville was cool. We knew we wanted to be on the “peaceful side of the Smokes”. But we had no idea until after we moved that Maryville was such a swell town to live near.
Yesterday Stacey and I attended the first-ever “Hops in the Hills” brew festival, part of the larger Summer on Broadway series.
All I can say about this brew fest was: nailed it.
First thing we noticed on arrival: the line of delicious-smelling fair-food vendors lined up out front. Funnel cakes, greek kebabs, etc. A common complaint I’ve had with brew festivals in the past is when they skimp out on food (sometimes this is a limitation imposed by the venue; I’m looking at you, horrible York Pennsylvania venues.) We wound up eating at Barley’s next door, because we wanted some sit-down food. But still: well done.
Next, great bluegrass music playing on stage. “Good music” continued to be a trend throughout the afternoon. Maryville is an amazingly musical town.
Next: Stacey and I were a bit gobsmacked when the first couple of stands we stopped at filled our glasses. We had to actually tell people to pour “just a sample, please”. This isn’t the sort of brewfest perk I’m likely to take much advantage of, because I prefer to sample beers upright rather than flat on my back. But still… wow.
Next notable item: two large open-sided awnings with ample seating and tables dominated the center of the festival space. Far too few brew festivals provide space to sip beer and chat with friends out of the sun and rain. This was a really nice touch.
All the breweries put in great showings. Particularly notable:
- Lagunitis Equinox pale oat ale
- Fat Bottom ginger wheat
- Tennessee Brew Works wit
- Napa Smith Brewery: both of their beers were great
- Oskar Blues Imperial Red
- Turtle Anarchy Saison and Dunkle
- Crafty Bastard “Hoppy Heffeweizen” was my personal best-of-show. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a better-smelling beer, and the flavor lived up to the fragrance.
EDIT: I feel bad not mentioning local Bluetick Brewery; especially since they’re the ones who put this whole shindig together! The truth is, since I already knew I loved their beers, I spent less time at their booth than I did at the others.