Blackstone Launch Party Tomorrow

Sorry for the short notice. I just returned to town. For those that are interested, I pulled the details from the Facebook page.

"Blackstone's award winning draft beer is back in Middle TN! $2 Pints / Appetizers / Killer Cheese's 4p-7p. Come sample classics like St Charles Porter and Chaser Pale. We will also be introducing our dry hopped American Pale Ale (APA) all brewed at Blackstone's brand new 15,000 square foot packaging brewery! The jukebox will be loaded with good tunes and I will be giving away some tickets to Music City Roots too! So swing on by and celebrate Nashville's most award winning beer's return to the draft market... bottles will be coming in July! "

When: May 31st
Where: The Beer Sellar
Time: 4:00pm

Hop Project #50 Now Available

A few months ago, Yazoo asked customers to vote on their favorite Hop Project. That poll was conducted on their blog and the winner was #13. This was rebrewed for #50, so those of you that missed it now have another chance to try it.

How can you tell if you are looking at a six pack of #50? The notching on the side bottle label should indicate 3rd week of May. Grab some now before they are gone. I bought mine at Kroger, so it should not be too hard to find.



High Alcohol Beer Bill To Become Law

The House conferred on SB1224 this morning and it's  heading to Governor Haslem's desk,  where it is expected to be signed. Now we wait for Sierra Nevada to announce the location of it's east coast brewing facility. I have a very good feeling that they will choose TN.

Local blogger Doug Brumley did an excellent job on recapping the final phase of it's passage. I can't possibly do any better, so I am going be lazy and refer you over to his blog.

Have a celebration beer and enjoy the rest of the weekend.



Beer Review- Schlafly American IPA

I meant to review this beer a week ago, but with all the craziness surrounding SB1224 and amendment 2, I kind of got sidetracked. Oh well. When people mention beer and St Louis in the same sentence, most people think Clydesdales and beechwood-aged swill. Not me! I think of Schlafly. Let's pop the cap on this one!

Schlafly American IPA
St Louis Brewery - Maplewood, MO


Sampled at 45 degrees. Bottled conditioned with a date of 5/03/11. Pours a nice orange amber with an off white head. Medium bodied with average carbonation. Aroma of pale malts and floral hops. Malt backbone is extremely pale, with some notes of toffee and toasted malts. Mid palate attacks you with a bold bitterness, with nuanced flavors of tangerine and pine. Strong dry and hoppy finish with grapefruit rind lingering on the palate. This is a solid IPA for those who prefer a West Coast style IPA. I liked that this beer covered a nice sprectrum of hop flavors. A definite repeat buy for me. This type of IPA goes downhill quick, so I would grab a six ASAP if you can still find one.

Rating*: 9 out of 10
Recommended Food Pairing: Thai cuisine, tacos carne asada with pico de gallo, BBQ
Value: Average at around $10.99 per six pack
Beer Audience: Hopheads
Where To Buy: Liquor stores with a high gravity beer selection
Other high gravity Schlafly beers to try: Pumpkin Ale (fall), Imperial Stout, Barleywine, Irish Style Extra Stout
* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)

Jackalope Brewing To Open Tomorrow!

Senate Bill 1224 passes, and now we find out that Jackalope Brewing is opening tomorrow. What a way to round out American Craft Beer Week in Nashville! Doors open at 4pm. No growlers, just pints and flights for now. Read more here

Not sure if I can make it down, but I will certainly try.



5-20 Update on Senate Bill 1224

The Senate reconvenes at 1:30 pm, and the chances of them voting on the bill this afternoon look good. Check back for updates


UPDATE: The bill has passed the Senate! Right now it's unclear on whether it has to go back to the house or conference. All these procedures and rules make my head hurt. But I think it's safe to state that TN brewers WILL be able to brew high gravity beer in the near future. We also need to hope and pray that Sierra Nevada chooses TN for their new brewing facility/restuarant.

Now I can get back to enjoying what is left of American Craft Beer Week and perhaps catch on my normal blog posts. Many thanks to all of you readers and facebook members that called and emailed your Senators. I have no doubt in my mind that Amendment 2 would have been snuck through had we not alerted the lawmakers. Social media played a HUGE role because it allowed all of us local craft beer enthusiasts to mobilize on such short notice.

Have a beer!


5/19 Update on Senate Bill 1224

Session begins at 8:30, and the bill is number 38 in line. I'll have the video streaming in the background and will post an update IF they get to it today. It's funny that the summary reads as follows:

"As introduced, decreases from two to one the number of years that an individual, shareholder, or transferee must reside in Tennessee following an application for a retail liquor store license; decreases from 10 to five the number of years that an individual, shareholder or transferee must have resided in Tennessee to receive a retail liquor store license. "

No mention of "high alcohol beer." Think they are trying to downplay that part of the bill? Hmmm

back to work,


10:25 UPDATE: Recess until 4pm. They could try to lump this in with a bunch of other bills and pass this today. If it needs to go up for debate, then we are looking at tomorrow or Saturday.

1:48 UPDATE: TN is getting national attention over SB1224. Check out the link below to the Forbes article

4:23 UPDATE: Senate to reconvene at 6pm instead of 4pm.

9:39 pm UPDATE: The Senate has adjourned for the night. They start back up in the morning. Nothing to report tonight. Darn!

SB1224 Goes To The Senate Floor Tomorrow

I am on my lunch break, so I have to make this quick. I have not been able to get an answer as to level of opposition in the full Senate. Therefore I highly recommend that you let your Senators know that you now support SB1224. The "pilot program" part has been removed. So what does this all mean? Frankly I suck at deciphering legal mumbo jumbo and none of my sources have posted any analysis yet. But in a nutshell you can look forward to:

*All TN brewers can brew high gravity beer with the proper license.
*With a restaurant license or limited license, high gravity beer can be sold and served on premises
*There will be a limit of 5 gallons (corny kegs) per person per visit.
*Tastings can be offered on premises, and I THINK retailers can do this as well.

As far as high gravity beer being sold in the liquor stores, that is going to remain the same because that is a distribution issue. Distributors have deep pockets and a strong lobby in the legislature- so don't expect that to change anytime soon. I hate that system as well, because it forces me to drive 15 miles each way to purchase high gravity beer. It's just not a very consumer-oriented way to sell beer, especially for those that live outside a metropolitan area. Beer should be sold under one roof. You don't see wine split up do you?

Because of the press and attention to craft beer in TN, there are plans to form a non-profit advocacy group so that brewers and consumers have a official and unified voice for lawmakers and the press. I'll keep you posted.

That's it for now. You all have your assignment. Let's hope for victory number 2 tomorrow.


Read The Latest Version of SB1224 Here

The good guys at Knox Beer Snobs snagged a copy of the latest bill. I have not had time to read it myself, but here you go:

This still has to go to the senate floor, so the fight is not over. The good news is that hardest part should be past us. As long as there are no other cryptic surprises hidden in this bill, we will need to lobby all the non-committee senators to vote yes. With all this press, I would not be surprised to see anti-alcohol groups come out of the woodwork. We can't let our guard down. Thanks to all you craft addicts that emailed and called your lawmakers. They mentioned all the emails in the meeting. I have no doubt it made a difference in the outcome. Treat your self to a beer!

Stay tuned.....


Revised Version of SB1224 Gets Full Support From Committee

Great News! They heard our calls and emails. They pulled the pilot program and no limit on breweries! Lots of other goodies as well that will be a big boost for craft beer. Now it's off to the Senate Calendar Committee and then the floor. This is the biggest hurdle.

We still need to lobby the non-committee Senate members to vote yes, so don't celebrate just yet. If the bill passes the Senate, you can pretty much count on Governor Haslem will signing it.

Regarding Sierra Nevada, we are only a finalist among a few other states. We need to lobby them to choose TN, so feel free to call or email them as well. Sierra Nevada in TN would be a HUGE boost to the economy and Tennessee's image on the national craft beer scene.

That's it for now


Another Statement From Sierra Nevada

This was just posted on If you are a member or want to sign up for free, you can post a question:

Hello all.

The response from Sierra Nevada was written to clarify our position on the bill. Bottom line, if we can’t brew our beer, we won’t be coming to TN. That said, we have no interest in excluding any brewers anywhere in the state from brewing whatever they want. While it’s true we may have provoked the bill into writing, we didn’t have any input on any of the language or amendments.

Here’s your chance. If you have questions for Sierra Nevada. Ask here. I’ll be checking back throughout the day.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

SB1224: Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee To Meet Today

I know it's craft beer week, but my mind is focused on this bill. Hopefully I can find some time to review a beer or two.

Here has what has been reported thus far. Thanks to all those good beer folks who feed me all of this information. The bill has been referred back to comittee, and they will meet at 1:30pm. You can watch the meeting live at

Let's hope that all of our phone calls and emails pay off. Many thanks to all the media outlets that covered this story.  Momentum seems to swinging in our favor, but anything can change when you have politicians involved.

If you want to get a commercial lawyer's take on the circumstances surrounding SB1224, check out Craig Mangum's blog at

That's it for now. Let's keep the pressure on!


Sierra Nevada and SB1224

Bill Manley from Sierra Nevada sent me an email. I don't want to publish it's contents without his permission. What I can tell you is that they are in 100% agreement with our stance that the bill should not harm any TN brewers. They did make that known to lawmakers- so that is good. Also- TN is just a finalist for the brewery and this law is there to keep us in the running. We still have to hope for Sierra to locate here if we get this bill perfected and passed.

Not only would a Sierra Nevada brewery/restuarant help the local economy of Blount County, it would be a HUGE boost to the Tennessee's national image on the craft beer scene.

Stay tuned


UPDATE: Read the official statement from Sierra Nevada Picks Up The Story On Sierra Nevada and SB1224

Worth reading, and a great site to bookmark. One of my favorite resources for craft beer news

Keep up the pressure and contact any other media outlets. Nashville Business Journal should have something soon.


Tennessee Beer Laws: Update on SB1224

A member in the Nashville Beer Geek Facebook group just posted on my wall. Senator Bill Ketron stated that he will move in committee to remove amendment 2 from the bill,  calling it "a terrible amendment".

Let's keep our fingers crossed, and keep calling your Senators. Tell them that our local TN craft brewers should not be treated as second class breweries, restricting their ability to compete with those out of state breweries.

A few readers have posted an email response from Senator Johnson:
 "I have spoken with Sen. Yager regarding your concerns. He has assured me that he will remove any language that is harmful to current or prospective brewers. I will continue to monitor the legislation to be sure.Thanks for the email

Hearsay this morning was that Governor Haslem supported the bill. Several of us on the Facebook page started calling. Johnathan Borsodi of Marble City Brewing Co. posted this message:
Per Mark Cate, Special Assistant and Policy Advisor to Gov. Haslam, "We agree that the amendment as written will not work and are working to find a better solution."

We have some momentum! Spread the word and get people to call and email those lawmakers. It's not over yet. I will post updates as they come in


A Nice Summary of the SB1224 Situation

Local beer blogger Doug Brumley has written an excellent article explaining the circumstances surrounding SB1224. I highly recommend that you read it, because he explains it better than I.  Click here to be redirected to The Fledgling Brewer blog

A few readers have posted this email from Senator Johnson:
"I have spoken with Sen. Yager regarding your concerns. He has assured me that he will remove any language that is harmful to current or prospective brewers. I will continue to monitor the legislation to be sure.

Thanks for the email."

Hearsay is that Governor Haslem supports SB1224 with Amendment 2. Call his office and ask to speak with constituent services and explain your opposition to  the amendment. We want all TN brewers to have equal access to the high gravity permits.
Check back for updates and don't let up on these lawmakers. Let's keep the momentum going.

Say No To Senate Bill SB1224

If you have not heard, the TN state senate will be voting on SB1224 this Tuesday. I have chosen to oppose the bill because of an amendment that would restrict the high gravity permits to only three breweries in the entire state. The bill started in the right direction by redefining high gravity beer. However, it took a severe turn for the worse with amendment 2, which is nothing but special interest deals in disguise. Don't believe me? Read the bill yourself. Please note- Yazoo is not part of those secret deals. They have had their high gravity permit for almost two years.

I am all for redefining the cap on craft beer, but not when the law discriminates against TN craft brewers and restrains their ability to compete in the marketplace.  Lawmakers need to go back to the drawing board. This bill is bad for craft beer, and puts TN craft brewers at a competitive disadvantage. The senate votes on this bill on Tuesday! I urge you to contact your state senators and tell them you oppose SB1224. Below is a sample letter from an anonymous TN brewer, and I think it sums up the situation very well:

"______________are opposed to Amendment No. 2 to SB1224 in its current form.

While we are not opposed to legislation that would allow the production of malt beverages greater than 5 % alcohol by weight, Amendment No. 2 to SB1224, as propose...d, would restrict this legitimate business activity to only three breweries in the state. This would leave the other 20 (approximate) breweries in the state at a competitive disadvantage.

Our businesses are growing concerns creating economic activity and, more importantly, new jobs, in the state of Tennessee . If the economic opportunity presented in Amendment No 2 to SB 1224 was available to all Tennessee breweries, we would support the amendment. However, as the Amendment is presently written, we would become a second class brewery even though we are required to pay the same taxes and have the same standards both federal and state as those brewers who are favored.

The standards put forth in the amendment for being permitted to brew high alcohol content beer in the proposed amendment are not uniform throughout Tennessee . In east Tennessee the favored brewer must be from a municipality whose population in the 2000 census is between 7700 and 7800 people and whose county population in the 2000 census is between 105,800 and 105,900. However the “standard” changes for West Tennessee . In West Tennessee there is no population rules but it must be a brewer who has the ability to brew two million (2,000,000) barrels of beer. The rules also state that only 1 brewery per Grand Division can qualify for the special permit.

This law is restrictive to commerce in Tennessee and will create a hardship to those brewers who qualify in every way to brew but cannot meet the special interest rules. I might add there is no restriction to out of state brewers to brew and import and high alcohol content beers in Tennessee ! "

I'll save you the detective work. The East TN favored brewer must be in.....Alcoa! That's right, that district Senator wants an out of state brewer (rumored to be Sierra Nevada) to set up shop there and get that special permit. And Memphis? A wisconsin-based brewery bought the old Coors building, so lawmakers wrote in those special requirements just for them. Don't get me wrong, I am pro business guy and I am all for bringing in new companies to TN. But what I don't support special interest deals that hurt our TN based brewers.

Beer Review- Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

I have always been a fan of Victory Brewing Company, so I was pretty excited to see them introduce a new beer to the Nashville market. Before they had broad distribution, I used to make "special trips" to visit a vendor that was near the Downingtown, PA brewery (I miss that job). Since the hot weather is approaching, this will be a good time to review another session beer

Victory Headwaters Pale Ale
Victory Brewing Company- Downingtown PA
ABV: 5.2%

The pure water we receive from the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek that begins its journey to us just under 14 miles from where we brew with it. We’ll be celebrating this water (insert your lite beer joke here) with our anniversary beer, Headwaters Pale Ale, due to be released February 15, 2011. Now, considering that beer is the product of four simple ingredients and the three other than water rely on water for their existence, we’ve had a fair amount of latitude in paying homage to water in our beer. So, we’ve played all of our cards deftly, bringing the hops, malt and yeast in harmony, with our great local water as the conductor in Headwaters Pale Ale.


Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours a nice orange amber with an off white head. Medium bodied with a steady carbonation. This has a mild, pleasant aroma of orange peel and ale esters. Lighter side of medium bodied with steady carbonation, with a texture that is thin without being watery. The malt profile is a subtle blend of toffee and caramel, with a hint of toastiness. This is countered by a tangerine-like hop bitterness, with the attentuation not overly dry or sweet. Semi-dry hoppy finish with notes of lemon grass.

There are a lot of mediocre Pale Ales out there, but this one is a well-crafted standout and fine example of the style. Beer enthusiasts who desire bolder flavors and lots of bitterness will probably find this beer boring. But those who appreciate a balanced session beer should give this one a try.

Rating*: 9 out of 10
Recommended Food Pairing: Wings, Spicy cuisine (Thai, Mexican, Cajun)
Value: Average at around $9.99 per six pack
Beer Audience: Anyone who appreciates a well-crafted session beer
Where To Buy: low gravity specialty beer stores
Other low gravityVictory beers to try:  Prima Pils
* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)

May High Gravity Arrivals

If you read the previous post, some new high gravity beers distributed by Bonus Bev are now here. From Fort Collins Brewing, look for bombers (22 ounce bottles) of Wheat Wine and Incredible Hop. I had the Incredible Hop the other night and it should please any hop head. It has some slight similarities to Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster, but with earthier hops and a much bolder bitterness on the finish that lingers on the palate. Expect to pay around $8.99 per bomber.

A shipment of Ruckus Brewing Hoptimus Prime just arrived at Midtown Wine & Spirits and few other select locations. At $5.99 per bomber, this is a good value for a quality Double IPA. As with any Double IPA, freshness is key. Drink them sooner than later.

Look for these beers at any liquor store with a decent high gravity selection, or contact Josh at Bonus Bev to find the nearest retailer.

That's it for now. Cheers