I rolled into Asheville in December 1999 after leaving Clearwater, FL. It was a bit of a culture shock due to the friendly people, the weather and the beer choices. Up until then, the best craft offering I had was a Samuel Adams so you can imagine what it was like for this beer-virgin in the up-and-coming beer city USA. I since have a love and deep respect for beer brewed next door in North Carolina. My liver has never been quite the same and probably never will.
While exploring Asheville I also attended my first beer festival, Brewgrass. Not only did Asheville expand my beer exploration it also introduced me to jam bands such as The Dead, Widespread and also created a deep love for bluegrass music. It was also at Brewgrass that I was first introduced to Foothills Brewing, to Jade IPA and to my favorite Foothills beer, Seeing Double IPA. Now, at this time I didn’t know much about the brewing process or the complex brews that can be created from simply changing ingredients, mash temperature and fermentation. I have learned much since as it was events like this that fueled my interest in homebrewing.
I felt it fitting to do this post here at the beginning of 2017 as Knoxville, and all of Tennessee, will be seeing an enhanced selection of beer at both the local bottle stores like The Casual Pint and at our local breweries, which now are too many to count on two hands! What is this of which I speak? The definition of beer has changed from 6.25% to 10.1% ABV. This means places like The Casual Pint and Bearden Beer Market will be able to carry a whole list of beer that, while we may have been able to find at the liquor store, was not allowed to be sold in these types of spots due to licensing and how the state defined “beer.” While breweries like Foothills Brewing Company have been in our market for a while, they haven’t been able to offer their complete lineup in all of our local spots – well the bar has changed my friends! WOOT!!!
On to the beer! This beer pours a great hazy pale color with a moderate head that is easily agitated. The aroma is heavenly; mango, tangerine and a touch of pepper. The flavor is dominated by the Jade hops which start off with hints of tropical fruits, pine and then a slight peppery finish from the dry hop additions of Citra and Chinook. This intense hop profile is balanced by a nice malty sweetness – biscuit perhaps – creating one hell of a great beer. Clocking in at 7.4% ABV you can easily have two glasses on a Tuesday night and be just fine. It is very hard to be jaded with such a wonderful beer like this!
Final snobs: I remember a time when we would bring beer like this back from out of state. It’s hard to believe that beer like this is not only available in Tennessee but is now more accessible than ever. Cheers to Foothills Brewing Company for a fabulous, bold, citrusy mouthful of an IPA and cheers to all of us for what lies ahead in 2017 and beyond. If it’s beer like this, it’s going to be an incredible year.