Knox Beer Snobs

Marble City Brewing Company – Part Two

Hello fellow beer snobs!

You may have seen our recent post on Marble City Brewing Company that KnoxBeerSnob Don wrote up a few days ago. Well, we got a chance to go by and meet the people behind this establishment as well as to talk to them a bit about what’s going on.

As we showed up, Adam Palmer met us at the door and immediately made us feel at home. You certainly get the feel that this is a place that is still new, raw, where things haven’t found their permanent homes yet and excitement lingers in the air.

To be fair, Marble City Brewing Company has already received a fair amount of press from our local news outlets like WBIR and The Metro Pulse. We certainly didn’t want to repeat what these fine reporters had already done but instead wanted to dive into some of the thoughts behind where these guys are headed. The conversation fell along the lines of discussing various festivals, beers, breweries, and the craft beer market in general. I think many of us can agree that Knoxville is still growing into what all the craft beer market has to offer. A lot of that has to do with the laws and regulations in Tennessee, but let’s not get into that. The bottom line, as Adam put it so perfectly is that, “places like The Bearden Beer Market and Vic’s Package Store are changing the palate of this town.” We’re getting more varieties of beer in and that’s a great thing. There are so many types and choices in the beer market now which means for us beer snobs, well, we certainly come out ahead.

We also discussed what it meant to experiment and try new things. We spent some time with Jennifer Muckerman and let me tell you, I’m excited that she’s the head brewer at this fine establishment. After talking to her for a few minutes you can tell that she’s constantly thinking, dissecting nuances in the beer and very excited not only about what she’s involved in but about beer in general. We got a chance to try out the Spice Pumpkin Ale that many of you may have had this past October at Brewers Jam. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had much pumpkin flavored beer that I liked and if you asked me to name one that I’d suggest, well, I couldn’t have thought of one prior to trying this one. I could – not – get – enough – of – this – beer. It was like eating a pumpkin pie – you get the pumpkin, the spice, the cloves – it was great! From talking to Jennifer it seems like this beer is a mess to make though! She uses real pumpkins and from what Adam told us, she makes a “tea” of sorts before even getting things going. Anyway, you can imagine what fun pumpkin must be to clean up. Regardless, it’s worth the effort as it is a great beer.

We also got a chance to sample a red ale they’ve been working on. It was pretty tasty as well. It had a nice sweet start and finished with a nice amount of hops. Jennifer seemed to think that it wasn’t quite there yet and we certainly applaud her tenacity and quest for perfection but we like it as it is!

We also got a chance to talk to Adam a little bit more about the name they chose for the company. Many Knoxvillians are aware of the vast quarries that are strewn about East Tennessee. Ijams Nature Center has two quarries that visitors can enjoy. Mead’s Quarry (below) is actually below the water table and looks like a small lake and legend has it that there is actual mining equipment below the water. 

The newest quarry addition at Ijams is Ross Marble Natural area which is possibly the coolest quarry that I’ve visited thus far. As it is above the water table it is not full of water like Mead’s. Probably the coolest feature is the keyhole at the base (pic below of your’s truly and Paul James, Executive Director of Ijams).

It’s the marble from these quarries that is important though as many buildings throughout the country, especially Washington, DC, contain marble from East Tennessee and that’s why Knoxville was aptly named  “The Marble City” around the early 20th century.

The name was suggested by one of the founder’s friends due to the history mentioned above. Shortly thereafter the logo that we’ve become familiar with was initially found from a picture of an old saloon owned by Jim Lay that was posted on The Metro Pulse. Adam contacted the grandson of Mr. Lay and the rest is history. So we’re not only excited about the fact that we have a new brewing company in Knoxville but also that it’s name is so deeply rooted in our city’s heritage.

So I know the big question everyone wants to know is: when can I get some of their beer?! I wish I had a date for you. The simple fact is that you can’t push quality beer out the door overnight. These guys are keeping in mind the mistakes of their predecessor that once occupied this space and they are determined to bring something new and different to the market. Further, it takes a little time for a brew master to get used to their new equipment as they want the first beer out the door to be beer snob quality brew! Also, the existing open fermentation systems are out the door (and for sale, if they aren’t already sold) and a closed primary fermenter is on the way. They also sold the existing bottling machine primarily because it was WAY more machine than a brewing company of this size needs. They have another on deck and hopefully will have it in before too long. Don’t worry though, we’ll keep in touch with these guys and as soon as we know, you’ll know.

We beer snobs in Knoxville have waited this long for a brewing company of this nature to come along, I think we can wait a wee bit longer.