My fiancé and I finally had the chance to visit Balter Beerworks, a recent addition addition to Knoxville’s growing micro-brewing scene. We’ve been aching to go since the day we drove by and saw their brewing vats amidst the construction. On a corner of downtown Knoxville that has long been begging to be revitalized, Balter has turned an abandoned service station into a wonderland of scruffiness, glassware, and fantastic craft beer.
Determined to get the full experience, Jon and I tasted several beers each and felt ourselves swelling with pride with each sip. Plus the namesakes are all dedicated to our beloved city! Balter has created a selection of classic beers that are well balanced, flavorful, and drinkable. I tried the Good Neighbor Kolsh, which was crisp and lightly malted; the James White Wit Belgian Witbier, which had all the tart wheatiness we know and love in a Belgian wheat; and lastly the Jackson Abbey Belgian Dubbel, was a super malty dark ale, with a robust flavor and light body. And since I’m not a fan of pale ales, I’ll defer to Jon’s descriptions of the Maypop American Pale Ale as “a very light, bready malt bill supported by soft resinous american hops,” and the Firebelly India Pale Ale as “a classic Southeastern IPA with a rather light mouthfeel and well-balanced showcase of bold american hops.”
On top of having a fantastic beer selection, they have a menu full of classic bar foods, prepared and served in the classiest way. We shared the street tacos appetizer – four small steak or fish tacos topped with pickled onions, cilantro, crema, and charred salsa. But we couldn’t stand to stop there! I went for the classic burger (highlights being a perfect cook, Sweetwater Farms cheddar, and the black pepper aioli) and a side of fries which were seasoned to perfection and fried to the perfect combo of crispy outside and tender inside. Jon went for two cheesy southern classics: grilled pimento cheese sandwich and cheese grits. I don’t like either of these things, but they were amazing! The grilled cheese was served on sourdough with bacon and tomato, and the grits were thick and creamy with their wonderful blend of cheeses.