Balter Beerworks #KnoxvilleLocal

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.

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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.

 

In conclusion: 10 out of 10!

Great, classic beers. Drool-worthy eats.

Scruffy atmosphere. Fantastic service.

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Knoxville Local #BeMyValentine

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Photo credit: Shane Hunter

If you’ve ventured to my about page you know that I live in Knoxville, Tennessee; affectionately known as Scruffy City. My fiancé and I just moved into an apartment downtown that we love because we are in the heart of the scruffiness! I like to think that Knoxville has the brain of an entrepreneur and the heart of an artist. There are always musicians playing, artists showing, comedians joking, and always new places opening!

In honor of my beautiful city, I have decided to start a #KnoxvilleLocal series, dedicated to all my favorite places and things to do. I’ll feature a new place/activity every week, giving you locations, websites, and reasons that I think its so awesome.

BUT! Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I won’t leave you hanging! I’ll start with a succinct list of some great downtown date night ideas for dinner and drinks, along with all the info you need to make it happen!

DINNER

Tomato Head Downtown is a great place for a casual date with great vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. They have amazing sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and much more! Some of my favorites are the #13 pizza, the Southwest Salad, the Kepner Melt, and the keylime pie. They also have a great selection of craft beer and wine.

$$ – 12 Market Square

Nama Sushi Bar can be casual or classy, but their sushi is fantastic and the atmosphere is great for conversation and quality time.

$$ – 506 S Gay Street

Babalu Tacos & Tapas is a tacos and tapas bar that just opened on Gay Street. I have yet to visit, but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun and their food is great! They use fresh and locally sourced ingredients for a flavorful and unique experience.

$$ – 412 S Gay Street

Stock & Barrel is the place for you if you’re looking for the best burgers, fries, and whiskey in town. They also source a lot of their ingredients locally and while whiskey is what they specialize in, they also have a decent selection of craft beer. Things I love here are the Black & Bleu burger, the Deadhead black bean burger, and their fried mushrooms!

$$ – 35 Market Square

Sweet P’s BBQ has amazing BBQ (as you would hope) and a really fun atmosphere! They serve up their soul food cafeteria style and leave you to your whims with their house made sauces right at your table. P.S. Don’t forget to get their mac’n’cheese, it’s heavenly!

$$ – 410 W. Jackson Avenue

Oodles Uncorked has fantastic food, but if you’re a wine enthusiast this is the place to be! They have a great atmosphere whether you’re going out with friends or getting a table for two. If the weather permits, they have a great patio, but either way be sure to try their house cabernet!

$$ – 18 Market Square

Knox Mason has an intimate atmosphere with ample southern charm and modern chic.  They serve all the traditional southern comfort food we know and love, with the gourmet skill every foodie craves. They also work closely with local farms and businesses to source their ingredients locally and fresh! It’s terrible but… all I can think about as I’m writing this is their homemade ice cream haha!

$$$ – 131 S Gay Street

 

DRINKS

Crafty Bastard is a new local brewery in Knoxville that has their own line of fantastically crafted beers in addition to some of Knoxville’s favorites!

Public House specializes in craft cocktails but also has a great selection of craft beers and a fantastic wine list.

Hops & Hollers has one of the largest varieties of beer in downtown, with 32 craft beers on tap and over a 100 in bottles and cans! Their atmosphere is super chill and is a beer lover’s paradise.

Peter Kern Library (known to the locals as the library) has many interesting stories floating around, but following the red light down the alley way to the door is enough to make it feel like a speakeasy. If the atmosphere isn’t enough, the uniquely crafted cocktails are sure to make you fall in love. To read more about the library, check out this article on Average Enthusiast.

Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

-Shelby