Craft Beer in the Scenic City

After Atlantis visited the 18th annual Southern Brewer’s Fest last August, it was hard to believe that Chattanooga’s love for beer could be topped. But as we walked around the first annual Chattanooga Craft Beer Festival (CCBF), hosted by the Tennessee Pavilion, we realized the Scenic City had outdone itself once again.

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This event blew the Southern Brew Fest out of the water. The atmosphere alone was right up our alley considering that for over a year now we’ve been selling brewing supplies, making our own homebrew, and growing a personal enthusiasm for craft beer. Put on by Rhizome Productions, the CCBF was quite possibly the best thing ever for a lover of craft beer.

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Instead of setting up a booth and promoting our store, we chose to mingle and sample with other brew-heads, talking about our own love of beer and answering questions about making beer at home. The best thing about this festival, besides the fact that there were over thirty vendors offering two to four types of beer, was the overwhelming attendance and support of local brewers.

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One third of the beer makers present were native to Tennessee, while half of those were based right here in the Choo Choo City. Chattanooga’s own Barley Mob brew club, Moccasin Bend, Chattanooga Brewing Co., McHale’s, Terminal, and Big River all made an appearance to represent the true spirit of craft beer we share here in Chatt-town.

The new festival brought great innovations to the benefit of enthusiasts by setting up a one time fee and supplying free drinking water. The cost of your ticket would give you entrance to the event, a sample glass, and endless refills to try every single last one of the beers offered. That’s right, if you could manage to drink two gallons of beer in a matter four hours then you would be more than welcome to sample over sixty different kinds of beer. Unfortunately, we could only put down about ten types, but it was fun nonetheless.

Meeting fellow brewers, talking to the pros, and trying more kinds of beer than ever before made the CCBF a most enjoyable experience. We look forward to the Second Annual Craft Beer Festival and hope that next year there will be even more good beers to choose from. Thanks to Rhizome Productions and all our hometown brewers for making the CCBF such a fun and friendly event!

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Bake Your Ale Off: Beer Bread

Beer Bread with Chevre and Radish

Beer Bread with Chevre and Radish

I’ll admit it, I’m afraid of bread. And no, I’m not a no-carb fanatic who only eats tacos made with lettuce leaves and pizza made with cauliflower (yes, that’s a thing). I love to eat bread; it’s the making of the bread that scares me. Baking in general tends to not be my thing. It just seems so…severe. Measurements and timing must be exact or everything is ruined!!! Ugh, no thanks. Chill out, baking, let’s relax and have some fun!

Enter beer bread. Yes, you read that right. BEER. BREAD. Two of the greatest things on the planet, together, creating an even greater thing. This bread is so easy to make; even I have the patience for it. There’s no yeast involved, no kneading or waiting for the precious baby dough to rise. You just mix together a few ingredients, throw ’em in the oven, wait 40 minutes or so, and then you have glorious, glorious beer bread.

Sift, pour, mix, done.

Sift, pour, mix, done.

The type of beer you use will affect a few things with this bread. One, the flavor. I typically make this with a light, easy-drinker without too many overpowering flavors, like Miller High Life or Yuengling Lager. The bread comes out with a subtle beer flavor, but it mostly just tastes like bread. Awesome bread. If you want a more distinctively flavored beer bread, you can use a more distinctively flavored beer, like a Guinness or maybe a spiced beer around the holidays. Do you homebrew? Well now you can drink and eat your yeasty creations. Just keep in mind that the heavier the beer, the longer the baking time will be. For this loaf, I used Bell’s Oberon, a wheat ale, and it lent such a nice, bright, almost citrusy flavor to the bread. So great for Spring with some chevre and sliced radishes from the farmers’ market.

Beer Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • One 12 oz can or bottle of beer (any beer)
  • 3 tablespoons organic butter
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Sift well with fork, or sift through a fine mesh sieve. Pour in beer, stir until a stiff batter is formed, but don’t over mix (best to just use your hands). Scrape dough into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Melt butter and brush/pour across top of dough. This is optional, but it really adds to the savory crunch of the crust.
  4. Bake for about 40 or so minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Bake time will vary with beer type.

Feel free to experiment with different types of beer. This bread is also very receptive to add-ins, like herbs, garlic, and cheese. Throw in about a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary, and your house will soon smell like…the best thing ever. The final product is great for toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade croutons…the list goes on. So crack open a few cold ones and get baking.