It’s Friday so let’s talk beer. Why? Because it’s fun, can be delicious, and an excellent carby libation for any fellow runners out there. Also, it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and what kind of holiday is it if you can’t enjoy a beer or 7?
Last weekend on our way home from Viola Valley (which, I forgot to mention, is about 10 miles from where Bonnaroo takes place) we were somewhere around Sparta, TN when we passed over the Calfkiller River. Morbid name aside, I instantly remember that Sparta is home to Calfkiller Brewing Company.
I was introduced to Calfkiller a few years ago at a small brewer’s fest in Middle Tennessee. They had a maple syrup beer that I sampled and was instantly smitten with. I find myself constantly drawn to unique beer flavors and find myself even more delighted when said beers actually taste good. I made a mental note to Google the new brewery and have followed them on Facebook ever since.
Now, it was not even 11 in the morning at this point. I was wearing some pretty sketchy looking sweatpants and had a post run sheen of sweat, salt, and Gatorade all over me. But I called them anyway. Three times, à la stalker, and blessedly, someone actually picked up and then actually let us in. Unannounced, without an appointment. I’m telling you this story because this is the epitome of what this brewery is – mainly, awesome but also unpretentious. You can bet no big-wig brewery (or any sane one for that matter) would let two raggedy kids in early on a random Saturday morning. But they did, and we got by far, the best beer tour I’ve ever had.
Again, let me reiterate in stating that Calfkiller is unlike any brewery I’ve ever known. It’s directly behind the owners home, and kind of reminds me of my grandparents house. Pictures, awards, memorabilia adorn the walls and random things that don’t make any sense at all are filling corners. We received the powerpoint presentation… …while enjoying our first sample of beer and were moved into another room where the tanks are where we were able to chat with one of the Sergio brothers (the owners) while he kegged beer. An extraordinarily down to earth guy who let us sample an unreleased beer still in its maturing stage and made with coffee beans. J was a fan.
Pretty standard stuff. But the beer? Oh the beer is far from standard. We tried 4 different beers – each one delicious. Seriously – DELICIOUS – in their own ways. The name’s of the beers are, for lack of a better word, awesome – the result of a few good stories, I presume. Check out these names:
Yes, they have a Bullshit Ale and yes I tried it. True to form, it doesn’t look mean but packs a big punch and it tastes awesome. They also have a really tasty beer called The Scorned Hooker. Yes – Scorned. Hooker. My favorite, though, was the Trail Ale (name slightly covered by a light reflection). It was pretty much what would happen if trail mix and beer had a baby. A really, really good baby.
So our tour continued, we sipped, and oggled, as I stood their in my post-run, slightly buzzed bliss. Then do you know what we did? We got one last beer sample, walked upstairs, and shot the shit for about 20 minutes with the our guide under a tin roof, surrounded by cool spring air. If there was any way to bottle of my happiness at that moment, I would have.
The bad news? These guys have little intention of selling their wares outside of Tennessee. The good news for us Tennessee folks, however, is that they know what they are doing. They are making some seriously good stuff here with the persona’s to match.
And if you guys are reading this…thanks for answering the phone and opening your doors to some random creepers. And for my new shirt. I’ll be wearing this proudly on the boat this weekend:
Cheers everyone. Have a fabulous weekend!