Spring Break 2014 found me camping near Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. After spending Spring Break ’13 in the same spot, I knew exactly where to go for local craft beer: Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant.
After hiking five miles around the Smokies, I was ready for a beer…or nine! My nine beer sampler tray:
- Mountain Light, an American Pilsner
- Velas Helles, a light German-style Lager
- Windy Gap Wheat, a light Wheat Ale
- Cherokee Red Ale, a flavorful Irish Amber Ale
- Black Bear Ale, an English-style Brown Ale
- Appalachian Pale Ale, a hoppy Pale Ale
- Tuckaleechee Porter, a roasty dark Porter
- Capricator Bock, a strong, German-style Dark Lager
- Rye IPA, a flavorful and clean-tasting IPA
I also visited the Smoky Mountain Brewery in nearby Pigeon Forge, where they had two beers they didn’t have in Gatlinburg:
- Tall Ship IPA, a hoppy British-style IPA
- Brown Trout Stout, a smooth Stout
As if I didn’t get enough Smoky Mountain brew at their restaurants, I got a mixed 12-pack to-go. It included one beer in the bottle that they didn’t have on draft: Thunder Road Pilsner, a Bohemian Pilsner.
Other Tennessee bottles sampled at the camp site:
From Blackstone Brewing Company in Nashville, Tennessee
- Chaser Pale, a Kölsch
- A.P.A., an American-style Pale Ale
- Nut Brown Ale
- St. Charles Porter
From Yazoo Brewing Company in Nashville, Tennessee
- Pale Ale
- Dos Perros, a Mexican-style Alt
I also had the latter on draft at the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Gatlinburg, where we had a balcony table overlooking the main strip. I also enjoyed a pint of Loose Caboose Lager from Depot Street Brewing Company in Jonesborough, Tennessee while being entertained by the scene below.
Finally, in honor of my 1,500-mile Spring Break road trip through the heart of Appalachia — eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina — I had a bottle of Road Trip, a Pilsner from SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta, Georgia.
Totals for first half of Spring Break ’14: 2 brew pubs, 13 different beers on draft, and 8 different beers in bottles. Not bad, but the best was yet to come in Asheville.