16 July 2007

Bible Belt Beer

On a trip this past weekend to Knoxville for a family reunion, I made a point to find the good beer stores. Believe it or not, I had to go no further than the local Kroger! It never ceases to amaze me that in the heart of the Bible Belt, a beer geek can buy cold, ready-to-drink beer directly from his grocer's freezer, but we can't here in Indy. But not only did Kroger have the usual lite beers, they also had a great selection of local micros. Now there is a strange law in Tennessee that says a grocery store or gas station can sell cold beer, but only up to 5.9% ABV. Anything above 5.9% can only be sold in specialty shops. So nothing was for sale that I would only have to drink one of. But high ABV does not always a good beer make.
I settled on a six pack of St. Terese's Pale Ale from Highland Brewing Company, which is located over the mountains in Asheville, NC. This has an ABV of 5.2%, and was the perfect remedy for a smokin' hot Southern summer day, similar to the effect of an Oberon on an August Indiana day! It was fresh and crisp and definitely satisfying. It had some good hops, but it wasn't over done. Since I make regular trips to Knoxville, I will definitely be sampling some other of Highland's offerings.
It was also a good reminder not to get stuck on my Midwestern favorites, and keep an open eye for some regional offerings. And next time your hard up for a good beer and you're out of state, check out your local grocery store. Alcohol laws vary from state to state, so you never know what you'll find!


  1. Asheville may be in the bible belt, but it ain't bible belt. They are only very slightly larger than Bloomington IN and they have 4, count 'em, 4 breweries. One of the greatest towns on the planet.

  2. Definitely agreed, Matt. I've only had the chance to visit Asheville one time, but I fell in love with the city. Definitely a place I would move, even more so with that brewery count!