Beer

We See You, Knoxville

We’ve gotten a lot of questions this road trip, everything from “Why did you bring your dog along?” to “Do you two fight ALL the time?” but two of the most frequent questions we’ve gotten are “What’s your favorite stop so far?” and “Has anywhere surprised you?”

While it’s too hard to pick a favorite (every city has been SO different, you really can’t compare), we without a doubt can answer which city surprised us.

Knoxville, Tennessee.

Now, we could say the typical “It’s really up and coming!” and “It’s such a foodie city!” (which is all true), but Knoxville deserves more than that. It’s special. It has the charm and approachability that we would assume Nashville had before it really commercialized. It’s a small town, yet modern, and the people are all so incredibly kind and proud of their city. (And after having spent a couple of days there, we felt proud of Knoxville too!)

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Instead of trying to convince you on just how epic Knoxville is, we figure we’ll let our experience (and the pictures) do the talking. Here’s what we did:

ATE OUR WAY THROUGH KNOXVILLE

If we’re being honest, we’re probably still full from Knoxville. This city has more restaurants and cafes than it knows what to do with - and they’re good, too! From modern taco shops like Chivo Taqueria and Good Golly Tamale, to artisan pizzarias like A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, to mouthwatering bakeries like Wild Love Bakehouse and Paysan Bread, the Knoxville foodie scene has a little of everything. And if you don’t end the day with a dipped cone at Cruze Farm Ice Cream, you’re doing it wrong!

Morning bagel deliciousness at Paysan Bread (and Remedy Coffee right next door)

Good Golly Tamale has some golly good tamales

Sally wanted the tacos at Chivo Taqueria

Yassin’s Falafel House is a great quick dinner

A Dopo may have been our favorite meal!

Can you see the SPARKLES?!?!?! Cruze Farm is AMAZING!

DRANK OUR WAY THROUGH KNOXVILLE

If you love beer, you will have a serious love affair with Knoxville. There are 15 local craft breweries in town, and every brewery has a story and a theme. Schulz Brau Brewing Company serves German style beers in a castle, Pretentious Beer Co serves their ales in hand-blown glasses that are made on site, and Last Days of Autumn has the best taco tuesday in town! (Paired with a habanero IPA, of course!)

How do we know so much about these breweries, you ask? We took the famous Knox Brew Tour - and we highly recommend it! This 3-hour tour took us through four craft breweries, where we not only learned more about the beer-making process, but we enjoyed twelve tastings, and made some new friends along the way. (No joke - we all went out to dinner together after!) We can’t say enough about how fun the tour is, and how great the people are that run them. The next time we’re back in Knoxville, you better believe we’ll be doing another Knox Brew Tour.

And while beer was definitely a highlight, we would be remiss to leave out our daily fuel - coffee. Of course there are amazing coffee shops in Knoxville. Some of our favorites are Honeybee Coffee, Remedy Coffee, Wild Love Bakehouse, and Awaken Coffee (and there were more that we wanted to visit - next time!).

Hand blown glass can be found all over Pretenious Beer Co, and you can buy some amazing glasses!

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We learned something new at every stop!

Our guide Zack, aka Taco, is a beer guru that makes the tour so much fun!

We left with more knowledge of beer, but also some new pals!

Honeybee Coffee :)

Wild Love Bakehouse for coffee and treats!

Honeybee is bright, spacious, and has some yummy coffee

SWUNG, ZIPPED, & WALKED OUR WAY THROUGH KNOXVILLE

Thanks to the folks at Navitat Canopy Adventures, we were able to see Knoxville in a whole new way… from the trees! We spent an afternoon conquering their tree-based zipline and aerial course, and it was quite the thrill! USA Today has called their zipline course “One of the best in the nation”, and it definitely lives up to the hype. Adventure seekers, this is reason enough to put Knoxville on your radar!

Prefer walking on solid ground over balancing on ropes? You’re in luck too! Knoxville’s downtown is incredibly walkable. We rarely used our car while we were there, which we loved! We stayed at the Hilton Downtown, which was just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Market Square, where there were plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. Oh, and we can’t forget about Strong Alley (just parallel to Market Square)! This colorful artist-designated alley has dozens of unique and expressive murals - our favorite was the painting of the iconic Dolly Parton!

Before we embarked on our adventure at Navitat Canopy Adventures

Bobby flying through one of the more challenging courses!

Beautiful night to explore Market Square

Dolly Parton is one of the first to greet you as you stroll into Strong Alley

SALLY PAWED HER WAY THROUGH KNOXVILLE

Knoxville is just about as dog friendly as they come. Not only do most restaurants have dog friendly patios, but many downtown shops allow dogs inside! We had the best time shopping with Sally in Mast General Store, where she got ample attention from friendly shoppers, and we were able to stock up on some needed roadtripping essentials.

Popular pet brand Pet Safe has their headquarters in Knoxville, and has outfitted the city with spacious dog parks and even a pet resort and spa! We frequented the Pet Safe Downtown Dog Park, where Sally was able to get her wiggles out and make some new friends.

Most breweries are dog friendly, including Alliance Brewing Company, Balter Beerworks, and Elkmont Exchange (see a full list here). Many of which will bring water bowls to your table and have puppy treats on hand, that’s true Southern hospitality right there!

Sally getting her wiggles out at the Pet Safe Downtown Dog Park

So many friends for Sally…

Mast General Store has treasures everywhere

Sally at Mast General :)

More treasures…

Yum!

So many great spots for Sally to get her photo taken!

Moral of the story? Knoxville is really cool. It surprised us, and we think it will surprise you too. We can’t wait to go back.

Something is "Brewing" in Kansas City...

Attention beer drinkers! From casual sippers to aficionados, Kansas City needs to be on your radar. Many people are surprised to hear that their craft brewery scene is hopping (get it?) - and getting bigger! The creativity, attention to detail, and infectious pride in their city and in their craft, makes this a really special and unique hub for craft beer. So, next time you’re in Kansas City, take our advice and go on a “Tap Tour”! Here are the places that you shouldn’t miss:


BREWERY EMPERIAL

Colorful and eclectic, we liked Brewery Emperial as soon as we walked in. Their master brewer Keith has spent his career in great beer establishments, and this brewery has been his dream. Emperial is a place that attracts foodies, beer-ies (is that a thing?), hipsters, or anybody just seeking supreme quality food, beer, and atmosphere. You’ll feel right at home, and your tastebuds will thank you!

CASUAL ANIMAL

“Laid back beers that tap into your wild side” is Casual Animal’s motto… and we couldn’t love it more. Maybe it’s because their beer was incredible (Bobby got a pale ale or 2, and Alli got a yummy cider), or maybe it’s because they have animal masks that you can wear. Between the beers, the masks, and the free shuffle board, we had a great time at Casual Animal! Definitely a must-stop on a tap tour!


BOULEVARD BREWING COMPANY

The largest specialty craft beer brewer in the Midwest, Boulevard Brewing Company is definitely the most well-known brewery in Kansas City. Typically that would deter us from going, but this place is something special. 

It’s two levels of entertainment, the first being an “experience area” where you can learn about the history of boulevard and their approach to making beer. The second floor is a 10,000 square foot beer hall, complete with 24 beers on draft, a full menu, views of the city, and an interactive photo booth that we DEFINITELY took advantage of.

As with our first two spots, the beers were great. We definitely blitzed through on this trip, and plan on spending a lot more time at Boulevard on our next tour of KC. They have so many beers to try!

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Have time for more? We’ve yet to try Border Brewing CompanyDouble Shift Brewing Company, and Torn Label Brewing Company, but we’ve heard great things. All of these are located in the Crossroads area, making them a walkable distance from each other. 

Lastly, we can’t forget to mention one of our absolute favorite places to grab a beer in Kansas City, Bar K Dog Bar. Now, this isn't a brewery, but they DO serve beer, and the concept is absolutely incredible. It's a dog park, restaurant, bar, and coffeehouse - all in one! You can have a drink, hang with friends, and watch as your pups frolic through their MASSIVE dog park. There's even a groomer on-sight to clean up your dog before you leave! Is this not genius or WHAT?!

Try as many of these spots as you can “beer” (too much?). And let us know what you think! We’re “hopping” for an excuse to come back (we think we’re funny).