Zack Roskop, owner and operator of Knox Brew Tours, came to us with an idea. The idea was a collaboration to bring the way we experience Knoxville to the masses. He would provide the transportation and we would embark on an adventure to provide an evening that most people wouldn't have otherwise. After dreaming, scheming, emailing and a few beers, KnoxFoodie Date Night was born. We talked to our friends, set the date night up and crossed our fingers that our guests would enjoy this unique Knoxville adventure. Here's a recap of Date Night #1. I hope our guests show up. We picked everyone up at the Casual Pint Downtown much like many Knox Brew Tours start. There was a lot of excitement swirling around and a lot of guesses about what we had planned for the night. No one really ever guessed what was going to happen next! Waiting on the bus were Duck Fat Nuts and Bolts from Holly's Gourmet Market. This super chic take on party mix had everyone talking. Where to first? The first leg of our journey was a tour and small tasting at Balter Beerworks, Knoxville's newest Brew Pub. We learned about brewing beer inside the windowed brew house and were treated to samples of the Maypop Pale Ale, Firebelly IPA and Bear Blend Porter. Questions were asked and answered by Zack who is a natural at educating folks on all things beer. What's for dinner? After finishing our brews the group was ready for the next adventure. We told everyone dinner was coming up next but no one had a clue about where! The bus stopped in front of Olibea in the Old City and after a few confused looks we explained what we were doing there. We had collaborated with one of our favorite chefs in Knoxville to cook a family style Battle of the Puebla (the real reason for Cinco de Mayo) meal. Jeffrey DeAlejandro, chef/owner of Olibea, took us on a journey into his grandmother's kitchen with smoking hot molcajetés filled to the brim with grilled vegetables, chicken, beef, shrimp and fried cheese. There were also sides of handmade tortillas, rice, salsas and glitter (Jeff's word for chopped onion and cilantro). Those of you that have been to Olibea know that they are only open for breakfast and lunch. We were very grateful to Jeff for opening up his restaurant to cook us this incredible meal. Dinner was accompanied by my interpretation of a paloma using Knox Whiskey Works Heirloom Corn Whiskey. This cocktail features a grapefruit cordial made with burnt sugar, unaged corn whiskey, chocolate bitters, black pepper and sparkling water. We left Olibea with full bellies and happy hearts. On to the next stop!
It's time for a cocktail! Since there was a taste of Knox Whiskey Works during dinner, why not take them by the distillery for a mini-tour and cocktail? Several of our guests had never been in so this made for a good time. Ziggie was behind the bar and mixed up some gimlets for our crew. The gimlet is a classic cocktail made with gin and a lime cordial. This is one of my favorite cocktails because it is so simple but still really delicious. We all got to know each other a little better during this stop and off we went. I'd really love something sweet right now. Dinner, cocktails, what's next? Dessert! With Zack behind the wheel and the lovely Megan by his side we headed south of the river to Alliance Brewing Company where there was a fire waiting and plenty of s'mores to be made. Guests were treated to a tour of the brewing system and a small tasting of their delicious brews. After the tour, coat hangers were filled with marshmallows, toasted in the fire then added to Hershey's chocolate and graham crackers to create one nostalgic dessert. It was a chilly night and that made the fire outside perfect.
It's not over yet! After dessert we had one last surprise for our guests on the first tour. Zack wound the brew bus through some small streets and up to the JFG sign, one of Knoxville's most prominent landmarks. From this vantage point you can see the downtown skyline and it was beautiful. Lots of selfies were taken and Zack took a group photo of us to commemorate the event. We had such a wonderful time on this trip around Knoxville and it ended with a lot of our guests asking when the next was going to be so they could come along again. This made a huge impact on us. After a few weeks of mulling and scheming again, we have Date Night number 2 on the books! Visit Knox Brew Tours for details and to purchase tickets. We hope to see you at the next KnoxFoodie Date Night! M