Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza becomes an unexpected road trip bonus
Of course, unexpected things are not necessarily bad. In fact, they can be quite good. I’m currently on a road trip through some Southeast U.S. states that started out as a spring break adventure with my third-grader daughter, who is now safely delivered to her mother in Illinois. It’s now morphed into a Road Trip for Beer for the return journey.
In looking at my itinerary, which is still pretty flexible at this point, I discovered that I would be passing near Johnson City, Tennessee, on the weekend of the second annual Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza, taking place Saturday, April 13, 2013.
Organizer Aaron Carson has invited me to attend previous festivals in the area, including the annual Kingsport Oktoberfest, but I could never make it happen until now. When I realized I could do it this year, I contacted him and he kindly arranged lodging and VIP admission so I could attend.
But why am I so excited about this particular festival? A few reasons. I’ve never visited that corner of Tennessee and am eager to explore the area. The weather is expected to be perfect (though we know how that can go). Most importantly, this seems like the type of festival I enjoy the most – relatively small. It’s being held in the parking lot of the local Mellow Mushroom, a restaurant chain well-regarded for its craft-beer list and support of local beer scenes.
The brewery list features only those from the Southeast states, if you count Colorado stalwarts Oskar Blues, now producing from its new Brevard, North Carolina, brewery; and New Belgium, which is building an East Coast brewery in Asheville, North Carolina.
Otherwise, all the brewers are based in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and of course Tennessee.
Many of these will be new to me, and I’m looking forward to trying them – especially since I was invited to be a “celebrity judge” to choose the best beer there. (Which sounds easy, but I know from experience, it will be a tough decision).
Other things you can expect include:
Beer Booth (Photobooth) - Everyone who purchases a ticket for General Admission will receive entry to the Beer Booth. Get a free Souvenir photostrip while you take a picture in the Beer Booth. You get your pictures immediately, so have some fun and get your picture made at the same time.
Iron Brewer Challenge -Brewers compete for the title of the Iron Brewer, where each brewer adds a secret ingredient to their beer. Everyone gets a chance to select your favorite in this competitive event where Brewers show their talent and skill for the IRON BREWER title.
The People’s Pint Glass Swap – A glass roots movement is a pint glass swap at the beginning of the Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza. It is a chance to swap one or many of your beloved beverage holders (aka pint glasses) with fellow beer lovers. (Wish I had brought some of my duplicates).
Live Music – Performances by local groups Wise Old River, Demon Waffle and Last in Line.
VIP tickets are sold out, but general admission tickets are still available here. Proceeds will benefit Girls on the Run, a nonprofit program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running.