You love to explore cities through their drinking culture, craft breweries and craft distilleries? Great! Us too. Let's go.
Whether you're searching for moonshine or an IPA, Knoxville, Tenn., and nearby Gatlinburg offer plenty of top-notch spots to imbibe. Like a good, local friend, we'll show you around.
You'll undoubtably need a pick-me-up, and thankfully, we'll point out where to stop for an espresso, too.
Here's where to go and what to drink while you're in the area:
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine
903 Parkway, Gatlinburg | olesmoky.com
A trip to Knoxville isn't complete without spending time in the Smoky Mountains. And, after a few miles of climbing for stunning vistas, the only post-hike activity anyone in the south should concern themselves with is moonshine tasting. Keep your spirits up at the Ole Smoky distillery in Gatlinburg, just north of Smoky Mountain National Park, and about an hour southeast of Knoxville. Famous for its mason jars of moonshine, Ole Smoky offers a variety of flavored white lightning for your tastebuds and bluegrass bands for your ears.
Order: Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine traditional hooch, or let your taste buds wander into fall with the apple cinnamon flavor.
THE CASUAL PINT
Multiple locations in Knoxville | thecasualpint.com
Known as a craft beer market, the Casual Pint is similar in idea to Bloomington’s The Tap, but with an even more regional feel, as most of the beers are from Tennessee and the surrounding area. Keep your choice local with a Sugar Bear Stout from Bluetick Brewery out of Maryville, Tenn., or knock neighboring North Carolina's door for a Carolina Flagship IPA from Chapel Hill. Incredible outdoor seating and Island Grill cuisine every night from Chef Deuce's food truck make this setting ideal for a summer night.
Order: Sample a few beers, then pick your favorite. Be sure to pair your ale with the deviled eggs topped with maple bacon, for the table — or all to yourself.
THREE BEARS COFFEE COMPANY
Market Square Farmers' Market | threebearscoffee.com
Summer weather offers a coffee predicament with all the heat and humidity, especially while wandering through the Market Square Farmers' Market in downtown Knoxville. Three Bears offers a variety of styles for the caffeine-fiend on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the market out of its cheery teal truck.
Order: Cold brew. It's the perfect blend between expressive, bean-forward flavor and a smooth chicory finish. Simple as that.
4 Market Square | 4marketsquare.com
Knoxville's Saturday market is the place to be, whether you are grocery shopping for organic goods or searching for weekend entertainment. Bordering the entire scene is Café 4. With tables on the sideline of the market, the best spot for fresh comfort food and some hair of the dog is at this café for brunch.
Order: The bloody mary, for a spicy, well-balanced morning tradition.
Old City Java
109 S. Central St. | oldcityjava.com
For espresso snobs, those who just love a cup of joe, and everyone in between, Old City Java satisfies the crowd. The space is clean and bright, simple and creative. The robust flavor of its Direct Trade coffee needs absolutely no additions of cream or sugar, and begs patrons to return for a second dose of caffeine later in the day.
Order: An Americano. Pair it with a house-baked cranberry-pecan scone.
Smoky Mountain Brewery
1004 Parkway, Gatlinburg | smoky-mtn-brewery.com
Even if the beer was no good, the atmosphere would compensate. The A-frame structure and weathered D-logs frame huge windows that lead to views of the Smoky Mountains, or indoors to the brewing equipment. As it turns out, the beer is indeed tasty, and the staff is more than happy to let you sample generously before deciding on a pint.
Order: Black Bear Ale in true spirit of the lodge-esque surroundings. Amber in color, the flavor hints at the end of summer with its slightly malty, Scottish-style profile.
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