Breweries release collaborative beer as kickoff to Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week

David Floyd • Mar 31, 2017 at 10:42 PM

How many breweries does it take to create one brew?

Well, normally just one, but as a kickoff to Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week, six breweries in the Tri-Cities have teamed up to create a new beer for the upcoming festivities: the Tri-Local III.

Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week will consist of activities through April 8, culminating in the 6th Annual Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza in Founder’s Park. 

“The collaboration beer shows that we can all get together in the name of community and kind of a common good,” said Andrew Felty, the director of Thirsty Orange. “That is the theme of craft beer. Essentially, on a business level, we are all competing against each other, but in the whole scheme of things we are competing against ‘Big Beer.’ ”

John Henritze, owner and brewer at JRH Brewing Company, said a shared passion for craft beer is one of the reasons that local brewers get together for activities like this. 

“There’s a small competition amongst brewers, but mostly the competition is outside of the world of brewing,” he said. “It’s within the distribution — that’s where the competition lies.”

Henritze said local brewers share knowledge and learn from each other. He believes the collaboration within the world of craft beer, exemplified by the Tri-Local III, is somewhat unique compared to other industries.

“You’re not going to see Nike or Adidas making a ‘Nikadidas,’ ” he said.

This year, the Tri-Local III is a Belgian-style Tripel and will take advantage of the recent increase in the alcohol content level, which jumped from 6.2 percent to 10.1 percent in Tennessee on Jan. 1. The beer will have an approximately 9.5 percent alcohol content and will be more of a malty beer.

“You’re going to get a lot of banana and a lot of clove flavors in there as well,” Felty said. “It’s also going to be a little higher in alcohol so you’ll be able to taste a little bit of the heat.”

Right now, the beer is available at the Beer Run in Kingsport and the Cootie Brown’s in Bristol and will become available at Atlantic Ale House and Model City Tap House on Tuesday. In total, 10 barrels of the beer have been produced, and the brew will be available at multiple local locations, including Knight’s Pizza and the Acoustic Coffeehouse, for the next couple weeks or as long as supplies last. 

The breweries that collaborated on the beer are JRH Brewing Company, Bristol Station Brewing Company, Depot St. Brewing Company, Gypsy Circus Cider Company, Johnson City Brewing Company and Studio Brew.

A full list of events that will be held during Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week can be found by visiting tricitiescraftbeerweek.com/events.

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