February is the shortest month (and thank god for that), so it's a wise idea to get a jump start on planning everything fun food-related you want to do this month. Which is why we're here to help, so you can plan your eating and drinking all out in advance.
Starting off, this Friday, Feb. 7, has two things happening. The first is a rally at Central Flats and Taps from 7 to 9 p.m. sponsored by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild. The group organized last year to lower the wholesale beer tax in Tennessee -- that flew through the legislature without too many problems. But this year's goal, to change the definition of beer, is proving a little more arduous. TCBG president and Yazoo Brewing founder Linus Hall explains in a press release:
The wine-in-grocery-stores bill the Senate passed last week does not allow high gravity beer to be sold along with wine, but the House hasn't taken up the bill yet. The other piece of legislation Hall mentions hasn't been filed yet. But that doesn't mean you can't go have some beers Friday and learn more about the issue."Beer" in Tennessee is defined as a fermented malt beverage containing 5% or less alcohol by weight. Any beer over that limit is defined as "high-gravity beer", and can only be purchased at retail at state-licensed liquor stores. There are only 560 licensed liquor stores in Tennessee, and many of them either don't carry high-gravity beers, or else relegate them to a hot, dusty shelf.If, as a consumer and craft beer lover, you want a greatly improved beer selection in Tennessee, we need to change this. If you want your local brewers to spread their creative wings and brew a wider range of beers, we need to change this. Many of your favorite out-of-state brewers don't send much of their high-gravity beers to Tennessee due to the limited number of places they can be sold. And while a few Tennessee brewers have brewed high-gravity beers, most have focused on lower gravity beers, which can reach the largest number of customers.We are fighting this fight on two different legislative fronts. First and most immediate, we are fighting to have an amendment included on the "wine-in-grocery stores" bill that would allow "high-gravity beer" to be sold wherever wine is sold. While that amendment would not change the definition of "beer", it would open up distribution of high-gravity beers into grocery stores and wherever the legislature decides wine can be sold.Secondly, we have a sponsor in the Senate and the House who will be submitting bills to reform the definition of what "beer" is altogether. With recent reforms by Alabama and Mississippi, Tennessee now has the most regressive alcohol cap on "beer" of any of Southern state. Tennessee has long prided itself on being business-friendly, but this arbitrarily low cap on beer puts us out of step with our neighboring states and hurts local brewers. We would be delighted to abolish the cap altogether, and to make Tennessee's definition of beer match the definition of the Federal government, which has no alcohol cap. However, we know that realistically we may have to accept some form of a cap, perhaps in the 12-15% range like many of our neighboring states. ...All of our neighboring states (even Mississippi and Alabama, now) have higher caps on what they define as beer. Some neighboring states have no cap at all. The explosion in the number of new breweries in Mississippi and Alabama has been remarkable, as has all the new sales tax revenues they have created.
Meanwhile on Friday, you can also head down to West Jackson Ave. to the parking lot right by the Standard (it's not blocked off because of the McClung Warehouse fire). From 6 to 9 p.m. you can get dinner from the Savory and Sweet Truck, Bull's BBQ Food Truck, Gonzo Gourmet, Dale's Fried Pies, Tootsie Truck, Hoof Knoxville, and Farm-to-Griddle Crepes, which has just finally gotten an actual truck. Plans are for this to become a regular First Friday thing. Let's hope the weather cooperates.
Finally, mark your calendars for Sunday, Feb. 23, because that's when the next Public House pop-up dinner is happening. Proprietress Laura Sohn passes along this info:
In other Public House news, Sohn unveiled a new food menu yesterday, which includes a hot dog topped by Crowder's pulled pork and chimichurri, among other delights.Get ready for ROCKIN RAMEN on February 23 from 5:00 - 9:00 PM. We are beyond excited for this dinner from Daniel "Bull" Crowder. You may know him from his Bull BBQ truck, which is a food truck on a short school bus. Bull's BBQ takes the motto, real Tennessee wood fired BBQ to heart. All of his BBQ is slow cooked and never finished on the grill. For the Public House, Bull will be experimenting with his other passion, ramen. You can expect the same attention to detail he applies to his BBQ, when he tackles ramen for us.When you think of ramen there is a good chance that you instantly think of a cheap packet from the grocery store. A true ramen broth simmers for at least 12 hours, is packed full of umami goodness and topped with some amazing garnishes. At ROCKING RAMEN you will be eating a Tonkotsu broth, which consists of pork and chicken bones, onions, garlic and ginger among others. Your ramen will come with hand made alkaline noodles and will be topped with green onions, enoki mushrooms, Taré (chicken infused soy sauce), Mayu (black garlic oil), crispy pulled pork and a 142* egg. Each bowl of ramen will be served with a PBR tallboy. Stay tuned for some cocktail creations.Make your reservation now, because this is going to sell out fast.
We also hear the next Moveable Feast supper club is scheduled for March with a brunch theme. They'll be sending out details once the location is finalized, so stay tuned ...