Sidebar: What Beer Snobs Select

The choice of local connoisseurs when they're away from home—or away from their home bar.

Patrick Beeson

Home brewer on his 10th batch, member of Tennessee Valley Homebrewers, who's recently taken the Beer Judge Certification Program test to be certified as a judge for brewing competitions ("Yes, I'm obsessed," he says.)

"When I'm not drinking a home brew, I'll select anything local. Just like baked goods, beer is at its best when it's not traveling across the country, or an ocean, to reach your glass. And Knoxvillians are blessed with two breweries in town—Woodruff's and Smoky Mountain Brewery/Calhoun's—and more than five just across the mountains in Asheville, N.C.

"Right now it's the perfect time to enjoy a seasonal style such as Oktoberfest. Locally, French Broad Brewing Company makes a great beer of this variety with a rich, malty profile that stands up against the colder temperatures of late. I think these preferences hit on my love for Appalachia, the changing seasons and tradition."

Valerie Schmidt

Six-year bartender at Union Jack's in West Knoxville

"I get Guinness floated on anything—cider or Bass. As long as I have ‘Duck' Guinness I'm a-okay. I like to drink at Sidestreet Tavern, but I have to get the two separate there. I'll also order this at Sunspot and Aubrey's."

Dan Goss

Managing partner for the Downtown Grill & Brewery.

"What beer do I drink when I am out drinking at someone else's place? Are there other bars in Knoxville? The brewery has everything. Good friends. Close family. Delicious stout. Tasty brown ale. Music. Food! It is the perfect home for the drinker that is me.

"I'm a creature of habit. I love our downtown. If I venture outward I see some friends at Sapphire or Preservation Pub. The best beer that I drink and enjoy is typically the next one (although I lean toward Newcastle Brown Ale, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, or porters). What does it say about me? Well, if you're pouring a pint or some bourbon, you're no stranger to me."

Dennis Perkins

Self-described wine guy or wine consultant with Wine Lovers of Tennessee ("Or professional wino on site, my favorite")

"I'm almost ashamed to admit this in a public: I drink PBR. I don't drink much beer, but when I do, I'm pretty cheap. I have too many expensive habits as it is. I like to drink PBR at the Chrome Pony; it's a sports-kinda bar on Alcoa Highway that's close to home. The bartenders are friendly, the bikers are a live-and-let-live sort, and the 12-ounce PBR draft is a buck."