Q&A: Kelly S. Absher, Co-Organizer of Pints for Prevention Beerfest

So, a few guys sitting around talking about preventing prostate cancer—was it awkward?

Never! When you are as close as Howie and Blake and I, pretty much no topic is taboo.

Was beer your first thought for a charitable event?

For this event it definitely was. Blake read a magazine article about an event centered around beer that raised awareness about prostate cancer and it caught his interest. In his forward-thinking mind—always a strong advocate of helping the Knoxville community and having fun while doing it—he decided that a similar event should happen in Knoxville. He brought the idea to me over a year ago and I loved it. Periodically, over beer, we would bring up the idea but that is as far as we would get. At the same time, Howie Howington was in the process of creating and opening Central Flats & Taps, which we would discover later would be the ideal location to stage the event.

Is it hard to reach guys with info about prostate cancer? About beer?

I think cancer is a subject that no one really wants to discuss because of the devastation it has caused so many families—but the reality is, it has to be discussed. Early detection is very helpful in increasing survival rates. It is hard to reach men about the severity of prostate cancer and actually how common it is; it isn't talked about enough, and it should be.

On the other side of the spectrum, most men enjoy talking about beer: the history of beer, the production of beer, beer infusions, how to cook with beer, and the ever-so-enjoyable stories of crazy antics that involve beer consumption. The ones that usually start with, "I had a friend who…" but end with, "Yeah, I did that."

Do you have a special connection with Thompson Cancer Survival Center?

We wanted the money raised to stay local and to be used for the men of East Tennessee. Pairing with TCSC allows us to keep our donation local. One-hundred percent of the money raised from the event will be donated to the center, earmarked for their Outreach Program and to help fund the free screenings they offer.

Do you consider yourself a beer expert?

Not an expert, but I have consumed a few here or there, or maybe a thousand, but who really keeps count.

What's your favorite local brew?

Knoxville is very blessed to have some amazing and talented breweries and home brewers. Recently, Suttree's hosted an evening of beer and food samplings at Holly's Corner on Central, Holly Hambright's new place. Local home brewers brought some of their brews to share with the guests. I can't choose just one, but the Summer Ale by Krewe de Brew was extremely pleasurable and enjoyable; Stephen Apking with Underground Brewing Company brought a sample of blueberry wheat that rocked my world; and Logan Wentworth with Legit Brew had a dark stout that went well with the Guinness cupcakes. However, some days I really just want a Coors Light and some chicken wings.

If people can't attend, what message would you most like them to take away about prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is very serious, it is estimated that one in six men will be diagnosed in 2013. It is crucial to see your doctor and be checked if you haven't already done so. And men, get checked! We will have a doctor on site at the event to answer medical questions.

Will you provide taxis and designated drivers?

We have notified some taxi companies there will be a beer event and to be on rotation through the area, and we will have the numbers for taxis to give to out. Of course guests are encouraged to have a designated driver. Basically there are four goals of the day: drink beer, have fun, raise money, and get home safe!!

Tickets to Pints for Prevention are available at Central Flats and Taps, Cool Beans Bar and Grill, and Bearden Beer Market. For more information: facebook.com.


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