Kingsport Times News Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza on tap in Johnson City

April 7th, 2013 6:06 pm by staff report

You may be parched when you arrive at the upcoming Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza, but if you leave that way, it’s your own fault.

Organizers of the festival, returning April 13 to the grounds of the Mellow Mushroom in Johnson City, say this year’s event will offer attendees a chance to sample more than 120 rare craft brews from breweries around the region.

“This year’s list of breweries is like a meeting of the ‘who’s who’ in brewing in this region,” said event organizers Stephanie Carson. “The brewers at our event are leading the way in Southern brew styles and quality.”

The 2013 guest brewery is the new Wicked Weed Brewery in Asheville, N.C. Since opening in December, Wicked Weed has generated buzz around the region for its Belgian brews and sour beers. The brewery will also bring its signature “Freak Double IPA,” which is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after beers for “hop heads.”

In addition to Wicked Weed, 2013 will mark the first time Oskar Blues, Calfkiller Brewing Company and Greenman Brewery will be traveling to East Tennessee. Other breweries on tap for this year’s event include Highland Brewing Company, Moccasin Bend Brewing Company, Sweetwater Brewing Company, Studio Brew, Wolf Hills Brewing Company, Saw Works Brewing Company and Smoky Mountain Brewery.

New this year is the “People’s Pint Glass Swap — A Glass Roots Movement.” Festival attendees are invited to bring their unwanted pint glasses to the event and trade them with other beer lovers. Carson said it’s a great way to swap stories, exchange pint glasses and meet new friends.

“Most beer lovers have a cabinet of pint glasses from their beer adventures. This is a chance to get rid of what you don’t want, and collect a few unique pieces you’d like to have in your kitchen,” she said.

Returning from last year is the free Beer Booth, where folks are invited to get their picture made with their friends using funny props. Also returning is the Iron Brewer Challenge, where brewers from Louisville, Ky., to Atlanta, Ga., will be competing for the title of Tennessee Iron Brewer. It’s fun for brewers, Carson said, but it’s also enjoyable for attendees, who will be invited to taste the brewers’ creations. Hula hoopers from around the region are invited to attend as well.

This year’s entertainment lineup includes local bands Wise Old River, Demon Waffle and Last in Line. Carson said it’s important to Thirsty Orange organizers to support local musicians and showcase the region’s musical talent.

“Northeast Tennessee has a rich history of music styles from country to bluegrass. We’re thrilled that our attendees will enjoy great brew and listen to awesome music at the same time,” Carson said.

General admission tickets are $32.50 and give entrants access to the festival from 2 to 6:30 p.m. VIP tickets are $52.50 and allow entrants early access to the festival beginning at 12:30 p.m. along with special cask tappings and food provided by Mellow Mushroom. Among the special beers just for VIP ticket holders are Apple Pie Ale and Peanut Butter and Jelly Brew. General admission designated driver tickets are $12.50; VIP designated driver tickets are $25.50.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Mellow Mushroom in Johnson City.

Proceeds from Thirsty Orange will benefit the non-profit Girls on the Run of Northeast Tennessee.

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