their focus on the eccentric side of flavor, using herbal, sour, and wild flavors, they prefer to produce extremely limited batch releases in order to include as many local-aged and foraged ingredients as possible. When each batch only produces fifty cases or less at a time, getting your hands on some is something to be proud of all in itself. Sticking to the science of mixed fermentation,Von Seitz has broken down the elements of beer to their simplest form: water, grain, yeast, and hops, and from there they begin the process of creating their ales. By implementing foraged ingredients,Von Seitz has been able to include local flavors in their recipes and apply the various seasons to the taste— their latest creation, “Tennessee Terroir-Out Standing in Their Fields,” is a prime example.
A TRUE TASTE OF TENNESSEE
VON SEITZ THERORETICALES-TENNESSEE TERROIR
BY LUCAS RYAN CHAMBERS
mithville, Tennessee is a small town located right in the heart of the state, with a population of only around 5000. It’s known by most for being the hometown of country music stars like Alan Jackson, John Anderson, and Aaron Tippin. This small southern town even had a mention in the 1949 John Wayne film, “Sands of Iwo Jima.” Though to be known by these standards is quite exciting in itself, these days Smithville is becoming known for something even more unique and exciting—Von Seitz TheoreticAles. Founded by Alex Seitz, a scientist by day and brewer by night, the ingenious flavors of these ales are produced through a combination of his love of both beer and theory. Von Seitz TheoreticAles, as they are aptly named, have already had quite the success. The distinct small batch beer has already been distributed within Tennessee by Grassroots Distributing as well as nationally by Shelton Brothers Importers, and now they’re taking things one step further by partnering with Drikkeriget in order to distribute the ales internationally. The ales are currently being distributed to two continents, served on three, and are available in fifteen countries throughout Europe, with that scope broadening daily. With only a four-barrel system, each batch is hand crafted from scratch and the recipes are truly some of the most unique in the world. With
PRE M I E R I SSU E
With their new Tennessee Terroir recipe, they have what is believed to be the first commercial 100% Tennessee ingredient beer. For the first time ever, local brewers are able to get 100% Tennessee-grown malts from places like Volunteer Mission Malts and Batey Farms. Combining these local malts with hops that are also locally grown,Von Seitz has also been able to use Tennessee native yeast strains that have been collected over the past years to create the base for a unique Tennessee taste. Any water used is locally-sourced from some of the State’s purest springs, which also allows the use of a vast array of Tennessee’s botanicals. Herbs such as lemongrass, sorrel, yarrow, and lemon balm are used to add a full flavor that’s true to the state, giving the beer its own distinct identity. To add even more to the unique flavor, they’ve topped it all off with paw-paw fruit and Tennessee’s famous local honey. According to Art Whitaker, one of the associate brewers at Von Seitz, this brew should be ready by the time you finish reading this article, and will certainly extol the virtues of the Volunteer State.
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While you are anxiously awaiting the Tennessee Terroir, you can head over to Von-Seitz’s tap room to try some of their award-winning recipes. Their location at the Burlap Room Beer Garden and Tap House is an experience in itself. Located in a renovated drive-in theatre at Bert Driver’s nursery in Smithville, the tap room sits directly where the former projector room and snack bar stood. There you can try beers like Arcadium Gruit, Amarillo Afternoon, A Moment in Time, Never Leave Amsterdam, and variety of other concoctions specially brewed by Von Seitz TheoreticAles. Be sure to check their website and Facebook page for current hours.
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If you’re traveling abroad this June and can’t make it down to their location in Smithville, you can also find them at the opening party for Carnivale Brettanomyces in Amsterdam, a prestigious, invite-only event that brings together some of the most unique beers in the world. The processes Von Seitz uses to create their beer, as well as their use of Brettanomyces and other rarely used yeasts have put them in a level of botanical brewers that is seldom seen here in the U.S. This is exactly why they’ve been invited for the past few years now, enabling them the opportunity to offer travelers from around the world a taste of Tennessee.
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