Tri-Cities brewers making special Tripel for April beer week

What are some of the area’s best brewers collaboratively producing for early April’s Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week?

“This is the first of its kind for Johnson City,” said Aaron Carson, who heads Kingsport’s Gypsy Circus Cider Company and the area Brewers Guild collective.

In 2015, the collective brewed its first cooperative beer, the TRI-Local I, a blood orange Belgian-style beer, at Abingdon’s Wolf Hills Brewing Company. Last year, the brewers met at the Bristol Brewery, now named Bristol Station, and collaboratively produced a White IPA. Both were introduced to the public a month later during Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week.

From March 31 through April 8, the Tri-Cities’ breweries and craft-centric businesses will be filled with events to celebrate the blossoming craft beer scene. After the initial tapping of TRI-Local III, it will be available at these businesses in limited supply.

John Henritze, co-owner of Johnson City’s JRH Brewing, works on the collaboration beer he and area brewers are making for Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week in early April.

Carson, whose Gypsy Circus Cider Company will serve the collaborative Tripel beer, said approximately 30 kegs will be produced, and it will go quickly.

The TRI-Local III was started Tuesday at Johnson City’s JRH Brewing under the watchful eyes of many of the area’s best brewers.

JRH co-owner John Henritze looked around and said he didn’t see his competition, but his biggest supporters.

“That’s what I love about this industry, that we can work together and actually help each other troubleshoot issues together,” Henritze said about the collaborative process.

Though they might not be exactly trading their trade secrets or special recipes, they support each other financially — by drinking each other’s products — and in promotion.

Henritze said it matters to JRH Brewing if the brewery down the road makes good beer or not, because Johnson City and the Tri-Cities would get a reputation one way or the other. He said thankfully, they all make great beer and the Tri-Cities area is getting the reputation of a great beer destination in the Southeast.

John Henritze, right, co-owner of Johnson City’s JRH Brewing and brewer Emily Jobe, left, work on the collaboration beer that will be served at the Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week in early April.

“It’s good for the region and it’s good for the craft beer industry,” he said.

To learn more about the upcoming Tri-Cities Craft Beer Week, visit www.tricitiescraftbeerweek.com.

The week concludes with the Thirsty Orange Brew Extravaganza, which will be held in Johnson City’s Founders Park. Tickets can be purchased at www.thirstyorange.com.

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