Last weekend, the rooftop of the Hunter Art Museum was filled with some of the best local food, beers from all corners of the country, and party-goers excited to partake in all of it.
The, third-annual, 2017 edition of Handcrafted Wishes was an evening to remember.
Handcrafted Wishes, organized and presented by the Hand Family Companies distribution, brings Chattanooga’s best eats and some of the country’s best brews to the Hunter Art Museum. It’s an opportunity to enjoy some favorite local cuisine and explore new eats and sips that you may not have on a regular basis. With more than 15 breweries and restaurants represented, attendees had plenty of options and variety to try throughout the night.
Hand Family Companies, based in Clarksville, is one of the beverage distribution leaders for Tennessee and the southeast. They represent some of our favorite brands and bring them to Chattanooga.
Chattanooga is blessed with benefit events, and Handcrafted Wishes is no different. Proceeds from this year’s event went to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, a non-profit organization that strives to eliminate hunger and promote nutrition and healthy eating within the Chattanooga community and beyond. Every $1 provides 4 meals, so you can imagine how much of a difference proceeds will make in the Food Bank’s mission to fight hunger in the region.
The 2016 edition of Handcrafted Wishes was quite the party, so I knew the 2017 event had a lot to live up to. The Deep Brew Seas event at the Tennessee Aquarium earlier this summer was a great warm-up and teaser for Handcrafted Wishes. Everyone in Chattanooga must have been eager to get their hands on tickets, because it sold out yet again.
And really, what could be a more beautiful setting than the roof and outside patio of the Hunter Art Museum, overlooking the Tennessee River?
In addition to the food and beer stations, party-goers could play some vintage arcade and Nintendo games, courtesy of the Coin-Op, play in a photo booth (a highlight of last year for me), compete in stein-hoisting and more. Really, this event has everything.
This year’s beer selection was pretty top-notch. Here are some of my beer highlights from the evening:
Bell’s: While they didn’t bring their Oktoberfest this time (a favorite of mine from last year), I did get to sip on their seasonal Pooltime Ale and year-round Amber Ale. Can you tell I’m a fan of ales?
Wiseacre: I’ll always give a nod to Tennessee beers, and this Memphis-based beer never disappoints. Their Oktoberfest brew was a quintessential fall-time beer: clean, malty and smooth. And of course, their Tiny Bomb Pilsner is easy-drinking and refreshing, a great beer to kick off the evening with.
Wicked Weed: My friend is a huge fan of Wicked Weed. We can’t always get it in Chattanooga; whenever I drive through Asheville, I try to stop and pick up a pack for him. But now, with some changes in the distribution industry, it looks like Wicked Weed will be coming to the Scenic City! I was excited to try their Pernicious IPA and taste what my friend always raved about. I’m generally not an IPA drinker and that is a near perfect beer. Next time, I’m trying their Lunatic Belgian blonde ale.
Hutton & Smith: A local favorite, H&S came to Handcrafted Wishes with their Belay On session ale, in cans, for the first time ever. It was their canned beer debut, and they picked a great time to drop their first canned beer. If you’re in the Chattanooga area, check your local grocery and liquor stores for Belay On and a couple other H&S brews in a few days!
Heaven & Ale: Ever had a milk stout? They kind of taste like brownie batter… at least that’s what the “Love Supreme” milk stout from this Chattanooga brewery tasted like. Heaven & Ale wasn’t always known for brewing their own, but come early November, they will launch their brewery side and have Heaven & Ale brewed beer available for drinking, in addition to other beers on tap. I can’t wait to try the Born Again ale; it had already run dry by the time I got to them, so it must be delicious.
Other notable breweries in attendance included Good People, Sweetwater, Creature Comforts, Founders, Mill Creek, Black Abbey, Jackalope Brewing and more.
You can’t have good beer without some good food with it. These were some of the best bites of the night:
Universal Joint: This North Carolina girl loves her pork barbecue, and the pulled pork slider with coleslaw and pickle from Universal Joint hit the spot. That pickle was brined in lemonade; super creative, right?! Side note, there is no neat, easy way to eat a barbecue sandwich.
Frothy Monkey: This was a new addition to Handcrafted Wishes, and Frothy brought a cheese and meat station for pairing with Bell’s beer. Cheese doesn’t pair well with just wine, of course! This was a huge hit, as there was always a line for cheese.
Jack Brown’s: Who puts mac & cheese on a burger? Jack Brown’s does, and it was absolutely delicious. I’m undecided about potato chips on a burger from a texture standpoint, but that mac & cheese was a game changer. I may or may not have gotten two of these (don’t worry, they were only half-burgers). Also worth noting from Jack Browns: deep-fried Oreos.
The Daily Ration: Again with the beer and cheese combination… The Daily Ration came prepared with its house made pimiento cheese spread on sourdough bread (also a pretty perfect combo, if you ask me). That was a great snack to munch on between beers.
Other great restaurants in attendance were Clyde’s, Tremont Tavern, Taco Mamacita, Milk & Honey gelato, FEED Co., Brewhaus, Bitter Alibi and more. Brewhaus brought pretzel bites and cherry ale mustard, because you can’t have beer without some form of pretzels!
As if the great food and beer weren’t enough, Moontower Music, an Atlanta-based soul-funk-classic-rock band, provided live jams throughout the evening. They played everything from Motown to 90s hits and kept everyone’s toes tapping all night long. Moontower was one of my favorite parts of last year’s event, so I was super excited when I heard they were coming back!
Handcrafted Wishes is easily one of the best and most popular events held in Chattanooga each year. Everyone I know who attends loves it, and I know my friends and I already can’t wait to go back next year. I’m always up for a good food and drink event, but if I can eat and drink for a good cause, that’s even better.
If you’ve missed Handcrafted Wishes, or any other Hand Family Companies event, in the last few years, don’t worry; there are plenty more coming, including the Winter Edition of Deep Brew Seas at the Tennessee Aquarium.