Hello everyone! I’m Cort Percer. When nice weather happens bike shops get busy (I know because I led the fine team at Peddler Bike Shop for a few years), and while Jim, The Bikesmith, is busy wrenching on your bikes I’ll be taking over the Cheers & Gears column. But we’re gonna switch things up a bit and call my version Bikes & Beer & BBQ!
So why have me sub in for Jim? Well, I currently work in land conservation with TennGreen and advocate for parks, livability, and bicycles through Mid South Greenways and Bike Walk Memphis. Throughout the years I’ve written Fix Memphis, Better Bikes & Gardens, and now you can follow my adventures on ADANAY.co. You can also visit my Instagram where I find all kinds of #peoplewhoridebikes.
Bikes & Beer & BBQ & Memphis T-Shirt at The Bikesmith or ADANAY’s Webstore.
Cory and I have been friends and riding buddies for quite a while. That means I had to edit out a bit of our casual conversation. Think of it as getting rid of the buns and leaving you to enjoy the meat:
Cory York, Sales Manager of Ghost River Brewing.
That’s my title.
So we’re actually sitting in a restaurant that does not serve beer. But that’s okay, we probably drink enough beer…
I actually have some hot beer sitting in the car.
Is that illegal, not the fact that you have beer in the car but that it’s hot? Shouldn’t there be a cooler?
This is yesterday’s samples. I have not picked up today’s samples. Sometimes we have fallen soldiers.
What’s your favorite Ghost River beer right now?
Right now, Oktoberfest. We just released it about a week and a half ago. I’ve been drinking a ton of it.
So you’ve got your favorite Ghost River beer; what’s your favorite Memphis beer?
I would have to say our IPA. not trying to be biased against all the other breweries; I’m friends with all of them, they’re great guys…
The new IPA?
Yeah the 1887.
I love that one. It’s so good.
It was something that we used to brew every now and then, but once we finished our expansion in 2015 we can now brew it year round and bottle it so you can find it everywhere now. So that’s my favorite. It’s crisp, clean, lemony, citrus, a lot of C Hops (CTZ or Columbus Hops), so they get that piney, earthy note to it.
I thoroughly enjoy it. So talk about the rebranding, how has that been going for you guys?
The rebrand has been going really well, a lot of positive feedback from it. People miss the tree, ‘cause that’s what we were. When we came out in 2008 we were really focused on getting quality beer out of the door, but we had to have a logo. So now that we feel like we have mastered the beer it was a good time to do a rebrand and it was a complete 180. It’s great. The tree is representative of Memphis but a lantern is, too. Once you look closer at the lantern you notice that the glass is a barrel, the flame is a water droplet. And every barrel that we brew, we brew 250 barrels a week, a portion of it goes back to Wolf River (Conservancy) to help preserve our water. Once you explain that, people say, “that’s really rad” and the minute they hear that there’s a connection. We dig it.
I’m sitting here looking at the logo on your shirt and I’m like, “Oh, there it is.”
Which is my prime example – holding my shirt out to people and explaining it. It’s been really positive. I think once our taproom is done people will come hang out, the connection will really be made.
When is the taproom scheduled to be completed?
So as construction goes, there’s always hiccups, but we’re still on a timeline to be open mid-October, so really quick, because we only started about a month and a half ago.
So do you get to ride to work anymore? I know you used to.
No. I used to commute to work all the time. Sadly, I spend most of my day in my car. I’ve had it for a year and I have 25,000 miles on it already. More seat time than saddle.
Behind the steering wheel and not the handlebars.
You’re bringing up a sore subject. I miss my saddle time.
Well when you do go out and ride, where’s your favorite place in Memphis to ride?
Well I live in Cooper Young and I like urban riding. I like the Greenline and I love heading out to Shelby Farms but I prefer the Harbor Town/ Downtown loop. I like the traffic, seeing the people leaving or going to work, I like that atmosphere of it. The streets are a little bit more brutal, you have to keep an eye out on what you’re doing, I just like city riding.
Yeah, I often find myself losing focus when I’m riding the Greenline because it’s just like “highway hypnosis”. You just keep going and you see the same thing and then you wake up like, “what am I doing?”
I like the Greenline. It has brought more cycling into the city but yeah, I use it as a highway. If I want to get to Cordova, it’s my highway. If I want to go eat tacos on Summer, it’s my highway to it. I think the commuters, the urban cyclists use the Greenline in that manner.
Whereas a lot of other people use it for recreation.
Which is fantastic. It works for everybody.
So speaking of tacos, do you know of any good barbecue tacos?
I do not!
There has to be something. Doesn’t Babalu have BBQ tacos?
I believe you’re correct.
We should go eat BBQ tacos one night.
We could just have two lunches!
So what’s your favorite BBQ? A few weeks ago I talked to Tina Sullivan and she doesn’t eat pork and she claimed the Portabella at Central BBQ as her favorite. I know you’re a vegetarian…
And I will have to agree with her as well. I gave up meat about 7 months ago, again. I was a vegetarian for about 3 years and I got off that bandwagon for a minute but now I’m back on it. I have to agree with her, the Portabella from Central is hard to beat. And thank you, sir for introducing me to that.
You’re welcome. So when you did eat meat, where did you go?
It’s a toss up between BBQ Shop and Central BBQ. Those are my favorites of just go-to, but if you can get down to Cozy Corner – that’s some true Memphis BBQ at it’s finest.
So what do you have coming up?
We just had a release of our new beer, ‘Where’s the Sesh IPA?’.
Cool, tell me about that one. Obviously a Session beer?
False. It’s called ‘Where’s the Sesh’ because we set out to brew a session beer but we got a little too much sugar in our mash bill so the alcohol content went above 4.5%. To be considered a session beer it has to be below that. But it’s Jarrylo Hops (pronounced Yar-i-lo), which are really fruit forward and Cluster Hops which are really earthy so you get this beautiful combination with this like mango, tropical that finishes in this earthy tone. It’s really tasty. And that’s our latest Brewer’s Series.
Awesome, who came up with that one?
It was a couple of the boys in the brewery, Mark Patrick and Jimmy Randall worked on that one together.
So the Brewer’s Series, does it stay local or does it get distributed everywhere?
It stays local, unless I take some to a special event somewhere. But it’s such small batch stuff we just release it in Memphis at the moment. We might bump it up eventually.
Where’s your next event?
We’re big supporters of Wolf River Conservancy and we have “Drink a Beer, Save a River” at Local Midtown on September 13th.
Postscript: A quick Google search reveals that Babalu is the only one making BBQ tacos. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. By “correct me” I mean make some BBQ tacos. This just seems like a no-brainer: BBQ and slaw in a tortilla. We can debate corn vs. flour when you invite me over to dinner.