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Photo by Barry Courter / Tanasi Brewing & Supplies is now open Thursday-Sunday on Riverside Drive offering 10 beers on tap, home-brewing supplies, a beer garden and a dog friendly area.

A trip to Belgium converted military veteran Clinton Sallee from a casual beer enthusiast to a home brewer and eventually an assistant and then head brewer at a legitimate brewery back in Tampa, Florida. Today, he owns his own place called Tanasi Brewing & Supplies on Riverside Drive across the street from the Boathouse.

"It was a hobby but I visited Belgium and fell in love with it," he said.

Since that trip overseas to arguably one of the great beer cities in the world, Sallee has dreamt of owning his own place and "I wanted to be near lakes and mountains and hiking and biking so it was between here and Nashville and Knoxville."

He is the sole employee at the 2,184-square-foot facility which is open Thursday and Friday evenings from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Those hours will expand when the COVID-19 virus goes away, he said.

Sallee got out of the Army in 1998 and started home brewing in 2011 as a hobby. He started getting paid to do it in 2014. He moved here a year ago and purchased the former The Brew Market & Beer Garden. He is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server with numerous home brewing and professional medals to his credit.

With more than 180 beer recipes in his portfolio, he said he prefers traditional German and American beer styles such as lagers, pilsners and hefeweizen.

He admits some might find them less trendy or exciting than some of the flavored beers people are doing, but he says he thinks they are amazing if done correctly.

"It's like lasagna," he said. "Everybody's mother makes lasagna, but some have basil and some different cheeses. In the beer world, you have your favorite and you gravitate towards what you like. I learned a long time ago, you need to gravitate towards the far side of the bar, not the near side as a brewer.

"I brew what people want."

Tanasi, which was a Native American village in Eastern Tennessee in the 1700s, offers a tap room with 10 taps, brewery, home brew supply market, outdoor beer garden and an enclosed dog park. It is also available for rent for special events and birthdays.

Sallee said he has been impressed with the welcoming attitude of beer drinkers and brewers in the Chattanooga area.

"That's the thing about brewers, we all help each other and love to talk about beer."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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