by TJ Anderson
News that Nashville’s about to get yet another craft brewery — Bearded Iris Brewing Co., set to open a taproom in Germantown, says Nashville Business Journal — throws a spotlight on a wonderful truth: The Craft Beer scene in Nashville has truly blossomed over the past few years.
Even a decade back, pickins for local craft beer were limited. But these days, we have a great and growing crew of local breweries and with them, lots to brag about. Here’s a quick look at local beers you can sample in Nashville
Location: The Gulch
Their Beer: Ales from across the taste spectrum, including Pale Ale, Mexican-style Dos Perros, Hefeweizen, Sly Rye Porter, Onward Stout, Hop Project IPA, Gerst amber ale and high-gravity Sue, among other limited-release brews.
Yazoo helped usher in Nashville’s craft beer bloom, and their fine flavors have a lot to do with that. The Hefeweizen is a multiple medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival; hyper-hoppy Hop Project creates an absolute addiction for hops fiends; and Yazoo’s smoked porter, Sue, is so rich and delicious that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
developed a flavor based on it.
Brewery: Fat Bottom Brewing
Their Beer: Flavorful ales all paying homage to lovely ladies, including their Ginger Wheat Ale, Ruby Red American Ale, Black Betty IPA, Bertha Oatmeal Stout and Java Jane Coffee Porter.
Launched by brewmaster Ben Bredesen — the son of former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen — Fat Bottom helped spread Nashville’s craft beer movement into busy East Nashville, and their taproom quickly became a favorite neighborhood hang. Helping that happen: Big flavors like the cold-brewed Drew's Brews
coffee in the Java Jane.
Brewery: Jackalope Brewing Company
Location: The Gulch
Their Beer: Tasty ales all given spirit animals (or a spirit human), including Thunder Ann American Pale Ale, Rompo Red Rye Ale, Bearwalker Maple Brown Ale and Leghorn Rye India Pale Ale.
Tasting Notes: Jackalope was launched by friends who met abroad in Scotland, parted ways and then reconnected over a feeling that “they were meant for much bigger and more alcoholic things.” These days, they brew flavors that’ll appeal to folks who like clean and easy sipping (the citrusy Thunder Ann APA) or more intense flavors (the Bearwalker, infused with pure maple syrup).
Brewery: Little Harpeth Brewing
Their Beer: Clean-tasting lagers, including Chicken Scratch American Pilsner, Upstream San Francisco Lager, High Water Dunkel Lager, Stax Black Lager and Double Paddle Doppelback.
Tasting Notes: A new addition to the scene brewing on the banks of the Cumberland, Little Harpeth stands out with their focus on lagers and local ingredients/sustainability (they use local corn and native U.S. hops). If you lean toward refreshing beers, they’re definitely a must-try.
Brewery: Bosco’s Restaurant & Brewing Co.
Their Beer: A variety of ales, including the Bombay IPA, Hillsboro Brown nut brown ale, Isle of Skye Scottish Ale and Flaming Stone Steinbier.
Tasting Notes: Another longstanding local brew-maker (they’ve been making beer here for more than 16 years), Bosco’s has multiple Middle Tennessee locations (as well as ones in Memphis and Little Rock). If you only try one Bosco’s beer, make it their widely and deservedly praised Flaming Stone Beer — heated stones are lowered into the beer during the brewing process, lending a unique and awesome caramelized quality.
Brewery: Blackstone Brewing Company
Their Beer: A wide selection of ales and lagers, including Chaser Pale, Nut Brown Ale, St. Charles Porter, Black Belle Imperial Stout, Pumpkin Ale, Pilsner and double IPA The Enabler, among others.
Tasting Notes: Blackstone has a longer history in Nashville craft brewing than most — the Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery was launched in 1994, and diners continue to enjoy original brews with their meals. In 2010, the operation grew to include a production microbrewery and distribution all around Tennessee. Among their more traditional brews, Blackstone offers some unique and creative flavors, like the Muffin Man, a spiced ale brewed to bring the taste of gingerbread to mind.
Brewery: Turtle Anarchy Brewing Company
Their Beer: A mix of ales, including the Another Way to Rye IPA, Aurumglass golden ale and Portly Stout, along with rotating special brews that pop up at intervals.
Tasting Notes: Helping Franklin’s craft brew scene grow, Turtle Anarchy opened up in 2012 and serves out of its taproom Thursdays through Saturdays. They don’t serve food, but a helpful pro tip: You can bring in your own and make a beer picnic out of your TA visit.
Any favorites out of this mix? Love to hear your thoughts. And if you’ve fallen in love with any of the neighborhoods these taprooms are in and want to set up shop close by, let me know — I’d be glad to help you find a home right near your favorite local beer.