Nashville is the heart of the country music scene, but it's not just a travel spot for music lovers. Also known as Music City, Nashville has a young craft beer scene that has exploded in recent years. Beer lovers can now grab something local to drink while listening to live music.
From the best breweries in Nashville, and even the best beer bars and the most popular local breweries, here is your guide to Nashville's craft beer scene.
The 11 best breweries in Nashville
Brewing bearded iris
Bearded Iris was founded in 2016 and since then they have become very popular with Nashville craft beer drinkers. They are mainly known for their range of IPA, DIPA and pale ales.
The taproom measures approximately 1,500 square feet and features antique furniture, chandeliers, and a bar partially covered in embossed velvet fabric. Part industrial taproom, part speakeasy, this is one Nashville brewery you don't want to skip!
Website | 101 Van Buren Street
The Black Abbey Brewing Co
If you love Belgian beers, you must visit Black Abbey Brewing in Nashville. This Nashville brewery has a "monastery-inspired setup". I don't know what that means BUT I know they are very popular. And they are good at what they cook! Nuff said.
Website | 2952 Sidco Drive
Blackstone Brewing Co
Founded in 1994, Black Stone is Nashville's oldest and most award-winning brewery. I haven't visited them in person yet, but they are high on my list for my next trip. It is a brewery that was highly recommended to me, and for good reason. I mean how awesome is it that they've been around since the early 90s ?!
When it comes to their beer and taproom, since 1994 they've been able to switch to a state-of-the-art brewing system. This system allows them to produce incredible beers that win awards locally, nationally and internationally.
Website | 2312 Clifton Ave
East Nashville Beer Works
East Nashville Beer Works is a community-centric and taproom-centric brewery. Come visit Nashville's most family and dog friendly brewery and one of the city's top rated patios.
Website | 320 E Trinity Ln
Fat Bottom Brewing Co
Founded in 2012, Fat Bottom Brewing is an industrial chic taproom known for its specialty beers and seasonal beers. The brewery itself is a massive 33,000 square foot facility with state-of-the-art equipment, and its beers are served alongside juicy burgers and other comfort food.
The taproom itself is large and hosts a lot of community events. There is an endless amount of patio space for dogs and even a biergarden surrounded by great landscaping.
Website | 800 44th Ave N
Jackalope Brewing Company
Industrial-style beer pub offering its own brand of microbreweries, cheese curds and evening events. With two locations, Jackalope Brewing is one of the best breweries in Nashville.
The Den is Jackalope's original taproom and is now his production facility. The Ranch is Jackalope's second location (and my favorite). The Ranch is bright, colorful, and home to other amazing Jackalope beers!
Website | Two locations: The Ranch (photo above) 429B Houston St + The Den 701 8th Ave S
Brewing of living waters
Living Waters is one of the newer breweries to open in East Nashville. This brewery has a strong focus on single, small batch beers, they even have an impressive coffee program. Their name comes from "the ever-changing nature of running water, yeast and the constant search for perfection".
This Nashville brewery has strong hip vibes. Love the mid century modern style taproom. It feels like the type of brewery Don Draper would spend time in! When it comes to beers, this Nashville brewery focuses on New England IPAs and dark, roasted stouts.
Website | 1056 E Trinity Ln # 101
Brewing new heights
New Heights Brewing Company is a craft brewery specializing in crispy IPAs, unique collaborative lots, and mouthwatering seasonal beers near downtown Nashville.
Founder and Chief Brewer Jeff Fountain began his brewing experience as a volunteer at the San Diego Brewery Mission. There he perfected his art and developed his own style. In 2014, with years of brewing experience under his belt, he moved to Nashville to start New Heights as a tribute to “starting over”.
Website | 928 5th Ave S
Southern Grist Brewing Co
Southern Grist is a neighborhood brewery operating out of two locations in Nashville: East Nashville and The Nations. Their place in East Nashville (pictured above) is very small but still has a long list of their popular beers.
In both locations, this Nashville brewery specializes in creating unique creations and variation styles we all know and love. It's also one of the best breweries in Nashville! Seriously everyone recommended me a visit here and I'm so glad I finally got to visit in person on my last trip.
Website | Two locations: East Nashville: 1201 Porter Rd + Nations: 5012 Centennial Blvd
Founded in 2014, the TailGate Brewery in Nashville has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Starting with a 3 barrel system, they moved on to a 50 barrel system and three local taprooms. TailGate offers monumental beer options - the brewery typically offers 30 of their own beers on tap!
The three establishments offer their own beers and seltzers, wine, liqueurs and pizzas, sandwiches and absolutely divine salads. Their West Nashville headquarters are filled to the brim with artwork by their in-house artist. And with plenty of room to stretch out, you can sample local beers and take in the beauty of the Nashville mountains.
Website | Three branches in Nashville
Yazoo Brewing Company
Yazoo Brewing started in 2004 in the old Marathon Motor Works building, but has since moved to a larger facility just outside of Nashville in Madison.
Today, you'll find their Dos Perros Mexican Brown Ale all around Nashville. Personally, I have never been to their taproom (just had a lot of their Dos Perros), but on the next visit to Nashville, better believe that I will visit them in person.
Website | 900 River Bluff Dr, Madison 37115
Must try Nashville Craft Beer
So maybe you can't make it to Nashville, or you only have limited time in Music City… Well, no worries, here are the top 5 local beers in Nashville you should not miss:
- Peanut Butter Milk Stout, TailGate Brewing (Photo above) is one of Nashville's most awarded beers. PBMS, in short, thisone is a medium bodied stout with hints of chocolate and coffee, and loads of peanut butter.
- Wheat with inseparable strawberries and raspberries, Jackalope brew - Heaps of strawberries and raspberries combine with wheat to create a light yet tasty infusion. The fruit adds acidity, as well as a slightly pink color, while the wheat gives it a velvety base.
- Homestyle New England IPA, Bearded Iris - An incredibly juicy and lush, one-hop IPA filled with Mosaic hops.
- Belgian blond beer with rose, the black abbey - Rich, golden color with the spicy aroma of cloves and banana candy. Belgian yeast shines on the palate, light and silky, with a clean, slightly drying bitter finish.
- Loud Whispers Pale Ale, Southern Grist - What started out as a pale New England ale was amplified by double dry hopping of Mosaic and Vic Secret.
- Mexican dark beer Dos Perros, brewed by Yazoo - A deliciously breaded and grilled Mexican beer brewed with corn flakes.
Bonus: Best Beer Bars in Nashville
- The filling station (Photo above) In charming 12 South Nashville is a small beer bar with a hole in the wall. It's the perfect place to enjoy a pint of Nashville beer and escape the hordes of singles shopping nearby.
- Hops and crafts in the Gulch is a neighborhood hangout with a solid list of rotating craft beers from Nashville and the surrounding area. The staff on site are as competent as they are friendly!
- The bar is also in the Gulch and is a British inspired tavern that has all the good vibes. Lots of UK food and beer options, but the real treat is the self-service beer taps set around the restaurant.
- Vinyl faucet in East Nashville, right next to Southern Grist, is a funky, music-centric bar / retail space with craft breweries AND vinyl records for sale.
- The Burger Parlor & Beer Garden pharmacy is a Nashville original offering a creative selection of burgers and sausages with an old-fashioned soda fountain and alfresco seating in a welcoming beer garden.
- Butchertown Hall in Nashville's Germantown, is a rustic-chic restaurant that offers wood-fired dishes and oak-smoked meats. Plus a list of on-the-go beers and expert cocktails.
Now it's your turn! It's time to start planning your beer in Nashville, Texas!
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Whether it’s your first time with a pack, or your hundredth all-grain brew, you need to ferment it in something suitable. Most of the time your options are between a bucket and a carboy. Carboys or demijohns look nicer, especially if they’re glass, but can be a pain to clean. Food-grade plastic buckets lack glamour, but are practical – just make sure you get one with a close-fitting lid that’s suitable for an airlock. As with most things there are more expensive alternatives, but while they’re good, they’re not necessary. You can find buckets and demijohns at Brew Store or The Malt Miller.
If you’re making beer, then you need to be rigorous about cleanliness during the brew. VWP is an absolutely no-nonsense cleaner and steriliser for getting everything ready beforehand. During the brew, a no-rinse sanitiser is invaluable. Between the two, spoilt and infected beer shouldn’t be a problem. You can buy cleaning products online from Brew Store and The Malt Miller.
Invest in some airtight plastic containers. Malt, kept dry and cool, should be fine for six months, but get rid of it after that – you’re only going to get stale flavours if you use stale malt. Likewise, dried yeast will keep, if sealed and chilled, but it will lose potency and reliability. Hops do not improve with age. Be doubtful of any before last year’s harvest, however cheap.
While a good book is an invaluable reference, there will be a time you come across something that flummoxes you. It’s very unlikely you will be the first, and just as unlikely someone else hasn’t discussed it. From the magisterial, if dense, How to Brew by John Palmer to the uncountable forums and blogs discussing minutiae, such as Brewer’s Friend, there’ll be something to help.
Avoid large amounts of table sugar, cane sugar or dextrose as fermentable sugars in your homebrew. They will ferment out completely and leave a very dry, almost ‘cidery’ flavour to your beer. This is what is recognized by many as the ‘homebrew’ taste. If you are looking for an easy way to improve this, swap these sugars with dry malt extract.
Most kit beers are designed to appeal to a wide range of people and therefore have a fairly simple flavour that it not very bitter. They are also generally bittered by using hop extract that adds bitterness but little hop flavour or aroma. Boil some water and add ½ an ounce ( 14 grams ) of any hop variety known for their flavour and aroma characteristics for 20 minutes. This will add a much improved change to the flavour of the beer. Add another ½ ounce ( 14g ) for the last 5 minutes of the boil to add a pleasant hoppy aroma. Simply strain the ‘hop soup’ into your fermenter with the rest of the top-up water. These simple hops additions will make a remarkable difference to your coffret beers.
to wake a packet of dry yeast up and ensure that it is ready to start work as soon as it is pitched, try rehydrating it. Boil a cup ( 250mls ) of water for 5 minutes and then pour it into a sterilized conteneur. Wait for the water to cool down to at least 80°F/27°C and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top. Leave this for about 15-30 minutes, when you should start to see it get nice and foamy. Once your wort has cooled enough, pitch this and it will start fermentation much earlier.
If you would really like to get things started, follow the process above but add a tablespoon of dry malt extract to the water before boiling it. After pouring the water to a jar, add your yeast when cool enough and place cling wrap over the top to protect from the environment. Leave for at least 45 minutes at room temperature and you should start to see fermentation activity.
The length of time for fermentation on the side of your pack beer can is almost definitely not long enough. The manufacturers are in the business of selling product and these directives will make beer, but it won’t be great beer. This should be extended out to 10-14 days.
Although your beer will be carbonated after about a week in the bottle, leave it for a few more to allow for the flavors to settle. This is especially relevant for beer made from packs as it will help remove some of the tige found in young/’green’ beer.
In order to efficiently multiply and get to the of converting sugar to alcohol, yeast needs a sufficient amount of oxygen in your wort. If brewing using malt extract this can be reached a few ways including by shaking the water you are using to top up your wort, or by pouring it from a great height into your fermenter.
Don’t be too worried about removing your beer from the primary fermenter as soon as fermentation has finished. The Autolysis that you are seeking to avoid will take well over a month and in most cases a single stage fermentation is fine.
If you are looking to control fermentation temperature, place the fermenter in a grande container of water to cool it and prevent temperature fluctuations. Wrapping a wet towel around it and pointing a passioné at it cools it even more through evaporative cooling. A few frozen plastic bottles of water are also perfect for cooling the water and your fermenting beer.
If you insist on using a two stage fermentation, use a bottling bucket ( or something else with a spigot ) for a primary. That way you only need a length of hose to rack into the secondary. The spigot will also be far enough off the bottom that the trub will get left in the primary with little extra effort – just tilt the fermenter forward at the end.
The activity of your airlock should only be seen as one indication that something is happening. There are many others indications and a faulty seal on your fermenter could stop anything from happening in the airlock.
The starting cell count is usually quite low with liquid yeast d'environnement. If you make a yeast starter about a day before brewing, you can avoid some potential issues from under-pitching the yeast.
If you are trying to cool a partial boil, place the whole brew récipient into a sink or tub of cold water. You may need to change this water a few times but it is far easier to cool a small bocal of wort in a temperature conductive conteneur ( i. e. your brew récipient ) than a grande amount of liquid in a fermenter. Adding your cooled wort to even colder water ( or ice ) in the fermenter will serve to cool it even further and should hopefully get you close to yeast pitching temperatures.
Dry yeast packets are perfect for new homebrewers. They have a nice high cell count and are very easy to use. Hydrating these takes very little time and will help get fermentation working earlier.
Get into the habit of sanitizing everything that will come in contact with your wort or beer after the boil.
Extract kits have come a long way from the dusty back shelves of Boots of yesteryear, and give you a simple, affordable way to try out the hobby with very acceptable results. Established breweries like St. Peters and Woodfordes have decent packs in shops and online at about £20, for example from Wilko or Brew.
Use a no-rinse sanitiser… This shouldn’t need an explanation and I am yet to hear of a real reason not to
Following on from above – Don’t use bleach as a sanitizer…ever. It is hard to rinse out and if any comes in contact with the maltose in your wort it has the potential to completely ruin your batch. There are so many better products available that this shouldn’t even be a consideration
Whatever sanitizer you use, put some of it in a spray bottle for quick sanitation during brew time.
Make sure you read and understand the recipe before you start brewing. Also make sure that you have all the ingredients handy before you start. These seem like simple things but the last 15 minutes can get a little crazy… especially if you started drinking while sanitizing
Beer is very resilient so don’t be too worried if you make a mistake while brewing. Although it may not be exactly the beer you were after, you will probably still have something tasty and worth drinking.
Leave the lid off your brew bocal while it is boiling. The process of boiling actually vaporises chemicals that are not wanted in the beer and they evaporate out. The lid doesn’t need to be completely off if you are having trouble maintaining a rolling boil but should at least be enough for the steam to escape.
Keep a record of every beer that you make, no matter how simple the recipe. This record will allow you to recall and tweak your brews when all that remains in the future is a couple of stray bottles and a desire for more
Especially when starting out, keep your ingredients and brews as simple as possible. It is much easier to add to a simple recipe that is missing something than it is to remove from something complex
Start by getting a solid grasp of the sanitization, fermentation and bottling processes and work from there.
If you have a choice, choose a fermenter or bottling bucket with a spigot/tap over one without. The siphoning required otherwise isn’t hard but it is still one more unnecessary step.
Bulk priming your beer is a simple addition to your bottling process that will add much greater control and consistency in the amount of priming sugar in your bottles.
The quality of your beer will be incomplète to the quality of the ingredients used. Always go for the freshest and best quality possible. Always make sure that extract is within any specified dates, yeast is fresh and that hops are nice and green
But most importantly… just relax and remember that you probably aren’t going to ruin your beer – It isn’t as delicate as you think