Welcome a new series here on Raging Hop entitled: Road Rage! While you might associate road rage with that person who cut you off on the way to work this morning I treat it a little differently in this sense. Road Rage will be filled with my many adventures away from my home base of Cincinnati. I am lucky enough to travel throughout the year and when I have the time I always try to visit as many local breweries as I can. At the very least I always try to drink local wherever my adventures take me.
Several weeks ago my girlfriend and I took a vacation to Nashville, TN and of course…I had to drag her to some breweries while we were there! Don’t worry though she enjoys brewery hopping as well! Sadly it was super hot, humid, and most of the time, rainy while we were there for a week but that allowed us to carve out a day that was almost completely about local beer in Nashville!
We slept in that day and took our time at breakfast because…what brewery opens up before noon? (I mean I would be ok with that, but typically they don’t) I did some research before the trip but I did my last min planning after breakfast to map out our plan of attack. The goal was to visit as many breweries as possible and get at least one flight at each. The name of the game was food, hydration, beer, repeat.
Around lunch time we ventured out to try a local pizza joint called Soulshine Pizza
Yazoo Brewing Company
From previous trips to Nashville Yazoo always seemed to be the brewery with the most tap space around town. So I guess in a sense they felt like the big dogs in the city to me so it seemed like a logical stop on the Tour-De-Nashville-Brews (they also opened before anyone else haha)
As we entered the brewery it felt really homey and welcoming.
They had tons of seating space and huge windows that brought in a ton of natural lighting.
While they had a lot of seating in the brewery I hung back when the doors opened to take photos and realized the actual bar only had 4 stools when we walked up. Oh well back to the seating area for us.
My girlfriend and I got ourselves a flight each and of course we shared! There were a few duplicates, but we got to try quite the arsenal of beers!
Pale Ale – Nothing crazy special here, just a general pale ale. Very crisp and refreshing T’was good! This one is also found at many bars around the city.
Dos Perros – This is their Mexican Brown Ale. It had a nice toasty malt presence with a hint of chocolate at the end. This is another one that is at most bars around Nashville!
Deux Rogues – A Flanders red ale, one of my girlfriend’s choices. This one was aged in Merlot barrels for 13 months. Not my cup-o-tea, but as a sour lover my girlfriend loved it. Little too sour for my personal liking.
Delicieux – Another pale ale with a twist. Brewed with 2 native Belgian Brettanomyces strains! This one was interesting, I liked it, but I would also like to try it aged a bit more as well.
Puncheon Beer – Another wild beer, 2 year old sour blonde ale. Probably my favorite out of their wild selection. If you aren’t a huge sour fan like me and want to try one of theirs this would be the one to go for in my book.
Keller Pilsner – A standard Pilsner that does what Pilsners should do. Hot day? Need a refreshing beer? Look no further!
Sparkler – Classified as an Australian Sparkling Ale. I can probably safely say this is the only time I’ve had this style. It was interesting, a little hoppier than it smelled. Wasn’t my favorite beer in the lot, but it wasn’t bad!
Summer Wheat Ale – Nice summer beer for sure! With the heat that day this one went down easy. No surprises here!
Lucky 22 – A simple American IPA. They did a great job on this one. Similar to the go-to IPAs here in Cincinnati like PsycHOPathy and Truth.
Hop Project – This beer is what I guess you can call Yazoo’s test bed. They use it to test new hops, recipes and all that good stuff. I didn’t write down this batch’s info, but this one was super hoppy, but also delicious!
Spring Helles Bock – Being from Cincinnati I had to see how they did their Bock’s down south! This was a great spring/summer beer for sure and it reminded me of home. When’s Bockfest again?!
Sly Rye Porter – I saved what I thought would be the best for last and I was not let down! Very rich porter with an awesome flavor profile. It had the right amount of malt, chocolate, and roastyness. It was sweet, but not too sweet. Good beer guys!
As we left I snapped a photo of their outdoor area which was awesome, but it was just way too hot and humid that day to enjoy it.
Next stop was Tailgate Brewery! They’re a little further out than the other breweries in Nashville. Kind of like how Old Firehouse and Cellar Dweller are here in Cincinnati. As we pulled up we were met with a strange looking building. It almost reminded me of a church. Come to find out it used to be an old Moose Lodge that had been shut down for drinking and gambling. Sounds like a heck of a building to start a brewery in to me!
Once inside I knew these guys meant business. They had a large bar and plenty of seating with tables! Not to mention a kitchen serving some awesome looking pizza. We didn’t get to try any as we had already had some pizza that day, but it looked delicious!
With 30 taps and we knew we would not be leaving thirsty. The staff were awesome and our bartender loved chatting about the beers on tap. In addition to the main area there was a side dining area with console games hooked up to a large projector that a few people were playing Mario Kart on. This was my kind of place. As I’ve been saying it was super hot outside so we didn’t check it out, but they also have a really nice outdoor seating area with some good views.
The variety of beer on tap for such a small operation simply blew me away. From IPA variants, to browns, stouts, sours, wheats and beyond, they had it all covered! I knew there was no way I could try them all, but I was going to try my damnedest!
Pond Jumper IPA – Great, refreshing IPA. Awesome citrus notes!
Watermelon Wheat – Do you like Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment? These guys do it better! I should have grabbed a sixxer before I left because you all have to try this wonderful beer!
Apricot IPA – So far the fruit beers have impressed me and this one was no different. Tailgate’s fruit beers taste so natural and delicious while some other brewery’s fruit beers just don’t taste right.
Sweet Tart Sour – I had no idea someone could make a beer literally taste like you were drinking liquefied Sweet Tart goodness, but now I know. A sour that I enjoyed thoroughly!
Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Russian Regular – Say that one 5 times fast! This stout was very strong and delicious! I got very strong barrel notes. It all came together nicely!
Orange Peel Sour – This one was a little too sour for my personal taste, but my girlfriend who is a sour lover thought it was great!
Funky Cherry – This one was a little closer to my kind of sour, but still not quite there. I still liked the Sweet Tart Sour the best!
April Sour – Another of their huge selection of sours. Still trying to find my place in the sour world, but this one wasn’t bad for me.
Peanut Butter Milk Stout – Uh oh…a challenger for a local staple here in Cincinnati, Listermann’s Nutcase Peanut Butter Porter! I can’t safely say who’s I liked better. I honestly would LOVE to do a side by side and I am going to try my damnedest to make that happen because this beer was AMAZING! It was super smooth and sweet. Very nice beer!
Citra Mosaic IPA – Fantastic IPA
Hot Chicken IPA – They blew a keg while we were sitting at the bar and the bartender brought me a sample of this before putting the sign up and told me to try it. It was a very nice chili pepper IPA! As you may know Nashville is known for their hot chicken so this beer fit in very well in the theme!
Bitter Brown – Oh Bitter Brown how you remind me of my dear beloved Gnarly Brown by Madtree (RIP). Very awesome hoppy brown ale!
Coffee Milk Stout – Coffee beers are really hit and miss with me, but Tailgate did it right with this one. The coffee and chocolate notes danced around on my tongue! Very good.
Peanut Butter Coffee Milk Stout – Add peanut butter to a coffee milk stout? Why not? I was intrigued by this beer and I was impressed after I tried it. It was an interesting twist indeed!
Sadly they weren’t offering tours the day we were there, but as you can see their operation is a good size, but not exactly huge which is why I was shocked to see so much awesomeness on tap. I can easily say that Tailgate Brewery had some of our favorite beers that we had had on our entire trip!
Tennessee Brew Works
The final stop on our brewery day tour was Tennessee Brew Works. Their space was in an industrial feeling area with not much room to park, but brewery goers didn’t seem to mind at all! As we walked up the steps to the brewery we were met with a large outdoor seating area as well as a deck above the whole courtyard area. I’m sure on cooler days this area would be filled to the brim with people, but alas, the heat scared everyone into the taproom.
The inside of the taproom had a super cool homey, yet industrial feel with warm woods and metal. It might look small, but notice there is a whole upstairs area as well! Live music was piping through the taproom and everyone was having an awesome time!
We had been drinking most of the day and were getting hungry so we decided to only get one flight and head out for food after this pit stop.
Walk The Lime – Haha…get it? Please say you do! This one was a lovely summer beer made with limes, peach, passion fruitm and watermelon. So refreshing!
Nashweizen – Their take on a Hefeweizen! This one was nice and fruity with the wheaty refreshingness. Mango, grape, pineapple, grapefruit, and bannana are all present in this one.
Southern Wit – Unfiltered and awesome. Very orangey in the front!
Bluff City Pale – Another fruity beer from TN Brew Works! This pale ale is nice and hoppy, but not too hoppy!
Cutaway IPA – This was a diverse tasting IPA with some good fruity notes and a nice balance of hops. Very good indeed!
Country Roots – Saving what I thought would be the best for last once again. This is their Sweet Potato Stout…yes you read that correctly. We were in the south so I had to try this one. It was super smooth, sweet, and had some awesome roasted coffee/chocolate notes that balanced everything out. This was probably one of my favorite beers that I had tried all weekend!
The brewery space was HUGE! These guys were putting out quite the impressive amount of beer. Sadly since it was during the week they weren’t running tours, but at least we could get a birds eye view of the operation from the second level!
As far as spaces I think Tennessee Brew Works had the coolest that we had been to all day for sure. It was very well put together and had plenty of awesome features to make it a fun and exciting experience.
Smith and Lentz Brewing Company
On our final day of vacation we found ourselves eating some amazing BBQ across the street from Smith and Lentz Brewing Company so of course I had to drag my girlfriend over there to grab a flight.
The taproom and brewery had a small homey feel and there were all kinds of people there including families and kids. They had a nice sized bar and plenty of picnic style seating as well. While you were drinking you could grab some board games a play with your friends!
Their whole brewing operation was set out in the front window for all to see. It was rather small, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make some awesome beers!
I grabbed a flight, but I had to drink it pretty fast as my girlfriend started to not feel well. We found out later that she was having a reaction to some sushi we had the night before. The only beer I wrote notes on was their El Cuarto which is their melon/mango IPA which was amazing!
We only carved out enough time to hit up 4 breweries, but it’s all good. We love Nashville so much that I know we will be making another trip again. Next time we will map our brewery trip #2 and hit up all of the awesome places that we didn’t get a chance to check out. If you are ever down in Nashville and you are a craft beer lover, don’t you worry, they have an awesome brewery scene! And most bars that we went to had a great selection of local beers on tap. If you get down there and visit these breweries or ones that we didn’t get to go to let me know what you think!