So, we’ve finally made it home from our 9 state road trip and I can get caught up on our blog posts and YouTube videos! And since this is a brewery post, go ahead and follow me on Untappd to check out the brews in more detail. Nashville was our first stop on this wonderful adventure, and we left Atlanta around 6 A.M. to get there when Honky Tonk Highway first opened. Among many other stops, we hit up Hattie B’s Chicken (which you can read about here) before meandering over to the famous Tennessee Brew Works. This brewery sits just a few minutes from the main hustle and bustle of downtown, but that doesn’t make it any less popular, trust me. And let me tell you, any place that has a sign that says “Beer here” with an arrow has my attention.
The first thing you’ll notice about Tennessee Brew Works is that neat mural out front, and the hefty metal sign that spells out their namesake. The two story brewery has both inside and outside seating on both levels, and the inside is actually much roomier than the outside would suggest. Like, to the point it seems as if they did one of those Harry Potter spells to fit about 18 times more inside than it seems like they should. When you first walk inside, you’re greeted by a small tap-wall, and then the building opens up to seating areas and a stage, with a staircase up to the open second floor. This place is busy enough that both floors have their own bar.
We took a seat on the second floor and dove right into a flight. My selections were the Wildwood Flower, Tripel Star, B.A. Strawberry Imperial White, Colt’s Bolts, and the Imperial Porter. The first point I’ll make about Tennessee Brew Works’ different beers is that they’re a bit of a smorgasbord. There are so many different styles and variations that anyone could find something they’d enjoy. The pour sizes on the flight were quite generous, as well.
The Wildwood Flower was a neat Belgian with a strong Belgian yeast and banana note, but with a very solid honey backbone. Just like many of their beers, they source ingredients locally as much as possible, and the honey for this beer is from Strange Honey Farms in Del Rio, Tennessee. It was super drinkable to be such a hefty flavored brew.
The Tripel Star was a wonderful Belgian Tripel that did everything a tripel is supposed to do correctly. It had very noticeable flavors of clove, nutmeg, and spice, but it was probably one of the smoothest and maltiest tripels I’ve ever had. I also have to point out that this beer is cellared for six months before being opened up for Nashville to enjoy. It was probably the most distinct beer I tried from TBW.
The B.A. Strawberry was like…a carnival of flavors. It had everything from boozy to tart, tasty, fresh strawberry to a neat bourbon note. As you’d expect from an imperial, it was heavy, but it wasn’t so stout that you felt as if you could only drink one (though the amount of alcohol might make that decision for you).
The Colt’s Bolts was probably my favorite of the five, and with it being classified as a pastry it dessert beer that’s surprising. It’s inspired by the old Colts Bolts chocolate, and it truly encompasses the chocolate candy in liquid form. They brew it with real chocolate, almonds, and peanut butter, and the flavors all shine through. The nuttiness of the almonds gives the beer a distinct coffee note, also. And at 10%, it’ll get you someplace.
Finally, the Imperial Porter was a close second. This brew is aged in Bottled in Bond George Dickel whisky barrels. It’s super smooth, and the George Dickel is distinct. There are solid notes of chocolate and coffee, as well, but the whisky does most of the talking here.
I have to point out that Tennessee Brew Works serves a pretty robust food menu that is designed to pair well with its beers. Some of their items are even made using the beer or spent grains from production. They also have cocktails, and the place is kid friendly, so there really isn’t a reason for a group of folks not to go. The place is cozy enough to enjoy group shindigs while being spread out enough to offer privacy, and the staff is both friendly and knowledgeable (and yes, I just used the word shindig). One other neat fact about Tennessee Brew Works is that they are definitely on the cutting edge of brewing. I’ll point you to their website for the specifics, but their brewery equipment and process effectively cuts down the amount of wasted product to almost 0. They take pride in this, as they should, and you can see their entire brewery from the seating areas on both floors of the brew house.
I truly enjoyed Tennessee Brew Works. Their beer ranged from the typical lighter lagers all the way up to the extravagant and potent porters and stouts brewed with local ingredients and aged in local whisky barrels. It doesn’t take long to tell that they are proud of their heritage in Nashville, and they make an extra effort to be both good stewards of their community and an all around, solid brewery and beer experience. They have the benefit of sitting off the beaten path in Nashville, so instead of the massive party vibe, you get a more personable experience. Next time we’re in Nashville, I’ll definitely make it a point to return and try some of their food this time around. Plus, they have about 12 other beers I have yet to indulge in.