One of my favorite cities to visit is Nashville, TN aka Nashvegas! For the uninitiated, Nashville is a great city with a thriving live music scene…yes, mostly country, but trust me there is something for everyone. In addition to the thriving live music scene, Nashville is a great city to visit for dining and other attractions as well.
But what about the beer scene? Well, in my travels in the south, I have found that local beer scenes are quite often extremely lacking. In this regard, Nashville is a pleasant surprise. They have a growing and thriving craft beer scene and quite a few great beer bars. Granted there are still a lot of bars where Bud Light is prevalent in patrons hands, but there is clearly a shifting landscape.
Let’s talk breweries! Nashville is home to 5 microbreweries and/or brewpubs.
Starting with the biggest and most well known, for any beer geek a trip to Nashville would not be complete without a trip to Yazoo Brewing. Tours are available on Saturdays and the Tap Room is open Wednesday-Saturday. Yazoo beer can be found throughout Tennessee at grocery stores. They serve some truly unique beers. Their IPA is known as the Hop Project and each batch is numbered. Each batch uses a different combination of hops, so Hop Project 21 might be very different from Hop Project 22, etc. Try the Sly Rye Porter or the Dos Perros.
Blackstone Brewing is both a brewery and pub and it is a venerable Nashville brewery. Blackstone recently underwent a major expansion in capacity and has also entered into an agreement to allow Schlafly Brewing of St. Louis, MO brew beer at the new location. While tours aren’t available, I would make Blackstone a priority stop on any visit to Nashville. As a bonus the menu in the pub is quite good and it is also a great place to grab a meal. Try the APA.
Bosco’s Restaurant and Brewing Co.
Bosco’s is a Tennessee mini chain. They actually have 3 locations in Tennessee and one in Arkansas. Two of their locations call the Nashville location home (Hillsboro Village in Nashville and Franklin) and the 3rd location is in Overton Square in Memphis. Bosco’s strikes me as a restaurant first and brewery second. This is not to say that the beer is not good here, in fact, I found the Bombay IPA in particular to be exceptional. Each location brews its own beer, so one location may have different selection that the others. I would definitely plan my trip to Bosco’s to coincide with a meal, the food here is superb. If you want a truly unique experience, hit up their Sunday Live Jazz Brunch!
Jackelope Brewing is the newcomer to the Nashville Beer Scene and it has one tremendously cool claim to fame. It is 100% female owned! And these ladies know their brews! In 2009 Robyn Virball and Bailey Spaulding opened Jackelope and it has been full speed ahead ever since. Their brewery and tap room occupy about 6500 square feet and house a 15bbl ssytem that they use to turn out fantastic craft beers. You will also find their beer being poured at many local Nashville bars in addition to their tap room. We still recommend that you stop by the tap room and check this place out!
Big River Grille and Brewing
Big River Grille and Brewing has one major plus on it’s side…Location! Location! Location! Big River Grille and Brewing is located on Broadway near the riverfront and close to almost all of downtown Nashville’s entertainment options. The first thing I noticed about this place was that it is simply HUGE! It is definitely a restaurant and brewery. Unfortunately I found both the food and the beer to be lacking. The beer is pretty uninspired…i.e. they have a pale ale, irish red, brown ale, stout…but they all seemed pretty pedestrian to me. I would advise hitting some of the other places on this list over Big River, but the reality is that if you are in Nashville, you will find yourself downtown at some point, either to take in live music or hit some of the other attractions and while you’re here, you might as well stop in and give them a try…judge for yourself!
The Rest of the Story
Now what about the rest of your trip? Well, here are some things we recommend you catch while in Nashvegas!
The Flying Saucer
Want to stock up, head to Frugal Mcdoogal Liquor Store.
Where should you stay? We highly recommend the Doubletree Downtown Nashville as our hotel of choice. This hotel was a great find on a recent trip and offers one service in particular that makes staying here a no-brainer. They offer a shuttle for guests that runs until fairly late, so instead of taking a cab, you just give them a call and tell them where to pick you up, it is fantastic and a real money saver for those that might be imbibing and don’t want to have to worry about how to get around town.