Beautiful-good. This is the name ancient Sumerians gave to the delicious biochemical concoction we now call beer.
Beer brings people around a table, fosters conversation, and opens an opportunity for communal fellowship centered around the shared experience of enjoying refreshing, satiating beverages together. Not to mention, this bubbly brew releases the feel-good hormone, dopamine, which makes these gatherings all the more jovial.
I imagine the ancient beer-creators of old speechless after their first ceramic bowl full, dodging yeast clumps and particles with bamboo straws, then exclaiming the two most flattering, celebratory adjectives they could think up to describe their new boozy discovery: “Beautiful! ….Good!”
Many of today’s leading breweries across the country respectfully use beer’s rich history as a foundational stepping stool to launch themselves toward more creative, modern takes on traditional recipes. With craft beer on the rise, more and more entrepreneurs and beer connoisseurs are building their own breweries and pubs, positioning their take on this ancient creation from a different and unique angle.
Here at Bellhops, we are scanning the country, seeking out the best breweries that capture beer’s potential and provide delicious brews to happy patrons. City by city, we’re doing the work and investigation so that you can focus on enjoying your beer and the people around you (we’re a modern alternative to traditional Nashville movers, by the way).
Next on our list, we’re moving through Tennessee and stopping at a brew hub that shouldn’t be scanned over: Nashville, TN. While most of us have tapped a few toes to its country music and felt the burn of their crisp hot chicken, its brew scene has blossomed substantially in the past several years. Look below to see which breweries made our list.
Czann comfortable, casual taproom invites visitors to come with family or good friends, and if you venture out alone, you very well might make a friendly connection at Czann. A small, L-shaped bar seats 10, and the intimate setting is carried over to the few rectangular wooden tables. Founder Ken Redman wears the hats of owner and operator, and makes it his goal with each beer to strike the perfect balance between malt and hops. And you will taste these thoughtful, quality notes in each of Czann’s five flagship brews, as well as their experimental brews that they rotate according to the season and their creative whims.
Try this: Czann’s Blonde
This transparent brew is refreshing and light with good balance and right proportion for a full body of flavor. It drinks malty and crisp, and finishes clean.
Using a small batch brewing system, Smith and Letz experiments with traditional styles, adjusting hops and grains, and tinkering with their add-in ingredients to make their interesting drinks. While they offer a nice variety of styles, their recipes do lean into the hoppier dimension of beer. Their lowlight taproom creates a cozy environment that makes it easy to settle in with a few beers and a few friends. And they also keep a pingpong table available to those visitors who really like to get wild.
Try this: SimBop DIPA
Alright, there’s no point in coming to Smith and Lentz without giving one of the hop-bombs a try. This double IPA is packed with hoppy bitters from plenty of Simcoe and Denali, mosaic, and Azacca hops. Its flushed with fruit flavors and will leave you the weaker man with an IBU too high to mention and an ABV of 8%.
This young brewery started up just a few years ago as a small, local brewery, but thirsty Nashvillians pushed at Southern Grist’s capacity seams and demanded more of their tasty brews. Their recent expansion allowed for much more production space, which meant much more beers, and happy drinking for the locals. They also designed a 2,000 sq.ft. taproom where they serve 17 in-house brews and a few features from guest breweries along with thin crust pizzas and subs from neighboring restaurants.
Try this: Loud Whispers
A bright, bold New England Pale ale, this brew has been double dry hopped with Mosaic and Vic Secret hops. Its fruity, bitter, and balanced with packed-full punchy flavors.
With true Nashville pride, Tennessee Brew Works has stamped its logo, an acoustic guitar, across the state. And their tongue-in-cheek slogan describes their craft beer as “finely tuned.” Cheese aside, Tennessee Brew Works does brew with intention and finesse, maintaining a strict regulation on the quality and freshness of their products, and they often utilize Tennessee’s agricultural ingredients in their brews. You can also find a few locally-grown options in their food menu, which includes a veggie dip called Baba Ghanoush, fish tacos, wings, salads, and sandwiches.
Try this: Cutaway
A tasty balance of rye and hops, this brew is earthy and spicy. These robust flavors blend well with the brew’s citrus notes of grapefruit and tangerine.
Since opening their doors in 2011, Jackalope’s standout brews have gained a great following. The serve and can them unpasteurized, unfiltered and packed with unique, bold ingredients, like apricots, pure maple syrup, raspberries, roasted cacao, and coffee beans. Jackalope’s canning began in 2013, which set them apart from other breweries in the city at the time, who were still selling beer solely in bottles. And this switch from bottles to cans helped the brewery become a better friend to the environment and a better producer of quality beer.
Jackalope’s intention to invest in the local community is clear, and they regularly host or promote events to help the city and the people within it – like their litter pick up or food bank sorting events that gave free beer to participants. They also offer locals a number of entertaining events and activities, like trivia nights, bingo nights, runners clubs, free yoga classes, and giant Jenga games on their patio. And if you like beer enough to bathe in it, they make homemade soaps infused with their brews and hops.
Try this: Lovebird
Jackalope’s Hefeweizen takes a unique, fruity turn away from other classic heffs. This one is crisp and clovey, yes. But it also billows with fruity flavors due to the two hundred pounds of strawberries and raspberries added to each brew.
Bearded Iris makes a number of New England IPAs, and makes them well. Visitors are encouraged to bring their food, kids, dogs, or all of the above with them during their visit. Bearded Iris’ retro taproom displays boldly checkered floors, tall-backed velvet chairs, and yellowed chandeliers. And the simple design of their cans wrapped in beautiful chromatic color looks so luxurious, it could be on bottles of costly creams and lotions.
Try this: Lavish
This Imperial Oatmeal Stout is the cashmere of beer. It’s been brewed with vanilla beans and lactose for a creamy layering of warm vanilla notes.
Since 2003, Yazoo has stolen the floor of Nashville breweries, and their recognition has spread throughout the state. Their well-respected brews can be credited to brewmaster Linus Hall, who creates batches of creative bubbly to add variety to their taplist. Yazoo’s flagships, like their Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, and Sly Rye Porter draw most of the crowds and are the staples that hold spots on grocery store shelves. But a visit to their 40-barrel brewhouse will give you the full Yazoo experience – you’ll find a variety of food trucks and $8 tours with beer samples and a give-away 5 oz. glass to take home.
Try this: Dos Perros
Yazoo brews a delicious lager steeped in Mexican history. Its body has been lightened with flaked maize to create the bready flavors we love in lagers with a sweet maltiness and a lightly hopped, crisp finish.
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