People often ask me, "What is your favorite local beer?" To be honest, I don't have a particular favorite beer on a local or worldwide level. With so many styles to choose from, my palate changes with my mood. I decided to make a list of my 10 preferred Nashville beers. The criteria was that the beers had to be locally made, and offered at least once a year. I did not include special releases because that would serve no purpose if they are not available. Here it goes!
Yazoo Hefeweizen- Brewer Linus Hall has a nicely balanced brew here, with a light refreshing body that is not watery. This won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in 2004. I love it fresh on tap, but you can find also this on most grocery and beer stores in bottles. Ideally a summer beer, but I can drink it anytime.
Blackstone Irish Red Ale (seasonal)- Did someone say Killian's? Yawn. I normally don't get excited about this style, but when I first tried this beer, expletives were uttered from my mouth. This is probably one of the best Irish Red Ales that I have ever had. This has a good malt profile with the perfect amount of sweetness and hop balance. Available at Blackstone and Flying Saucer.
Boscos Hopgod (seasonal)- I believe this is a recipe derived from the winner of a homebrew competition. Nashville does not have many local offerings for "hop heads" like myself. When I hear about this beer coming on line, I get excited like a child on Christmas Eve. Bitter to the very end, just the way I like it! Available only at Boscos.
Blackstone St. Charles Porter- I have read many beer snob criticisms that this lacks robustness and bitterness. If they would do their homework, they would see that this is not modeled after a modern American porter. This is a BROWN PORTER, which has is closer the authentic British roots of the style. This is a stellar beer that pairs well with many foods. Another local GABF medal winner and one of my favorite porters in the US. Available at Blackstone and Flying Saucer.
Yazoo Amarillo Pale Ale- This is a subtle but interesting twist on the style. The malt profile is lighter and less caramelly- when compared to the typical Pale Ale. The use of the Amarillo hop gives it a nice tangerine-esque accent to compliment the pale malt backbone. There are several nice nuances in this beer that many of the "beer snobs" fail to pick up. The key is to find a fresh sample, because this beer loses it's mojo once the hop flavor fades. Yazoo does date their bottles (thank you Linus!). Available on draft and in bottles at several local restaurants, Yazoo Tap Room, and most grocery stores.
Boscos Oatmeal Stout (seasonal)- Full bodied with a creamy texture, this should please most stout lovers. This has nicely balanced flavors of roasted nuts, coffee, and dark bakers chocolate. Available at Boscos.
Blackstone Red Springs Ale- There are a lot of mediocre ambers out in the beer world, but this one is exciting. The beer has a British caramel and toffee malt backbone, but is kicked up a notch with some Americanized hop bitterness. This beer is even better on cask. Available at Blackstone and Flying Saucer.
Yazoo Sly Rye Porter (seasonal) - This is one of my favorite Yazoo offerings, but sadly this one is not bottled. This beer is a perfect marriage because I like rye beers and I like porters. This has a nice body and texture, with well blended flavors of dark chocolate, rye, and roasted grains. This may be the only rye porter that I have tasted, because most rye beers are ambers, pale ales, or IPAs. If you see this on tap anywhere, I highly recommend you get yourself a pint. Available at Flying Saucer and Yazoo Tap Room.
Boscos Ray's Honey Rye (seasonal)- This is another Boscos beer that I go out of my way to drink when it's available. This one won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. This pale golden ale has a nice touch of bittersweet and spiciness from the rye, with a clean and dry finish from the honey. Available at Boscos.
Boscos Bombay IPA- I love hops, and the more the better. Brewer Fred Scheer likes his beers to be balanced, and he adheres to his philosophy with this beer. Even at 50 IBUs,
this seems very close to an American Pale Ale. Either way, this is a very solid brew that should please anyone wanting a bit more hop kick to their beer without getting overly bitter. Let this one warm up a bit before you drink it, as Boscos usually serves this too cold. Available at Boscos