Help Me With My Nashville Beer Map

I am not sure if any of you have looked at my downtown beer map, but I am getting ready to expand it to include the surrounding areas. My goal it to have a comprehensive beer map that caters to beer aficionados. I can't visit every single place, so I am looking for some suggestions. Here are the two maps and the criteria:

Metro Nashville Beer Map- All beer retailers and bars that carry and promote craft beer. A sports bar with Blue Moon and a token micro does not count. Neither does an Irish bar that serves Guinness. For a bar to qualify, they must have multiple craft beer offerings and cater to craft beer drinkers. I know that I may be leaving off fun bars with good patrons, but I want to focus on the beer selection. The same criteria goes for the retailers. So far I plan to add Red Dog, Woody's Smokes and Brews, Boscos Cool Springs, Cool Springs Wine and Spirits, Stones River (M'boro), 3 Crow Bar, Graces Plaza Liquors, Whole Foods Green Hills, 12 South Taproom, and Old World.

Metro Nashville Craft Beer & Dining Map- Do you want to go out for a nice sit down meal and drink a good beer with it? I want to promote the local restaurants that have multiple craft beer offerings on the drink menu. So far I have Margot Cafe, Cabana, PM, Ombi, Flyte, Boundry, and Radius 10.

Please email me your suggestions with an address, phone number, web address, and a brief description (including an approximate number of craft offerings). Hopefully we can assemble the best comprehensive beer map for locals and visitors.


July Beer of the Month- Stone 13th Annivesary Ale

I have a lot of extra time on my hands, so I figured I would review a beer. This time I am adding a few new things to my format, including a rating system. The intent is not to judge beers, but to give you blog readers a gauge on how much I like the beer. I will also factor in how the beer compares to other commercial examples of the style. I understand and appreciate that taste is subjective, especially when it comes to craft beer.

Stone Brewing 13th Anniversary Ale gets to be the lucky victim for this round. It's a one time limited release, so I wanted to give you my thoughts before it disappears for good. This is classified as an American Strong Ale, but you may see it informally referred to as an "Imperial Red Ale." I was told by a beer partner in crime (let's call him Craig) that Stone put 4.5 pounds of hops per barrel, making this their hoppiest beer to date. I am intrigued. Let's pop the cap on this bad boy.

Stone 13th Anniversary Ale-
Stone Brewing Co. - Escondido, CA

Stone 13th Anniversary Ale pours brilliant deep red with a light tan foam. Up front, the aroma is all piney, resinous and citrus hops. Upon tasting, the hops are still on the front, and they are balanced with the malty, toffee like flavors contributed from the blend of crystal and amber malts used in the brewhouse. The finish is deliciously bitter, with a touch of warmth provided by the 9.5% alcohol. Bitterness comes in at 90+ IBU.

Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. This pours a beautiful dark copper amber with a dense beige head that diminishes to a clingy wisp. Nice bold aroma of caramel malts, fruity ale esters, and fresh hops. Heavier side of medium bodied with average carbonation. Initial flavor of dark caramel, toffee, maple, and scorched sugar that quickly transitions to an assertive piney and herbal bitterness. Finish is dry with a clingy grapefruit rind hoppiness, with notes of diluted molasses and nutty malts. Somewhat boozy and it warms the windpipe as it goes down. This beer is loaded with hops, but there is a generous amount of maltiness to counter it. Overall, this is very bold and complex. I hope they find a way to add this to the regular line. I like this better than Double Bastard or Old Guardian. If you are not into strong beers, don't say I did not warn you.

Rating*: 9.0 out of 10

Recommended Food Pairing: BBQ, grilled meats, cheese (blue, pepper jack)

Average to Good (7.99 per 22 ounce bottle)

Beer Audience: Hopheads, beer aficionados

Where To Buy: I purchased mine at Midtown, but any liquor store that carries the Stone line should get this. Very limited.

* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)

New Brews And Other News- July

I am still busy with the job hunting, so I am going to try and cram a bunch of info into this post. For starters, Yazoo Hop Project #16 is on the shelves and on draft, with #17 due out this weekend. You can identify #16 buy looking at the bottling date on the label, which should be notched for the fourth week of June. Speaking of Yazoo, they are current working on construction of a new and larger facility down in the gulch. Congratulations to Linus and crew! They will also be unveiling their first high gravity beer at the Music City Brewers Festival. It will be a smoked porter using cherry-smoked malt.

The Music City Brewers Festival
will be held on July 25th, with two sessions. The second session is sold out, so get your first session tickets before those are gone. It appears that the organizers have worked out the major kinks from previous years. One of my fellow beer aficionados told me that I had "grumpy old fart syndrome" and that I needed to give it another shot. So after a long hiatus from the event, I AM GOING! I will be attending the first session, so shoot me an email if you want to meet up.

Franklin is getting a new brewpub! The Nashville area beer scene continues to grow. Hell yeah! Guido's New York Pizza is going to open a microbrewery. I do not have any information on when they expect to be operational. Heresay is that the brewer came from Two Rows. If so, then you can expect some quality brews because I have sampled their beers on two occasions.

Stone 13th Anniversary is in Knoxville, which makes me wonder why we don't have it yet. The truck would need to pass by Nashville. The folks at Mid Town Wine and Spirits assure me that they are supposed to get it and will call me when they do. It is an American Strong Ale that is getting great feedback from the online beer community.

For those living on the east side of town, I found a bottle shop with a great selection. Hermitage Discount Tobacco and Beer is located at 3682 Bell Road, near the Stewarts Ferry Pike exit off of I-40. From the outside, it looks like a typical beer and cigarette store that you see all over town. Don't expect much ambiance or beer knowledge from the staff, but you won't be disappointed with the choices. Domestic beers included Stone, Yazoo, Dogfish Head, Terrapin, Schlafly, Avery, Victory, Boulder, New Belgium, Boulevard, Starr Hill, etc. They also had a nice selection of European imports, including the Paulaner line. Needless to say that I am pleased that I no longer have to drive from Hermitage to downtown to purchase good beer. Now if only an east side liquor store would carry a nice selection of high gravity beers, I will be a happy beer geek.

That's it for now. Cheers!


Summer Beers For The Miserable Nashville Heat

I was browsing through all my posts and realized that I give lots of attention to high gravity beers. Rest assured, I do enjoy lighter beer styles. Summer is upon us are upon us and I bet you all get invited to cookouts, especially with the 4th of July approaching. My problem is that many of the hosts provide a cooler full of crappy beer. Instead of bringing a food dish, I bring my own cooler and use the occasion to introduce people to better beer. Some people will enjoy them, and others will want to stick with their "ice cold smooth beer with no aftertaste." Here are my suggestions of locally available bottled beers, ideal for those summertime cookouts. I will break it down by styles. Grab a seat, this blog post is longer than usual:

Hefeweizen (serve at 39-45 degrees)
I love "hefes" and I will drink them year around, but their refreshing character make them ideal summer beer. The key is to try and get a fresh bottle, as these beers do not age well and there are some old bottles sitting on the shelves ( I just had one). Some people like putting a lemon wedge in the beer (I choose not to), which is sometimes frowned upon by beer geeks. To me, it's just a matter of preference, just like adding spice to your food. I always roll the bottle and pour the yeast sediment at the bottom into the glass. There are lots of nuances in this style and each one carries varying degrees of phenols and esters such as banana, bubble gum, clove, and vanilla. Nashville has a decent a selection , so here are my picks:

German Imports (in no order as they are all good examples of the style)-
  • Ayinger Brau Weisse
  • Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier
  • Paulaner Hefeweissbier
  • Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
  • Hacker Pschorr Hefe Weisse
  • Schneider Weisse Original

Domestic Hefeweizens:

  • Sierra Nevada Kellerwies - Brand new beer to their product line and one of the best Hefeweizens I have had in a very long time. They nailed it. Highly recommended.
  • Yazoo Hefeweizen- local beer that is available all year round. A tad thinner than the German examples, but still full of the Hefeweizen phenols and esters.
  • Victory Sunrise Weissbier- New to town and definitely worth trying.

Wit Beer (serve 39-45 degress)
This style shares similar characteristics to Hefeweizens, and are brewed with coriander and orange peel. The following are some locally available suggestions, listed in my order of preference:
  • Hoegaarden - Benchmark for the style, although it was better before the InBev takeover
  • Victory Whirlwind Wit- New to Nashville and welcome in my beer fridge anytime
  • Boulevard Zon- Solid and priced just right
  • New Belgium Mothership Wit- Organic and brewed with wind-produced energy.
  • Wittekerke- Wit beer in a can! Beware of old cans on the shelves
  • Sam Adams White Ale- Easy to find seasonal
  • North Coast Great White- Not as good as the ones above, but still worth a try
  • Blue Moon (Coors)- Perhaps my snobbery is surfacing here, but c'mon. You can get this beer EVERYWHERE. Branch out a little. There are better examples of the style.
  • Blanche De Bruxelles- A tad too thin for me, but this also has a slight herbal mintiness
  • Shock Top (Anheuser-Busch)- WARNING- I highly recommend you skip this one.
Lagers and Pilseners (serve at around 45 degrees)
Approximately 96% of US beer sales are macro brewed products. Of that 96%, the largest portion belongs to light lagers. No problem. Our job is to introduce friends and family to something better and ween them off the industrial-made swill. It still amazes me that people have loyalty and brand affinity with such crappy beer. The following are on the Nashville shelves and will hit the spot on those 90+ degree afternoons by the grill.
  • Victory Prima Pils- New to town and an excellent domestic Pilsener. This has extra spicy European hop bitterness, which may be too assertive for the pedestrian palate.
  • Brooklyn Lager- Also new to town, this is a great Vienna lager with a nice balance between the pale malts and european hops. Not quite as bold as Prima Pils.
  • Pilsener Urquell- A benchmark for the style, this is a real Pilsener. Miller Lite is not.
  • North Coast Scrimshaw-A balanced Pilsener from a great CA brewery.
  • Victory V Lager- A nice clean Dortmunder/Helles that won't bombard your palate. Great with sushi.
  • Starr Hill Jomo Lager- Somewhat new to town and brewed in VA. Balanced and clean.
  • Bitburger- Try giving this to the Heineken, Bud, Coors, and Miller loyalists. This tastes better because the Germans don't load their lagers with adjuncts. Serve at 40 degrees
Saison (serve at 50-55 degrees)
For beer geeks and those with casual beer drinkers with the adventurous palate, you can't let the summer go by with out drinking a saison. The origins of this style go back to Belgium where it was brewed for farm workers to consume during the late summer harvest. As far as I am concerned, the best Saison you can get in Nashville is Saison Dupont. I have tried about 40 saisons, and this one is my favorite. Pair this beer with some grilled wild caught salmon and you won't be sorry. However, Victory V Saison is a new arrival to town and is worth seeking out.


Miscellaneous styles that you can throw into the cooler for some variety. Serve the Berliner Weisse and Kolsch at 39-45 degrees. The others should be at 45-50 degrees:
  • Anchor Steam- a California Common (lager fermented at ale temperates) and a classic
  • New Belgium Skinny Dip- low alcohol and low carb Ale with kaffir lime leaves. Introduce this to Michelob Ultra drinkers. If they stick with Ultra, then they are a lost cause.
  • Dogfish Head Festina Peche- A Berliner Weisse, which is a rare style in the US. Brewed with peaches, this is acidic and mildly sour. Strangely addictive.
  • New Belgium Fat Tire- An Amber Ale with a huge cult following. A good gateway beer
  • Schlafly Summer Kolsch- Kolsch is a great style for summer, and this is a solid example.
  • Terrapin SunRay- A regional unfiltered German style wheat ale brewed with honey
  • Brooklyn Summer Ale- A simple, straight forward Blonde Ale. Not too bold on the palate
  • Sam Adams Summer Ale - Easy to find spiced Wheat Ale when you can't run to the beer store. Seasonal.

That's it for now folks. Have fun over the 4th of July and don't set your neighbor's house on fire with those roman candles. And remember that "tasting the cold" is a marketing slogan for stupid beer drinkers. Cold temperatures numb the taste receptors. Take the beers out of the cooler and serve them at the proper temperature. If you convert anyone to craft beer, feel free to tell them about my blog. Heh heh. Don't forget that Blackstone and Boscos usually have good summer beers on tap.