Beercation Destination: Nashville
Music City. The birthplace of bluegrass. The epicenter of country music. But Nashville isn’t just a destination for music-lovers.
Though young, the craft beer scene in this city has blown up in recent years, giving beer lovers something to enjoy with their live music that doesn’t come with a generic beer label on it.
From the places to stay to the places to play, here is CraftBeer.com’s guide on how to beercation in Nashville.
If you’re all about the nightlife, check into your hotel near Broadway, freshen up, and hit the town. If you’re more of the sip and savor type, snag some lodging in The Gulch or nearby in Music Row, where you’ll be close to several breweries and live music joints with large offerings from small and independent breweries.
For starters, head on over to Tennessee Brew Works in The Gulch and enjoy one of the popular brewery’s “finely tuned beers,” like the easy summer-drinking Southern Wit or the smooth Cutaway IPA. The brewery recently added a kitchen to the taproom and craft beer fans are flocking to this lively place for some delicious small bites and an elevated bar menu to go along with their beer and live music. Grab a little food, sample some brews, then make your way over to nearby Jackalope Brewing Company.
On the forefront of Nashville’s growing craft beer scene, this all-female owned brewery is a funky little place with a large taproom perfect for posting up in to taste of one of the brewery’s four year-round offerings or handful of seasonals. Since opening in 2011, Jackalope has earned a spot as one of Nashville’s favorite breweries among the locals by brewing beers like the uber-poplar Bearwalker Maple Brown Ale that is balanced enough to be a go-to beer for all seasons.
Cap off your brewery tour of The Gulch neighborhood with a visit to Czann’s Brewing Company. It’s a small operation with a tiny tasting room, but the passion that owner and head brewer Ken Rebman puts into his arsenal of beers shines through.
Refuel. It’s time for the healing powers of a good ol’ Southern brunch, and you’ll find a pretty good one at The Row Kitchen & Pub in the Music Row neighborhood. Not only is this place serving up some mean biscuits and gravy, but they also have 24 local craft beer selections on tap. Sample some brews from potential future brewery stops, or check out one of The Row’s unique spirit blended beers, like the TN Blood Moon, made with Picker’s Blood Orange Vodka and Yazoo Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen.
Now that you’re fueled up, it’s time to explore more of Nashville’s blossoming craft beer scene, and the best way to do that is by hopping on one of the Nashville Brew Bus’ craft beer tours, which are available every Saturday and Sunday and by private reservation any other day of the week.
Led by some of the city’s most knowledgeable craft beer aficionados, the brew bus begins and ends at a local craft beer bar, with visits and tours at three Nashville breweries in between. Not only will you get to sample beers and rub elbows with the staff at each stop, but you’ll also get a breakdown of the brewing process and the brewery’s history from the people that know it best. The tour ends with a complimentary craft beer back at the starting location — which, if you’re lucky, will be the craft burger and beer bar, M.L.Rose. With two locations in the city, this place has a huge selection of craft beer, highlighting local and regional brews, and great food to go along with it.
If you’re visiting Nashville during baseball season, be sure to catch a Nashville Sounds game at First Tennessee Park, where fans can enjoy a craft beer and lawn games at the park’s Band Box. And if you’re lucky enough to catch a game on Thirsty Thursdays, enjoy one of the many selections of craft beers on tap for just $3.
On the third day, you rest — well, sort of. Start your morning by renting a bike from one of B-cycle’s many locations throughout the city, and bike on over to the Nashville Farmers’ Market, a year-round indoor farmers’ market featuring a mix of merchant businesses and farm vendors.
Create your own breakfast from the fresh produce and locally-grown food at the market, or visit one of the many restaurants located inside. Before you leave, be sure to swing by The Picnic Tap and pick from the beer bar’s selection of 15 beers and ciders.
Spend the rest of your afternoon visiting the breweries that helped put Nashville’s craft beer scene on the map — like Yazoo Brewing Company. Since 2003, Yazoo has been the most well-known brewery in the city, eventually experiencing so much growth, that they moved into larger digs in 2010 where they continue to brew and package today. Be sure to hop on one of Yazoo’s excellent brewery tours for more info on the brewery and the local beer scene.
Next up, check out Black Abbey Brewing. Inspired by traditional brewing styles, Black Abbey has a fairly large selection of brews to taste as well as a handful of brews emerging from their barrel-aging program.
With all of the great craft beer being brewed in Nashville, a trip to this city wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Hattie B’s Chicken. Even though this dining staple of Nashville has multiple locations, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one without a long line out of the front. So get there early for a taste of that crispy, tender hot chicken. And lucky for you, Hattie B’s is also serving up local craft beers that happen to pair nicely with the most popular (and tasty!) cuisine in the city.