As they say (whoever “they” are), the only thing constant in the Nashville brewery scene is change. We’ve already introduced you to a six-pack of Music City’s best breweries that have been around for a few years, but there are plenty of great new suds suppliers worthy of your consideration. While this list is not exhaustive because there are now more than twenty Middle Tennessee breweries with taprooms where you can sample their wares, here are enough options to while away a day tasting delicious beers crafted by Nashville’s talented young brewers. (But do consider using ride-sharing apps if you plan to hit them all!)
TailGate Beer has actually been brewing for years, starting out in San Diego before moving their operations to Music City in 2014. Since then, they have expanded to three locations in West Nashville, East Nashville and Music Row and added a huge 50-barrel brewing system to their headquarters facility in a former Moose Lodge in Bellevue. Their HQ sits on a large plot of land with plenty of outdoor space to sit a spell in your own folding chair while you enjoy their wide variety of craft beers and a food menu featuring tasty pizzas, sandwiches and salads. In fact, food is a big part of the program at all three TailGate locations. They also emphasize a family-friendly environment and boast one of the biggest public fireworks shows in town every July 3 at the HQ.
One to try: Peanut Butter Milk Stout
Southern Grist also underwent a major expansion recently, adding an expansive modern new taproom in The Nations to complement their cozy original spot in East Nashville. Between the two taprooms, you can discover as many as 30 taps pouring a variety of their creative recipes. Committed to bold flavors that don’t necessarily adhere to the strict expectations of traditional brewing styles, Southern Grist is more about making beers that are delicious rather than ones that might win some brewing competition. That doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t find an excellent example of an IPA, because you definitely will! It’s just that there are plenty of other options to taste through as well.
One to try: DDH Mixed Greens
Tucked away in the corner of Germantown, Bearded Iris Brewing has quickly become a destination brewery since opening in 2016. Named after the flower that decorates their can labels, Bearded Iris concentrates on intensely floral and citrus beers and is known as a hophead’s delight. That’s why you’ll always find plenty of IPAs, Double IPAs and Pale Ales on tap at Bearded Iris. You’ve got to admire their focus, and they are masters of their craft. Their flagship Homestyle IPA is a fixture at area bars and restaurants as well as a local favorite to take home in cans from the grocery store.
One to try: Homestyle IPA
Don’t let Smith & Lentz Brewing’s East Nashville strip mall location fool you. Although it looks tiny, this brewery is mighty! With a taproom that’s open seven days a week, Smith & Lentz has quickly become a neighborhood favorite, thanks to their approachable beers, kid- and dog-friendly policies and for the fact that you can bring in your own food to enjoy with a brew or two. Their small brewing system pumps out a wide variety of products ranging from hoppy IPAs to easy-drinking ales and peppery pilsners to creamy stouts. It’s the kind of place where they strive to supply something for every taste, and they sure do taste good.
One to try: German Pils
East Nashville Beer Works was a pioneer in their neighborhood off Ellington Parkway in East Nashville, preferring to concentrate building a community over racking up rave reviews on beer websites. The result of their efforts is a brewery that’s built around the taproom experience more than a desire to sell their beers in far-off geographies. Believing that beer is best tasted fresh at the source, ENBW encourages their fans to enjoy their brews in the taproom where they can pair them with a novel food offering of foods designed to complement the flavors in their beers. It’s tough to beat a dinner of spicy Sriracha chicken and a pint of Cumberland Punch American Wheat–unless you prefer a slice of pepperoni pizza with Roaming Dog ASB. Really, you can’t go wrong either way.
One to try: Miro Miel
Mill Creek Brewing Company started out south of town in Nolensville with a focus on brewing beers to be distributed in cans at retail groceries around Nashville, but with the recent addition of a comfy taproom in 12South, they’ve gained even more attention from Nashville beer fans. Speaking of fans, their Goalden Ale is the official beer of the Nashville SC soccer team and is a favorite of the team’s supporters. With a line of quaffable dependable beers plus some seasonal specials that are a little more challenging to the palate, Mill Creek satisfies the tastes of all levels of aficionados. Drop by their taproom for a beer and a burger and discover your new favorite.
One to try: Landmark Vintage Lager