Nashville is one of the fastest growing cities in the US right now, and with that growth comes new industry. The craft beer and local food industries have exploded in popularity among this tremendous growth. Combined with another rising trend of supporting local and small businesses, these restaurants and breweries are thriving. If you haven’t experienced the craftier side of Nashville, here are a few tips for a perfect evening of “Crafting Nashville”.
Choose the style of brewery that you would like to experience.
There are many sizes and styles of breweries in Nashville, ranging from micro-breweries to giant warehouse-style facilities where tours are offered. Personally, we recommend taking a tour at a large-scale brewery first to see the work that goes into the end product and then enjoying a pint fresh from the taproom. One of our favorites is Yazoo, which offers tours twice weekly.
Check beforehand to see if your brewery offers food selections or pairings.
Some breweries only offer taprooms and outside food trucks, so if you are expecting a full meal with your local beer, do your research beforehand. Rock Bottom and Fat Bottom Brewing are two great examples of brewpubs that also serve upscale pub and comfort foods.
Mix up your atmosphere.
If you think all breweries and pubs are the same, think again. Black Abbey Brewing Company is a fun way to experience a Monastery-style atmosphere right in the heart of Nashville. Not only are the ales crafted Belgian-style, but the architecture and atmosphere will transport you to a time when monks created the brews and enjoyed them in their abbeys.
Get a growler (or two) to go.
If you want to try more craft brews in the comfort of your own home, take home a growler. Growlers are 64oz sealed glass jugs of freshly crafted beer that you can take home, refrigerate, and enjoy whenever you wish. Careful, though, once you open a growler, it can go flat within a day, so be sure to plan on sharing if you don’t want to waste it!
DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.
If you plan on touring local breweries and sampling their crafts, please always be responsible and don’t drink and drive.
Host your own local craft beer tasting party!
Plan a trip to several local breweries and purchase a variety of craft beers to sample with your friends.
To host the ultimate craft beer tasting, you must be prepared. You’ll want to think first about your audience when choosing your beer. How adventurous are your guests? Will they be willing to try a variety of styles of beer? Do they prefer milder or can you serve a range of mild and strong brews? Do you want a “theme” (i.e. seasonal beers)?
Second, make sure you have appropriate glassware. Always serve beer in glass pint glasses, and when appropriate, stemless wineglasses or stout glasses. Never sip directly out of the bottle because craft beer needs room to “breathe”. When you pour beer, just as in wine, it needs to aerate to fully develop its flavor palate. Give the beer room to breathe and develop a nice head (the foam on top) before sipping.
It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: always serve beer at the appropriate temperature. Just like fine wine, beer tastes best at specific temperatures. Keep your beer in the refrigerator until time to pour to make sure it is crisp, clean, and ready to be consumed properly.
Lastly, be brave and dare to pair. Pairing craft beer with food can enhance the flavor profiles of the beer, and create a memorable experience for your guests. The following chart is handy reference to get your ideas brewing to host your own beer tasting party!