May 24, 2013

Nashville, TN: Tennessee Brew Works Prepares to Bring Down the House

TN Brew Works Nashville
Last weekend in Nashville, I had the pleasure of meeting Garr Schwartz and Christian Spears, founders of the soon-to-open Tennessee Brew Works. This is a true craft brewery that will elevate the quality of the beer coming out of Nashville, the state of Tennessee, and the southeast United States.

When we pulled up to the former print shop at 809 Ewing Avenue, we weren't quite sure if we were in the right place. Located in a part of town that has probably seen better days, the brewery was still very much under construction.


My impression of the place when we walked in was "raw" -- the building looked as if it had just been gutted down to the bare bones. The building's conversion into a brewery was still in full-swing as Garr, the head brewer, led us through several of the beers in TBW's lineup, which I'll classify as "Belgian-American fusion" and the logo accurately describes as "finely tuned craft beer".

We talked extensively about food, how beer pairs with food, and how flavors in beer can be constructed in the same way as flavors in a dish. The recipes for each beer had been excruciatingly researched, and the meticulous craftsmanship truly showed in the complexity and balance present in each one:

  • Southern Wit - A Belgian Wit with a twist. Chamomile brings a floral complexity mixing well with notes of orange, pear, and honey. A likely top-seller during the summer. 5.14% ABV, 14.5 IBUs.
  • Extra Easy Ale - One of TBW's session beers, this takes after the ESB style, but brings in strong fruity esters. I definitely picked up on some strawberry in the aroma. 5.25% ABV, 39 IBUs.
  • Basil Ryeman - A farmhouse-style ale brewed with barley, rye, and wheat. The use of Thai basil complements the spiciness of the rye. Locals will appreciate the "Ryeman" reference. 6.25% ABV, 28 IBUs.
  • Rosemary Pale Ale - An American pale ale flavored with rosemary. I could easily see this pairing well with Thanksgiving dinner. 5.5% ABV, 36 IBUs.
  • Cutaway IPA - A unique and complex IPA using a touch of rye malt and five varieties of hops. Surprisingly sessionable. 6% ABV, 60 IBUs.
  • Tripel Spears - They saved their heavy hitter for the last. This Belgian Tripel is what inspired Christian and Garr to open Tennessee Brew Works in the first place and it will likely be a main feature of the brewery's high gravity series.
Despite having a lot of work left to do, Christian and Garr plan to open this summer. I have no doubt the brewery, walking distance from Yazoo, Jackalope, and Czann's, will help transform the "SoBro" neighborhood into Nashville's newest food and beverage district.

Keep up with the latest news and hear about an opening date by following Tennessee Brew Works on Facebook and Twitter.

SoBro brewery district
Tennessee Brew Works will be in good company. Brewery crawl, anyone?